Tag Archives: Heritage Village

Revisiting History in Siouxland, Heritage Village, Sioux Center

14 Jun
Earthen mound prairie house at the Heritage Village in Sioux Center, Iowa Monday, March 29, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

From time to time while driving about Siouxland I like to revisit places, even if it’s off-peak for any activity that might be going on. The Heritage Village in Sioux Center is one such place. A small replica village that celebrates the history of the early settlers and the agricultural aspect of the Midwest. The place has a different look during different seasons, even without the activity of its fall festival celebration.

Inside the earthen mound prairie house at the Heritage Village in Sioux Center, Iowa Monday, March 29, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Inside the earthen mound prairie house at the Heritage Village in Sioux Center, Iowa Monday, March 29, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Early settlers traveled very light, or as light as they could if going west by wagon and any other means of transportation. Some of the early plains settlers lived in sod houses. The wall thick with cutouts for windows, the small abodes kept folk cool in the heat of summer and warm in winter. But with very little room to move about, it’s safe to assume most activity, weather dependent, took place outdoors. And in those days I am sure there was no lack of work to survive and hopefully to also enjoy themselves in simple pleasures, like a nice day with sunshine, light breeze and a decent temperature.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Inside the earthen mound prairie house at the Heritage Village in Sioux Center, Iowa Monday, March 29, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Light in Siouxland, Heritage Village, Sioux Center

1 May
Heritage Village in Sioux Center, Iowa Monday, March 29, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes when I am cruising about Siouxland without any objective in mind, I just enjoy the light that I come across. To me it seems early spring and then again fall, when the sun is slowly changing its position relative to the earth, I find the play of light in the mornings and again afternoons just a bit different. Strong light without being overly harsh as it will become as seasons move toward summer. Light play and shadows created are intriguing, at least to me. Shapes, designs, patterns, repetitions and such can be endlessly fascinating.

Heritage Village in Sioux Center, Iowa Monday, March 29, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The images themselves can be somewhat like cotton candy, in that they look nice, kind of cool, sometimes, but like the cotton candy, without any meaningful nutrition or value, other than how it looks. But sometimes, that is enough.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Heritage Village in Sioux Center, Iowa Monday, March 29, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating Fall Harvest in Siouxland at the Heritage Village, Sioux Center

7 Oct

An annual event in Sioux Center is the Heritage Village Harvest Festival that celebrates early pioneer life in Siouxland. The Friday of that particular weekend local schools generally bring some of their school children to visit to see what life was like one or even two centuries ago without the modern convenience of grocery stores or indoor plumbing.

School children try their hand at pumping water during the Heritage Village Harvest Festival in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday Sept. 15, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Heritage Village volunteer Dave Schelhaas gets a young volunteer to help dig potatoes in the garden during Harvest Festival in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday Sept. 15, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Volunteers dress up in period outfits and help to explain to the children and visitors alike the types of life and “appliances” previously used by settlers who first arrived in the immediate area in which the children live and the kind of life they encountered.

Visitors wait their turn to look inside a small sod house which was a normal dwelling during early pioneer days during the Heritage Village Harvest Festival in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday Sept. 15, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Heritage Village volunteer Gloria Hoekstra shows young students from a local school how butter is made during Harvest Festival in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday Sept. 15, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Children are rightfully amazed at how people lived decades ago and how much progress has been made. So many, even living within an agricultural area such as Iowa, have never been to a farm and their parents probably don’t have a garden. So a little dose of history and the understanding of so many things we take for granted today is beneficial to them and other visitors too. When I hear of people talking about “simpler” times I must consciously keep from rolling my eyes and asking which times? Before air conditioning or after it. And for whom. Not all people enjoyed the benefits of progress as they were first introduced and so I wonder how much simpler times were then.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seeing Color in Siouxland, Heritage Village in Sioux Center

9 May

On my most recent outing with students in my Lifelong Learning class of Photo Safari we spent a good portion of the class at the Heritage Village in Sioux Center. It was a brilliant spring day and colors just seemed to pop everywhere one looked. The Heritage Village is a historical montage of area history with a sod house similar to what early settlers may have lived in, as well other stores like a leather maker, general dry goods store and a blacksmith shop. It was just a nice day to be outside, enjoying the spring weather and taking photographs.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seeing Sunshine in Siouxland, Heritage Village in Sioux Center

21 Feb

Like many parts of the U.S. recently, Siouxland had an unexpected warmup and it was nice to see sunshine again. The quality of light is sweet, hard and very defined. And it was just nice to be outside with a jacket and hat and not freezing too much to look for photos. Spring is approaching, and Mother Nature was really teasing this past week.

I took a trip up to Sioux Center and visited the Heritage Village. A historical replica of what could be found in the area during the early settler days and more recent, at least if one believes the 1940’s and 50’s are more recent. But it was just a nice day to enjoy and see the sunshine.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Sunny Side of Siouxland, Heritage Village

29 Feb

This past December I took a trip north to Sioux Center, Iowa, when it was a sunny day just to get out and about and photograph. After a few dreary days of overcast skies, it was nice to see and feel the sunshine, even though it was still cold. I stopped by the Heritage Village to check if it was open, and spent a little time just enjoying the sun and walking about. Now that March will be here in another day, I am looking forward to getting out more and seeing sunshine again on a daily basis. As nice as overcast days can be, the sun just adds another nice element to the photographic mix.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seeing Color in Siouxland, Heritage Village

17 Feb

The last few days have been fairly drab and dreary, with overcast skies and the potential for snow off and on. The sun peeks through the clouds at times, but the little it is seen makes one long for that first day of spring with sunshine, blue skies and warmer temperatures. Earlier in winter I took a trip north to Sioux Center, Iowa and visited the Heritage Village. It was a sunny, cold day. But the sun just makes some colors pop some days and I was lucky on my visit there to see this barn door. I remind students in some of my photo classes not to get lost in the forest when looking at trees, and the same is true when out shooting, that one sometimes forgets to isolate those areas of interest which by itself may not be significant, but can still make a nice photo.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Color at Heritage Village in Sioux Center Iowa, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga ©)

Color at Heritage Village in Sioux Center Iowa, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga ©)

A Charred History in Siouxland, Sioux Center

21 Jan

A few weeks back on what was a warm day for winter I visited Sioux Center, Iowa, and in particular stopped by the Heritage Village there. I was sad to see there had been a fire in one of the buildings, and learned later through someone I know that the fire might be suspicious in nature. Fires happen, especially in winter, but to intentionally set a fire in a place that teaches local history to local area residents is really sad and disturbing. I haven’t heard much since visiting there in early December but I am certain that some of the items lost in the fire were irreplaceable pieces of history that someone local had donated. And a setback for those who volunteer their time to teach history and raise funding to support the village so area children and adults can actually see what life was like for their ancestors.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Learning Siouxland History in Heritage Village, Sioux Center

8 Oct

In early September I had the good fortune to visit Heritage Village in Sioux Center, Iowa, when it was open and volunteered by people portraying early settlers and on hand to explain about life on the prairie and what it was like for early settlers in the region. On that particular day close to 1,000 area school children visited the Village and watched in awe almost trying to understand how early settlers survived with what they had then. The kids were fascinated with hand water pumps, churning butter, and living in a sod hut like early farmers in the area. Places like the Heritage Village give us a snapshot of where we have been and truly how far via technology we have traveled, yet also the independence of early pioneers. It was a good day and reminder of life in general and to appreciate what one has at hand.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

 

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