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Taking a Peek Inside Siouxland, Danforth Chapel USD Vermillion, SD

19 Apr

Working with B&W on a grey day on the campus of the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD Tuesday, Oct. 2 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Light and shad on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD, Tuesday, August 16, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have visited the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion a few times, sometimes for events and other times to just enjoy the ambiance. I have walked by the Danforth Chapel numerous times and enjoy the small church. And then recently found that one could actually take a peek inside. A student of a Photo Safari class of mine said a sister was married inside the chapel and it seemed smaller that what she remembered as a young girl.

Light and shade on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But it was amazing walking into the chapel because of the stained glass windows and with bright spring sunshine the inside became alive with color.

Lights filters through stain glass windows on the Danforth Chapel on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Lights filters through stain glass windows on the Danforth Chapel on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always tell students that no matter how many times one may visit a place, there can always be something different or new that pops up. And to me that just increases the joy of photography and what wonders await for a photo adventure.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Experiencing Museums Around Siouxland, Omaha, NE and Council Bluffs

7 Apr

An art installation hanging above the cafe area at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It doesn’t need saying that museums of all stripes are wonderful places to spend time. Whether it’s paintings, sculptures or history, I enjoy how most utilize its art or aspects of telling a story to engage visitors. And around the Siouxland region there are plenty of these places to enjoy. The Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha has art work in a public eating space, so one can marvel while enjoying a snack at the same time. The Union Pacific Railroad museum has an interactive railway agent that talks with visitors through a projection set up.

An almost real life looking ticket teller projection gives some history about the railroad while trying to sell you a ticket for the next train out at the Union Pacific Museum in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

At the Durham Museum in Omaha there is a trolley display to show visitors what early transportation was like in the community. And a background mural was painted to put the trolly display into context, showing school children how these early day “buses” were used to transport city residents to other destinations. Sometimes it’s in the telling that also helps inform a viewer and put history into a context for understanding past events or experiences.

Replicating what an early days trolley car scene in Omaha appears like at the Durham Museum, formerly a Union Station, in Omaha, NE Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Understanding the past hopefully will make the future a better place for all of us and a little wiser in decisions going forward.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

History Around Siouxland, Nebraska History Museum, Lincoln, NE

22 Feb

The Nebraska History Museum sits a few blocks outside of the the Haymarket District in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I find it nice that most communities around Siouxland have at least one or more museums that help visitors understand something about that particular area’s past. In Lincoln, NE, the state’s capitol, there are a few, and the state’s History Museum is a nice amalgamation of many pieces that creates a whole and tidbits of the state’s past.

The Nebraska History Museum houses a wide variety of historical exhibits, Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Nebraska History Museum houses a wide variety of historical exhibits, Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Nebraska History Museum houses a wide variety of historical exhibits, Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A look at small areas of history that combined, tell a story of a state that covers a large area and diverse in its land mass. Mostly prairie with some land not suitable for farming in the western portion of the state but important in the development of the nation. And it’s in the telling of many “small” stories that helps paint the picture of the development of this area.

The Nebraska History Museum houses a wide variety of historical exhibits, Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As it’s been stated, one never knows where you are going if you don’t know where you have come from. While it’s true of all states and the changes that have occurred over a couple centuries, the Nebraska History Museum is helping to tell the story of its past to better inform its future.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Nebraska History Museum houses a wide variety of exhibits such as the Federal Emergency Relief Action which later became Works Progress Administration both of which put millions of people to work during the Depression Era, Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Dark Event in Siouxland’s History, Inkpaduta and the Massacre, Arnolds Park

6 Feb

Every place probably has a dark past somewhere along the way. Even in Siouxland as mentioned previously a band of renegade Sioux Indians massacred white settlers in the Arnolds Park region and referenced as the Spirit Lake Massacre. And a memorial still exists in the region today telling perhaps only the one side of what happened, as tragic as the tale is.

The Spirit Lake Massacre Monument with the Gardner Cabin in the background which tells the story of a young girl was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014. The museum is situated in the back center. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A museum and a replica Gardner Cabin is of historical significance for the remembrance of a young girl who was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014, (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

This explanation appears on the history net website, while still does not excuse the massacre that took place, it helps give a fuller picture of why events took place. “In the spring of 1857, the renegade Wahpekute Dakota Chief Inkpaduta and his band of warriors descended on the homesteads near Spirit Lake in northwestern Iowa and committed murder and mayhem. The causes of the massacre are still debated. One reason can be traced to an 1854 episode when a whiskey trader and horse thief, Henry Lott, and his son killed, among others, Inkpaduta’s blood brother Sintomniduta and Sintomniduta’s wife and five children. Inkpaduta (meaning ‘Scarlet Point’ or ‘Red Cap’) appealed to the military to punish Henry Lott, but the killer fled and was indicted in absentia. The prosecuting attorney, Granville Berkley, took Sintomniduta’s head and skewered it on a pole over his house in a gross act of contempt. Lott was never found, and justice was never served.”

