In 1912, the Sioux City Journal organized some of its newspaper carriers into a little band. After some instruction in music and marching under director Lee Maynard, the Journal’s Newsboy Band made its debut concert at Crystal Lake. The Journal bought uniforms for the boys and promoted them in the region. They played concerts around town and were remembered for the Christmas Carols they played on the lawn of the old Court House at Sixth and Pierce.
The Sioux City Ghosts were an all-black fast-pitch softball team. They started in Sioux City and began touring the United States, Canada, and Mexico during the 1930s, and played until 1956. Because of their pranks on the softball field, they were often compared to the famous Harlem Globetrotters. They were an important part of African-American society in Sioux City during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
In the fall of 1920, a group of Sioux City war veterans met to form a band. The eight musicians were all members of the newly organized Monahan Post of the American Legion in Sioux City and many had just returned from the battlefields of World War I. Herman Koch, Commander of the Monahan Post, believed a band would strengthen the post and he put out a call for musicians. They began to practice under the baton of director Barney Flanagan, a barber who had been a bandmaster in the Army.
Sports and competition have been an important part of Sioux City’s history since the nineteenth century. Certainly, one of the most popular forms of entertainment just after the turn of the century was automobile racing. It became a famous pastime across the United States, but especially in Sioux City. Racetracks for both horses and cars were scattered across the city. Sioux City’s most famous racing event, however, was the Mini Indy. It was the highlight of auto racing in Sioux City and Iowa.
In the early days of Sioux City, entertainment consisted of social gatherings with friends such as dances and picnics. In 1870 the Academy of Music was constructed and opportunities began to improve. The four-story building housed the post office and other government and commercial offices on the first floor with the Academy Performing Hall located on the second and third floors.
Located on the south side of Fourth Street between Douglas and Pierce streets, the building was ninety feet wide and one hundred feet deep. The stage was twenty-two feet by fifty feet, with a twenty-six foot arched opening. The stage had two trap doors for special effects and gas foot lights which could be adjusted. Eight hundred people could watch shows performed by traveling companies. It was also used for high school graduations, political speeches, and concerts. Susan B. Anthony spoke on womens' suffrage twice during the 1870s.