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Anticipating Performance Art in Siouxland, Sioux City Railroad Museum, Sioux City

6 May
A new stage area has been constructed at the Sioux City Railroad Museum Saturday, April 16, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A new stage area has been constructed at the Sioux City Railroad Museum Saturday, April 16, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While recently visiting the Sioux City Railroad Museum in Siouxland I noticed a number of changes that included outdoor performance spaces. The Railroad Museum has begun shifting its focus the last few years to sharing history about the former railroad repair facility as it continues to excavate and learn more about this important juncture and service provided to the rail industry.

A outdoor seating area at the Sioux City Railroad Museum Saturday, April 16, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

What appears to be a refreshment stand is set up at a location at the Sioux City Railroad Museum Saturday, April 16, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

According to a statement on the museum’s website: “The 31.61-acre Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District encompasses the former Sioux City Engine Terminal and Car Repair Shops of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railway.

The complex was constructed between 1916 – 1918, opened 1918 by the railroad’s motive power and engineering departments. The facility served as a “divisional” terminal for servicing steam and diesel locomotives and repairing rail cars for 65 years until its closure and abandonment in 1981, when the railroad was insolvent and in receivership.”

Within the last year local actors have been portraying actual characters and people who formerly worked at the facility. The actors perform short monologues which reference their particular job and connection to the service facility or the railroad industry. Although, as it occurred during the Great Depression of the 1930’s, an occasional hobo shows up and talks about “riding the rails” during that time period while looking for work and basic survival. Life on the road isn’t always an influencer’s dream as the depression era affected hundreds of thousands if not more people.

So it will be interesting and fun to to see the new performance spaces function as well as some “new attractions” mimicking aspects of a railroad depot stop anywhere U.S.A.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A new boarding station for the miniature rail line at the Sioux City Railroad Museum Saturday, April 16, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A new passenger boarding station for the miniature rail line at the Sioux City Railroad Museum Saturday, April 16, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A new stage area has been constructed at the Sioux City Railroad Museum Saturday, April 16, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Getting a View in Siouxland, Brown’s Lake at Bigelow Park, rural Woodbury County

4 May
An adult bald eagle watches waterfowl below at Brown’s Lake in rural Woodbury County Friday, March 11, 2022 near Salix, Iowa (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While many folk have access and the ability to visit a number county and regional parks in Siouxland, I for one feel lucky that I can enjoy the various trails and sights and scenes I come across. But that might not be true of all residents. When I visited Brown’s Lake earlier this year I noticed that the Woodbury County Conservation group installed a small deck that is “handicapped” accessible, now making it easier for some people to stand or sit over the water. To watch the waterfowl, maybe fish, or later, enjoy a summer’s evening, notwithstanding the mosquitoes who might also be visiting.

A newly built handicapped accessible deck is seen at Brown’s Lake in rural Woodbury County Friday, March 11, 2022 near Salix, Iowa (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A newly built handicapped accessible deck is seen at Brown’s Lake in rural Woodbury County Friday, March 11, 2022 near Salix, Iowa (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have enjoyed a few outings to the lake and the chance to see various migrating waterfowl passing through the area. Although I braved the colder temps and winds gust of 30mph and higher in doing so. Call me crazy, but it was still worth it to watch nature and enjoy the show at hand.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A number of Canada and greater white-fronted geese lift off after being spooked at Brown’s Lake in rural Woodbury County Friday, March 11, 2022 near Salix, Iowa (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A newly built handicapped accessible deck is seen at Brown’s Lake in rural Woodbury County Friday, March 11, 2022 near Salix, Iowa (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Canada geese take off from Brown’s Lake in rural Woodbury County Friday, March 11, 2022 near Salix, Iowa (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Greater white-fronted geese lift off at Brown’s Lake in rural Woodbury County Friday, March 11, 2022 near Salix, Iowa (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking a Walk in Siouxland, Downtown Sioux Falls, SD

21 Mar
Sculpted art work in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Even in winter it’s nice sometimes to get out of town and take a walk in a nearby community, like Sioux Falls, SD. The downtown landscape around it and Falls Park will be changing in the years to come with some major construction underway along the Big Sioux River that runs through the community.

A walk from Falls Park into downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A walk along the Big Sioux River in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It had been a little while and there seemed to be new artwork in the downtown area, although it could be just new artwork to me since I have not been there for a few months. And as the weather cooperated and warmed up the day, it was nice to saunter about without an agenda to see what might photographically be appealing.

Dated billboard in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sculpted art work in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sculpted art work in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are numerous times when walking around a community it’s easy to become enthralled with architectural offerings as buildings’ angles and lines will draw one’s attention. And it’s easy to walk past street artwork as it’s just there, in harsh light and somewhat challenging to photograph.

