Sioux Falls

© The first documented visit was by Philander Prescott, an explorer, trader, and trapper who camped overnight at the falls in December 1832. Captain James Allen led a military expedition out of Fort Des Moines in 1844. The early descriptions of the falls were published in The States and Territories of the Great West, an 1856 book by Jacob Ferris which inspired townsite developers to seek out the falls.

The history of Sioux Falls revolves around the cascades of the Big Sioux River. The falls were created about 14,000 years ago when the last glacial ice sheet redirected the flow of the river into the large looping bends of its present course. Fueled by water from the melting ice, the river exposed the underlying Sioux quartzite bedrock, the hard pinkish stone of the falls. The quartzite itself is about a billion and a half years old. It began as sediments deposited on the bottom of an ancient, shallow sea.

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The Village of Sioux Falls, consisting of 1,200 acres, was incorporated in 1876 by the 12th legislative assembly of the Dakota Territory, which convened in the territorial capital of Yankton. The village charter proved to be too restrictive, however, and Sioux Falls petitioned to become a city. The city charter was granted by the Dakota Territorial legislature on March 3, 1883.

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