Archive | History RSS feed for this section

History in Siouxland, the Pettigrew House and Museum, Sioux Falls, SD

19 Apr

On a trip in Siouxland to Sioux Falls, SD, I stopped by a historical house and museum of one R.F. Pettigrew. This gentleman was the first sitting U.S. Senator from the state of South Dakota. He also sounded like a bit of a rough and tumble character, actually involved in a brawl with another politician, beating someone with his cane. Evidently gentleman were not synonymous with genteel. Pettigrew however did much for the city of Sioux Falls in its early days and was also a world traveler. There is a small collection of items in the museum from Egypt and the Orient from his travels.

It’s fun to learn about local history, even if it is next door and to find out how places were shaped through the actions of its citizens.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Learning Tolerance in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

9 Apr

This past week I visited the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD. I wanted to hear a child Holocaust survivor speaking there about her experience in a centration camp and get an impression of what life must have been like in the 1930’s and ’40’s for Jews. It was overwhelming. Inge Auerbacher survived the Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia where she and her immediate family were sent. Other members of her family, like her grandparents were not so lucky, or other people the family met at the camp. It’s hard to understand the meanness in people’s hearts that force other people into terrible situations or cause them to suffer. And recent world events bring those horrors into focus in current history.

Auerbacher was involved in a short film of her return to where she lived as a young child from birth to maybe 6 years old before being forced into hiding and then to a concentration camp. This piece is only an introduction to the 25 minute one she showed the university students and others who attended. As she stated, she is 82 this year, and soon those affected by the Nazis who killed them and did such harm will soon be dead, and that immediate telling of history will be lost.

The sad thing is the hate that supports such behavior appears to still be alive and well and will probably continue to exist in the current history and foreseeable history until somehow it and the souls who insist on being haters are both eradicated from the world.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Changing Siouxland, Ingemann Danish Church, Moorehead

3 Apr

While visiting the Loess Hills area of Siouxland recently I came across the Ingemann Danish Church which is located near Moorehead, Iowa. I was somewhat saddened to see some additions to the church grounds which was founded in the late 1800’s. The past few years evidently people have been vandalizing the church which holds a service once a year on Memorial Day.

I always enjoyed the serenity while visiting the place. One could even walk into the church, say a prayer, feel the history around you. But some individual’s never seem satisfied with visiting someplace without doing damage. Now one can look, but not enjoy it the same way.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland’s Double Decker Walking Bridge, Yankton, SD

21 Mar

I have made a few trips to the small community of Yankton, SD. It originally was  the gateway to the Dakota Territory in the late 1800’s. The first territorial Capital of the Dakota Territory when North and South Dakota was one large land mass. On every trip to Yankton I always take a walk on the Meridian Bridge, which is a double decker bridge built in 1924. According to the National Park System the bridge’s lower deck was designed to carry a rail line which never materialized. Eventually the bridge was sold to the city of Yankton in 1946 and from there the ownership came to the state of South Dakota. Just upriver is a newer vehicle bridge the double decker is now a walker’s paradise connecting South Dakota and Nebraska that give an individual a “bird’s eye” view.

I am never disappointed when I walk it, always finding something new to view and enjoy. The different seasons present different images a person can photograph. One of these days I will need to make an early trip to see what the bridge looks like during sun rise. For now, I think I will sleep in and get there to enjoy the late morning, have lunch downtown and again enjoy it late afternoon, maybe catching a sunset.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seeing Sunshine in Siouxland, Heritage Village in Sioux Center

21 Feb

Like many parts of the U.S. recently, Siouxland had an unexpected warmup and it was nice to see sunshine again. The quality of light is sweet, hard and very defined. And it was just nice to be outside with a jacket and hat and not freezing too much to look for photos. Spring is approaching, and Mother Nature was really teasing this past week.

I took a trip up to Sioux Center and visited the Heritage Village. A historical replica of what could be found in the area during the early settler days and more recent, at least if one believes the 1940’s and 50’s are more recent. But it was just a nice day to enjoy and see the sunshine.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Preserving Siouxland History, Matlock

9 Jan

Last year I came across the small community of Matlock, Iowa. As I wandered around the small community I came across a number of antique vehicles scattered about the town and learned a set of brothers there collected and restored engines of a bygone era. I also met Charlie Schwebach who showed me his “museum” that he was putting together with artifacts from Matlock and some other communities that reflected a bygone era of that community of not quite 90 people.

It’s nice to meet people who preserve history of their community to share with others. It shows a commitment to where they were born and raised, and still reside. Mr. Schwebach said at the time his history museum would be opening sometime in 2017, ringing in the new year with a look at the past.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Musical History in Siouxland, National Music Museum, Vermillion, SD

24 Dec

When I attended a brown bag performance at the National Music Museum recently, I spent a little time afterwards walking around and looking at exhibits. It is amazing that some of the instruments on display which covers 2 or more centuries were crafted and played before the United States was even its own sovereign nation.

 

Former University of South Dakota alum, Tom Brokaw even did a voice over on a video about the museum’s collection for the public to view.

The depth of the collection is truly astounding, especially to think they are housed in the Siouxland area, at the University of South Dakota Vermillion campus. Instruments from many cultures and nations. And there are times when people expert and proficient in the field of music come to talk about the various instruments. I have not been fortunate enough to attend any of talks, but hope to in the future.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

%d bloggers like this: