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Seeing details in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve

17 Aug

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebrates its 22nd year as an official state park, beginning its operation in 1997 and located in North Sioux City, South Dakota Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019 . (photo by Jerry Mennenga©)

Visiting a number of places in Siouxland, then revisiting them, I am always amused to “see” something I overlooked previously on a visit. Whether that’s good or bad, and depending on what I was concentrating on something else at the time, I always rationalize that it gives me something to look forward too on a return visit. And most times it’s the small details that I overlook. The big picture is just that.  All engrossing because it’s focuses one’s attention in a big way. But the details fill in the gaps, and perhaps lend another thought to history or part of the story. Or just more questions about a period of time one can read about, but again, it’s mostly just the big picture that is painted by the words, no time or space to delve into some of the details.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Big Wheels Keep on Turning in Siouxland, Big Boy Engine passes through Woodbine

9 Aug

Onlookers gather at a crossing outside of Woodbine, Iowa as the Union Pacific’s steam locomotive No. 4014, Big Boy, heads back west on its rail system Friday, August 2, 2019. The engine stopped in the community for onlookers for roughly 45 minutes as it continues its journey home to Cheyenne, WY after leaving Illinois July 8. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One of Union Pacific Railroad’s heritage engines passed through western Iowa recently for a return trip home. Two weeks earlier this behemoth of steam locomotives, Engine 4014, otherwise known as Big Boy, made a trip from Wyoming to Illinois, and then some side excursions.

Big Boy is one of a few heavy duty articulated steam locomotives created during WWII to move freight and other necessities across the country and especially over the mountain ranges because most able bodied men were fighting overseas. The massive locomotive got a nice reception in Woodbine, Iowa recently as it was returning to Wyoming where it’s excursion journey began early this summer.

Onlookers and train enthusiasts gather for a close up view in Woodbine, Iowa of the Union Pacific’s steam locomotive No. 4014, Big Boy, heads back west on its rail system Friday, August 2, 2019. The engine stopped for onlookers for roughly 45 minutes as it continues its journey home to Cheyenne, WY after leaving Illinois July 8. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Onlookers and train enthusiasts get a close up view and take photographs in Woodbine, Iowa of the Union Pacific’s steam locomotive No. 4014, Big Boy, as it heads back west on its rail system Friday, August 2, 2019. The engine stopped for onlookers for roughly 45 minutes as it continues its journey home to Cheyenne, WY after leaving Illinois July 8. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Big Boy took two years for a complete restoration and is one of a few restored steam engines now part of a Union Pacific Heritage locomotive fleet. Articulated steam locomotives have two sets of drivers or complete engine units with eight wheel sets total. The front set of driving wheels, referred to as the front engine, can move independently from the locomotive’s permanently attached boiler and rear engine. This allows the locomotive to better negotiate curves.

Young onlookers cover their ears as the Union Pacific’s steam locomotive No. 4014, Big Boy, heads back west on its rail system passing through Woodbine, Iowa Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Union Pacific’s steam locomotive No. 4014, Big Boy, heads back west on its rail system passing through Woodbine, Iowa Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There is a wonderful museum in Council Bluffs that is all things Union Pacific Railroad, no ties though to the company. It backgrounds the building of the rail system filling in a lot of minute details about the journey west and what life was like traveling by rail. Today with automobiles and planes, trains are not looked upon as favorably as it still takes longer than flying. But seeing such a large engine up close was a bit surreal. Can’t imagine what it was like for those who traveled by rail accompanying the engine as it passed through the countryside. And it was surprising and pleasing to see that many folk are still enthralled by trains themselves and that way of travel. Depending on one’s point of view, progress is in the eye of the beholder.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Current and retired Union Pacific employees photograph from a hillside the steam locomotive No. 4014, Big Boy, as it heads back west on its rail system passing through Woodbine, Iowa Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Steam rises from the Union Pacific’s steam locomotive No. 4014, Big Boy, as it heads back west on its rail system passing through Woodbine, Iowa Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Onlookers and train enthusiasts gather in Woodbine, Iowa to get a close up view of the Union Pacific’s steam locomotive No. 4014, Big Boy, as it heads back west on its rail system Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating Heritage in Siouxland, Winnebago Pow Wow, Winnebago, NE

