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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©)

 

Revisiting the General Dodge House near Siouxland, Council Bluffs

12 Sep

I have been visiting Council Bluffs which is south of Siouxland a few times in the last couple of years. Recently I spent some time showing a fellow photo enthusiast a few spots in the area and one I like to visit is the Dodge House, former residence of one General Grenville Mellen Dodge who made his fortune by the age of 40, resided in Council Bluffs after serving the North during the Civil War, helped build and push the expansion of the railroad system west, served in Congress representing western Iowa, became a banker and a financier.

General Grenville Mellen Dodge House museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A portrait of General Grenville Mellen Dodge as an older man hangs in the museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A portrait of General Grenville Mellen Dodge sits on a mantel in museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dodge was an engineer by trade and had gone west, to Illinois, to pursue his craft and at the time worked for the Illinois Central Railroad. Dodge scouted and surveyed land for a possible rail route from Illinois to western Iowa, at the edge of what is now Council Bluffs. The home he built for himself and his family after serving during the war and as he entered political life and then worked again on behalf of the railroad was grandiose for its time.

A formal dining room where General Grenville Mellen Dodge and his wife, Annie, entertained guests, now a museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A sitting room/parlour in the General Grenville Mellen Dodge House museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Vivistors are given a tour by docents with plenty of information at their fingertips to help put into perspective the life this man led and the accomplishments he achieved.

Visitors stop to take a photograph before entering the General Grenville Mellen Dodge House museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors get an introduction in the hall entryway to the General Grenville Mellen Dodge House museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Next door to the Dodge House Museum is the Beresheim residence, which was owned by a partner in the bank of which dodge was affiliated. A docent remarked that one of the owners did not like having to back his car out of his garage so he simply installed a round table, much like a record turntable, and would pull in, then step out and give it a twirl to turn the car and point it towards the door.

A peek inside a garage with a vehicle turntable near the General Grenville Mellen Dodge House museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A docent, right, explains the use of a vehicle turntable to visitors in a garage located near General Grenville Mellen Dodge House museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The home and its furnishings which are period and not necessarily any of the family’s items is located in a historic district of town which still retains it brick streets and only 2-3 blocks from the downtown area, an easy jaunt for Dodge to attend to his businesses downtown. It’s also a nice way to spend part of a day, revisiting history and retracing steps that people of another century have walked and participated in life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Located in a historic neighborhood with brick streets, the General Grenville Mellen Dodge House museum is located in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An original piece to the home of General Grenville Mellen Dodge, the clock was purchased from a well known maker in the East, Simon Willard, and now is on display in the museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A work study used by General Grenville Mellen Dodge when he lived in his home, now a museum, in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Learning History in Siouxland, Sheldon

4 Sep

A number of communities in Siouxland have a museum. Sheldon‘s Prairie Museum is located in a former Carnegie Library building which is as beautiful today as it was when originally built.

The Sheldon Prairie Museum in Sheldon, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Sheldon Prairie Museum was a former Carnegie Library in Sheldon, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Most of the museums I visit contain local history, photos of past residents and early pioneers as well as yearbooks of now closed schools if they are small communities who have seen their school districts consolidate with other nearby communities as small towns have gotten smaller.

I found the Prairie Museum unusual in the sense that it showcased some hard, not very nice history as well as the usual past. One display case talks about Mrs. Burnice Geiger, a daughter of a bank president of the Sheldon National Bank which residents learned in the late 1950’s and early ’60’s that Mrs. Geiger had been embezzling funds for many, many years, totaling a little over $2 million.

A display in the Sheldon Prairie Museum tells the story of a woman who embezzled money from a local bank in Sheldon, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And in the mid 1920’s another not so savory piece of history involved a Klan Konklave which is some still prevalent in parts of the United States. But since Iowa fought on the side of the Union during the Civil War locals were astonished that such an event could happen in their midst.

A display in the Sheldon Prairie Museum tells the dark history of a Ku Lux Klan enclave that occurred in Sheldon, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The story of a Ku Klux Klan Konclave appears in an exhibit in the Sheldon Prairie Museum in Sheldon, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The museum has happier pieces of history and volunteers that help inform a visitor about various exhibits. One small room in the museum is pretty much the same as when a family occupied their home, the furniture still intact and original except for some reupholstering. Giving viewers a look backward into time at actual local residents.

Volunteer JoAnn DenBeste gives some background on exhibits at the Sheldon Prairie Museum in Sheldon, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The photo represents the look inside a Sheldon home in 1937, and the furniture in the photo is now at the Sheldon Prairie Museum in Sheldon, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The furniture in the exhibit remained the same as it was in a home in 1937 and except for some upholstery work and repairs is now an exhibit in the Sheldon Prairie Museum in Sheldon, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Museums such as Prairie Museum help a visitor understand a community and give a better insight of history, good or bad, that residents encountered. Making a visit more meaningful and receiving a better understanding of times past.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A variety of exhibits can be found in the Sheldon Prairie Museum in Sheldon, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Earlier residents of Sheldon, Iowa, now on display at the Sheldon Prairie Museum in Sheldon, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A photograph of early Sheldon residents, and survivors of the American Civil War, now on display at the Sheldon Prairie Museum in Sheldon, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Siouxland Man’s Passion, Lloyd Baker in Ashton

31 Aug

Resident Lloyd Baker drives three of his restored tractors in the parade at the Ashton, Iowa Town and Country Festival Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s always interesting to find someone passionate about a hobby. And hobbies can encompass almost anything. Siouxland resident Lloyd Baker’s hobby is a little large, and not something that easily fits into a desk drawer, like say a stamp or coin collection. Mr. Baker likes to restore early era farm tractors. Formerly working at an farm implement dealer in Sheldon, after retiring Baker couldn’t stop. During the recent Ashton Town and Country Fair I came upon his wife and she said her husband loves his John Deere tractors and spends many hours getting them running and restoring some of them.

