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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

 

Enjoying Spring Colors in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

15 Apr

I as many am waiting for the flowers to bloom and the grass to turn greener in Siouxland. On a recent trip to hear a speaker at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, it was a grey and overcast day. The ground still looking like winter, just without the snow. So I was happy to see a little “artificial” color introduced to the campus by students I am guessing. Their brand new bikes ready for adventures minus the snow and slush to drive through. The bubble gum colors made me smile. And the school’s one color is red, which all the bike stands and other items like benches are painted on campus.

And I only wondered how the individuals were dressed that were riding these bikes. Hopefully not in chic black.

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

Just Searching in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

2 Apr

Recently on a trip to Vermillion, SD I ate lunch and walked about looking for some different images that maybe I have overlooked in the past. I have been to Vermillion numerous times and walked about the campus of the University of South Dakota there, as well as the downtown area. This day it was heavy overcast and no sunshine to speak of, but at least it was “warmish” and pleasant to walk about and be out of the house as spring begins to settle into the Siouxland area.

The prospect of finding something new I think is always a challenge when photographing a place one knows fairly well. The overcast day also presented a challenge with its flat light. No chance of using lights and shadows to create images. And then I saw it. Shapes. On a bright sunny day I might have overlooked these, but on this particular day these images just stood out. Hiding in plain sight some may say. Or just being observant and looking for images to make the day a little more successful.

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 Black and White in Siouxland, Yankton, SD

15 Mar

Not all days turn out marvelous photos as I might hope and believe, but still, I always try to see images of things I have witnessed or photographed before. Hopefully a little differently. During a trip to Yankton, SD, I wasn’t finding anything that made me jump for joy but did make a couple of images that I believed worked better in black and white than color. Some may agree, others not. But one never knows unless one is out shooting.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying the Light in Siouxland, Adams Homestead in SD

9 Mar

Sometimes while out shooting I just enjoy looking at light. And depending on what it falls on creates something that might be worth photographing. One such outing in Siouxland was at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD. I like the Adams Homestead. There are hiking trails that take you to the Missouri River, through a stand of cottonwood trees that have been standing for almost a century and to the homestead itself. The Homestead area over time has taken on a more park-like atmosphere which is nice but lacks its earlier charm of rustic chaos which I enjoyed photographing. But there is barn there still standing that I always visit and have photographed countless times with the look changing through the seasons and time of day and with and without much sunshine. I sometimes wonder if this is how artist Claude Monet felt when he visited the Giverny garden in France. While there is no comparison between my photographs and his paintings, it the continual visitation to a place to look, see and maybe record something not seen and seen many times. A thing of beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Window shopping at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Sept. 2, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Window shopping at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Sept. 2, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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