1 Aug

 

Various Native Americans with different tribes participate in the Grand Entrance at the 153rd consecutive annual Winnebago Pow Wow, honoring the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66, in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Winnebago Tribe recently celebrated its heritage at its 153rd consecutive annual Pow Wow honoring Chief Little Priest and his warriors who worked as scouts for the U.S. Calvary. The Pow Wow is all inclusive as other tribes also participate from across the U.S. and at times from Canada. The Grand Entrance is the beginning of the celebration each day in the main arena where drums and songs accompany dancing by the many tribe members.

A slow shutter speed accentuates the motion of a young boy dancing during the Grand Entrance at the 153rd consecutive annual Winnebago Pow Wow, honoring the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66, in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Various Indian tribes participate in the Grand Entrance at the 153rd consecutive annual Winnebago Pow Wow, honoring the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66, in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Each tribe and possibly clan within a tribe has its own particular style of dancing (traditional, grass or fancy and shawl dancing) which is reflected in the attire worn by the tribe members. And these styles and dances are passed down through the generations of family. Another aspect of the dancers is the incredible attire they wear and beautiful work that goes into each one’s creation.

A woman wears a finely beaded hair piece for the Grand Entrance at the 153rd consecutive annual Winnebago Pow Wow, honoring the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66, in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A couple with the Omaha Tribe and who live in Macy, NE get their son dressed in his Native American attire so he can participate in the Grand Entrance at the 153rd consecutive annual Winnebago Pow Wow, honoring the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66, in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Young girls and women also dance during the Grand Entrance at the 153rd consecutive annual Winnebago Pow Wow, honoring the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66, in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Tribe members and visitors can easily interact and chat giving one not familiar with Native American culture an opportunity to learn more about the Winnebago and other tribes and individuals that may travel hundreds of miles to participate and enjoy the camaraderie of similar heritage. If one has never attended such an event it is an enjoyable experience to meet people and gain insight into an American culture that is under appreciated although complicated, like many aspects of American culture, due to a contentious history of the U.S.’ evolution as a nation.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A participant of the Grand Entrance listens to opening remarks at the 153rd consecutive annual Winnebago Pow Wow, honoring the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66, in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A variety of Native American dress is represented by various tribes from throughout the U.S. during the Grand Entrance at the 153rd consecutive annual Winnebago Pow Wow, honoring the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66, in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A variety of Native American dress is represented by various tribes from throughout the U.S. during the Grand Entrance at the 153rd consecutive annual Winnebago Pow Wow, honoring the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66, in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A variety of Native American dress is represented by various tribes from throughout the U.S. during the Grand Entrance at the 153rd consecutive annual Winnebago Pow Wow, honoring the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66, in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring History in Siouxland, Lewis and Clark State Park, Onawa

26 Jul

A commemoration of the expedition that Meriwether Lewis and William Clark undertook after the Louisiana Purchase, and where current day re-enactors gather for the Lewis and Clark Rendevous festival at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Lewis and Clark Expedition history display can be found at the Lewis and Clark State Park in Siouxland. With displays that recount the historical journal by the expedition mapping out a way to and back from the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase Territory. The displays give information about the journey itself as well as those who inhabited the local area here in Iowa.

Visitors look over a replica of the keel boat used by the Lewis and Clark Expedition at the Lewis and Clark State Park visitors center near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A wealth of information can be found in the visitors center about the Lewis and Clark Louisiana Purchase Expedition at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But for those visiting the park a popular attraction is riding in a replica keel boat, from which visitors are spared from rowing and oaring it out on the lake. For some a hour’s excursion might turn into a few days worth trying to navigate away from shore and back again. The replica keep boat has a small motor that propels it through the water. I find it interesting in context to see more modern day water craft zipping in and around the keel boat as people learn a little what life was like for Meriweather Lewis’ and William Clark’s men who made the 8,000 mile journey.

Visitors prepare to take off on a motor outfitted keel boat on Blue Lake as re-enactors paddle nearby during the Lewis and Clark Rendevous festival at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors ride a motor-enabled keel boat as re-enactors portray period people during Lewis and Clark Rendevous festival at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But it’s time well spend to understand a little more about how this country had taken shape and what was involved creating a place that many now call home, with many more seeking admittance. In some respects life seems as arduous now as it was then, depending on what advantages an individual has and the opportunity that awaits each person. But I believe they is a saying, ” In order to know where one is going it’s good to know where you’ve been”. Otherwise history could get caught in a loop with repeats a sure thing down the road.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A wealth of information can be found in the visitors center about the Lewis and Clark Louisiana Purchase Expedition at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A wealth of information can be found in the visitors center about the Lewis and Clark Louisiana Purchase Expedition at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A wealth of information can be found in the visitors center about the Lewis and Clark Louisiana Purchase Expedition at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Learning Local History in Siouxland, Decatur, NE

22 Jul

One can find a lot of local history at the Decatur Museum in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It never amazes me that little gems can be found in places with a little bit of luck and curiosity. While out driving about in Siouxland one day I ventured over the Missiouri River into Nebraska and the community of Decatur. It prides itself being the second oldest settlement in the state, dating back to 1854, and incorporated in 1856. Information found says a little over 400 people live there. The nice part, besides being located next to the Missouri River is the community’s museum.

Jane Judt, upper right and Norma Williams , center right, greet visitors and tell them about the local history located at the Decatur Museum in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A lot of local history can be found at the Decatur Museum in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. This month was about local sports history. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A lot of local history can be found at the Decatur Museum in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One of the museum docents, Jane Judt, explained that theme of presentations is always changing every few months, so the information provided doesn’t get stale and which I would believe encourage locals to stop by and see what historical facts are being shared. When I visited the theme was sports with a variety of memorabilia displayed.

Jane Judt talks about the history of the Decatur Museum in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An upstairs room decorated as a classroom at the Decatur Museum in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A lot of local history can be found at the Decatur Museum in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But the small museum also contains nuggets of information about the early settlement days and the people who relocated to this area as folk migrated to the west looking for a fresh start and an opportunity to improve their lives. Tales told over and over again in many small communities’ museums that are found throughout the U.S. It’s the story of immigrants and people looking for a better life, a tale that reflects  many who settled in the Siouxland region.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A lot of local history can be found at the Decatur Museum in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A lot of local history can be found at the Decatur Museum in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A lot of local history can be found at the Decatur Museum in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating a Siouxland Fourth of July, Storm Lake

8 Jul

A couple dresses in their red, white and blue balloon finest as they participate in Storm Lake, Iowa’s July 4 parade, Thursday, July 4, 2019.

 

A mother and daughter display their patriotic style as they attend Storm Lake, Iowa’s July 4 parade and festivities, Thursday, July 4, 2019.

Storm Lake, Iowa is kind of an American story made for the Fourth of July. A small Siouxland town melting pot that honors its freedom and a diverse population that helps ensure it. At one time a slowly dying town, the community now contains people from at least 15, maybe 20 nationalities that make up its workforce and population.

Storm Lake, Iowa is made up of many diverse nationalities where South Bend, IN mayor and 2020 Democrat presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg (not pictured) campaigns Storm Lake, Iowa’s July 4 Parade, Thursday, July 4, 2019.

 

Various nationalities make up Storm Lake, Iowa’s population and South Bend, IN mayor and 2020 Democrat presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg (not pictured) campaigns during Storm Lake, Iowa’s July 4 Parade, Thursday, July 4, 2019.

So for the July 4 celebration its residents don their collective native traditional dress and parade through its streets along a lake that is its one main attraction. And the several block parade is teeming with folk there to watch, plus the candy that the kids get to take home since all floats toss candy.

The Peterson, Iowa Lion’s Club antique fire engine is decked out in U.S. flags as they participate in Storm Lake, Iowa’s July 4 Parade, Thursday, July 4, 2019.

