During the 1880s, the quarrying of a distinctive pink stone known as jasper or quartzite had developed into a successful business in Sioux Falls. In 1887, the Sioux Falls Granite Company opened four quarries six miles due east of downtown Sioux Falls in Split Rock Township.
This area had an abundance of quartzite along the bluffs overlooking the Big Sioux River and exposure to the earth's surface ensured that the stone could be easily mined. Hundreds of workers and their families settled in a nearby community known at the time as Ives.
In 1888, Sioux Falls officials convinced the Illinois Central Railroad to extend the tracks west from Iowa and through the city.
Influenced by the mining, the rail line was routed past the Split Rock quarries, opening markets for the stone in metropolitan cities such as Chicago.
Railroad officials named the depot East Sioux Falls, replacing Ives in the historical records. By 1890, the community had grown to over 600 residents which led to the incorporation of East Sioux Falls as a municipality.
Numerous structures were built in East Sioux Falls including worker's cottages, post office, town hall, depot, school house, general store, hotel, grain elevator, stable, saloons and jail. The remains of several buildings are still visible within the nature area.