And the site and museum in Arnolds Park allows visitors a look back into time of settlers in the area and the story of Abbie Gardner who survived the massacre as a prisoner and later rescued. A short video presentation in the museum alludes to the wrongs committed  by white settlers against Inkpaduta to help explain why the massacre took place.

A look in a replica of the Gardner Cabin. The historical significance is the remembrance of a young girl who was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014, (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A look in a replica of the Gardner Cabin. The historical significance is the remembrance of a young girl who was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014, (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A look in a replica of the Gardner Cabin. The historical significance is the remembrance of a young girl who was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014, (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And the related history in the museum helps fill in the background and what occurred to Gardner who eventually moved back to the Spirit Lake / Arnolds Park region and used the Gardner cabin as one of the first must-see tourist attraction sites in the area.

A photograph, circa 1862, of the Gardner Cabin hangs in a museum near the cabin in Arnolds Park which tells the story of Abbie Gardner, a young girl who was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in Arnolds Park in 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014, (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A depiction of an Indian raid in the in the 1850’s seen in a museum in Arnolds Park next to the Gardner Cabin and tells the story of a young girl, Abbie Garnder, who was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in Arnolds Park in the 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014, (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An 1895 photograph showing Abbie Gardner-Sharp, front row with hat, and seated next to Charles Flandreau and Chetanmaza (Iron Hawk) during a dedication of the Spirit Lake Massacre. Iron Hawk was one of the three Indians who rescued Gardner from the renegade band of Sioux and Flandreau financed the venture to find the captives. The Gardner Cabin stands next to a small museum that tells the story of Gardner-Sharp as a young girl was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in Arnolds Park in the 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014, (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Besides the memorial and cabin the site also has the remains of those killed. in a small burial plot.

A burial plot the Gardner and Luce family members who perished in the 1857 Spirit Lake Massacre with the Spirit Lake Massacre Monument and the Gardner Cabin and museum in the background which tells the story of a young girl, Abbie Garnder, was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in Arnolds Park in the 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A burial plot the Gardner and Luce family members who perished in the 1857 Spirit Lake Massacre near the Gardner Cabin and a museum which tells the story of a young girl, Abbie Garnder, was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in Arnolds Park in the 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A burial plot the Gardner and Luce family members who perished in the 1857 Spirit Lake Massacre near the Gardner Cabin and a museum which tells the story of a young girl, Abbie Garnder, was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in Arnolds Park in the 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A burial plot the Gardner and Luce family members who perished in the 1857 Spirit Lake Massacre near the Gardner Cabin and a museum which tells the story of a young girl, Abbie Garnder, was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in Arnolds Park in the 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes one never expects to find that such an event occurred in the area and I have found various little nuggets of history that probably many locals may not be aware of so many decades removed from the actual event. But I find that it helps one understand and better appreciate a place or region with what has gone on before.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Gardner Cabin is a historical remembrance where a young girl was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in 857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014, (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Abbie Gardner-Sharp is seen behind a store counter of her family home that in 1891after returning to Arnolds Park and purchasing the cabin, Gardner-Sharp operated one of Iowa’s earliest tourist attractions. This photo and others as well as historical pieces are found in a museum next to the Gardner Cabin where Gardner, as a young girl, was taken captive and then became the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014, (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Grandeur on the Prairie near Siouxland, The Joslyn Castle, Omaha

29 Jan

George and Sarah Joslyn completed their home in 1903 and became known as the Joslyn Castle and at one time was at the edge of the town of Omaha, NE with only country surrounding it west, seen Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Traveling outside the “defined” boundary of Siouxland is always an exciting prospect in that opportunities for exploring new areas are endless. On a recent jaunt down to Omaha, NE I visited a former estate and at the time of its building it was definitely a grand undertaking as well as breathtaking for such an estate located in the prairie and at the time.

George and Sarah Joslyn built a 35 room Scottish Baroninal mansion on a hill at what at the time was the outskirts of Omaha. Information provided alludes to the fact that the estate is Scottish more because of the fact that the architect was Scottish himself and created a magnificent piece for a home that was built in a mere 11 months.

A photograph of George and Srash Joslyn seated on their horses in the early 1900’s on acreage that surrounded their home, the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE seen Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

George and Sarah Joslyn completed their home in 1903 and became known as the Joslyn Castle and at one time was at the edge of the town of Omaha, NE with only country surrounding it west, seen Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A carriage sits near the former home of George and Sarah Joslyn who completed their home in 1903 and became known as the Joslyn Castle and at one time was at the edge of the town of Omaha, NE with only country surrounding it west, seen Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Servants quarters and a carriage house was also completed in a style replicating the main house. The original estate covered a number of acres most of which had been sold over time and now only the main house and carriage house and immediate grounds remain. The couple originated from Vermont and moved west after the completion of the transcontinental railroad. George Joslyn was involved in the printing business and settled in Omaha in 1880 to build more clientele for a printing firm located in Des Moines. Joslyn eventually bought the firm and created a business that supplied ready print newspapers to an estimated 70% of the population in the early 1900’s.

