Tag Archives: architecture

Depicting History in Siouxland, Courage Park in Omaha, NE

7 Apr
A number of statues showing pioneering families headed to a new frontier as white settlers westward expansion begins appear in the Pioneer Courage Park in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. According to a website by First National Bank, “Installed in 2005 and 2009, Sculptors Blair Buswell of Highland, Utah, and Ed Fraughton of South Jordan, Utah, created Pioneer Courage with four pioneer families and their covered wagons departing westward from Omaha.” (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While visiting in Omaha, NE just south of Siouxland I came across a park I had not seen before. Friends and I were exploring parts of the city we had not previously walked about and so it was a pleasant surprise to find this homage paid to those settlers that set out for the “new frontier” and a life apart from what they had known. Because this sculpture garden was created a few years ago it does not take into account current perceptions of events as “white immigrants” flooded the western plains obtained through the Louisiana Purchase and after the exploratory visit by Lewis and Clark’s expedition to map the newly obtained land.

A number of statues showing pioneering families headed to a new frontier as white settlers westward expansion begins appear in the Pioneer Courage Park in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A number of statues showing pioneering families headed to a new frontier as white settlers westward expansion begins appear in the Pioneer Courage Park in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While the westward expansion opened up new territories to current United States residents and immigrants, it also began a long history of a not so good relationship with Native American residents who had inhabited the land for many generations and millennia. Whether or not another downtown park will address that issue for future generations is for current and future residents of the Omaha community to address. The park though is a nice break within all of the cement buildings that surround this island oasis which probably looks more inviting for lunch time breaks during spring, summer and fall lunch times for surrounding employees working in the area.

A number of statues showing pioneering families headed to a new frontier as white settlers westward expansion begins appear in the Pioneer Courage Park in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A passerby checks out statues showing pioneering families headed to a new frontier as white settlers westward expansion begins appear in the Pioneer Courage Park in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A number of statues showing pioneering families headed to a new frontier as white settlers westward expansion begins appear in the Pioneer Courage Park in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Still, for a photo expedition exploring a community it was a nice find on a rather pleasant early spring day. I always enjoy history, and realize that most times the history presented comes from a single source with possibly a single point of view. The park shows the fortitude and gumption of those early settlers who went west to find a new life and beginning for themselves, much like today’s modern immigrants and residents who can more easily, at times, travel the many miles to find a new life. Each era has its own obstacles and problems, which sadly never seems to have an easy solution. And it seems that those searching for a better life for themselves and their families, away from starvation (Irish), persecution (Quakers) and other life strifes such as war ( any number of countries) the desires, needs and wants have not changed, only perspective and “characters” of those now in need. Travel today is almost instantaneous when compared to that of a couple centuries ago. And these days there seems to be more NIMBY’s than those willing to offer a hand. I sometimes muse what might have happened and how my own and others futures looked much different had Native Americans then rebuffed the Quakers and other European settlers and conquerors who first set foot on this land. Rather than sharing a first Thanksgiving, there might not have been any history written about those lost souls who traveled the sea to seek a better life. No word ever returning to those distant shores. The strife, famine and others ills of centuries past have never ceased, nor likely seem to, and until as it’s said, the root of those evils or calamities are addressed, people will leave their homeland in search of a better life somewhere else where they think it might be safe. But the chance of those underlying problems being addressed seem of little concern to those making important decisions.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa


A number of statues showing pioneering families headed to a new frontier as white settlers westward expansion begins appear in the Pioneer Courage Park in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A number of statues showing pioneering families headed to a new frontier as white settlers westward expansion begins appear in the Pioneer Courage Park in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A number of statues showing pioneering families headed to a new frontier as white settlers westward expansion begins appear in the Pioneer Courage Park in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Statues in Courage Park in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021 depict settlers moving westward during the westward expansion in the 1800’s after the Louisiana Purchase. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A number of statues showing pioneering families headed to a new frontier as white settlers westward expansion begins appear in the Pioneer Courage Park in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Light and Shadow in Siouxland, Joslyn Castle, Omaha, NE

15 Sep

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always like revisiting places I have previously been to, in Siouxland and elsewhere. Different time of year gives a different look to the area or place itself, such as the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE. The grounds are very nice and the tour inside was again informative as a different docent volunteer led this tour. Because of the coronavirus fewer people gives those on the tour more of an opportunity to ask questions. And having visited previously ask questions with some knowledge about the history of the place.

