1893 City Plan or Map of Sioux City, Iowa

Plat of Sioux City Iowa. - Main View

1893 City Plan or Map of Sioux City, Iowa


Among the first elevated electric trains.


Plat of Sioux City Iowa.
  1893 (undated)     16 x 21.75 in (40.64 x 55.245 cm)     1 : 28512


This is the only known example of an unrecorded c. 1893 separate-issue cadastral map of Sioux City, Iowa, capturing the city at the peak of its explosive late 19th century growth. The map illustrates both developed and undeveloped lands, as well as ambitious public works projects, including impressive parks and the Elevated Railway - one of the first such constructed.
A Closer Look
City blocks and additions, some undeveloped, identified by owners and/or name throughout. Riverside Park, Highland Park, and Logan Park appear. The Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad and the Sioux City and Northern Railroad, are illustrated with their operating lines. The pioneering Sioux City Rapid Transit Railroad appears in the lower right corner connecting downtown with Morningside.
The Sioux City Rapid Transit Railroad
Built in 1890, the Sioux City Elevated Railway was one of the world's first electric-powered railroads. The idea for a commuter railroad connecting Sioux City with Morningside came from businessman Arthur Garretson. Garretson owned land in Morningside and stood to benefit from a convenient transit link between the two areas. As it stood, the journey between Morningside and downtown Sioux City took commuters through swamps, across the Floyd River, and over eighty-four streetcar and railroad tracks, making the trip by wagon or carriage onerous. Garretson convinced local businessmen and eastern financiers to invest in the Sioux City Rapid Transit Company. Construction commenced in April 1890 and the line began operations on April 16, 1891. The 5 mile line, had 2 miles of elevated track and 3 miles of ground track. The railroad initially used steam locomotives but transitioned in 1892 to electric, marking it as one of the world's first electric-powered elevated railroads. The railroad served its intended purpose fostering rapid development in Morningside.

While the railroad served commuters, it also helped save lives. During the 1892 Floyd River Flood, Sioux City residents took refuge on the 'El', climbing the stairs to escape the rising waters. By 1892 there were plans to expand the system to other parts of Sioux City, but then the Panic of 1893 set in. The company soon entered bankruptcy and the elevated portion of the line ceased operations entirely in 1899.
Publication History and Census
This map was created and published c. 1893 by unknown individuals. This is the only known example.


Good. Mounted on linen. Wear and small areas of loss.