Saturday, June 18, 2011

Kerrville or Sioux Falls? 1956 Centennial Parade.

Let's watch the parade first:

Look at all those great businesses - Gridley Martz Insurance, Don's Drive-In Liquor, Vandel Furniture, Ethel's All Girl Bar and Lounge (bar AND lounge? So much drinking going on!). Keep going down the street, Canton Chow Mein Cafe, Ace Variety, Sansa's Cafe, Maytag District Store - lots and lots of easy leads to pinpoint where the parade happened, right? Wrong! I have not been able to find evidence of any of these businesses! Seriously - no one cared to remember and record Ethel's? That's ridiculous.

So the flags led me on a red herring, I thought this was Texas. I did find this remarkably similar footage of another centennial parade that happened in Kerrville:

Looks like we're on the right track, right? I don't think so... something isn't right, and not one of the floats are the same. The closest thing to a solid lead was the miniature horses in the last frame, the wagon has a banner from "Zip Feed Mills" which was a definite hit for Sioux Falls, SD, which was also celebrating it's centennial that year. We're on to something...

The Zip Feed Mill itself is an interesting structure, its construction started the year of this parade and it was the tallest occupiable structure until it became notorious in 2005 when its demolition ended up as a spectacular failed implosion:

Searching for a little more evidence, one more good lead, I found this picture of John Morrell's float:

 That nails it! Those are definitely the girls in the first slide. This is Sioux Falls, 1956.
 Research is fun, kids!


  1. Try Google books. It contains Insurance reports and the address 118 North main St for Gridley Martz.
    GB often contains odd records and is a great place for starting your research.

    Also, Google News archive works well, but in this case nothing came up.

  2. You might find this blog post of interest: I found almost 80 early 1950s color slides in a projector, and managed to track down the families with the help of a lot of tips and people helping with research. It was on the news multiple times too.

  3. Also, in your last photo, there's a large white sign on the left that appears to say "The life blood of the Sioux Empire". That supports this being Sioux Falls as well.

  4. The Sioux Fall Public Library has Polk's city directories for that time period. In my experience these list every business.

  5. Hey Anonymous, thanks for the tips about Google books/news, I couldn't make out the work "Empire" and since the Sioux people lived all over N. America, I didn't think it was a good "lead".

    Magnum - great story! Right up my alley!

  6. The fellow in picture three, extreme left, hat and bow tie.

    You just know he's regular at Ethel's. Probably got his own barstool.

    Great work determining the location.

  7. Pretty sure that last picture was taken in front of Johnson Shoes at 214 S. Phillips in Sioux Falls. They moved a few years ago, and all the store fronts have different occupants now, but it looks very similar.

  8. If only there were a Green Eggs and RAM back then..... :)

  9. Green Eggs and Ram was/is horrible

  10. I live in Kerrville Texas and nothing in the photos above resembles any business that has ever been in Kerrville.

  11. I am pretty sure the store is Kinney's Shoes, and the bakery is definitely the Dixie Bake Shop, home of the best cakes in the Sioux Empire! Johnson's was on the east side of the Phillips, and a block north of this photo.