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Having been here before I looked differently at the former residence of a prominent family and because the season was more summer than winter as last time the lighting inside was also different. Lights and shadows are always fascinating, at least to me. Enjoying the play of light inside a room. Of course one has to be content with how the sun is when on a tour. Planning for optimal light is never going to happen without unfettered access, and that is not going to happen either.

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But it’s always nice to spend a day out, hearing about an area and wondering how it looked in early pioneer days for those folk who lived there then. The castle at the time was on the western most edge of the community of Omaha with prairie beyond its borders, that is now occupied with homes, many homes. But as I listened I was looking, seeing those little things of interest to me, in my own reverie and speculating how many footsteps had passed these simple areas on how many years and if they appreciated where they were or were just busy with life around them to consider much else.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Visiting the Joslyn Castle in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying an Old Building in Siouxland, Winnebago, NE

30 Jun

Older building in Winnebago, NE Monday, June 15, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When driving about in Siouxland I am always looking for “used” buildings, or those which have seen better days. Never to buy, but photograph. While in large cities the big shiny glass, steel and concrete buildings are a sight to behold, I like the ones found in smaller communities that over the years have only added to their character.

A thistle plant grows in front of an older building in Winnebago, NE Monday, June 15, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

What I see could be described as an artistic interpretation, but I just the like the “character” of the structure, the history it holds that I will never know, and for the most part a simple, functional design.

A doorway into an older building in Winnebago, NE Monday, June 15, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Older building in Winnebago, NE Monday, June 15, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I’m not detailing  structures in the Siouxland area for any purpose other than my own enjoyment and how I might present it. I see details, large and small, never quite capturing the whole but finding the sums of the parts to be more interesting. But again, every interpretation is open to discussion and is always in the eye of beholder. And a little bit of history of another era.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Older building in Winnebago, NE Monday, June 15, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeling the Light in Siouxland, Sioux City

7 Apr

Light and shadows during a walk in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, March 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing light as a photographer is a very helpful thing. Some days in Siouxland I do little photography but a lot of looking. At how light behaves, its direction, quality and other aspects. I like light, and yes, it is necessary for photography and many other things. I don’t want to get too existential or scientific.

Light and shadows during a walk in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, March 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Toss in some heavy, late afternoon directional light against a reflective surface and other photographic possibilities open up. One of the joys of just walking and looking, if only my memory was that good, or if I wrote stuff down. Now where did I leave that notebook?

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and shadows during a walk in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, March 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Shaping up in Siouxland, architectual bits and pieces, Sioux City and Council Bluffs

30 Jan

The Union Pacific Railraod Museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa resides in a former public library, possibly a former Carnegie Library of which many were built around the country in the 19th century seen Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I don’t very often visit larger communities and see some of the more modern buildings, as well as those architecturally historical as well. But I do enjoy seeing the use of such in public and private buildings. I am certain that modern pieces still employ some bits and pieces that were all the rage in centuries past, but times and tastes change.

Arches are such items that can hardly go unnoticed when viewing a building. Although I guess it depends on how it is incorporated into the structure. Arches by themselves garner the attention because it is just them. Nothing else attached. And hopefully framing something worthwhile to draw a person’s attention.

An arch at the Anderson Dance Pavillion in Sioux City, Iowa, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An arch at the Anderson Dance Pavillion in Sioux City, Iowa, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And sometimes an arch is part of the overall design and possibly eclipsed by the structure itself and only admired when one takes the time to study the view. Older homes and buildings employed such devices I am sure to set themselves apart from the common home, to give the occupant, whether person or entity something others didn’t have and a step up from what their neighbors offered.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The General Dodge House museum sits on a hilltop overlooking downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Deciding about Perspective in Siouxland, Nebraska State Capitol, Lincoln

14 Mar

In a hallway in Nebraska’s State Capitol in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Somedays out photographing while traipsing about Siouxland and nearby destinations I come across scenes that immediately grab my attention. And then later realize what a tough choice to choose one photograph of which basically contains the same elements as the other photographs, but imbue the same sense of place, just differently.

In a hallway in Nebraska’s State Capitol in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And the use of light and shade can greatly affect how an image is portrayed and received. Each has its own feeling imparted to the viewer. And of course one never has enough people about to sometimes populate one’s photos to help lead the eye through the scene. These images were taken in the state capitol of Nebraska, in Lincoln.

In a hallway in Nebraska’s State Capitol in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A closer perspective of the scene looks different than one farther away, and yet shifting to one side or another gives yet another variance and fell to the same scene. Of course a body in the hallway helps ring the eye of the viewer into the receding aspect of the hallway.

Even during a legislative break there are folk walking the hallways of power at the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And lastly, those hallways that are not accessible to the photographer except through a window reveal one more way to depict a similar scene with one more variance of the perspective. And I will confess, I like all of the images, each interpreting what is seen in a different manner.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An outside hallway in Nebraska’s State Capitol in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying Architectural Beauty around Siouxland, Lincoln, NE

26 Feb

Traveling outside of Siouxland and visiting the state capitol of Nebraska in Lincoln recently was a real treat. The architecture is striking and sometimes it’s a challenge to observe and appreciate so much grandeur in one visit. I have only been to this community a couple of times but already would like to return and explore it some more. And capitol cities have a lot of amenities that other communities do not simply by virtue of being the capitol. And I am certain the community will look different in the spring, summer and fall.

Nebraska’s State Capitol in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Plenty of outdoor seating available on the walkway up to Nebraska’s State Capitol this time of year in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The legislature in Nebraska is a unicameral. A one body organization that is basically a part-time gig for those representing others in their respective districts. And it is the only one in the United States. Evidently it was a popular governmental system, and although studied, was never implemented as a legislative body for another state.

The West Chamber renamed the Warner Legislative Chamber at Nebraska’s State Capitol in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Unicameral chamber in Nebraska’s State Capitol in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Like all state and federal government buildings of note, the entrance inside is beautifully done. Although costs today might prohibit such an undertaking. It is nice that local and visiting persons can wander about and enjoy the architectural design and learn more about history of the area which is depicted through a number of murals displayed on the walls. The building also contains hallways also befitting such a structure where one can only guess that some state business in conducted out of sight before retiring to the chamber for the formal process.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Motifs and symbolic imagery abounds in Nebraska’s State Capitol in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Symbolic designs and motifs on the floor of Nebraska’s State Capitol in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Even during a legislative break there are folk walking the hallways of power at the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln, NE Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing Shapes in Siouxland, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake

27 Jan

While driving about Siouxland I always enjoy looking at architecture. I have never taken an appreciation class, like is offered for art (although I never took one of those either) but enjoy the symmetry that is visually there. And I tend to like more traditional architecture than ultra modern, but it depends on the day, the amount of coffee I have consumed and my mood. Siouxland is defined by more traditional architecture than larger American cities having developed in those formative years of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s when that architecture was popular. But it all has it’s place and it is nice to have a smorgasbord of building types to view. And maybe I just need to get out more.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Nature and man’s buildings on the campus of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Repetition in arches at the Estelle Siebens Science Center on the campus of the Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Light Play in Siouxland, Omaha, NE

26 Nov

Visiting the city of Omaha, NE, just south of Siouxland one can enjoy the urban environment without some of the hassle of much larger metropolis. And the light interacts differently with buildings there than it does in other cities I visit in and around the Siouxland area.

An architectural detail on a building near Old Market in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Nov. 7 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Soft light and a bit harsher light, although fall produces less of the latter with the sun occupying a different sector of the sky. I just enjoy the light play and how it interacts with these manmade structures and makes me ponder if the original architect really knew what would happen in such a scene as he/she were planning the design for this particular building, or if it was merely commerce and a commission to get something up that would become a warehouse, office building, or later formerly used buildings converted into loft apartments.

Afternoon light highlights one building and shades another near Old Market in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Nov. 7 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Neighborhood residents enjoy the sunshine near Old Market in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Nov. 7 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The architecture harkens an earlier era and gives a nice feel to this part of Omaha. And personally try to enjoy these simple pleasures, the interplay of light and shade, sometimes in snippets and fragments as I explore surrounding Siouxland areas.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Railing shadow and wall design near Old Market in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Nov. 7 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding Doorways in and out of Siouxland, Omaha, NE

5 Feb

During my visit to the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE, which is on the southern end of Siouxland, I find it great to walk around older constructed buildings. The archways and flooring and other touches that went into constructing buildings before “modern” architecture began popping up more and more I personally find intriguing. And this was something that struck me as I walked around the museum looking at beautiful artwork created centuries ago. The old saying I believe is, “When one door closes another one opens.” There is actually not many opening and closing doors in the museum, but as one walks around looking at the art, one knew a doorway would lead to another hall of filled with breathtaking pieces of art.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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