 

The Tubador plays more favorites after the parade during Storm Lake, Iowa for July 4 festivities, Thursday, July 4, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But after the parade finishes, the park along the lake front is alive with music and artisans and food tents, all adding to a festive environment for all to celebrate together.

People took shelter in the shade of the Living Heritage Tree Museum along the lake front during Storm Lake, Iowa July 4 festivities, Thursday, July 4, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A few art tents display wares for sale during the Storm Lake, Iowa July 4 festivities, Thursday, July 4, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Charles Bade, a former resident of Storm Lake, Iowa creates new are for the July 4 festivities, Thursday, July 4, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Brown’s Family group played and sang favorites of the audience during the Storm Lake, Iowa July 4 festivities, July 4, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The tree filled park makes for a nice place to relax and enjoy the company of your friends, listen to the entertainment or grab a bite to eat, besides perusing items for sale. And as a small town, Storm Lake is like so many others. Thankful and happy to have one day to enjoy with community neighbors and visitors where all come together for a community celebration.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

People checked out the many food booths and artists’ tents in the Living Heritage Tree Museum area along the lake front during the Storm Lake, Iowa July 4 festivities, Thursday, July 4, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Young people hang out on the lake front during the Storm Lake, Iowa July 4 festivities, Thursday, July 4, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A couple celebrates Storm Lake, Iowa’s July 4 parade while South Bend, IN mayor and 2020 Democrat presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg (not pictured) campaigns in the parade, Thursday, July 4, 2019.

 

A family is dressed in home country outfits to show their heritage as they participate in Storm Lake, Iowa’s July 4 Parade, Thursday, July 4, 2019.

Reliving History in Siouxland, Lewis and Clark Rendevous, Lewis and Clark State Park

6 Jul

This couple has been participating for 30 years as re-enactors of Lewis and Clark Rendevous festivals, this one taking place at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A re-enactors at the Lewis and Clark Rendevous festival waits his turn to throw an axe at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Lewis and Clark State Park near Oanawa has a yearly Lewis and Clark Rendevous where like-minded individuals dress up for the part and re-enact what some might consider a fur traders exposition where they get together as happened in the early days of west exploration. The traders would show off fur trappings they collected and resupply themselves for another year with essentials to once again go exploring. People go all out and try to maintain the the experience by camping in tents and cooking food by camp fire. I attended the rendevous a few years ago, and this time saw there were fewer participants as well as visitors taking in the experience.

In talking with some participants it was sad to hear that attendance for both re-enactors and interested citizens was declining. The surrounding campground area held far few tents than I previously remembered.

Re-enactors of the Lewis and Clark Rendevous festival are camped out at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A commemoration of the expedition that Meriwether Lewis and William Clark undertook after the Louisiana Purchase, and where current day re-enactors gather for the Lewis and Clark Rendevous festival at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And even though during summer there are so many activities going on it seems even local history (Lewis and Clark Slept Here) falls by the wayside for ball games, lake boating and other family activities.

A hide skinning display is set up as re-enactors perform various tasks during the Lewis and Clark Rendevous festival at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Musicians play era-specific songs during the Lewis and Clark Rendevous festival at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But those who attended made the most of it. A group of outliers played traditional songs even though they didn’t dress the part. Well not all of them.

A musician plays banjo along with some others on fiddle, harp, and guitar during the re-enactors festival at the Lewis and Clark Rendevous festival at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A couple join in with other musicians as they play era specific tunes while re-enactors portray period people during the Lewis and Clark Rendevous festival at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And those attending got the chance to ride in a keel boat (motor powered) on the lake at the Lewis and Clark State Park which was probably alright with them as it saved them from oar duty. It was a nice day to be outside, campfire smells and cooking wafting through the air and thankfully, not many bugs, yet. I just hope the history and the sacrifice that these “mountain men” and early explorers doesn’t fall by the wayside, the name of the park referencing some guys long ago that took a long hike, made a few discoveries and then returned home.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Visitors ride a motor-enabled keel boat as re-enactors portray period people during Lewis and Clark Rendevous festival at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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