Description: Sioux City experienced a nice, small boom period after it had recovered from the financial disaster of 1893, which nearly wiped out the city’s economy. Population was on the rise, employment increased with the stockyards and manufacturing industries, and the city was on the verge of another boom era during the 1920s. When the stock market crashed in 1929 and the Great Depression swept the nation Sioux City was not spared, but this financial crisis was different from the earlier panic. As with the rest of the nation many people went unemployed, especially those in the manufacturing industries. But aside from a few layoffs and downsizing, the stockyards and meatpacking industries in Sioux City were relatively unaffected, which gave the city an economic lifeline. In the Depression those without work lived in more abject poverty as there were less resources to go around, but the city was not on the verge of economic collapse as in the previous panic.
However, the Great Depression was devastating for Siouxland area farmers. This clipping is from the November 8, 1933 issue of the Sioux City Tribune, and depicts a line of trucks escorted into Greenville by the Woodbury County Sherriff. Siouxland became the center of an agricultural revolt in 1932 and 1933 called the Famer’s Holiday Movement, in which farmers and producers revolted against the crippling cost of production due to droughts and the low selling price of their goods in the city. Area producers organized strikes and tried to bar producers from other areas, like these trucks, from coming into the city and competing with them for buyers. Often police and county officials had to get involved in the strikes, putting more pressure on the already strained farmers.
When New Deal legislation was introduced new agencies began funding projects that would bring jobs to millions of Americans. In Sioux City these groups funded the airport, the Grandview Park Bandshell, the Elwood Olsen Stadium (formerly Roberts Stadium), a new Floyd River channel, and other projects to provide jobs. Local infrastructure projects also helped, but Sioux City’s economy would not really be revitalized until the 1940s, when the city participated in major wartime manufacturing.
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