These are the falls of the Big Sioux River, from which the city of Sioux Falls gets its name.
These are the falls in close-up.
This is a sculpture that stood near the entrance to Falls Park for a few years. It's called "In Varietam Concordia." They took it down later, and now they're building something on that lot. I don't know what it's going to be, but based on what they've built so far, I predict it's going to be ugly. So anyway, I'm really glad I got a picture of this sculpture when I had the chance.
This is a view of the falls from the observation tower. Interestingly (or not), I took several pictures from the top of the observation tower, but I didn't take a picture of the observation tower itself.
This is a picture of St. Joseph's Cathedral taken from the observation tower. Unfortunately, the picture turned out grainy because I had to really zoom in.
On the left side of this picture, you see the clock tower of the Old Courthouse Museum. On the right side, you can see the newer, current Minnehaha County Courthouse. I'm glad I got this picture when I could, because now there are apartment buildings obscuring the view.
As you'll see in the photos, the word "terrace" in Terrace Park refers both to a raised platform and terraced landscaping. Located on the shores of Covell Lake, it is also notable for the Japanese Gardens. The Sioux Falls Municipal Band holds concerts there on Sunday evenings in the summer.
This is the bandshell and the terraced landscaping.
These are the historic, very steep, and very frightening quartzite steps. There are several sets of these steps connecting the various levels of terraced landscaping. I've heard that they're planning to tear them out and replace them with safer ones. I have mixed feelings about that. In the background, you can see the raised platform that constitutes the other type of terrace in Terrace Park.
The pictures that follow are from the Japanese Gardens:
What follows are pictures from a particular part of the Japanese Gardens. I don't know what to call it; I would call it a stage or a shelter, for lack of a better term. Whatever you call it, I took pictures of it from several different angles:
McKennan Park is my favorite park in Sioux Falls. It reminds me the most of the city parks in Spearfish. While Falls Park and Terrace Park are very beautiful and very special, McKennan Park has a homey, comfortable, welcoming vibe that the others lack. Yet, at the same time, it has its unique features.
Of all the parks I photographed, I think McKennan Park has the most trees. You can see the bandshell in the background.
Here's a better picture of the bandshell, though I don't know why it turned out all slanty like that.
Possibly the most unique feature of McKennan Park is the Sunken Garden. This is in early spring when the trees along the outside are blossoming. That structure in the middle used to be a fountain, but now it's a planter. The plants in the planter bloom in mid-to-late summer so there's always something blooming, but it looks a bit silly in early spring.
These are flowers at the far end of the Sunken Garden. I'm not sure what kind of tree that is (either a birch or an aspen, I think), but I was impressed by its bronze-colored bark.
At the entrance to the Sunken Garden is a small replica of the Statue of Liberty. Somehow I managed to get her head obscured by a tree branch in the picture.
But it's okay because I took some close-ups as well:
Fawick Park was named after an eccentric local inventor who invented his own automobile called the Fawick Flyer. The park is most notable for its bronze replica of Michaelangelo's David, which was apparently rather controversial when it was first installed, but now it's basically just a part of the local landscape.
We'll get to pictures of David later, but this picture is basically taken from the foot of the sculpture. On Saturday nights in the summer they put up a big screen near the water and show movies.
Fawick flowers. I'm kind of proud of how this picture turned out.
I tried to take a picture of these Canada geese and their goslings. So cute!
And here's David. I wasn't particularly trying to get him in silouette, but somehow I managed it anyway.
David again. His eyes are up here, thank you.
OLD COURTHOUSE MUSEUM AND DOWNTOWN
This is the Old Courthouse Museum from the outside. It was designed and built by famed local architect Wallace L. Dow. Dow buildings, though peppered across eastern South Dakota, are becoming increasingly rare. The Old Courthouse itself was narrowly saved from a date with the wrecking ball.
This is the old courtroom from the balcony. Now the courtroom is rented out for meetings and events and such. From October to April they hold monthly ceili dances here.
They rotate exhibits in the museum from time to time, and at the time I took these pictures there was an exhibit on weddings and wedding dresses. I thought it was interesting that this dress looks white in the photograph, but in reality it is blue (of course, it wouldn't be the last time that a photo of a blue dress caused an optical illusion like that). Do you suppose the bride knew enough about photography to do that on purpose, or was it just a coincidence? Probably the latter, because I think the dress and the picture dated before the time that the white wedding dress became the standard.
The following pictures are of the 2008 SculptureWalk People's Choice winner, which is installed outside the Orpheum Theater downtown. It's called "Circle of Friends." I voted for it, and was delighted when it won because it had a profound effect on me. You have to see it from all angles to get the full effect:
So there you have it. Thanks for joining me on this trip back through time and letting me share my adopted hometown with you.