South Bottoms Day Proclamation
Description: This proclamation was issued in the July of 1981 commemorating a lost neighborhood of the Floyd River Valley. One hundred years earlier James E. Booge, a major player in Sioux City’s meat industry, set up two major meatpacking plants on the Floyd River south and east of Downtown. The employees who came to work in the plants established communities in the area, which came to be called the “Bottoms” because of their location on the river bottoms. Booge’s plants eventually closed but Sioux City’s meat industry stayed vibrant, and the South and East Bottoms remained a popular residential area for meatpacking employees. Need for workers also increased with the introduction of rail yards and rail repair shops, increasing the population of these neighborhoods. South Bottoms grew faster than East Bottoms, and soon the neighborhood stretched from Gordon Drive to the Missouri, and from the Floyd River to where Virginia Street is today. At the peak South Bottoms had 7 grocery stores, a grade school, several churches, and community houses like the Wall Street Mission and the Mary Treglia Community House, which provided services to South Bottoms residents. The area was heavily populated with immigrant communities who had come to work in the railyards and meat industry, so the neighborhood had a very diverse community. The area was also regularly flooded, but after each flood the community bounced back.
The Bottoms remained vibrant working class neighborhoods until 1957, when many of the residents had to be relocated for the construction of I-29. The Bottoms were completely razed in 1963 when the re-channelization of the Floyd River moved the river’s route right through the neighborhoods. The spirit of the communities, however, was not forgotten. Every summer former South Bottoms residents have a reunion, and a couple of former residents continue to publish a newsletter, “South Bottoms Bugle,” to remember the lost community. July 11, 1981 was declared as “South Bottoms Day” by this proclamation. And on the circle drive of Larsen Park Road, at the foot of Floyd Boulevard, a circle of stones from the old Combination Bridge sits as a memorial to the old South Bottoms.
Donor: Ray Tippery