Dana Reed Bailey.

History of Minnehaha county, South Dakota. Containing an account of its settlements, growth, development and resources ... Synopsis of public records, biographical sketches .. online

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Online LibraryDana Reed BaileyHistory of Minnehaha county, South Dakota. Containing an account of its settlements, growth, development and resources ... Synopsis of public records, biographical sketches .. → online text (page 17 of 99)
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A committee, consisting- of M. Grig-sby, C. E. McKinney, K. 1^. Pet-
tig'-rew, M. (xerin and J. T. (Gilbert, was a[)pointed to draw up and
circulate for sig-natures a g-uaranty to the company in suflicienl
amount to secure the immediate commencement of work on the line.
Mav 8, 1887, this committee reported that there had been secured
S48,000 upon the g-uaranty. A meeting- was held in Palisade town-
ship on the same day, which was lar^gely attended, and W. W. Coon,
E. Millard and Ezra Royce were appointed a committee to aid in se-
curing- the rig-ht of way throug-h the township.

June 18, 1887, President Spicer came to Sioux Falls, and ui)on
liis arrival a meeting- of the citizens was called for the evening-. It
was a representative g-athering- of the people, and wdien convened
E. A. Sherman stated that the people had come tog-ether to hear a
report of the meeting- of the directors of the Willmar and Sioux Falls
Railroad Company held at Pipestone the day before. He said it had
been determined at that meeting- that the road could not be built to
Sioux Falls during- the year 1887, as it was impossible to secure the
necessary ties, but that the manag-ement of the road throug-h its
president was ready to submit a proposition to the people, which
would, if accepted, secure the road. President Spicer then came
forward and submitted the following- proposition:

The Willmar and Sioux Falls Railway Company being desirous of obtaining from the City of
Sioux Falls, County of Minnehaha, Territory of Dakota, a bonus from said city in aid of the con-
struction of tlie line of railway of said company from Willmar, Kandiyohi county, Minnesota, to
Sioux Falls, Dakota, hereby makes to said City of Sioux Falls, the following definite proposition
as heretofore mutually agreed upon:

First. The amount of such aid is $50,000, and the riglit of way through Minnehaha county,
Dakota, to the City of Sioux Falls.


Secontl, The said amount of aid to be paid as follows: At the time of the acceptance of this
proposilioii tlie citizens of Sioux Falls shall execute an indemnity bond to said railway company
in the amount of $50,000. Said bond to be approved by the president of said railway company
and conditioned upon the construction of said railway line as herein proposed and the payment of
the said aid as follows: At the time of the completion of said line of railway to Sioux Falls,
$50,000 in cash, with the option on the part of the city to make said payment as follows: $20,000
January i, 18S9; $15,000 January i, 1890, and $15,000 January i, 1891, with interest thereon at
the rate of 6 per cent, per annum from the lime when said railway company shall have cars run-
ning to the said City of Sioux Falls. Said right of way through Minnehaha county to the City
of Sioux Falls to be obtained at the expense of the citizens of Sioux Falls, or of Minnehaha
county, Dakota, and deeds to be placed in the hands of the said railway company on or before
September 1, 18S7, and it is hereby understood and agreed that the citizens of Sioux Falls shall
fully protect and indemnify said railway company against any cost or expense in obtaining the
right of way through Minnehaha county, Dakota, to the City of Sioux Falls.

Third. The said railway company proposes and agrees, in consideration of said bonus, to
cause to be constructed its line of railway from Willmar, Kandiyohi county, Minnesota, to Sioux
Falls, Minnehaha county, Dakota, and to complete its line of railway and have cars running
thereon to Sioux Falls, Dakota, on or before the ist day of January, 1889, and to grade said rail-
way through Minnehaha county to Sioux Falls on or before January i, i888.

In witness whereof said Willmar and Sioux Falls Railway Company has on this iStii day of
June, 1887, caused this proposition to be signed by John M. Spiccr, its president, and Charles C.
Cioodnow, its secretary, and sealed will, its corporate seal.


(Seal.) IJy Joiix M. SiMti;i<, I'rrsidnit .


lie said that all tlu' count irs aloiii;- the proposed riMilc in MiiiiK -
s(»ta had xoted a ta.x and secured the rij^dit of \\a\ , except 1 *i])c^'st(»ne
coiint\ , and that the [)L'o])]e of that count\- would xote on the (piesti(»n
the lollo\vinj4" Monday. He urj^'ed the peojWe to take prompt action
in the matter, as Sioux City on the one side, and towns west of Sioux
Falls would pav liberal bonuses to divert the road from Sioux i^\'Llls,
and that Sioux' City had already oifered S30(),0()() for the road. Other
remarks were made, when R. F. Pettig-rew made a motion that the
proposition submitted be accepted and the bond given. It received
a unanimo'is vote. A committee to secure the guaranty was ap-
])ointed, composed of John Norton, Andrew Beveridge, C. F. Mc-
Kinney, M. Gerin and J. T. Gilbert.

During the summer a g'ood deal of s[)ecnlation was engaged in, in
reference to the commencement of the work here, the location of the
depot and other matters pertaining* to the road.

August 1, 1887, a large crew of men and several hundred teams
camped on the Willmar and Sioux Falls line at a point about e(|ui-
distant from Willmar and (iranite Falls, and by the 5th of Septein
her there were about one hundred camps of graders between Will-
mar and Sioux Falls. September 12 it was learned that a large force
of g-raders had been laid oif, and that there was trouble somewhere.
E. A. Sherman and R. F. Pettig'rew visited St. Paul at once and saw
James J. Hill, and were rfot long in finding the cause of the trouble.
The Manitoba wanted depot grounds near the Omaha depot south of
Eighth street, but expected to get what land the company wanted for
S25,()()(), but had been asked S5(),(M)(), which sum was considered ex-
orbitant. The result of the interview was an order b\ Mr. Hill that


the jLi"radinti- should g'o on, and that the matter of depot grounds
should rest until the spring- of 1888, when, if necessar}', condemna-
tion proceeding-s would be instituted to obtain them. At the conclu-
sion of the interview Mr. Hill said: "I have ag-reed to put my line
throug-h to Sioux Palls, and it is g'oing" there." This statement was
a g-reat relief to the people of Minnehaha countv, for it must be ad-
mitted that the boomers at Sioux City had not only kept them g-uess-
ing% but had g-iven them a g-reat amount of hard work, and sharp
work to thwart their schemes to divert the road from its orig-inal

September 20, 1887, a meeting- of the directors of the Willmar
and Sioux Palls Railway Company was called at St. Paul. At this
meeting- all the directors resigfned and an election was held for a new
board. It was the intention to elect a director from each of the prin-
cipal toAvns along- the road, but it resulted in retaining- only Presi-
dent Spicer and Vice President Sherman, the balance being- made up
of prominent officials of the Manitoba.

Mr. Sherman arrived home on the 22d of Septeml)er, and the
next day it was known that the road had secured depot g-rounds in
the southwestern part of the city, but at the same time it was known
that the managfement still desired to obtain land near the Omaha de-
pot for depot g-rounds, if it could ])e obtained at a reasonable price.
This it was impossible to do, and on the 0th day of ()ctol)er, 1SS7, the
depot was located where it now is.

The work of g-rading- the road commenced early in the spring- of
1888, but was delaved bv heavv rains during- the latter part of the
spring and early summer, but on the first day of Aug-ust a larg-e
force was put on, and from that time the work was pushed with
g-reat vig-or. The approach of the force eng-ag-ed in completing- the
road to Sioux Palls about October 20, 1888, astonished the ])eople. It
looked like a small, well equipped army. Some of the boarding- cars
were three stories hig-h; and when the people saw seven hundred feet
of track laid in just eig-ht minutes, they were all ready to vote for
"Jim Hill" for president of the United States. The line was com-
pleted to Sioux Palls at 4:30 o'clock, in the afternoon of ()ct()l)er
25, 1888.

The first reg'ular passeng-er train on the Willmar and Sioux Palls
railroad pulled out of the city of Sioux Palls at 8:30 A. M., November
1, 1888. The bridg-e not being- completed over the Big- Sioux river
near the company's depot, temporary quarters had been provided on
Eig-hth street, east of the Omaha depot.

E. A. Sherman secured the right of way and depot g-rounds for
this road in Minnehaha county, and in doing- so, labored hard to have
it cost the city as little as possible, but having- done the best he could
the city was compelled to pay $77,403.65.

After the completion of the road, it was considered the rig-ht
thing- by the citizens of Sioux Palls, to formally express to James J.
Hill its appreciation of what he had done for the city in gfiving- her a
connection with the g-reat combination lines of railroads under his
management, and a time had been fixed for so doing-, but had been
changed, and finally Tuesday, December 11, was settled upon for the


occasion. At first the intention was to g-ive a recei)tion to tlic rail-
road orticials, but as time wore on the orig-inal ])lan was enlarg-ed and
the business men of St. Paul, Minneapolis and towns along- the line
were invited to the hospitalities of the citv.

On Monday nig-ht, December 10, 1888, a train of nine sleepers
and day coaches started from St. Paul for Sioux Falls. At different
points along- the line deleg-ations got aboard the train, and when it
arrived at its destination there were 185 passengers. A few persons
from adjoining- towns had also been invited, so that the g-uests of the
city numbered more than two hundred. It was a g-reat disappoint-
ment to every one that James J. Hill could not be present, but a law
suit involving- about two million dollars detained him.

From the arrival of the train until its departure ten hours later,
nothing- was left undone by the people of Sioux Falls to make the oc-
casion enjoyable for her g-uests and memorable in the annals of the
Oueen City. The arrangfements were simply perfect, the banquet
eleg-ant, and the whole affair terminating- in some admirable speeches
in harmony with the occasion.


The South Sioux Falls Railroad and Rapid Transit comi)anv
was incorporated in December, 1888.

The incorporators were R. F. Pettigrew, S. L. Tate, F. H. (xer-
rish, C. (t. Ferg-uson and F. W. Pettig-rew. It was supposed at
lirst that the company intended to build a belt motor line around the
cit\ , the central station to be located at South Sioux Falls.

January 4, 188*), the city council of Sioux Falls passed an ordi-
nance g-iving- this companv the rig-ht to build and operate a motor line
within the city limits, and the exclusive rig-ht to certain streets in
the citv, commencing- at the intersection of Fleventh street and
Phillips avenue.

During- the spring- and earl\- summer the road was graded and
ironed to South Sioux Falls. Two new passeng-er cars for this road
.-irrived in the citv about the 10th day of May, 188'). The 18th day
of June, 1880, the first business was done on this road, over one
tlKHisand people being- conveved from Fleventh street to Coats' race
track. A trial trip was made Tuesday, June 25, 1880, to South
Sioux Falls, and all the city officials were invited to honor the oc-
casion with their presence.

During- the summer of that year all sort of surmises were made
as to where the western terminus would be located, but the idea pre-
\ ailed quite g-enerally that it was the eastern end of the Midland
Pacific, and would ultimately be built to Pug-et S(nind.

In March, 180(1, the name of this company was chang-ed to the
Sioux Falls Terminal Railroad Company.

A portion of this line between the city of Sioux Falls and South
Sioux Falls is now operated by the Great Northern Railroad



In June, 1889, it was known in Sioux Falls that there was a pro-
ject on foot to construct a motor line from Sioux Palls to East Sioux
Falls. The organization was perfected about the 1st of July of that
vear under the name of South Dakota Rapid Transit and Railway
Company. W. R. King-sburv, R. J. Wells, C. C. Crandall, C. E.
Johnson, A. M. Crosby, J. T. Little, Jr., and S. C. French were
elected directors, and they elected Kingsbury, president, French,
vice president, Johnson, treasurer and W. S. Welliver, secretary.

An ordinance was passed by the city council of the city of Sioux
Falls on the 1st day of July, 1889, g-ranting the right of way for this
company to build and operate a single track of its railway along and
upon certain streets in the city, commencing at the foot of Ninth
street crossing the Sioux river and thence east to the city limits.
But before anything was done at the west end of the line, the com-
pany and the owners of property on Tenth street arranged for the
building of a viaduct on that street, east of the bridge over the tracks
of the Milwaukee, Omaha and Great Northern railroads, and the
ordinance granting the right of way, was afterwards amended so as
to begin the line at the intersection of Tenth street and Phillips

About this time the Tenth street bridge was condemned, and
owing to the fact that this line was to cross the river on Tenth
street, the bridge was rebuilt in a most substantial manner.

As soon as the right of way through the city had been secured
the company proceeded to survey the route, and when it was com-
pleted on the 1st of August, Engineer Jackson reported that the line
was just six miles in length. The building of the bridg-es on the
line, seven in all, was completed in November and track laying com-
menced on January 27, 1890.

About February 20, 1890, the contract was let for the equipment
of the road, all except the cars, for the sum of S35, 000.

The motors for the electric cars arrived April 8, and were taken
to the engine house on block one in East Park addition. The engine
arrived on April 12, and the boiler — weighing 13,000 lbs. — on April
17, 1890.

About this time in the history of the electric motor line, a dis-
agreement arose between the city council and the company, and
during the afternoon of May 14, a special meeting of the committee
on rules and ordinances met to consider the matter.

At the time of the passage of the original ordinance number 81,
the company thought it possible that thev might want to cross the
river on Tenth street, although by the terms of the ordinance it was
to cross at Ninth street. Afterwards ordinance number 102 M^as
passed, amending ordinance 81, giving the company the right to
enter the city by way of Tenth street across the viaduct, and the
laying of a double track on the bridge, the company to keep up the
repair of the bridge roadway between the rails. At the time this
ordinance was passed, Col. J. H. Drake appeared in opposition to it.


The meeting- of the committee was called to consider an ordi-
nance amending- ordinance number 81. Col. Drake and Wm. Van
Eps were present and discussed at leng-th the question at issue,
while the company was represented by J. W. Jones and its president
W. R. Kino-sbury. This proposed amendment declared the rights
and privileo-es !L>-ranted under ordinance 81 forfeited, unless the line
of railway should be wholly built and equipped for business and in
full operation within the limits of the city of Sioux Palls on or before
the 15th day of July, 1890, or within fifteen days after the Tenth
street bridge and yiaduct should be completed and open to travel.

The hearing- in this case ended with the promise of President
Kino-sbury that the company would lay only one track over the
])rido-e and viaduct, and that it should be laid upon one of the side-
walks supported by brackets if found practicable.

The committee reported this ordinance to the city council on
May 17, with a recommendation that it be referred to the city attor-
ney, which was accordingly done.

About this time one of those little affairs occurred in the citv
that usually follow in building- motor and street car lines where
there are, or are supposed to be, conflicting interests. Sunday
morning-, May 25, just after midnight, there appeared to be an un-
usual activity in the vicinity of Tenth street and Phillips avenue. It
so happened that, owing to some public gatherings in the city that
were just breaking up, a good many people were on the streets, and,
as it was only a step out of the way to visit Tenth street, the\" did so
to verify the rumor that something unusual was taking place at that
point. A crowd soon gathered, and to their surprise found about
fifty persons on Tenth street engaged in laying a street car track,
flavor Peck soon arrived, and was horrified at finding so many men
breaking the Sabbath, and expostulated with them, using- some of the
most approved scriptural quotations "in accents wild," but all to no
effect. The tall form of George Arneson was to be seen everywhere
among the Sabbath breakers urging them on. Fred Pettigrew and
C. G. Ferguson appeared to be associated with Arneson in command,
and this g-ave the whole scheme away, for who was there but Judge
Tate, that could induce such men to work on the Sabbath. The
mayor and City Attorney Brockwa}' took a hack for Judg-e Tate's
home. They found him asleep, or apparently so, but they aroused
him, and then commenced one of the most remarkable disquisitions
upon the desecration of the Sabbath that was ever delivered to a
wicked man. Peck told him that the example he was setting was
not in keeping with his Presbyterian pretensions, and Brockway re-
minded him that there would be a hereafter that was fearful to con-
template for such men as would induce unreflecting*- persons like
Arneson, Pettigrew and Ferguson to break the Sabbath. The judg'-e
was awed, if not convinced, and with a treml)ling hand he wrote a
note and handed it to the mayor, which read as follows: "To Georg^e
Arneson, F. W. Pettigrew and Mr. Hyde: — Please to stop work on
Tenth street and level up the ground so that the work can be re-
newed Monday morning. S. L. Tate." This note was recognized
as authoritv bv the street car force. Of course, this movement was


for the purpose of occupying- the street in advance of the motor line,
and the mayor, after havino- stopped the street car scheme, turned
his attention to the mana^^ers of the motor line, and they agreed to
do nothing- on Sunday. All day Sunday the air was full of rumors
as to what would happen on Tenth street at the beginning- of the
next secular day, and a g-ood many people took an afternoon nap on
Sunday, so as to be present when the exercises commenced. About
eleven o'clock Sunday nig'ht two hundred men appeared on Tenth
street between Phillips and First avenvies, armed with spokes.
They were there in the interest of the motor line. The mayor was
also there with the police force augmented by thirty specials sworn
in for the occasion. The street car managers were also present and
tried to induce the mayor to disarm their opponents, but the mayor
had enlisted in the interest of peace, and while he would not disarm
any one, still, he declared he was there to see that no weapons were
used by either party in the attempt to occupy Tenth street. It was
evident, however, that he was pleased with the extensive prepara-
tions that the motor line had made to give the public the advantag-e
of their line upon Tenth street at as earh- a date as possible. Dur-
ing Sunday evening the street car people had been eng-aged in spik-
ing rails onto ties and had them in readiness for laying-. Just before
midnight a crowd of men started from the street car barn on Eleventh
street, with rails spiked to ties. At this demonstration larg-e wagons
of the motor company came from Phillips avenue into Tenth street;
the first was loaded with ties, the second with rails, and the last witli
spikes, which were dropped as they proceeded east on Tenth street.
The motor force occupying the line, went at the work in earnest, and
in four minutes had the iron laid to First avenue, in fifteen minutes
more they had the rails spiked in place, and at 12:20 o'clock Monday
morning, the motor line was running a handcar over the line. The
horse car people carried three lengths of rails spiked to ties to First
avenue, but in attempting to lay one of them in the middle of Tenth
street, it resulted in its being dropped in the gutter on one side of
the street. The collision was not much of an affair, as the force of
the motor line was so much stronger that they had only to place
themselves in the path of the street car people to prevent them ac-
complishing- anything. After the motor people had the track laid
they proceeded to perfect the line and put it in as g-ood condition as
possible. The street car people after being repulsed, drew several
loads of ties and rails into Tenth street between Phillips and Main
avenues, but the motor people were prepared to prevent any further
attempt on the part of the company in laying its track.

During Sunday the motor people had prepared injunction papers
against any interference by the car company in laying its track on
Tenth street, and during Sunday evening W. R. Kingsbury, J. W.
Jones, W. A. Wilkes and C. E. Johnson took an engine, went to
Canton and induced Judge Aikens to return with them, and they ar-
rived in the city at midnight. Judg-e Aikens signed the papers, and
within thirty minutes they were served on Judge Tate and the fore-
man of the car company — and the war for the occupation of Tenth
street was transferred to the courts.


The cause of this little scrimmajjfe, of course, was the desire on
the part of the street car company to prevent the motor from occu-
pying any of the principal streets of the city. The company had an
exclusive franchise for twenty years, and had been operating' its
street cars at a loss, and the manao-ers felt that the motor was tres-
passing- upon its rig-hts, and that the buildino- of the motor line
would lessen the value of the street car property.

It is onlv necessary to add, that in the end the matter was ami-
cal)ly adjusted.

We left the ordinance limitin*^" the time for the completion of the
motor line, when we turned aside to chronicle the Sunday war be-
tween the two companies, in the hands of City Attorne\ Brockwav,
wht) reported to the city council on May 27, that in his opinion the
ordinance outjfht not to pass — and the council defeated the passa^'e of
the ordinance.

On Friday, June 13, 1890, at live o'clock in the afternoon, the
iirst trip over the electric motor line was made. Three trips in all
were made durino- the evenino- of that da}', and as this was the Iirst
electric train that had ever been run in the state, it was quite an
event. Ever^'thin^ worked smoothly, and to the entire satisfaction
of the manatJ-ement.

On Saturday, June 21, 18^0, the motor line commenced runnino-
reofular trains to East Sioux Falls.

For two or three years there was considerable tralfic over this
line, and durino- the summers it was laro-ely patronized by picnic
parties and pleasure seekers, who invariably enjoyed the seven-mile
trip between the two cities. But the enterprise did not prove a g-ood
investment, and after considerable strug-glino- against adverse cir-
cumstances, it went into the hands of a receiver, and during the sum-
mer of 1898 the rails were taken up, and we reg^ret to state, there is
now nothing left but the bare roadbed to remind the people that there
was at one time a rapid transit raihvav line between the cities of
Sioux Falls and East Sioux Falls.


This railroad, the last one to enter Sioux Falls, was opened to
the traveling public Octol)er 19, 1893. No railroad project ever con-
ceived of bv a citizen of Sioux Falls, had been so constantly before
the public, as a railroad from Sioux Falls to Yankton. The files of
the newspapers in Sioux Falls for fifteen years, disclose the fact,
that this project, though dormant at times, was ready to come to the
front whenever the slig-htest interest in railroad building was mani-
fest among her citizens. At times its construction seemed assured,
and then again, it would for months appear as remote as aerial

Online LibraryDana Reed BaileyHistory of Minnehaha county, South Dakota. Containing an account of its settlements, growth, development and resources ... Synopsis of public records, biographical sketches .. → online text (page 17 of 99)