The Peirce Mansion was built by John Peirce as a family home in 1890 for $80,000. The Pierce family lived in the house from 1891 to 1893 when John Peirce lost his fortune in the national depression.
1908 Thomas S. Martin, founder of the T.S. Martin Department Store, bought the mansion. The family lived there until 1920.
1921-22 The house was occupied by C.A. Eshcher, a stock dealer.
1924 The house was occupied by C.E. Hutton, who was sales manager for the Thompson and DeJarnette Dodge dealership.
1928-46 The mansion was again occupied by members of the Martin family. J. Earle Martin, son of T.S. Martin, moved into the house after an extensive remodeling project. While members of the Martin family lived in the mansion, it was the scene of many large social events. The Martins hosted many a dance or gathering in the third floor ballroom.
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 mansion served as a residence for Lutheran Hospital student nurses.
1961 The Junior League of Sioux City purchased the home 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 in the National Register of Historic Places.