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Curiosity always wins while Traveling Siouxland, Lytton

10 Nov

Recently while doing some work in Siouxland I came across the small community of Lytton. Many times traveling to smaller towns requires an effort simply because they may not be on a major roadway that passes through them. And being a curious sort, I always need to stop and walk about. I especially liked the community’s link to an agricultural industry. The small community of no more that a few hundred individuals is anchored by a grain elevator and a farm dealer displays his wares in the downtown area where the business is located.

A grain elevator anchors one end of downtown Lytton, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Farm equipment forsale in downtown Lytton, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I tried finding a bit of history about the community doing an online search, but didn’t find anything that would give a quick cursory look into the community’s past. But it seemed a clean, orderly place to stop and visit and when there is more time, maybe a second look when work doesn’t beckon.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A quiet downtown Lytton, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A street leads out of downtown Lytton, Iowa into the country and a cornfield, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Doorway in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

16 Oct

I am always attracted to doorways when I am out and about. Some seem inviting, others have a nice shape or form. Definitely there is something always on the other side and so there is also a bit of mystery as to what lies beyond. Some questions may never be answered, but I guess that is part of the appeal and wondering and imagination.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A shed door in Vermillion, SD Tuesday, Oct. 2 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Celebrating Labor in Siouxland, Calliope Historical Village, Hawarden

6 Oct

Siouxland is home to a number of a number of historical significance to the region, much like many early settlements in many locations around the country. Calliope Village, according to an official listing at the site of the city of Hawarden where the village is located, came into existence in 1860. “History reports that Sioux County, Iowa was founded January 20, 1860, on the banks of the Big Sioux River on the north edge of what is now Hawarden. Our “founding fathers” were Frederick Hubbell, W.H. Frame, Joseph Bell, and E.L. Stone who founded the settlement of Calliope (Kal’ e ope) for the express purpose of receiving a regulation count salary for organizing a county in Iowa.

In 1869, Calliope consisted of a courthouse, three log homes and about 10 residents. The infant town was driven back to the safety of Sioux City by Indian uprisings. In 1871, the Indians calmed down and the few rugged individuals who were willing to brave the wilderness returned to the settlement to find the original courthouse standing. By 1872 Moses Lewis bought out the remaining initial investors and used the office to issue fraudulent bonds. It wasn’t until 1874 that the settlement of Calliope was actually home to the earliest settlers. Progress came with a hotel, cabins and finally viability was enhanced greatly by the formation of a stage coach line to transport people to and from Sioux City.”

Calliope Historical Village open Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

That history and the historical village is all that remains of that early settlement. Fundraising and area residents made the village possible to remind current and future residents of the community’s historical background.

So it’s nice to visit the village on a holiday and see people stroll the grounds and check it out. Or relax and enjoy some music provided by a washtub band whose creation was musician’s Jerry Toft.

People celebrate Labor Day visiting the Calliope Historical Village in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Musician Jerry Toft plays a washtub bass and performs standards for visitors along with his friends at the Calliope Historical Village during Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

People celebrate Labor Day visiting the Calliope Historical Village and listening to a washtub band in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©

I visit the place from time to time. Sometimes with a class I teach and other times during the holidays or when I am passing through the area. The days are always different and so is the light. The village isn’t always open but it’s still nice to stop by and see. Of course the side attractions that come during days like Labor Day are not always present, and are a look back into time itself, and just fun to photograph.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Antique tractors carry a shine while on show at the Calliope Historical Village during Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Collectible farm tractors for some, on display at the Calliope Historical Village during Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Someone with a bias toward red tractors as a number of
Allis-Chalmers are on display at the Calliope Historical Village during Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Siouxland’s County Fairs, Clay County, Spencer

30 Sep

Every summer I try to attend a couple county fairs. But haven’t been too successful the last couple of years because of conflicting schedules. This year though I did travel to Spencer to visit the Clay County Fair. It’s a rather large affair, bigger than some closer to my home but still encompassing those quintessential elements that all county fairs incorporate. One is 4-H and FFA where kids exhibit their projects for the year whether it’s agricultural in nature or another kind of project.

Controlled chaos as 4-H members show their sows during a competition at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And people stroll the midway and take in the sights that only fairs offer.

A scene at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A mother takes a photo of her kids with her phone during the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A family enjoys the rides at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One young boy was admiring his freshly painted “ghoulish” face in the reflection of a doorway, not noticing a photographer standing nearby. Another couple was immortalizing their visit to the fair together.

A young boy checks out his newly painted face in a reflection of a doorway at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Jayden Helbing, left center, an Bailey Houston, right center, and both of Sioux Rapids, get their caricature drawn by Rex Rubenzer of Wisconsin at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

County fairs are where people come for a little down home entertainment. Some may think it a relic of the past but for small communities it’s one of those passing seasonal venues that people look forward to, relaxing (unless you are a 4-H parent), the chance to eat “bad” fair food like Funnel Cakes and cotton candy, take in some wholesome entertainment and a chance to forget about day to day activities. And these days, hopefully no politicians stopping by to impress people. A place where sometimes families enjoy reunions.

A family finishing taking a reunion photo catches another photographer taking a picture as well at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So fairs can wear one out walking about and taking in all the exhibits but people still do it and enjoy it and look forward again to next year to repeat the affair.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sometimes too much fair time can take a toll on a person as a man catches a nap in the shade at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A scene at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 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©)

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