Tag Archives: history

A Threshing Bee in Siouxland, Granite

15 Aug

I attended a threshing bee festival in the small community of Granite this summer. As a child I remembered going to one or two with my parents in the 1960’s. It brought back memories of looking at what I thought then was old equipment, which today is even older.

Visitors fill a grandstand to watch a tractor parade of various makes, models and vintages at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A variety of older and antique tractors were on display at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The event was kind of an ode to tractors with various makes and models on display as well as participating in a parade. But the people attending enjoyed it, much like people attending a stock car race o other event.

Visitors mill about and visit small museum like homes plus lunch stands at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors enjoy the tractor parade that mostly featured antique and older working tractors at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am certain the event brought memories to some older farmers attending who actually used these tractors and other implements in their own farming when they were younger and farms were then smaller and more diverse. In the 1960’s and ’70’s farms were generally 200-300 acres and the farmers also either raised beef cattle or milked dairy, had pigs and chickens and also varied their crops between corn, soybeans, oats and alfalfa plus some grazing acres for their livestock, Today farms are really nothing more than large tracts of land which either produces corn or soybeans. That is a topic that could be discussed for years.

But I like the nostalgia of the event and was glad in seeing people enjoy this historical look back at an earlier era when times were tougher and more physical, but in which people derived a lot of self satisfaction.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Visitors checked out a variety of antique and older working tractors at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors enjoy seeing a variety of older working and antique tractors at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Gene Anderson of Harrisburg, SD sits in his refurbished Model A at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Looking for the latest about the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A tractor parade of various models and age was the highlight of the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors enjoy the shade as they watch a tractor parade of various makes, models and vintages at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Entire families show off their antique tractors during a parade at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Viewing History in Siouxland, Granite Threshing Bee

9 Aug

I recently visited the small community of Granite in Siouxland which has an annual threshing bee that celebrates an earlier century of American agriculture. While there I met a gentlman, Ed Monson, who collects old photographs that depict the railroad history throughout South Dakota and parts of Iowa.

Ed Monson of Sioux Falls, SD talks about his train and railroad photo collection in display at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Through his graciousness when visiting such historic get togethers he displays some of the photos he has collected over the years which paint an early picture of small towns in their beginnings, as most settlements grew when a railroad depot was created with the traffic it would generate, and then die as railroad companies moved their depot stops to other communities. I have traveled through many a small community in Siouxland and seen signs harkening back to a town’s beginnings, mostly based upon a railroad depot.

Ed Monson of Sioux Falls, SD displays his train and railroad photo collection at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s nice to be able to understand the history of a place and it helps when people provide an opportunity to showcase that history and share their knowledge of it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

People browse throughEd Monson’s, of Sioux Falls, SD, train and railroad photo collection on display at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Remembering History in Siouxland, Arnolds Park

7 Aug

I am a bit of a junkie when it comes to learning about historical aspects of small towns and communities. The saying of “It’s good to know where you have been to understand where you are going” or something to that affect is good to keep in mind. I visited a new museum in Arnolds Park Amusement Park recently in Siouxland and learned a bit more about the past of the place.

A history of Arnolds Park Amusement Park in the Arnolds Park Museums complex in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The amusement park has been around for over 100 years. There used to also be a fun house and other rides that are no longer in use, except now, in this new museum.

Memorabilia from the an older Fun House now housed in the Arnolds Park Museums complex in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

People reminisce while checking out memorabilia from the an older Fun House now housed in the Arnolds Park Museums complex in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Folk who remember the place and activities growing up in the area will wax nostalgic while younger families will make their memories will the current opportunities available at the amusement park and surrounding area. But I find it nice for people to have a chance to remember their good times growing up with their families as life just seems to get faster and busier and slips by all too fast for some of us.

Memories and a place to store them will help keep those thoughts alive and well.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Memorabilia from the an older Fun House now housed in the Arnolds Park Museums complex in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Memorabilia from the an older Fun House now housed in the Arnolds Park Museums complex in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An overall look at memorabilia from the an older Fun House now housed in the Arnolds Park Museums complex in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Color or B&W in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve

19 Jul

When I am out photographing in Siouxland my mind jumps back and forth between taking photos in color and B&W. People who attend my courses sometimes wonder about taking pictures in B&W and I firstly just encourage them to try it. Most cameras have a monochrome setting that allow users to take photos in B&W. This pics will not look like the black and white of yesterday, not without a bit of tweaking in a post processing software like Photoshop, Lightroom, Silver Efex Pro or Alien Skin.

I personally shoot with a Fuji X series camera that has excellent film simulation setting allowing me to shoot in a B&W setting.

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The question though that a person needs to ask is when is the appropriate time for using B&W. In the above example either color or B&W works as a medium since both has contrast within the image that makes either work. But mostly it comes down to whether or not a color photo or scene will render well in B&W. One has to think tonally in making that judgment call.

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The flowers on this plant stand out against the green foliage but get lost in the grey tonality of the second image. Sometimes color is a better choice. One needs to make certain the subject matter is “clean”, or able to stand out against a background. Leading lines, use of thirds and a host of other compositional techniques will also make a B&W photograph stronger just as it does in color, but one really needs to make certain the subject matter that might pop in color will stand out in B&W.

