Tag Archives: council bluffs iowa

Sharing History in Siouxland, Council Bluffs

3 Jan

Council Bluffs probably sits on the southern border of Siouxland and it’s a place I have only recently begun to explore while visiting there. I find it fun to see how different communities explore their own history and share that history with visitors.

Historical tile work in the sidewalk at street corners in Council Bluffs, Iowa Wednesday Oct. 4, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Historical tile work in the sidewalk at street corners in Council Bluffs, Iowa Wednesday Oct. 4, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It seems to be a pretty city with fairly clean streets and welcoming to those walking about. Brick pavements in part and maintained older buildings seem to populate part of the downtown area.

Downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Wednesday Oct. 4, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Tile in the intersections of some streets in Council Bluffs, Iowa Wednesday Oct. 4, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I enjoyed walking through one of its parks and along a thoroughfare downtown were planted green spaces. It’s place I want to return to and walk around some more, although that probably won’t happen until spring, maybe summer. Winters in Siouxland can sometimes change quickly and if I don’t have to get out into the cold, I don’t. Plus I find it is nice to being to stroll and enjoy surroundings without looking for a place to duck into to warm up. And maybe even enjoy a park I came across.

A downtown park with water fountains give a fresh feeling in Council Bluffs, Iowa Wednesday Oct. 4, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Just outside this downtown area are some historic homes also with brick streets that lend to the historical nature and feel for this community that at one time was the “edge” of civilization as America was expanding west with hope and promise to people who were born here and to immigrants looking for an opportunity to better themselves in a welcoming new country.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Framing the Obvious in Siouxland and the Joslyn Museum, Omaha, NE

14 Dec

When out shooting sometimes I don’t really know what to expect until I see an image in front of me. During an outing with my Photo Safari class through the Lifelong Learning program at Western Iowa Tech Community College I was struck by some columns in downtown Sioux City.

in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Saturday Nov. 4, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

I never really noticed City Hall behind it until that night.

And during my trip to Council Bluffs and visiting the historic General Dodge House columns again caught my attention.

Columns line the porch of the Dodge House, former residence of one Gen. Greville M. Dodge, a Civil War Veteran and railroad builder who settled in Council Bluffs, Iowa Wednesday Oct. 4, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As did a recent to to the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE. The architecture there in the building itself is as much a tribute to art and the art of building as are the works found within it. It was a good day to wander through the museum and enjoy the building and what it offers in and of itself.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Columns in the Joslyn Art Museum frame other building aspects in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Columns in the Joslyn Art Museum frame other building aspects in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Columns in the Joslyn Art Museum frame other building aspects in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Learning History around Siouxland, the Dodge House, Council Bluffs

10 Dec

On a recent outing I traveled south to the city of Council Bluffs which is probably outside the Siouxland perimeter but still is situated within the Loess Hills defined area. I wanted to visit a historic house, the Dodge House, a residence of the youngest Civil War general, Grenville M. Dodge and later a builder of the railroad network that traversed early America. Like all well maintained historical residences the home contains the essence of the era plus artifacts of the man’s life.

The Dodge House was the residence of one Gen. Grenville M. Dodge, a Civil War Veteran and railroad builder who settled in Council Bluffs, Iowa Wednesday Oct. 4, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A portrait of Gen. Grenville M. Dodge, a Civil War Veteran and railroad builder who settled in Council Bluffs, Iowa Wednesday Oct. 4, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The General lived quite an eventful life and at the time settled in Council Bluffs on what then was a frontier of America. On the Council Bluff’s website this bit of history of General Dodge is recorded: “In 1853, Grenville M. Dodge took charge of a crew surveying central Iowa to find a terminus for the Rock Island Railroad on the Missouri River.  Dodge chose Council Bluffs, and later he settled his growing young family there in 1855. Dodge and his brother created a banking house which merged into the Pacific National Bank and ultimately became the longest continuously chartered bank in Iowa’s history.  In 1858 Dodge made the acquaintance of an Illinois railroad lawyer named Abraham Lincoln, who had been hired by railroad financier Thomas Durant to do work in Iowa where Dodge was engaged in surveying.”

The General and his family lived in style as he pursued his military and later engineering career.

Docent Connie Spencer, right, leads a tour through the Dodge House in Council Bluffs, Iowa Wednesday Oct. 4, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A study for Gen. Grenville M. Dodge, a Civil War Veteran and railroad builder who settled in Council Bluffs, Iowa Wednesday Oct. 4, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A bedroom in the Dodge House in Council Bluffs, Iowa Wednesday Oct. 4, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looking down the stairwell from the top floor of the Dodge House in Council Bluffs, Iowa Wednesday Oct. 4, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy learning a little more history about places I live in and near. For some it might be useless information but knowing how life was previously lived is never a bad thing. Some just lived life a little better than others.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

%d bloggers like this: