The three-tiered waterfall on the Big Sioux River is what gave Sioux Falls its name. It’s now part of a 123 acre park that sees thousands of visitors each year. In 1878, construction began on the seven-story Queen Bee Mill and by 1881 the mill was complete. Richard Pettigrew understood the power offered by the falls and wanted to harness it to avoid the cost of shipping wheat to Minnesota or Wisconsin. With about 7400 gallons of water dropping 100 feet over the falls each second it provided enough power to produce 1200 barrels of flour a day. Unfortunately farmers in the area couldn’t meet the demand for wheat and by 1883 the mill was shut down. Today the mill sits empty after a 1956 fire destroyed much of the building, but its history still remains.
Images from Falls Park
Queen Bee Mill at dusk.
A beautiful view of the falls.
Ruins from the Queen Bee Mill.
Ripple marks in the Sioux quartzite.
Formerly the NSP Power Plant.
The Philander Prescott monument with the incredible falls in the background.