Iowa April 04, 2019
There’s No Other Historical Landmark In Iowa Quite Like This 215-Year-Old Grave
There’s so much to discover in Iowa that it’s nearly impossible to see it all. However, one small historic landmark should be on your Iowa bucket list — the Sergeant Floyd Monument. It’s so important that it was the very first National Historic Landmark! Take a look at the story of Sergeant Floyd and his lasting impact below.
Charles Floyd was an explorer who was one of the first to join the famed Lewis and Clark mission to chart the West.
The expedition left from Pittsburgh, and by the time the crew crossed the mighty Mississippi River, Sergeant Floyd was in trouble. He had been experiencing bad stomach pains, and without access to medical facilities, the expedition had no choice but to treat him and continue on. As the gang crossed through Iowa, Floyd fell sicker and passed away due to what was later found to be a burst appendix.
Floyd was buried on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River, and a small service was held. He was the first, and somehow the only, member of the crew to die along the way.
From 1804 onward, the site of Floyd's grave has been a landmark. In 1857, Iowans moved the grave to save it from erosion, and in 1895, he was interred again and a monument was laid out.
The publication of Floyd's journals in 1894 had made his plight, and his final resting spot, famous. By 1901, a large white obelisk was constructed to honor the fallen Sergeant, and the Floyd's Bluff became even more popular. To dissuade gravediggers, he was moved one final time and now rests forever along old U.S. Highway 75, in Sioux City, Iowa.
In 1960, Floyd's Monument was named the very first National Historic Landmark! Today, there are more than 2,500 places on the list.
You can visit Sergeant Floyd's Monument and enjoy what was likely his final view - that of the stunning Missouri Valley. Can you imagine living your life not knowing what's on the other side of the wild water? The 100-foot tall obelisk is the centerpiece of a 23-acre park.
You can find out more about Sergeant Floyd on the towboat named in his honor, too.
The ship is docked in Sioux City and serves as the Sergeant Floyd River Museum and Welcome Center.
You can find the Sergeant Floyd Monument at 2601 S Lewis Blvd., Sioux City, IA 51103. The River Museum and Welcome Center is docked at 1000 Larsen Park Rd., Sioux City, IA 51103.
For more fascinating landmarks and monuments in Iowa, read
15 Historical Landmarks You Absolutely Must Visit In Iowa