old stairs

1891 Real estate developer, Northside promoter, and city booster John Peirce began construction of this home. The architect was Charles P. Brown, who also designed the 1890 Corn Palace, Augustana Lutheran Church and several other prominent Sioux City buildings. The exterior walls of the 21-room house are South Dakota quartzite.

1900    Peirce staged a national raffle of his home, selling approximately 40,000 tickets at one dollar per chance. The confusing (and, as discovered later, fraudulent) lottery ended with millionaire New York threadmaker William Barbour securing title to the residence.

1902    Barbour sold the home to Stella and William Gordon in exchange for bonds issued by the company which was operating the Combination Bridge. The Gordons, in turn, sold the mansion to Dr. J. N. Warren.

1908    Prominent businessman Thomas S. Martin purchased the mansion. He had founded the Martin Department Store in Sioux City in 1889, which had grown to become one of the largest and best-known in the region. The Martins lived here until 1920. (T .S. Martin died on August 9, 1915).

1921-22    The house was occupied by C. A. Escher, a stock dealer.

1922    Vacant.

1924    The residence was occupied by C. E. Hutton, who was sales manager for the Thompson and DeJarnette Dodge dealership.

1925-28    Vacant.

1928    J. Earle Martin, the son of T. S. Martin and the president of the T. S. Martin Department Store, moved into the house after a major renovation project. The family lived there until 1946.

1946-50    The home was owned and occupied by Martha Zanfes. The house was then known as “the house of lights,” for Mrs. Zanfes, an antique collector, placed lamps in all windows and around the street edge of the porch.

1951-57    The building served as a residence for Lutheran Hospital student nurses.

1958    The Junior League of Sioux City purchased the house for $10,000. It was donated in 1959 to the City of Sioux City for use as a cultural building.

1961    The Sioux City Public Museum, formerly located in the library building, opened to the public in its new quarters.

1978    The John Peirce House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

2011    The Sioux City Public Museum was relocated to downtown Sioux City and restoration work began on the Victorian-era mansion.

Peirce Mansion


(712) 279-6174 for rental information


2901 Jackson Street

Sioux City, IA 51104