A little practice, a little perseverance and an eye detail will get a person started on the right track.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Does tonality affect the result of a photograph of a scene at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday June 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting a Big Boy near Siouxland, Omaha NE

19 Jun

As I continue exploring areas in and around Siouxland I always feel blessed that I keep finding interesting places to explore. Some I spend a little more time at than others, but it’s enjoyable to learn more history about an area that I know others have already had the opportunity to enjoy. So it was in visiting a piece of Omaha’s history, a Big Boy engine that sits above a freeway and is connected to the Lauritzen Gardens.

The Union Pacific Railroad’s Big Boy Engine in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A history of the Union Pacific Railroad’s Big Boy Engine on a plaque at the display in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular engine is one of twenty five that were built to help with the U.S> government’s WWII war effort. It looms large when driving up the freeway and even larger when encountering it in person. It was also fun to find a couple from California who have traveled the U.S. visiting each of these powerhouses.

Dwarfed in size while standing in front of this Union Pacific Railroad’s Big Boy Engine on display in Omaha, NE where it was built in 1944 is a couple who is traveling the United States and visiting each and everyone of these behemoths, seen Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The rail service stills hauls a great deal of freight overland and many communities I have lived in and visited and crisscrossed with railroad tracks. When in a city, it seems forever for a train to pass by, but that’s to be expected when they are traveling slowly through crossings. But seeing them in the country slicing through the landscape it’s almost hard to imagine now the manpower and blood, sweat and tears expended to lay the track that helped propel this country into a business opportunity for some from coast to coast.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The walkway leading to the area for the Union Pacific Railroad’s Big Boy Engine is decorated with Midwest iconography seen in Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

This Union Pacific Railroad’s Big Boy Engine is on display in Omaha, NE where it was built in 1944 as one of 25 of the fastest locomotives in its time seen Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

This Union Pacific Railroad’s Big Boy Engine is on display in Omaha, NE where it was built in 1944 as one of 25 of the fastest locomotives in its time seen Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Walking Among History near Siouxland, Mormon Pioneer Cemetery in Omaha, NE

30 May

One day while driving south of the Siouxland area I headed to Omaha, NE and visited the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters.

The Morman Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters tells the story of the Mormon people after they left Nauvoo, IL and headed west eventually reaching Utah and the gives an accounting of the people and the journey to their selected sacred site, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There was a lot of history packed into this facility, not only about the Mormon people and their journey west, but about history in general and what was going on during this time period.

Across the street is a pioneer cemetery for Mormons who ventured West, at that time Iowa and Nebraska was part of the western territory and frontier. The cemetery today a temple as well and is dedicated to those hearty souls who could not complete the physical journey to their home west in Utah. But ended their journey earlier and returned home to their heavenly Father.

A plaque commemorating the Pioneer Mormon Cemetery for those who died as they attempted to read a new promise land, and which now sits across from the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A couple visit a memorial site in the Pioneer Mormon Cemetery and which sits across from the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It sometimes gives me chills to think of others who have walked an area before from another century and the journey they were making in a land that now does not resemble that pioneer period at all.

An entrance into the Pioneer Mormon Cemetery which sits across from the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A grave marker at the Pioneer Mormon Cemetery which sits across from the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A remaining remaining grave markers in the Pioneer Mormon Cemetery for pioneering Mormons on their trek to a new promised land in Utah and which sits behind a Mormon temple and across from the Morman Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters which tells the story of the long journey west, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People of all faiths have at some point in history made a journey to a promised land looking forward to a better life. And some people do not reach their intended destination but are called home to their Lord to begin another journey, one of peace and joy and unfettered by any earthly concerns.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Westward Ho, Siouxland, Mormon Trail Center Historic Winter Quarters, Omaha, NE

12 May

The Morman Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters tells the story of the Mormon people after they left Nauvoo, IL and headed west eventually reaching Utah and the gives an accounting of the people and the journey to their selected sacred site, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On a recent visit to Omaha, NE I came across the Mormon Trail Center, Historic Winter Quarters museum that tells the tale of the Mormons westward travels from Nauvoo, IL when residents there forced them to leave and look elsewhere to settle. I am always amazed at the pockets of history around and near Siouxland, although I shouldn’t be. At one time Iowa and the region was just a prairie and part of that westward expansion. Mormon missionaries guide you through the museum and exhibits helping you to understand their tale of reaching Utah and Salt Lake City which would become their mecca and a place of religious tolerance.

Sister Millet, 2nd from the right and Sister Price, right, are part of a group of Mormon missionaries doing their service by giving tours to those visiting the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A bust of Joseph Smith on display at the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. The photograph in the background shows the Mormon temple built at Nauvoo, IL because the Mormons were forced to leave. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A painting depicting the Mormon journey west hanging in the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Like any settlers heading west the Mormon people encountered obstacles in reaching their destination. The Winter Quarters museum explains how the majority of people stayed put two to three years while Brigham Young and other leaders continued west looking for the place to settle that Young had seen in a vision. The missionaries put into context the travels along with what else was happening in the U.S. during that time period. The Kanesville settlement in what is now Council Bluffs, Iowa became a early provisions emporium which also helped outfit other settlers heading west, including a number of “49’ers” headed to California to find their reward in gold, as opposed to the Mormon’s spiritual reward.

Traveling from Nauvoo, IL and heading west, a brief description of the Mormon trek heading west and through Iowa seen at the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A map showing the location of each of the camps of the Morman Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A display showing the settlement around Council Bluffs and Omaha during the Mormon trek to Utah on display at the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

History to me is always fascinating. People’s spiritual beliefs are more in common than not, it’s just that sometimes in getting to the same spiritual heaven, we find ourselves on different footpaths getting there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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