But therein lies the challenge and a chance to savor these pieces of art for their own sake, which may look different on a summer’s day with trees leafed out and shade and a chance to saunter without a chill, that happens even happens on “warm” winter days.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sculpted art work in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A statue of Richard Franklin Pettigrew stands near Falls Park in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Pettigrew was a founding father of Sioux Falls and his early years was a surveryor and later land developer. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Story Continues in Siouxland, Heritage Village, Sioux Center

17 Mar
Larry TeGrotenhuis looks over contents of the Roelof’s Store at the new location of the Heritage Village now located at the Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As time continues to “march forward” changes sometimes take place and people and places adjust to those changes. In Siouxland, the Heritage Village in Sioux Center is undergoing such a change. The history infused village is a special place where people could come to learn about early life during settler days and other times. But expansion at a local university and the need for for an athletic sponsored facility necessitated that the village make way for progress. As has been documented numerous time throughout history, progress moves forward and at times history is just that, history.

Buildings of the Heritage Village are now located at the Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A spot for a barn of the Heritage Village still to be relocated to the new location of Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Heritage Village supporters Linda Prins, Erma TeGrotenhuis, Larry TeGrotenhuis and Stan Prins talk about the next steps in preparing the Heritage Village now located at the Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In early reported discussions available via media in became clear the village garners a lot of support and so a new place was found and costs covered to move the existing history place across town where the new home looks to provide more space and play a continued part in educating youngsters and other interested parties about the history of the prairie and early life there. Every fall a festival takes place where busloads of school children arrive and get some hands on history lessons as well seeing and hearing about life one to two centuries before they were even born. A long, long time ago, although still in this galaxy.

The Heritage Village is now located at the Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Heritage Village supporters Stand Prins, right, and Larry TeGrotenhuis go into the Roelof’s Store to talk about the next steps in getting work completed in the next few months at new location of the Heritage Village now located at the Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A number of trees from the previous location have been moved along with buildings and contents of the Heritage Village now located at the Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Members of the Heritage Village board state they plan on having a fall festival with plans to move forward with getting the grounds completed and buildings secured on the new site. Not a quick or easy task. But the group is dedicated in seeing that with progress, history is not left behind in a forgotten memory or dusty pages of a book on a shelf.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

With some buildings already removed just remnants of the Heritage Village remain still to be moved at the former site. Heritage Village will be located to Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The sod pioneer house at the former Heritage Village is one of the few remaining buildings to relocate to Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With some buildings already removed just remnants of the Heritage Village remain still to be moved at the former site. Heritage Village will be located to Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The old jail cell awaits a spot at the new location of the Heritage Village now located at the Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With some buildings already removed just remnants of the Heritage Village remain still to be moved at the former site. Heritage Village will be located to Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A desolate site with some buildings already removed and just remnants of the Heritage Village remain for moving at the former site. Heritage Village will be located to Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Praying for Hope and Peace in Siouxland, Sioux City

13 Mar
An organizer talks with local media during a candle light vigil for victims of the Ukraine Crisis at the Federal Building in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, March 2, 2022. The event is being held in conjunction with other communities across the country as a gesture of solidarity for victims of the unprovoked invasion that occurred in Ukraine with the local community coming together so that they will not forget the people whose lives are taken by violence. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes there are no words, even in Siouxland, to express feelings about events and current events. And one only hopes that prayers will give comfort and wishes to those who survive something terrible not of their own making.

Recently a few people gathered in downtown Sioux City to pray for the people of Ukraine who are being brutally attacked by an aggressive and brutal dictator/fascist who has no respect for human life and apparently only revels in his own use of power and might.

People assemble and attend a candle light vigil for victims of the Ukraine Crisis at the Federal Building in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, March 2, 2022. The event is being held in conjunction with other communities across the country as a gesture of solidarity for victims of the unprovoked invasion that occurred in Ukraine with the local community coming together so that they will not forget the people whose lives are taken by violence. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An organizer talks with local media during a candle light vigil for victims of the Ukraine Crisis at the Federal Building in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, March 2, 2022. The event is being held in conjunction with other communities across the country as a gesture of solidarity for victims of the unprovoked invasion that occurred in Ukraine with the local community coming together so that they will not forget the people whose lives are taken by violence. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The attack onto the smaller nation by Russia’s de facto leader seems beyond the pale, with recent revelations that during supposed cease fire agreements Russian troops began shelling and bombarding civilians that were supposed to be able to leave the under during the cease fire. But it should be no surprise that the leader of Russia, an ex KGB officials lies for a living. One can only hope that in the end people do survive and this cruel man meets a fate that will exact whatever kind of punishment he is entitled too. One might hope it might be extreme and cruelly appropriate.

