Tag Archives: architecture

Looking up in Siouxland, Omaha, NE

11 May
Looking up in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I remember so many years ago before living in Siouxland and visiting relatives in a larger city than where I lived people reminded me not to look up. They said doing so would make me stand out as a tourist. While I understood what they were getting at, the advice belied the fact that I was indeed, a tourist. And looking up just naturally comes with that territory.

Walking around downtown Omaha, NE one can play tourist. The small city has a interesting mix of buildings and styles. While not a student of architecture or the history of that medium, I know there is a mixture of various architectural styles found there and the tall buildings naturally invites one to look at and admire their grandeur..

Looking at taller buildings in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing shapes in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But it’s not just the buildings seen outside, but sometimes it’s also what is seen inside. While I didn’t photograph the front of the Douglas County Courthouse in Omaha, I did pause to photograph the ceiling inside. Older courthouses have a style and decor that is wonderful. And as many were built early on, sometimes in another century, what is seen helps tell the history of a place, although that history was generally told through the eyes of those wielding power at the time, mainly the movers and shakers of the day. Monied people who settled the area and controlled that through their wealth and influence.

Inside the Douglas County District Courthouse in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Inside the Douglas County District Courthouse in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But the architecture is to be admired, if not the message through the murals that adorn the spaces. The style is grand, elegant and formal. Many times constructed with marble that today would be beyond the reach of many communities and sensibilities and styles change. No longer harkening back to those European roots per se, but looking to create a statement of the those who craft the structures today making their own mark and not wanting to continue a traditionalist look created many centuries ago.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A portrait of a forebear hanging inside the Douglas County District Courthouse in downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding History Nestled in Siouxland, Trinity Cathedral, Omaha, NE

25 Apr
The Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska Trinity Cathedral is surrounded by newer and more 20th century architecture near downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Those communities and larger cities settled more than a century or two ago have what one might consider an odd conglomeration of architecture dotting its downtown streets and city core. Most U.S. cities downtown areas are dotted with European style architecture which makes sense since it was settlers of those countries for the most part that began a push westward in their newly adopted home. These buildings reminded them of their former home and parts there about.

But as cities grew and entered into the next century and generations of people tastes and styles of architecture also changed and became more modern looking. The Trinity Episcopal Cathedral of the Nebraska Diocese is the oldest church building still in use in the state.

According to its website: ” The community of Trinity has been worshiping in Downtown Omaha since the city’s earliest days. Founded in 1856 by Nebraska’s first settlers, Trinity came through a financial crash, a building fire, and the struggles of the frontier before moving into a beautiful building on the corner of 18th and Capitol in 1883. We’ve been there ever since, making Trinity Cathedral the oldest church building in Nebraska still in use.

That long legacy has given us a love of beauty and history, which shows up in our architecture, our music, and our worship. It’s also made us committed to serving the physical, spiritual, and social needs of our neighbors as an inclusive, loving community where everyone can find a home.”

The Fisst Bishop of Nebraska is buried at the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska Trinity Cathedral near downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
The Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska Trinity Cathedral is the oldest still in use church building located near downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
The Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska Trinity Cathedral near downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Cities’ downtown areas grew up around the core that began in some case two centuries ago and some of which still thrive as well in cities in the eastern U.S. which are even older than Omaha. In some ways these buildings tell folk a little history visually about a community. Pueblos and missions certainly do that in the western areas of the U.S. The architecture grounds a community in some respect linking to a past that almost certainly is overlooked these days until one stops and actually thinks about it.

A newer skyscraper peeks above the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska Trinity Cathedral located near downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
The Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska Trinity Cathedral near downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am certain the inside of this church like many religious buildings is beautiful on the inside. Many times when I happen upon places they are not always open, certainly not these days during the coronavirus pandemic. But that might be something for another trip to enjoy the solitude and history one might feel inside the church. Certainly many footfalls have echoes within, both in joyous and sadder times. A rock in a community to anchor those who wish it. Whose doors are always, generally, open and welcoming to those who wish to visit.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska Trinity Cathedral near downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
The Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska Trinity Cathedral near downtown Omaha, NE Monday, March 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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©)

%d bloggers like this: