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Flyer Promoting Smith Villa Heights

Date: c. 1919


Description: This flyer contains an advertisement and a small proposed map of one of the most prominent Westside neighborhood in its time, Smith Villa Heights, an extension of the original Smith Villa neighborhood. In 1856 William Smith moved to Sioux City from Michigan. Smith was a doctor and built up a large medical practice here, and became a major financier and promoter of Sioux City. He was a medical surgeon for the United States military and a member of the Republican Party who was deeply involved in Iowa politics. He was elected Sioux City Mayor twice, served in a land office, invested in the railroads, and served 15 years as Vice President on the school board. However, he is most famous for the huge farm he built on the Westside, dubbed Smith’s Villa or Smith Villa. The farm stretched from West 15th Street all the way to West 21st, covering 80 acres. Smith and his family lived on the farm for a number of years, until 1886 when they started getting older and did not need such a large area of land. Smith subdivided and sold his land just as the developers on the Northside and Morningside had done, with one key difference: the lots were generally much bigger than in other areas. Wealthy Sioux Cityans like J. C. C. Hoskins were attracted by these large lots and moved out to the new neighborhood, and soon the expansion of Smith Villa Heights was necessary, so called because they were on the hills just north of Smith Villa. The ad on this flyer highlights some of the attractive features of this area, including large lots, stunning views, and all standard city amenities.


Smith himself died in 1894, just a few years after he had built a much larger house to replace his old farmhouse. His wife Rebecca sold the new house in 1899 to the city and converted it into a school for the Westside, appropriately called Smith’s School.  In 2011 the old Smith’s School was torn down and replaced with the new Liberty Elementary School. Other schools on the Westside include Hopkins Elementary, which served diverse industrial neighborhoods along Perry Creek, Webster Elementary, which has now been converted into the LAMB Theatre, and West Middle and West High School, part of the Sioux City Community School District. Briar Cliff College is also on the Westside, a Catholic affiliated college founded by the Sisters of St. Francis. It was originally a women’s college and became co-education in the 1960s. Today it is still one of the largest universities in the Siouxland area.


Donor: Robert Joseph


Map portion on display

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