A local resident, Lloyd baker, finds and restores, for the most part, older tractors, especially John Deeres and has his “office” and repair shop in the Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A local resident, Lloyd Baker, finds and restores, for the most part, older tractors, especially John Deeres and has his “office” and repair shop in the Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And walking about his shop in Ashton Baker seems to have enough tractors to continue his fashion for many years to come. Enjoying something as he restores part of an American past which celebrates agriculture and farming and the changes that occurred in an industry that benefits so many.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A local resident , Lloyd Baker, finds and restores, for the most part, older tractors, especially John Deeres and has his “office” and repair shop in the Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Celebrating Riverboat Days in Siouxland, Yankton

27 Aug

Riverboat Days in Yankton, SD is a celebration in a way of the community’s past history, and a way of remembering the nicer aspects of it. The Siouxland community was built with the help of river traffic flowing on the Missouri River which borders the community’s downtown area. There is a parade one of the days and a number of other activities as well as food vendors and artists’ booths that line Riverside Park which borders the Missouri River.

People walk along the riverfront in Riverside Park looking at artists’ booths during the Riverboat Days in Yankton, SD Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

People line the streets waiting for a parade to begin for the Riverboat Days in Yankton, SD Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The parade in a way seems perfunctory or a prerequisite, although a lot of work goes into it and residents enjoy it, catcalling people they know in the parade and just enjoying the day as the community celebrates its history and way of life. Even a small kitten peeking out from a doorway seemed to be in the spirit.

Even a kitten inside of a store looks out to watch the parade for the Riverboat Days in Yankton, SD Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Flags also wave at passing parade floats and agricultural items during the parade for the Riverboat Days in Yankton, SD Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Always a hit during parades, antique tractor equipment roll along during the Riverboat Days Parade in Yankton, SD Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And on a nice day, looking at artist’s wares and having a selection of various foods, healthful or not, to choose to indulge or just enjoy a view of the river is a day well spent. And will continue to brings its residents and visitors together sharing a moment and having a nice time.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

A variety of artist items tempts shoppers during the Riverboat Days in Yankton, SD Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A young boy gets a painted face during the Riverboat Days in Yankton, SD Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

People mill about checking out artists’ booth in Riverside Park along the Missouri River during the Riverboat Days in Yankton, SD Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

History on Display in Siouxland, DeBoer Grocery Museum, Ashton

25 Aug

A little museum in Siouxland, the DeBoer Grocery Museum in Ashland, has been a place I have wanted to visit for some time, but never caught it open. But recently attending a Town and Country celebration I got my chance.

A local museum situated downtown in Ashton, Iowa Saturday Nov. 5, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The De Boer Grocery Museum was an actual grocery store in Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The store was a working grocery until the 1960’s or ’70’s I believe. That was one question I did not get answered while I was there. But the place is full of historical items with more behind it and a small house next door where the owners lived.

in the Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A baptismal font from the former St. Mary’s Church in the Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018, which was used for all baptisms from 1900 until 1972 when a newer church was built seen in the De Boer Grocery Museum. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Photos of men from the Ashton, Iowa area that served in previous world wars, seen in the De Boer Grocery Museum Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An attached building has many farming items used pre, and probably post 19th century until Deere made available bigger pieces of equipment. I find that one can never encounter too much history, to learn about residents in an area and what life was like for them, even if at times it is presented in a more positive light than it probably was.

And even though technology has made life somewhat easier, at times it is no less hard as those who lived, died and celebrated life, good or ill, in the previous centuries. It’s what people do. And I am glad that it is remembered, even if in a small museum that is only open every now and again. The information is there, it’s up to the individual to seek it out and learn from it, or at least imbibe it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A prairie sod breaking plow circa 1918 used before a “regular” plow could be employed to begin farming on prairie land seen at the De Boer Grocery Museum in the Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A replica steam engine 1/4 the size of an original that would have been used for threshing grain early 1900’s seen at the De Boer Grocery Museum in the Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Early farming implements and tools see at the De Boer Grocery Museum annex in the Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An early agricultural photo seen at the De Boer Grocery Museum in the Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A Van Brunt grain seeder circa 1890’s seen at the De Boer Grocery Museum in the Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Small Town parades in Siouxland, Ashton

21 Aug

I like visiting small communities throughout Siouxland. They are such a slice of small town America, at least what I remember as a child growing up in Illinois. Different people from different backgrounds and geographic locations recall different memories. But events here like the Town and Country Festival in Ashton is a community event for those specific people. And they enjoy themselves and seeing friends, family and whomever else might happen to stumble into the parade. And all take great pride.

Those who served still honor parades and their country as at the Ashton, Iowa Town and Country Festival Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Small communities like these are still tied very much to the surrounding agriculture that occurs in places like Iowa. And so it figures that farming is part of an event or parade.

In small town parades farm equipment is part of the entourage like in the parade for the Ashton, Iowa Town and Country Festival Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Agriculture plays a large part in many small communities even during a parade such as at the Ashton, Iowa Town and Country Festival Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And the other part of any parade is candy that is tossed out to the kids, sometimes with parents helping, as they gather the treats that might see them through to the next holiday like Halloween or maybe just the next parade.

Kids with some assistance from parents and grandparents collecting candy during the parade at the Ashton, Iowa Town and Country Festival Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Most everyone knows who is sitting on the sidelines watching or those in the parade itself. Enjoying a summer’s day, nice weather and a community celebration, until next year.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A driver and “passenger” waving to the “crowd” attending the parade during the Ashton, Iowa Town and Country Festival Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Even in small towns people still line the street for parades such as at the Ashton, Iowa Town and Country Festival Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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