Archive | Small Towns RSS feed for this section

Learning History Outside of Siouxland, the Waterman Area Heritage Society, Waterman, IL

16 Sep

Travel can always be an educational experience. If one decides to do that. I came upon a small town museum that packed a lot of local history within its walls and two women who were happy to share it. The Waterman, IL, Area Heritage Society had only a few large displays but tons of stuff to peruse.

A local barbershop is created in the Waterman Area Heritage Society in Waterman, Illinois August 31, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While taking a few photographs and browsing artifacts, the two volunteers began telling me about the area and sharing stories of their growing up. The museum had quite a collection of “antique” phones, mostly rotary dial but also some push button ones, which they remarked that school children can not imagine using. Let along hearing stories about country “party lines” where maybe 10 families used the same line to talk with another and others and at times had to be vigilant about that one busy body who liked to listen in on other’s conversations.

Volunteers share a funny story about local history in the Waterman Area Heritage Society in Waterman, Illinois August 31, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I was lucky as well in that I happened upon the small museum with 10 minutes left before it closed. So I didn’t spend a lot of time perusing items on display but did learn about an area family that built a scale replica of a ship that was placed over a vehicle and the family traveled the United States participating in various parades.

A tribute to the Eakle Family that traveled and participated in many municipality parades across the country during the 20th Century seen in the Waterman Area Heritage Society in Waterman, Illinois August 31, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Recorded history via a photograph in the Waterman Area Heritage Society in Waterman, Illinois August 31, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One item of note the volunteers pointed out were broaches that were created in probably the 19th Century. I had seen something similar at another museum I was visited and the broaches were made with human hair collected over a period of time and probably done over the winter months when going outside might not have been an option then as streets snow removal was probably not what it is today.

Fine craftsmanship broach pins done with human hair seen in the Waterman Area Heritage Society in Waterman, Illinois August 31, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So many small museums, so little time, but serendipity can be one’s friend if a person does nothing more than simply look and push open a door to see what lies on the other side.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Items of note on display in the Waterman Area Heritage Society in Waterman, Illinois August 31, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Graduates of a former community school seen in the Waterman Area Heritage Society in Waterman, Illinois August 31, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Summer’s Festivals in Siouxland, Storm Lake

12 Sep

Enjoying a day at the Wood, Wine and Blues Fest in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Small towns in Siouxland always have a way of finding something to celebrate. And doing it in an enjoyable fashion like Storm Lakes, Wood, Wine and Blues Fest it has each summer. In the lake side park there are a number of carved sculptures decorating it. Sadly in recent years vandals have destroyed and tried ruining a few of them. The festival combines some libation, music and wood sculptors with chain saws to perform their craft.

A not yet finished wood sculpture at the Wood, Wine and Blues Fest in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A master carver shows his stuff at the Wood, Wine and Blues Fest in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

These folk are pretty amazing creating works of art out of single pieces of wood. It makes me wonder what the Renaissance artist Michelangelo could have done with some power tools as opposed to his hammer and chisel. I did try some food but no libation as it sometimes limits one’s driving ability, and at the very least makes one sleepy and then wandered and watched as these 21st century artists created their contribution for mankind’s enjoyment.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying a day at the Wood, Wine and Blues Fest in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Little Color on a Drab Day in Siouxland, Storm Lake

8 Sep

Colorful chairs decorate and provide seating at a local ice cream shop in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes some images just beckon a person. And one never really knows until it’s seen, and driving around Siouxland I get that chance to encounter if somewhat ordinary but in the right frame of mind (pun intended) that ordinary can become something more.

Tiring of the Wood, Wine and Blues Fest in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019, a couple large checker boards await patrons willing to give it a try. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Like bees or butterflies being drawn toward something because of its color I at least feel the need to check out a subject and see if it’s something I want to photograph. Maybe whimsical or not, the contrast of the object’s color stands in contrast to its surroundings and the rest is up to the viewer.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Outside the local historical museum a piece of art shows the simple like one or two centuries ago via a child’s tree limb swing of rope and a piece of rope, seen in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Color catches the eye of a passerby of this flea market shop in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Poetry and Literature in Siouxland of John G. Neihardt, Bancroft, NE

2 Sep

Poetry is one form of literature I never really embraced and have read sporadically. Even in college where I was probably more exposed to poetry through courses there, it was something that never gave me pause and made me take a second look. But that doesn’t mean it’s something that doesn’t resonate with many of folk and I had forgotten about an early 20th century writer who lived in Siouxland that is renowned for his poetry and early ventures at bridging divides with local Native Americans.

Inside the John G Neihardt Day welcome center at the Nebraska state historic site in Bancroft, NE, NE Sunday, August 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The John G. Neihardt Center is located in Bancroft, NE and celebrates the author’s life and life’s work he did through literature and his friendships with local Native Americans. The Center’s website states:”

But Neihardt himself pointed to a “fever dream” he had at this age, in which he saw himself floating through space and felt the presence of a “spirit brother,” as the event that determined his life work as a poet and inspired the content of that work.

Neihardt graduated from Wayne Normal College at 16 and taught country school for a short time. He’d been writing poetry since age 12 and, upon moving to Bancroft in 1900, turned to that vocation, working also as an owner-editor of the Bancroft Blade, and as a clerk for a trader on the Omaha Reservation.

