Have you ever wondered: What is the oldest building in Sioux Falls?

Published: Dec. 5, 2017 at 12:16 PM CST
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Kevin Gansz, the curator of education at the Old Courthouse Museum, said based off the records at the museum, the apartment building at 120 South Duluth Avenue is considered the oldest building.

The R.H. Johnson Plaza at 9th Street and Phillips Avenue stands where the first building used to be in Sioux Falls. That plaza contains Wells Fargo right now. It was a different time in 1871 when that first building was constructed.

Dirt roads and stagecoaches used to be where concrete and cars now drive on Phillips Avenue. The Corson brothers built a wood framed building called the Cataract Hotel at 9th Street and Phillips Avenue in 1871.

"It was really the first hotel in Sioux Falls, really one of the first hotels in Dakota [Territory]. It had two parlours, 14 sleeping rooms," said Gansz. "It claimed that it didn't have any bed bugs."

The hotel got so busy the owner added on a brick addition to the north of it. By the early 1880s, that hotel was moved in the middle of 9th Street while they built a brand new, bigger Cataract Hotel on the original site.

"Think about that today. When we complain about construction in an area, if you actually had a hotel running in the middle of the street while they're building a new building on it," said Gansz.

The original wood framed building moved several places before it ended up at 120 South Duluth Avenue where it currently stands. Now, it's run as an apartment building though.

"It's important because it's played a big, major role in the development of our community, and I think we should celebrate that role," said Gansz.

Some people may argue other buildings in the city are older but Gansz said the old Cataract Hotel is the only building the museum can document as being the oldest.

"The Cataract Hotel was really the place to come in Sioux Falls. It was one of maybe the most important businesses to start in early Sioux Falls," said Gansz.

The oldest building in Downtown Sioux Falls is where Coffea is currently located at 10th Street and Phillips Avenue. The oldest house in the city is called the Phillips House, which is behind the Pettigrew Museum.

The large Cataract Hotel at 9th and Phillips burnt down in 1900 but was rebuilt one year later. The R.H. Johnson Plaza which holds Wells Fargo was eventually constructed in 1973 after they tore down the hotel.