Terrace Park And Japanese Gardens Now Listed On The National Register Of Historic Places

The National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior, recently has listed Sioux Falls’ Terrace Park and Japanese Gardens on the National Register of Historic Places.

The National Register of Historic Places was created by the federal government to recognize properties that contribute to the prehistoric and historic development of our cities, states, and nation. Through the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, each state participates in the identification and recognition of these important sites.

Terrace Park has a long history. The City purchased 52 acres of land, including the Phillips Mansion, for the park in 1916 for $15,000. At that time, the park included flower gardens, clay tennis courts, a warming house, a small zoo, and baseball fields. Beginning in 1922, a natural outdoor amphitheater, a series of terraces, stone walkways, and steps were created. This resulted in the park being named Terrace Park in 1924.

During the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Japanese Gardens along the east shore of Covell Lake were constructed. During World War II, its name was changed to the Chinese Gardens and the area was vandalized. The gardens fell into disrepair until 1988 when the City began to restore them. At that time, stone lanterns were built, a new waterfall and pond were created, more trees and perennials were planted, and a new gazebo was built. Today, exotic flowers, arbors, pagodas, and more make up the unique Japanese Gardens.

A new $2.5 million family aquatic center was built at Terrace Park in 1994.

In 2014, Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation collaborated with the Terrace Park Neighborhood Association and the Japanese Gardens Society on a master planning process to guide future development of the upper portion of Terrace Park. The goal of this project was to identify existing issues as well as potential opportunities within the park. Over a six-month process involving multiple public input sessions, a master plan was developed and will serve as a road map for future construction of the park.

The Upper Terrace Park Master Plan has been approved by the Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Board. Construction of the master plan improvements will be completed in multiple phases. The first phase will begin in 2016 and will construct a centennial marker recognizing the 100-year history of this park. Future phases of the master plan improvements are in the five-year capital plan.