A grand staircase and a variety of wood is part of the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE seen Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A group tours the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE led by guide Keith Hart, center, Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The home contains a grand foyer, a music room, ballroom, library and a drawing room. Atone time the basement contained a bowling alley, a billiards room and a gymnasium. The couple also loved their horses and road them throughout the acreage that surrounded their estate.

A photograph showing what a sitting room looked like of the Joslyn Castle when the Joslyn’s resided there in the early 1900’s in Omaha, NE seen Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A photograph from the early 1900’s showing tornado damage to the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The house is full of architectural delights that include wrought iron, chiseled stone from Kansas, stained glass, ornately carved wood and mosaic tiles.

The Joslyn Castle was completed in 1903 as a residence for George and Sarah Joslyn who resided there until each’s death in Omaha, NE seen Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A view of a carriage house completed before the main home of George and Sarah Joslyn in 1903 and became known as the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE seen Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The couple never had children of their own, but adopted a daughter from a local agency. Tour guides say the couple opened their home often to underprivileged children to come play and enjoy the grounds. After George died his wife Sarah continued to host community events and eventually willed that the estate should be used for community functions which it still does to this day, after a few detours of usage until present.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Joslyn Castle was built in 1903 by architect John McDonald and with Kansas silverdale limestone that was delivered by a special rail line to the site in Omaha, NE seen Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The dining area of the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The construction of the Joslyn Castle utilized very special wood and craftsmanship in the 11 months it was constructed in Omaha, NE Monday, seen Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A tour of a Christmas decorated Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

History outside of Siouxland, The Haymarket, Lincoln, NE

23 Jan

The Siouxland area and points west were part of a territory in the late 1800’s that comprised of Iowa, Nebraska, Utah, Montana and part of Idaho and patrolled by Fort Omaha. During those early days decisions were made by those in power where specific seats of power would reside. The Haymarket in Lincoln, NE was one such place. Lincoln, formerly known as Lancaster, eventually became the state’s capitol. And it was in and around The Haymarket where the community of Lincoln grew up and commerce commenced.

Remnants of the historic Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Part of the Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Haymarket is an important historical part of the community of Lincoln, NE and in 1982 a eight-block section of the market received a historic landmark designation. Today there are many retail and restaurant shops around The Haymarket which makes it a fun place to hang out and walk about to learn more about the history of the area and indirectly the country itself.

Historical artifacts and items on display at a coffee shop in the Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A chiming clock in the Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The area has its own charm and sites that make for an enjoyable walk, even on a blustery and cold December day.

An unusal pedestrian walkway between buildings in the Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Distortion in a shop window in the Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

For me, seeing new places and learning history simultaneously is a fine way to spend a day. Throw in a couple of nice coffee houses for morning and afternoon breaks, and a restaurant for lunch, and it’s a good day spent learning more about an area while enjoying what’s there to see.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Shadows and lines in the Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Celebrating the history of the Haymarket in Lincoln, NE Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

History in Siouxland, Communication Breakdown and the Inkpaduta Tragedy, Rural Woodbury County

21 Jan

A stopping place for Inkpaduta before he and his Indian band in rural Woodbury County, Iowa before he and his group later moved north to an area near the Iowa Lakes where the group killed white settlers and kidnapped young girls, seen Saturday, August 6, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s probably been long stated that communication is key in any context. Even in today’s vitriolic political stalemate. People just don’t listen to one another and take offense at what is said. So history repeats itself. And a bit of history in Siouxland informs a person that communication between native Americans and the early settlers did not always garner the clarity that would have prevented violence and misunderstanding.

A plaque commemorating a stopping place for Inkpaduta before he and his Indian band in rural Woodbury County, Iowa before he and his group later moved north to an area near the Iowa Lakes where the group killed white settlers and kidnapped young girls, seen Saturday, August 6, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In 1857 a band of renegade Sioux Indians were wandering what is now the rural Woodbury and Monona Counties and places north. Settlers were pushing the Native Americans off their former land to live their own version of paradise and renewal, starting life in a new place. Inkpaduta was a tribal chief of this small band of Sioux and his name became infamous in what was to become northwest Iowa when later in the same year he and his band killed settlers and kidnapped young girls from the Spirit Lake area. It’s hard to imagine even what the area looked like in the late 1850’s compared to now, with farming of the area continuous since that time period, and probably even more expanded as technology allowed farmers to cover more ground with tractors and other mobile equipment.

Terraced corn crop in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Saturday, August 6, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Horses grazing in a field in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Saturday, August 6, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And whatever few trails carried travelers through the area probably still exist as one or many of the current roadways that traverse the area. What was probably idyllic looking then is probably the same as now, only with fields rather than prairie grass. Over so many decades one would hope people would learn that it is better to communicate and find a way forward than repeating past mistakes than generally never end well.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A gravel road running through a part of rural Woodbury County, Iowa Saturday, August 6, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An area in rural Woodbury County, Iowa near an Inkpaduta plaque marking a place where he and his tribe camped prior to heading north to the Iowa Lakes they later killed white settlers, seen Saturday, August 6, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

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