Learn the story behind this nationally registered historic home.
George H. Perry, was a prominent Sioux Falls businessman in the early 1900s. Perry had wide business interests including the vice-presidency of Minnehaha National Bank, and ownership of quarries, a lumberyard and grain elevators in the towns of Rowena and East Sioux Falls.
He married Marguerite Irving on September 29, 1906.
George Perry died in 1917. Marguerite carried on his businesses.
Construction on the mansion began in 1911. The design was derived from modified plans of the home of infamous US naval officers, Commodores Oliver and Matthew Perry. The foundation is quartzite from the East Side Sioux Falls Quarries.
By November of 1911, the mansion was enclosed, but it was announced that work had been delayed due to the slow arrival of millwork for the interior. Ultimately the Perrys were in by early 1912.
The home was originally built with three family bedrooms, and separate living quarters for live-in staff. The first floor boasts ornate woodwork throughout, which was hand-crafted over many months.
The fireplace was originally constructed with glazed brick and tile. The ornamental lions holding the pens were designed by Perry to illustrate his favorite saying "The pen is mightier than the sword.”
George enjoyed spending time with his friend Henry C. Sessions, married to Margaret M Sessions. In 1912, the Guest House was built by Perry so Henry would live close by and easily come over. George would open up the window from the Study and yell to Henry to come over and play games.
Marguerite didn’t love this idea.
A Dutch Colonial home is generally very “stately,” and gives the impression of a “temple-like” dwelling. Some features of the Dutch Colonial Revival in this house include: a gambrel roof that looks similar to a barn’s roof, along with gambrel dormer windows, flared eaves and some columns along the front doorway with a gambrel portico.
Notice also the fanlight above the door, and the multi-pane, double-hung windows and shutters, very common in Colonial Revival homes. Dutch Colonial houses were popular in the 18th and early 19th century America.
In 1887, the Sioux Falls Granite Company opened four quarries six miles due east of downtown Sioux Falls in Split Rock Township. The tough economic times of the 1890s pushed the Sioux Falls Granite Company into bankruptcy and the property was acquired by George H. Perry who operated it as the East Sioux Falls Quarry Company for a time.
The G.H. Perry family owned the East Sioux Falls town site for over one hundred years. In 1999, the family donated a majority of the original town site to the county. The property has been developed as Perry Nature Area, a public recreation facility that preserves the site's historic and natural features.
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