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February 8th, 1892 – Another of the famous Divorce Cases that came to the early Sioux Falls “Divorce Colony” starts on this day. Margaret De Stuers was an heiress of the Astor Family – the Niece of John Jacob Astor. Incidentally it was her uncle who directed her this way, after his wife had given generously to All Saints School, and he had financed the construction of Calvary Episcopal Cathedral after his wife’s passing.

Margaret had married a Dutch diplomat, Alphonse Lambert Eugene Ridder de Stuers, if that isn’t a mouthful(!!), and shortly after her wedding was whisked off to Europe, splitting time between London, Paris, and other major cities.

Maggie quickly became disillusioned with this lifestyle and also claimed that her husband was absent and extremely cruel when not around company. On the advice of her uncle, she moved to Sioux Falls, where state law only required a person to have residence in the state for 6 months before being eligible to file for a divorce, a much shorter time that most places in the nation!

Margaret and an unknown traveling companion took up residents at the grand Cataract Hotel on Phillips Ave. She had her suite (actually 4 hotel rooms) entirely remodeled and refurnished to her tastes, including the additions of a large bathtub and grand piano! She also reserved private parlors in the hotel lobby and dining room, and an additional two rooms for her travel companion.

After 8 months of living ni Sioux Falls the case opened up. Her husband’s lawyers argued valiantly, but in the end the judge granted the divorce!

But wait there is more! Reports differ but either within just a few hours or days after being granted her legal divorce Maggie introduced her mysterious travel companion as her fiance, William Elliot Zborowski, also a wealthy New Yorker and Famous Automobile Racer! They were married right here in Sioux Falls in one of Maggie’s private parlors at the Cataract Hotel!

Before any judgement is passed on Maggie, let it be known that she remained with William until his death in 1903 in a car accident. They had one son, Louis who would also become a famous race car driver and die in a crash in 1924. Margaret Zbrowski passed away at the age of 58 in 1911.

A remarkable day in Sioux Falls History to say the least!