Date: c. 1937
Description: This photo, taken by Warren Stienstra, shows the greenhouses for what is today Sioux Growers, a wholesale plant nursery. At the time this photo was taken the greenhouses were owned by Mosher’s Greenhouse and Landscaping. These greenhouses are interesting though, not because of what business owned them, but where they are located, at the corner of Kellogg and West 19th Street, just west of West High School. These greenhouses sit on the northeastern edge of a kind of “neighborhood that never was:” Highland Park. If you look up Sioux Growers on a map today, you notice that in the area to the south and southwest is largely empty, except for the Woodbury Heights district that has been developed within the last 10 years. In the 1890s William W. Byam built a large, picturesque house just off of California Street and decided to plan a suburb in the surrounding area, dubbed Highland Park because of the many hills. Byam had hoped to build a neighborhood like the one around Smith Villa, with wealthy people building large houses all around Byam’s own mansion. He even invested and built the Highland Park Railway, a transit railroad that would cover a huge swath of the area all the way to the Big Sioux River before turning back to Downtown. He envisioned the Westside growing just like the Northside and Morningside had, and becoming a major residential district for Sioux City.
A few people joined Byam out in his addition, and even today there are still some houses on California Street and the few streets around it. Byam’s dream, however, was not to be. The Panic of 1893 struck the city hard, and Highland Park never materialized as a successful suburb. The hills in the area made development costly, and people could not afford the investment necessary after the financial disaster. However, there were some good things that came out of the failed development. After Highland Park failed Byam became a major developer for Riverside, a working class neighborhood largely built for the workers in the nearby brickyards. Riverside still remains a prominent working class neighborhood in Sioux City today. The Highland Park Railway became a major line for connecting the Westside to Downtown, and was heavily used by people going to Riverside Park for things like the Riverview amusement park and the Interstate Fair. Today there is still little in the area that was meant to be Highland Park besides those picturesque hills.
Donor: Gabe Podash