- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 8, 2015

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A four-mile stretch of state Highway 11 will be renamed “Veterans Parkway” despite pleas from Sioux Falls-area history buffs to maintain the original name that commemorates a deadly explosion almost 80 years ago.

The Sioux Falls City Council on Tuesday night voted 7-1 to honor military veterans and lose the name Powder House Road.

Opponents say the move will erode memories of the New Year’s Eve 1936 explosion, when a gang from Sioux City, Iowa, lit an eastern Sioux Falls dynamite storage building on fire to get rid of adversaries. The Minnehaha County Historical Society says the explosion killed one man and shattered windows miles away.

Three men were arrested for attempted murder and the lone survivor became famous.

“She later became known in the circus as the lady who survived the blast,” Historical Society President Jim Carlson said.

Ron Robinson, a retired Augustana College professor who wrote a book about the history of Powder House Road, unsuccessfully urged the council to consider the past before casting their votes.

“We’re trying to preserve the memory of that incident because it’s important regionally,” he said.

The history of the 1936 explosion will be preserved because a frontage road running parallel to Highway 11 will maintain the Powder House Road name, Councilwoman Christine Erickson said.

The lone vote against changing the highway’s name came from Councilman Kermit Staggers, who said he sees no connection between Highway 11 and military history. He said other area streets would be a better fit for the name, including one that passes by a veterans memorial park.


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