Arthur Garretson was a Sioux City banker, businessman and promoter. Born in Ohio on November 7, 1851, he arrived in Sioux City in 1874 at the age of 23. In 1876, he accepted a position as teller at First National Bank. He stayed there until 1880, when he organized the Sioux National Bank and become its cashier.
Garretson was known for recognizing opportunities. He had a reputation for tireless energy, honesty and business genius. He had a keen understanding of business conditions and possibilities, and soon he became involved in many business ventures. He was one of the five men who built the Sioux City and Northern Railway. He was associated with five others who established the Union Stock Yards in 1887. He was also one of the organizers of the Boston Investment Company, which invested over two million dollars in Sioux City. He had a hand in most large ventures in the city, including the Corn Palaces, Peavey Grand Opera House and elevated railway.
Garretson assisted in the construction of the Garretson Hotel (which stood at the northeast corner of Fifth and Pierce streets). He was also a promoter of Morningside College and the City Library Building. In 1870, Garretson married Belle Smith, daughter of O.A. Smith. Together, they had eight children.
The Garretsons built a mansion near Peters' Park in Morningside. They lived in the home until 1906, when it was purchased by Morningside College. The Sioux City Public Library bought the home in 1931, remodeled it and turned it into the Morningside Branch Library. In a storm of controversy, the Library Board voted to tear down the old mansion in 1967 and build a new branch library on the site.