Enjoying a Day in Siouxland, Stone State Park, Sioux City

24 Sep

Some days are just to be enjoyed. A walk in a local state park, taking in the sights and natural sounds, and just enjoying the moments of solitude, beauty and contemplation.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

National Old Time Music Festival in Siouxland, Le Mars, Part 3

22 Sep

Within a seven day span there is a lot of music happening at the National Old Time Music Festival in Siouxland in Le Mars and which this and other posts can barely do justice. But it’s a nice event, geared for families and people who want to relax and hear some old timey music in an outdoor setting, weather permitting.

Visitors listen to some gospel singing during the 43rd annual National Old Time Music Festival at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Musicians coordinate with one another to play back up for each other during the 43rd annual National Old Time Music Festival at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A number of performing coming from around the U.S. and other countries as well, to share their talent and play with others as each does his or her job in keeping alive music of another generation and era.

David Green, Avoca, second from right, sings and is accompanied by Terri Avery, Rowan, far left, Ed Tryon, Sioux City, second from left, and Fred Larson, South Omaha, NE, right, at the 43rd annual National Old Time Music Festival at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors listen to David Green, Avoca, second from right, sing and accompanied by Terri Avery, Rowan, far left, Ed Tryon, Sioux City, second from left, and Fred Larson, South Omaha, NE, right at the 43rd annual National Old Time Music Festival at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And with the talent that attends the festival the music has a good chance of remaining important and relevant in many people’s lives for years to come.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Finding a Trail out of Siouxland, Western Historic Trails Center, Council Bluffs

20 Sep

Iowa and the Siouxland area was a jumping off point at one time for people two centuries ago traveling west.  A hidden little gem in Council Bluffs, the Western Historic Trails Center covers a variety of the trails moving out of the Siouxland area for people looking for a fresh start.

The Western Historic Trails Center tells the story about various trails leading west as America was settled and is located in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The center is situated in the southern portion of the city and is connected to other parks and places by paved trails, good both for walking and bike riding.

A sign delineates the distance for destinations along the trail that runs through and along the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Trails lead away from and to the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa seen Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. One particular 3-mile trail leads to the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge that crosses the Missouri River and takes the walker or biker into Omaha, NE, along the community’s waterfront. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One trail even connects to the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge that crosses the Missouri River and drops you into Omaha, NE along the river front. But inside the trails center is the story of people moving west. Small individual metal dioramas tell the story, as does early American postcards along a back wall depicting scenes from the possibly 19th and 20 centuries.

Quite an expansive area is set up to help explain the movement west by settlers as America expanded its boundaries at the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Various metal dioramas tell the story of the settlers’ movement west at the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The center has nice grounds where people can picnic or take a rest if using the trails, as well as a sculpted piece telling the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition. And it’s these stories in places like the Trails Center about the history of people striving for a better life that helps paint the picture of America and its becoming a nation. A melting pot of diversity and cultures blending together to live a better life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A sculpted piece by artist Nan Wilson showing the Lewis and Clark trip up along the Missouri River during their exploration for President Thomas Jefferson seen at the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A nicely shaded picnic area graces the grounds of the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Various metal dioramas tell the story of the settlers’ movement west at the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing Details in Siouxland, Linn Grove

18 Sep

Driving about in Siouxland there are so many places to visit and revisit that sometimes I wonder what I might find this time after choosing one. These places are not the WOW of New York City or AWE of say LA, but quiet scenes in small towns that are but a spec in the scheme of things. The flash of an eye as one sails through. And sometimes it is the details of a place that I enjoy most, although somewhat out of context when seen by itself.

Downtown Linn Grove, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Linn Grove has a little over 150 people living in it. A couple store fronts and mostly residents off the beaten track. In the fall with its curving road running through its downtown and out into the rolling hills it gets an almost New England kind of feel to it. And so for me in small places like this I like small details, present but not overtly so.

Lichen growing on an abandoned railroad crossing bridge over a creek near Linn Grove, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A small look of a much larger scene.

 

Shapes and designs in Linn Grove, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

All places have there charm, and blemishes. Bigger cities blemishes show more because there seems to be more of them. And they are bigger. Small communities have them too, but all are pretty in their own way. Even if viewed at a particular angle while screening out the surrounding sights, for that moment it’s just a lovely sight.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A flower following the sun in Linn Grove, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A blue door in Linn Grove, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Driving through Nature in Siouxland, Rural Cherokee County

16 Sep

Some days driving about Siouxland I just enjoy the look of nature, even if it incorporates a bit of agriculture. It’s still bucolic and relaxing and away from any glitz and hubbub of life in any fast lane. Cows are only interested if you brought any feed with you as long as you are stopping by. They gaze, then go about grazing again, just enjoying the day and the quiet of the countryside.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A bucolic scene in rural Cherokee County, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A bucolic scene in rural Cherokee County, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

National Old Time Music Festival in Siouxland, Le Mars, Part 2

14 Sep

 

The National Old Time Music Festival is an interesting find in Siouxland in that so many people make their way to a small community like Le Mars to attend. One such couple came from the Queensland area of Australia, Lloyd and Sue Back. He does folksy story telling through his songs and has produced a few albums and was receiving recognition at the festival and so they decided to attend. They said they were a little taken aback after their finally arrived in Le Mars because there was no taxi service and it took a little doing to get from their motel to the fairgrounds where the festival takes place. But being a small town, they found someone willing to drop them off as it was on their way to their own destination.

Lloyd Back, of Queensland, Austrailia performs at the 43rd annual National Old Time Music Festival at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Another gentleman who travels and performs but calls Austin, TX, home was relaxing before playing again. Barry Schmick talked about his love of his harmonicas and did a short demonstration as explained how each has its own particular niche. And one could tell he loves to play and hang with like-minded people as he could find at the festival.

Barry Schmick, Austin, TX, demonstrates some of his harmonicas at the 43rd annual National Old Time Music Festival at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Barry Schmick, Austin, TX, demonstrates some of his harmonicas at the 43rd annual National Old Time Music Festival at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Barry Schmick, Austin, TX, demonstrates some of his harmonicas at the 43rd annual National Old Time Music Festival at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Then it’s always a treat to see “local” people perform such as Elaine Peacock of Elk Point, SD, that is in Siouxland proper. Elaine quit her “real” job a few years ago to pursue full time her lover of music and has not looked back. You will see her performing around the area as well as donating her talent to fundraisers to help her local community. And she is always making new friends as people volunteer to play while she sings.

Elaine Peacock, Elk Point, SD, center, sings and is accompanied by other musicians during the 43rd annual National Old Time Music Festival at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Elaine Peacock, Elk Point, SD, center, sings and is accompanied by other musicians during the 43rd annual National Old Time Music Festival at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

There is such a feeling of family at the festival as people renew their acquaintances from previous years and make new friends. And probably make plans to see one another again at the next year’s get together.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Musicians and visitors alike renew old friendships at the 43rd annual National Old Time Music Festival at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Vern Billingsley, Wyoming, center right on fiddle, performs with some friends at the 43rd annual National Old Time Music Festival at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors two-step to the music during a session at the 43rd annual National Old Time Music Festival at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Revisiting the General Dodge House near Siouxland, Council Bluffs

12 Sep

I have been visiting Council Bluffs which is south of Siouxland a few times in the last couple of years. Recently I spent some time showing a fellow photo enthusiast a few spots in the area and one I like to visit is the Dodge House, former residence of one General Grenville Mellen Dodge who made his fortune by the age of 40, resided in Council Bluffs after serving the North during the Civil War, helped build and push the expansion of the railroad system west, served in Congress representing western Iowa, became a banker and a financier.

General Grenville Mellen Dodge House museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A portrait of General Grenville Mellen Dodge as an older man hangs in the museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A portrait of General Grenville Mellen Dodge sits on a mantel in museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dodge was an engineer by trade and had gone west, to Illinois, to pursue his craft and at the time worked for the Illinois Central Railroad. Dodge scouted and surveyed land for a possible rail route from Illinois to western Iowa, at the edge of what is now Council Bluffs. The home he built for himself and his family after serving during the war and as he entered political life and then worked again on behalf of the railroad was grandiose for its time.

A formal dining room where General Grenville Mellen Dodge and his wife, Annie, entertained guests, now a museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A sitting room/parlour in the General Grenville Mellen Dodge House museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Vivistors are given a tour by docents with plenty of information at their fingertips to help put into perspective the life this man led and the accomplishments he achieved.

Visitors stop to take a photograph before entering the General Grenville Mellen Dodge House museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors get an introduction in the hall entryway to the General Grenville Mellen Dodge House museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Next door to the Dodge House Museum is the Beresheim residence, which was owned by a partner in the bank of which dodge was affiliated. A docent remarked that one of the owners did not like having to back his car out of his garage so he simply installed a round table, much like a record turntable, and would pull in, then step out and give it a twirl to turn the car and point it towards the door.

A peek inside a garage with a vehicle turntable near the General Grenville Mellen Dodge House museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A docent, right, explains the use of a vehicle turntable to visitors in a garage located near General Grenville Mellen Dodge House museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The home and its furnishings which are period and not necessarily any of the family’s items is located in a historic district of town which still retains it brick streets and only 2-3 blocks from the downtown area, an easy jaunt for Dodge to attend to his businesses downtown. It’s also a nice way to spend part of a day, revisiting history and retracing steps that people of another century have walked and participated in life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Located in a historic neighborhood with brick streets, the General Grenville Mellen Dodge House museum is located in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An original piece to the home of General Grenville Mellen Dodge, the clock was purchased from a well known maker in the East, Simon Willard, and now is on display in the museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A work study used by General Grenville Mellen Dodge when he lived in his home, now a museum, in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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