Forgotten Small Towns in Siouxland, Arcola, rural Monona County

10 Nov
Arcola was an early town in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. A historical reference states there was a post office there in Kenebee Township from 1861- 1887. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

History is a funny thing. Some things are never forgotten, and then others are never remembered but for sign posts. In Siouxland apparently as well as other places in Iowa there are a number of early towns of which little is known.

Arcola was an early town in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. A historical reference states there was a post office there in Kenebee Township from 1861- 1887. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A hillside near where Arcola was situated, an early town in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. A historical reference states there was a post office there in Kenebee Township from 1861- 1887. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The only reference I could find doing a little searching online is that once a post office was in a township where Arcola was located from 1861-1187. The town came in to existence prior to the start of the Civil War and lasted for a short bit after the war between the states.

The countryside around the posted sign is hilly, part of the Loess Hills region in western Iowa and only happenstance while driving by allowed me to even catch sight of the sign. Now the area is wooded, with some surrounding farmland and a winding road that drifts off like a trail may have in those days when the state was in its infancy.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Arcola was an early town in rural Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. A historical reference states there was a post office there in Kenebee Township from 1861- 1887. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Stepping Out in Siouxland, Ida Grove

8 Nov
A little used stairwell at a little used building downtown in Ida Grove, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking the first step or two for any adventure or any venture requires a forward motion. Looking for same in Siouxland requires effort and an open mind that one never knows what a person may see once something comes into view. Ever hopeful that something wonderful is just over the horizon and willing to take that step to see what it might be.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying a Fall Day in Siouxland, rural Monona County

6 Nov
The look of fall in rural Monona County, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking a drive in Siouxland on some back country roads is always a joy in the fall. Colors are changing in the landscape and the light play is fun to see and how it might sculpt the landscape.

The look of fall in rural Monona County, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The look of fall in rural Monona County, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As days begin to grow shorter, even before the change of Daylight Savings, it’s nice that the crack of dawn doesn’t begin before 6:30 or 7 am. The same is true for sunsets. Driving around on the backroads with music on allows one to forget about whatever animosity is occurring in the world.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The look of fall in rural Monona County, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
The look of fall in rural Monona County, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Snow in Siouxland, Sioux City

4 Nov
A squirrel pauses while eating at a backyard feeder in a home in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday Oct. 25, 2020 as local weather prognosticators said could expect anywhere from 2 inches up to 7 inches depending on location. Early, even by Iowa standards. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Winter has arrived early in Siouxland. Even though officially it’s a couple months away. The 4-5 inches of snow that fell clearly refutes anyone’s attempt that it’s not here.

Farmers in Iowa and neighboring states are still harvesting their crops. Halloween for some will be cold in addition to the already stressful thought of safely Trick or Treating during a pandemic. The cold and snow is just a reminder or foreshadowing of what’s to come and if it will make this winter’s season feel longer than normal.

I’m always hopeful for maybe a few more fall days, with temperatures in the 50’s and overnight lows no colder than the 30’s.

Hope springs eternal. But at this point, spring seems a far, far distant point on the horizon.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Two house sparrows eat a meal at a backyard feeder in a home in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday Oct. 25, 2020 as local weather prognosticators said people could expect anywhere from 2 inches up to 7 inches depending on location. Early, even by Iowa standards. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Last Dandelion Standing in Siouxland, Ida Grove

2 Nov
A dandelion makes a valiant last stand as snow predictions will cover it and the lawn at Moorehead Park in Ida Grove, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. Weather people predict anywhere from 2-7 inches depending on location. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While on an outing in Siouxland for a photography class I teach at the local community college, I was surprised to find a lone dandelion still standing, ready to spread its seed to propagate itself for yet another year. A recent snowfall that depended on location brought anywhere from 2-7 inches to the western Iowa area. I am certain this park looks much different now than it did a few days ago.

In a way I was sad to see the lone plant by itself, its seeds undisturbed, as though waiting. And for certain, Godot I did not see.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Halloween in Siouxland, Decatur, NE

31 Oct
The sun illuminates a cemetery in Decatur, NE creating silhouettes of grave markers Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It seems on Halloween cemeteries always get a bad rap. Horror movies have made them front and center for decades with scary scenarios involving them.

On a recent trip in Siouxland to Decature, NE, a setting sun creates a light play with the grave markers, illuminating the countryside around the hallowed ground. Rather than make the place spooky, it created a quiet solitude of peace. Something all souls look for when reaching that final stage while journeying to the next destination.

The sun illuminates the countryside as it begins to set behind a cemetery in Decatur, NE creating silhouettes of grave markers Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular plot of land sits on a hillside as many country cemeteries do, overlooking the community and surrounding area. Many of the markers have dates reaching back into the 19th century. A place of rest for early pioneers to the area. A place where they can rest and enjoy the area they traveled to to call home and begin a new life when the country was expanding west.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A setting sun near a cemetery in Decatur, NE silhouettes grave markers Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Waiting for Halloween in Siouxland, Durham Museum, Omaha, NE

29 Oct
The Durham Museum decked out for Halloween in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Halloween in Siouxland like many holidays has taken on a life of its own and gives people a chance to enjoy a day guilt free. Visiting the Durham Museum recently which is located in Omaha, NE, the museum was decked out in anticipation of the yearly event.

The Durham Museum decked out with various scary scenarios for Halloween in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
The Durham Museum decked out for Halloween in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Ghouls, ghosts and skeletons were found in various places throughout. And on occasion some guests added to the atmosphere for a spook festival that occurs Oct. 31. It’s always fun to see how places celebrate holidays and the Durham didn’t disappoint.

The Durham Museum decked out for Halloween in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A visitor makes a nice apparition while checking out an exhibit at the Durham Museum which is decked out for Halloween in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And while the adults didn’t get to indulge, there were goody bags for the kids, always in my humble opinion one of the best aspects of Halloween as a child. Candy may not settle the stomach after a good scare, but it doesn’t hurt either.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Shadows of strangers seen during a visit to the Durham Museum which is decked out for Halloween in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Winter has Arrived in Siouxland, rural Woodbury County

27 Oct
Only a mailbox is visible along a Woodbury County road shrouded in falling snow outside of Sioux City, Iowa Sunday Oct. 25, 2020 as local weather prognosticators said Siouxland, or western Iowa, eastern Nebraska and southeastern South Dakota could expect anywhere from 2 inches up to 7 inches depending on location. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Winter began, officially or not in Siouxland, late the other evening and continued snowing most of the day as visibility was mostly nil driving in the countryside. Some days are made to stay put and read a book, make another pot of coffee and enjoy a curled up cat.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Patience in Siouxland, Rural Monona County

25 Oct
A turkey vulture waits for a passer-by to leave to resume a meal in rural Monona County, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes patience is key in obtaining what one wants. Recently while driving some backroads in rural Monona County in Siouxland I interrupted a mealtime by some turkey vultures. Whether it was fresh road kill or not, the creatures patiently waited for me to leave so mealtime could continue and the good eats would not be wasted.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Turkey vultures wait for a passer-by to leave to resume a meal in rural Monona County, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Sunny Day in Siouxland, DeSoto Bend National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri Valley

23 Oct

Everyone enjoys a sunny day in Siouxland, critters included. With fall officially here the colder weather will arrive soon enough.

Birds resting on pilings and enjoying some sunshine at the DeSoto Bend National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Monday Oct. 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While visiting the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley there wasn’t as many migrating birds as one might think passing through the area yet. With warmer temperatures still it appears migration hasn’t really begun in earnest, at least for a lot of creatures.

Pelicans and ducks using a sand bar for some rest and relaxation on a sunny day at the De Soto Bend National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Monday Oct. 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Generally there can be thousands of ducks and geese passing through this area as a stop or rest area much like one sees along the interstate. Cooler temps are predicted in the following weeks so another trip might be warranted to see what birds are passing through on their journey to a winter habitat while some of us local critters stay put and dream of spring sometime in February after the charm of “winter” has worn off.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying some sunshine at the De Soto Bend National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Monday Oct. 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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