Prayer can not save lives or restore what is destroyed, but to give some sort of solace and comfort to those having to endure.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

People assemble and attend a candle light vigil for victims of the Ukraine Crisis at the Federal Building in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, March 2, 2022. The event is being held in conjunction with other communities across the country as a gesture of solidarity for victims of the unprovoked invasion that occurred in Ukraine with the local community coming together so that they will not forget the people whose lives are taken by violence. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People assemble and attend a candle light vigil for victims of the Ukraine Crisis at the Federal Building in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, March 2, 2022. The event is being held in conjunction with other communities across the country as a gesture of solidarity for victims of the unprovoked invasion that occurred in Ukraine with the local community coming together so that they will not forget the people whose lives are taken by violence. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Walking Through History, Oto Cemetery, Oto

11 Mar
An older grave marker at the Oto Cemetery in rural Woodbury County Tuesday , January 18, 2022 near Oto, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have walked about a number of rural cemeteries I have come across in Siouxland. Reminders of those early settlers and pioneers who came to Iowa couple centuries ago looking for a better life than the one left behind. Walking through the various cemeteries one can never really know why folk left and traveled to an unknown area, then, far away and probably weeks or months in the making of the journey, considering it was done by wagon train.

Oto Cemetery overlooks the small community in rural Woodbury County Tuesday , January 18, 2022 near Oto, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Older grave markers have dates around the mid 1850’s at the Oto Cemetery in rural Woodbury County Tuesday , January 18, 2022 near Oto, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But the folk were remembered, and most are laid to rest on a hillside, overlooking an area they settled to begin a new life. In a place still cared for, and with the occasional new occupant that comes to join those before them, laid to rest, for an eternal slumber, until the final calling they all most certainly believed in.

A peaceful resting place to await their next journey.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Older graves markers sit atop a hill at the Oto Cemetery in rural Woodbury County Tuesday , January 18, 2022 near Oto, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A detail image of an older grave marker at the Oto Cemetery in rural Woodbury County Tuesday , January 18, 2022 near Oto, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looking Forward to Visiting new Places in Siouxland, Memorial Park, Omaha, NE

17 Feb
A statue dedicated to those who served in the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts seen at Memorial Park in Omaha, NE Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As the weather trends, hopefully, toward spring and the coming warmer months I once again begin thinking about places I want to visit or revisit in Siouxland that I might have seen briefly but would like to spend more time looking about. I always find it’s never too early to plan, well most times.

There are places I have driven past on my way to somewhere, else, and always tell myself that I need to stop and explore. The coming months I will begin thinking about some of those places and plan to take the time to visit them, explore and try not to be too destination oriented. Get there, get home. But take the time to walk about and explore and see what I have been missing. Some of these include small towns I have driven through or passed that might be a mile of two off the main road.

Faded fall colors on the grounds of the Memorial Park in Omaha, NE Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A memorial to those who have served the United States during war and other conflicts see at Memorial Park in Omaha, NE Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And I keep learning that it never pays to be in a hurry, but to slow down, look, listen and enjoy. When I worked for various newspapers I rushed about a lot, getting to assignments then back to the office to get the photographs turned around for the next day’s publication. But now, I don’t have an editor asking me to be in two places at once or to work faster. Time is a curse and a blessing, depending on how one looks at it. But I’m still photographing and still enjoying it and hope to find more places as time permits.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The grounds of the Memorial Park in Omaha, NE Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, and buildings seen in the distance of a private school located next door. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

History on Hallowed Ground in Siouxland, Fairview Cemetery, Albaton

28 Jan
Resting sites of early residents who may have settled the area seen at the Fairview Cemetery near the early settlement of Albaton, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So many small communities in Iowa, present and past, maintain cemeteries that collectively hold a lot of history of Iowa in Siouxland and elsewhere. But many times those histories of former residents or pioneers are not accessible to more than the few remaining residents or folk who live in the immediate area.

The site of the former Albaton Wesleyan Church, 1886-2005 at the Fairview Cemetery, near the early settlement of Abaton, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Fairview Cemetery is the final resting place of many early residents who may have settled the area two centuries previous near the early settlement of Albaton, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Resting sites of early residents who may have settled the area seen at the Fairview Cemetery near the early settlement of Albaton, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

At most sometimes one can find a listing of those buried within these various resting places like Fairview Cemetery in Albaton, but beyond that or knowing descendants or local residents, not much else can be discerned about the history of the place or its former residents.

Judging by the dates some of these folk buried here as elsewhere were pioneers to the area. Traveling by wagon train or walking to find a new life west of the Mississippi at the time. A reference to the former community I found online also showed photographs but nothing definitive about the place itself.

So a cursory understanding who settled into the area, and if they prospered will never be known outside of descendants if any exist. History is a continuum of life, but sometimes that life and history can be very fleeting on that long road.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Resting sites of early residents who may have settled the area seen at the Fairview Cemetery near the early settlement of Albaton, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Resting sites of early residents who may have settled the area seen at the Fairview Cemetery near the early settlement of Albaton, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The site of the former Albaton Wesleyan Church, 1886-2005 at the Fairview Cemetery, near the early settlement of Abaton, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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