Sioux City’s Public Museum takes interesting look at city’s history

Sioux City Public Museum

    Sioux City’s Public Museum takes an indepth look at the old stockyards.

Sioux City has an interesting history. The city’s Public Museum takes a look at that history with a look at the area from prehistoric times to the recent stockyards.

Visitors need to watch the orientation film – it runs about 12 minutes and tells Sioux City’s history in an entertaining manner.

Sioux City was once underwater as part of a warm sea. Animals of various types lived in that sea. The museum has a section on prehistoric times, including an interactive fossil “dig” area for small children.

Sioux City Public Museum
Sioux City was once part of a warm sea.

Jumping forward several years, Sioux City was in the middle of “Indian Country.” Today, the area’s Native American tribes are the Santee Sioux, Winnebago and Omaha. Clothing, weapons and other artifacts are shared.

Sioux City Public Museum
Area tribes are recognized at the museum.

As the white man made his way westward, fur traders settled the area early on. The first log cabin in Sioux City was constructed near Sergeant Bluff. Soon after the fur traders and the Lewis and Clark expedition, pioneers started to settle the area.

Sioux City Public Museum
Early European settlers visited and like the area.

As pioneers settled in the area, many were immigrants from other nations. They brought with them traditional clothing from home, as well as their religious values.

Sioux City Public Museum
Immigrants settling the area brought with them their traditions.

The museum takes a look at 19th century furniture and wares. Some of the exhibits are presented as they may have appeared in a person’s home.

Sioux City Public Museum
Early Sioux City residents are recognized at the Public Museum.

Local transportation highlights feature some unique vehicles, from a horse-pulled buggy to a Bekins moving truck.

Sioux City Public Museum
A Hawkeye truck is one of several antique vehicles on display.

The Sioux City Stockyards section was of special interest to me. I remember when the stockyards were full of cattle, hogs and other animals to be sold at market.

Sioux City Public Museum
Cattle were among the animals sold at the stockyards.

The stockyards date back to 1884. They were once the busiest of all stockyards in the United States. They were passed by cities such as Omaha and Chicago.

The stockyards were influential in developing the rail industry in the area, because there had to be a quick way of getting animals to the market and on to the next location. The stockyards success even included creating banks related to agribusiness, including the Livestock National Bank.

Sioux City Public Museum
Stockyard backers also financed banks.

But, as times changed, the Sioux City stockyards eventually faded. Today, the city’s stockyards story is told indepth at the museum.

Sioux City has been home to several businesses that have expanded beyond its borders. Jolly Time Pop Corn – one of the top national brands – was founded in 102 years ago. Bekins moving company began here in 1891. Wincharger – a maker of windmill chargers – operated in the area for more than two decades. Gateway Computer was located just across the South Dakota border. These are only a few of the companies.

Sioux City Public Museum
Sioux City has been home to several national companies.

The museum includes a collection of eclectic items. A giant seashell, clock and gas pump are among items donated the museum.

Sioux City Public Museum
Eclectic items are welcome at the museum.

“Sioux City Sue” was a popular song that debuted in the 1950s. It’s been performed by a variety of artists, including Kate Smith, Bing Crosby, Gene Autry and Willie Nelson and Leon Russell.

Sioux City Public Museum
“Sioux City Sue” has been recorded by several famous singers.

The Sioux City Public Museum is an interesting attraction to visit. We recommend checking it out. If you like local history, you’ll enjoy this museum.

For more information on the museum, please visit or