Our Hometown: Downtown Sioux City - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

By Rebecca Sunshine

Our Hometown: Downtown Sioux City


Sioux City was founded in 1854 on the shores of the Missouri River, with steamboats and railroads arriving within just a few years. This fast growing community quickly became a leading livestock market and industrial center in the Mid West.

"Certainly the whole agriculture industry, I would say built Sioux City, livestock, meat packing industry is a huge part of it when you also think about the rest agriculture, corn and beans and all the jobs that brought in and really helped create Sioux City as a regional hub," said Steve Hansen, Sioux City Public Museum, Museum Director

From the time the stockyards opened in 1887 till they closed in 2002, almost 290 million farm animals were marketed there.

Because of its Ag base Sioux City had become Iowa's second largest city by 1915.

But soon the city's crime rate and bootlegging would earn it a name it shared with "the windy city."

"Sioux City for a long time was called Little Chicago because of its reputation during the prohibition years in particular for being quite the purveyor of alcoholic beverages," said Hansen.

Areas of Downtown known for their "seedy" past are getting new life.

One of those areas is Historic Fourth Street, two city blocks, built in the 1880's.

Today they are filled with restaurants and shops anchoring what's become an entertainment district. "In Downtown Sioux City we're converting and we're working towards the creation of the entertainment center, cultural and entertainment center, for the region," said Roger Caudron, Downtown Partners.

"You see people at every age, wage and life stage downtown and so you have a real cosmopolitan feel," said Betsy Thompson, Sioux City Librarian.

That cosmopolitan feel comes from the combination of old and new architecture.

The Woodbury County Courthouse with its Prairie school design, City Hall and its clock tower- refurbished in the 1990s and high-rises like the ornate Badgerow building, currently undergoing a multi-million dollar makeover. Even the Tyson Event Center, built to compliment the old auditorium, all help to create a unique skyline.

"There is a lot of historic buildings downtown and a lot of new buildings, people like downtown because of that ambiance," said Thompson.

Community Art also adds to downtown's audience.

The downtown area has really become a city within itself.

"Within Downtown Sioux City you have really everything that you would need," said Caudron adding that includes the cure for boredom. "One of the things that we hear about, there is nothing to do in Sioux City, and so we feel very strongly about the fact that if you're bored, you're not in Downtown Sioux City."

One of the many things happening downtown this summer is "Fridays on the Promenade," a concert held every other Friday evening on Fourth Street.

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