Tag Archives: beresford south dakota

Enjoying History in Siouxland, Without Knowing it, rural South Dakota, Beresford

20 May

Older barns in disrepair seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I traverse various parts of Siouxland while driving about I find that I see fewer and fewer older wooden barn. The rustic look, even in disrepair, hail to an era that has for the most part passed. Farmers or those farming ( industrial operations) no longer erect the wooden structures that at one time housed animals, harvested crops and machinery. As the bigger is better mantra continues to envelope America and it’s ideal of business the small farmer also has disappeared and the structures now that house equipment is metal or fiberglass. More cost effective, less maintenance and all of those things that attribute to the bottom line.

But I miss seeing the structures. And most times I happen upon them at the wrong time of day while out driving around. Maybe seeing them in passing. Sometimes stopping, sometimes not, depending on if I am time constrained to arrive someplace.

Two older barns seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The rustic nature appeals to my visual sense, but the use and disuse and decay speaks to another passing of an era where form and factor are no longer valued. That thought could be addressed to a lot of areas and state of affairs these days. When at a small time museum a few years ago a docent was showing school children and older wall phone which had the spin knob to wind it up and get a connection along with the ear piece held to one’s head and the extended speaker you had to lean into to speak with the operator, as well as the desk top model with the rotary dial.

The children had no idea what the two items were, and were quite astonished when they learned that what they carried in their pockets and took for granted was large, non moveable and didn’t have a screen. Advances in technology is marvelous with many wonderful inventions, but sometimes I wonder at what loss does this occur without the accompanying history that brought the state of humanity to this next level of achievement and the effort to get there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An older barn in disrepair seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing a Historical Landmark in Siouxland, Garfield Township Hall, Beresford, SD

28 Apr
The former Garfield Township Hall seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 the hall was built sometime around 1908. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Bits and pieces of history are scattered throughout Siouxland, probably like many other places, and little recognized by most people, even those living in the area. Passed by and seen as some old building, maybe past its prime. The Garfield Township Hall is a historic place that served its purpose earlier in another century.

According to a Wikipedia account the township of Garfield was established in 1880. It was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. And currently it appears that someone or group is trying to give it a little TLC.

The former Garfield Township Hall seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 the hall was built sometime around 1908. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Township halls in earlier days was a place for pioneers and locals to conduct business in the area. At the time the region of Dakota Territory was being settled and developing from early trading posts and forts along the Missouri River. It is reported the hall was constructed sometime in 1908. It served as a polling place, a theater, a local government office, and a public meeting space. The Wiki report states that in 1936, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) added a basement and renovated the building’s facade to its present appearance. The Garfield Township Hall is one of the few remaining buildings of historic note that is still standing.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The former Garfield Township Hall seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 the hall was built sometime around 1908. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Waiting for a Weather Change in Siouxland, Beresford, SD

28 Jul

History sitting in place sight seen during an outing of the Lifelong Learning Photo Safari class in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

This past week Siouxland experienced a very insufferable heat wave much like the eastern part of the U.S. is now experiencing. The start of this week has brought cooler temperatures which will hopefully last a few days before those Dog Days of Summer, and the month of August gets here. Everyone knows when it’s fair time it’s got to be hot and humid.

So it was a little to my delight when I came across a photograph I had taken in April during a Spring Photo Safari class I teach. There was unexpected weather that day. Snow, then rain. Now it sounds kind of nice, but then not so much. Winter had over extended its stay.

Having lived in a few places throughout this vast land there is one thing in common that I found people to say, “Just wait five minutes and the weather will change.”

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Community Parks in Siouxland, Bulow Park, Beresford, SD

26 Jun

When visiting various communities throughout Siouxland I always enjoy stopping by the parks. This one in Beresford, SD I would have missed except for a student calling me to see if I was coming by to check it out after a Photo Safari class had ended.

A stone wall greets visitors as they enter Bulow Park dedicated in 1959 in honor of William John Bulow, a founding father born in 1869 who served a few terms as mayor and as the city attorney in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Many of the parks built years or decades ago have a character to them that really isn’t seen these days. Maybe because the style of architecture or cost and available supplies have increased too much. Or possibly there isn'[t the community support to create such havens for its local residents that these green gems are a safe harbor to get away from the day to day and enjoy nature and quiet in such places as Bulow Park.

Stone steps lead to a small amphitheatre space in Bulow Park was dedicated in 1959 in honor of William John Bulow, a founding father born in 1869 who served a few terms as mayor and as the city attorney in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Stonework in Bulow Park which was dedicated in 1959 in honor of William John Bulow, a founding father born in 1869 who served a few terms as mayor and as the city attorney in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

I enjoyed the architecture immensely and know when the trees and bushes are in full bloom during summer it must be an awfully nice place for picnics and quiets getaways, well, except for the kids playing at the ball diamond next door. But it’s summer, and that kind of activity is expected and adds to ambience of summer time in the park.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Stonework in Bulow Park was dedicated in 1959 in honor of William John Bulow, a founding father born in 1869 who served a few terms as mayor and as the city attorney in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Waiting a Week in Siouxland, Beresford and Little Sioux

2 Jun

There are many places like Siouxland where locals will tell you that if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. I heard that refrain in Louisiana, growing up in Illinois and now in Iowa. And in some respects it’s true. Weather can change in a moment some times. Recently what everyone thought was spring was still a late blooming winter refrain.