His acquaintance with the Omaha and Winnebago Indians led him to an interest in the Sioux, their customs and traditions. He traveled the plains and lived the land first hand.”

Inside the John G Neihardt Day welcome center at the Nebraska state historic site in Bancroft, NE, NE Sunday, August 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Inside the John G Neihardt Day welcome center at the Nebraska state historic site in Bancroft, NE, NE Sunday, August 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Neihardt wrote books and poetry reflecting his knowledge of his Native friends and a kindred spirit they shared and time spent together. Impressing early Nebraskan state officials and legislators that Neihardt became the state’s poet laureate at one point, in 1921. As mentioned at a number of online sites for people interested in exploring his life and writings more thoroughly, Neihardt authored the book “Black Elk Speaks,”  interviews he did with the Lakota chief Black Elk in which the chief shared his knowledge of oral history and the cultures of Native Americans.

The John G Neihardt Nebraska state historic site in Bancroft, NE, NE Sunday, August 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The John G Neihardt Nebraska state historic site in Bancroft, NE, NE Sunday, August 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

These little gems of places tucked away in Siouxland still amaze me and I keep hoping to find more of them as I continue to wander about. While I may never truly appreciate the genre of poetry, I can appreciate the dedication Neihardt gave to his life’s works in helping foster a better understanding between two cultures.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Inside the John G Neihardt Day welcome center at the Nebraska state historic site in Bancroft, NE, NE Sunday, August 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Inside the John G Neihardt Day welcome center at the Nebraska state historic site in Bancroft, NE, NE Sunday, August 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Inside the John G Neihardt Day welcome center at the Nebraska state historic site in Bancroft, NE, NE Sunday, August 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Pathways of understanding and turmoil in a prayer garden site at the John G Neihardt Nebraska state historic site in Bancroft, NE, NE Sunday, August 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summer’s Passing Time in Siouxland, Okoboji

31 Aug

With September fast approaching and some local schools already back in session, I know I won’t get the chance to revisit the Iowa Lakes Region any time soon. But am hopeful maybe this fall I can when the leaves begin to turn. But seeing blue water on a warm day and boaters enjoying their time out is one thing that will have to wait until next summer.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A group of people head out on East Lake for a day of water, sun and relaxation on East Lake in Okoboji, Iowa Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Lines, Angles and Shapes in Siouxland, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake

29 Aug

Lines, shapes and angles at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Every time I visit Storm Lake and in turn Buena Vista University that is located there, I wonder to myself what else I can photograph. And this particular time after finishing a work assignment I walked about a bit around the school’s campus and the lines and angles and shapes just started appearing before me.

Lines and angles at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Lines, shapes and angles at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I wished the sun had come out a bit earlier, but one does what one can with what is before you. Maybe the grey sky makes some objects seem more stark and thus stand out more. Maybe not too.

Lines, shapes and angles at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

But I enjoy having options as I photograph so the sun gave way to shapes and light and shade and added one more aspect to photographing around the campus making my trip a good one, at least to me.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Lines and angles at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Lines and angles at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Small Siouxland Community, Woodbine

27 Aug

The downtown area in Woodbine, Iowa, still retains brick streets seen Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting small communities in Siouxland is a nice way to spend a day, or part of a day. Sometimes it’s a destination itself and other times an event is going on that seems interesting. Woodbine is a community in the southern portion of Siouxland and has brick streets downtown and art work displayed there as well.

Street art still adorns the downtown area in Woodbine, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors waiting to see the Union Pacific Bi Boy Engine explore downtown Woodbine, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I visited there this summer I went because of an event, the Union Pacific’s Big Boy train engine was passing through on its way back west and would be making a s45-minute stop in the community.

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.(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A number of people turned out. I noticed some downtown having lunch ahead of the train’s arrival and others milling about waiting to see the steel behemoth. I didn’t realize being a train enthusiast was such a large endeavor. I like the small community because it has a bit going on for it. And it seems to work at creating a place for people to come visit. My last visit included attending the Apple Fest, which seemed to have few apples and a lot more cars, muscle and other collectibles. But it’s just a nice small community that keeps up its appearance and seems to work at doing that.

A new art sculpture installation underway in downtown Woodbine, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Art pieces can be found at various places in downtown Woodbine, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

At one time when the Lincoln Highway, U.S. Rte. 30, was THE roadway west it was one those communities where motorists could stop and take a break from the long 2-lane driving that was prevalent as the super highways were just under construction. And so Woodbine became a bit of a destination in and of itself.

A little known fact about tiny Woodbine, Iowa, situated off of Highway Rte. 30 or Lincoln’s Highway is that George Wyman rode a motor-bicycle across America in about 50 days, seen Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A tribute to a little known fact about tiny Woodbine, Iowa, situated off of Highway Rte. 30 or Lincoln’s Highway is that George Wyman rode a motor-bicycle across America in about 50 days, seen Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And so during a week day the community was once again hosting a former celeb, made of steel, and rolling out its welcome and allowing people to hang out, enjoy themselves, as they waited for the train.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

People wait for the arrival of Union Pacific’s Big Boy Engine in Woodbine, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Wall art on a store in downtown Woodbine, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

%d bloggers like this: