Freedom and Liberty

Freedom and Liberty
I travel in Freedom but sleep in the security of Liberty (not only on the road, but in this amazing country of ours)

Friday, September 3, 2021

The Falls of Sioux Falls and Battleship X

Location: W.H. Lyons Fairground Campground; Sioux Falls, South Dakota

There weren't any Corps of Engineers Campgrounds near Sioux Falls, so my second choice was a State Fairground. Many state/county fairgrounds have campgrounds attached and rent out sites throughout the year. They are usually pretty basic, which is fine with me. This one is located very near to the things I wanted to see in Sioux Falls. 

Our campsite for 4 days. It rained before arriving so they parked us parallel. That way we could stay on pavement instead of the grass. Behind me, while taking this picture, are about 20 or so RV's of people who are staying long term.

The main reason for coming here was to see the Falls of Sioux Falls. Sioux Falls is the largest city in South Dakota and as with most towns in this part of the country, a river runs through it. In this case, it's the Big Sioux River. At a large area inside the city limits, the river passes through outcroppings of Sioux Quartzite which creates several waterfalls. The quartzite is a very hard stone and can be seen in several buildings around the area. The city has done an excellent job in building a city park that encompasses the entire falls. Pictures with captions will be easier to explain some of the history.


The Big Sioux River with quartzite everywhere.

One of the falls up close

A little farther downstream
The last cut through the quartzite before flattening out for a while.

In the late 1800's a grinding mill was built next to the falls so they could use the river for power. Instead of the usual large waterwheel, they built a penstock pipe that dumped water onto a turbine that spun a shaft that powered the mill. The mill had an attached, multi floor warehouse for storage. Sadly, there wasn't enough quality wheat grown in the area to make the mill profitable so it went bankrupt after just a couple of years. Remnants of the mill is still around. 
The structure in the upper right is what's left of the mill/warehouse. Top center is where the hydro turbine was housed. The circle in the bottom of the turbine house is where the penstock pipe entered. The penstock was laying on the circular cradles in the lower center. Behind me, while I took this picture, is where the river would have been damed up creating the water pool.

This is inline where the penstock pipe would have been laying on those cradles. This is looking back to where I was standing when I took the previous picture.

A closer view where the penstock would have entered the turbine house. The current location of the river and falls is to the left in this picture.

This is looking up at the turbine house from the river. The circular opening at the bottom of the house is where the water would leave the building after spinning the turbine. 

This is a nice overall view of the entire park. It is taken from the observation tower attached to the visitor's center/gift shop. There were two really nice ladies that worked in the gift shop that gave me directions to places to see downtown. They commented that they liked my southern accent, so I may have thickened it up a little bit and overused, "ya'll" and "yonder". Oh well, it was a nice visit.

The last thing I wanted to see in Sioux Falls was the Battleship X memorial. Some people may know it as The U.S.S. South Dakota (BB 57). During the war it was sometimes referred to as battleship X because the Japanese reported they had sank her several times. They made this mistake because she had lots and lots of anti-aircraft guns in addition to her big 16 inch guns. When all of the anti-aircraft guns let go at the same time, they produced so much smoke and flames that it looked like the entire ship was on fire. This is what confused some of the Japanese into reporting that she was sinking. To let the Japanese continue to believe she had been sunk, the U.S. military and press referred to her as Battleship X. This also allowed many top secret pieces of equipment to be installed and tried out without tipping off the enemy as to which ship they on. This is some of the Navy history taught to us in bootcamp during the 1970's. 

Since a battleship couldn't make the trip up the Mississippi, Missouri and Big Sioux rivers, the ship isn't here. Besides, she was scrapped in 1962. However, parts of her were saved and sent to Sioux Falls. Once there, the locals built a nice memorial using the parts that were saved. They made a outline of the ship, to the exact size, and placed the saved pieces in their proper location. This type of memorial gave a different feel than the feelings I had when I visited some of the other battleships in Texas and Alabama. It is almost like a ghost ship.

This is the outline of the ship while standing amidship looking to the stern. You can see the propeller and one barrel of her big guns as well as her mast with crows nest. 

Looking towards the bow you can see her anchor and chains. Also the breaches of her big guns. 

A picture of the actual battleship. 

 Tomorrow is moving day and I'll be heading about 200 miles south to another State Fairgrounds. This time it will be in Lincoln, Nebraska. It will be Labor Day weekend so I'll be hunkering (dang, I should have used that word at the gift shop) down until the holiday is over. I've briefly looked for things to see and do around Lincoln, but haven't found anything. Oh well, maybe I'll use it to give Liberty a good cleaning. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.

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