Dressed for the weather on a cold, rainy and snowy spring day during an outing of the Lifelong Learning Photo Safari class in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Photo Safari classes I teach through a Lifelong Learning program at a local community college are done on Saturdays. It gives myself and the students a chance to get to places, spend some time photographing and learning more about a place as well as practicing the art of photography. But within a week much can happen. On the trip to Beresford we encountered snow flakes getting there and temps in the 30’s and eventually 40’s.

A different kind of doorway is found along with a spring’s dusting of snow during an outing of the Lifelong Learning Photo Safari class in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Brrrrrrrrr. Then a week later, spring seems like it finally arrived, blessing the class with some sunshine and warmer temps and a chance to walk about without feeling a chill. Summer is almost here and the weather around Siouxland is still acting a bit crazy, vacillating between cold overnights, some hit days and cold rain. But the snowflakes seemed to have gone into hibernation for the year, which I find to be a nice thing, and a chance to get out and explore more of this area.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Students enjoying a spring day during a Spring Photo Safari outing in Little Sioux , Iowa, Saturday May 4, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Livin’ the Dream in Siouxland, Beresford, SD

25 May

A room full of tempting items are seen in the Remember When …. Antiques business during the Lifelong Learning Photo Safari class in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Siouxland covers a region in western Iowa, southeastern South Dakota and northeast Nebraska. A variety of people with a variety of reasons call the area home. The area was traversed decades ago by the members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition exploring the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase, and later settlers began arriving to create a new home for themselves. And is some ways, calling the area home hasn’t changed. And one man or woman’s treasure is another’s junk.

Sue and Allen Smith moved to the Beresford area in South Dakota after retiring from jobs out west in a warmer climate. This area of the midwest is not for the faint of heart. The open prairie can be brutally cold during the winter months with 30-40 mph wind gusts and temps reaching well below a -15 degrees. And storms come through in the spring and summer months. Fall can be nice though.

The couple opened an antique store, Remember When …. Antiques, and they have a plethora of items for folk to look at. And they genuinely like the area, not to mention that they can find a lot of items for their store within an easy commute of where they live and work.

Sue Smith, foreground, and husband Allen prepare for another day at their antique and treasures “Remember When….Antiques” business seen during the Lifelong Learning Photo Safari class in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

The two seemed undaunted by the weather and invited some cold pedestrians visiting their small community into their store for a cup of coffee and a little warm up on a cold, snowy and blustery day in late April. Winter had not yet departed and clung to the area like a wet blanket leaving an adventurous class outing a bit more chilled than anticipated. Walking through the store was like walking back in time. Seeing items that I remember as a child growing up and seen in grandparents’ homes.

A room full of tempting items are seen in the Remember When …. Antiques business during the Lifelong Learning Photo Safari class in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s fascinating to look at items see a progression through the decades of what came before compared to what is available now. it helps give one a perspective and a bit of a history lesson if one takes the time to look at the items and ask questions and find that life in some ways is really not so bad after all these days.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A wedding gown and the bride’s photograph attached in a room full of tempting items seen in the Remember When …. Antiques business during the Lifelong Learning Photo Safari class in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fascination Doorways in Siouxland, Beresford and Little Sioux

11 May

Shapes and angles during an outing of the Lifelong Learning Photo Safari class in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

I like doorways. No matter where one goes in Siouxland, or any place else, one will encounter a doorway. And while there are grand ones to be found and admired, it’s the quirky and offbeat ones that attract my attention. And sometimes you can find them juxtaposed to other objects within a space and “redefine” your visual look of them. Most times though they are just straight forward as doorways but quirky.

Doorways and spring snow can be found during an outing for the Lifelong Learning Photo Safari class in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Not all doors lead to other spaces though, unless they are dimensional or one has an active imagination. Maybe too many episodes of the Twilight Zone as a child.

A different kind of doorway is found along with a spring’s dusting of snow during an outing of the Lifelong Learning Photo Safari class in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

But doorways are fascinating. Leading a person to another space and a place to explore beyond that doorway if it’s possible to get within. And there an imagination can be worthwhile as one conjures up what possibilities can be found just on the other side.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A doorway without steps seen during a Spring Photo Safari outing in Little Sioux , Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding Subjects in Siouxland, Beresford, SD

29 Apr

Shapes and color during an outing of the Lifelong Learning Photo Safari class in Beresford, SD Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

When teaching the Lifelong Learning photography classes I have at a local community college in Siouxland I encourage those attending to look and see and photograph what captures their interest and imagination. Everyone sees differently and that is a good thing. But I also encourage people to look at and photograph objects or places and scenes that may not always appeal to them, simply because they may surprise themselves.

During a recent class outing visiting Beresford, SD, the class and I walked about the small community’s downtown area. It had its classic early 19th century buildings and other interesting architecture. But after circling the area a couple of times and having previously visited it last fall, I came upon a wall this time that struck me because of the color involved and its relative starkness. On my first visit it was just an alley. But after the winter and before spring has begun in earnest its renewal, the starkness and color along with the benches created a scene I don’t remember seeing. Many times one just needs patience and a willingness to look at scenes a second time. And it could be a pleasant surprise.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

%d bloggers like this: