Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Old Yankton Trail Remnant

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Institution Name: University of Sioux Falls
Original/Historic Place Name: Yankton Trail
Location on Campus: grounds of Mears Library
Date(s) of Construction:
1859original construction
Type of Place: Landscape site
Style: (Glossary)
Significance: history, landscape
Narrative: see below
References: see below
ca. 1859outdoor space (wagon trail linking Sioux Falls with Yankton's riverboat traffic and military outpost)
ca. 2004-present (2006)outdoor space
ca. 2004-present (2006)memorial site

The first white settlers arrived at the falls of the Big Sioux River in 1856 and established a small village. The wagon trail known as the Yankton Trail connected these settlers to the town of Yankton, then the capital of the Dakota Territory. In 1862 the settlers fled Sioux Falls via the Yankton Trail because of attacks by the indigenous Dakota Sioux people; they returned several years later after Fort Dakota was established in Sioux Falls. The Yankton Trail then saw a steady stream of wagon trains and stage coaches carrying settlers and merchandise.

The campus of Sioux Falls College, now known as the University of Sioux Falls, was established in 1885 along the Yankton Trail on the outskirts of town. As the years passed and the old Yankton Trail was no longer used, the campus overtook it; however, the wagon ruts remained visible running across the campus lawn. In 1928 a group of students and the newly formed Minnehaha County Historical Society roped off a section of the trail and erected a historical marker, which reads: "Here is preserved a section of the Old Yankton Trail and Stage Road. Over this trail the people of Sioux Falls fled to Yankton under cavalry escort for safety from hostile Sioux Indians August 28, 1862. This tablet placed by the sophomore class of 1928 Sioux Falls College, auspices Minnehaha County Historical Society."


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Last update: November 2006