Description: Not only was Sioux City divided into different groups, but different economic classes as well. At the end of the 19th century those with standing and access to wealth lived very affluent lives and decorated themselves and their pristine homes in the richest Victorian fashions of the time. This parlor table’s style is a stunning example of that high-end fashion, with scalloped edges, geometric designs, and spiral legs.
Its looks are certainly the Victorian style of the rich, but its history tells another story. Its original owner was John Peirce, the famous real estate tycoon of Sioux City who made huge investments and advancements in the town. Peirce once lived in a house at 21st and Court Street, and this table was a piece of furniture there. When Peirce and his family left town they left the house with most of its furniture intact, this table included. This table remained in that house until ownership passed to the Sisters of Mercy, a Catholic group with congregations all over the world even today. In 1890 the Sisters arrived in Sioux City to open up a hospital. They moved into a house at 28th and Jennings Street but quickly found it was not suitable for a hospital, and moved to Peirce’s old house that same year. This table likely changed more hands over the years, most recently sitting in a house at 2931 Nebraska Street by Sister Elizabeth Mary Burns, retiring head of Marian Health Center. This one table has seen so much history and many different lifestyles. Now the legacies of those stories still stand: Peirce Mansion gives testament to the old family, Mercy Medical Center decorates the Sioux City skyline, and this table, which saw all this and more, sits in the gallery in the Sioux City Public Museum.
Donor: Sisters of Mercy