Tag Archives: history

“Kids’ Day in Siouxland, Woodbine

24 Jun

I recently began exploring parts of southern Siouxland and driving about to get oriented and take time to walk some of these communities’ streets. During a stop in Woodbine one Friday afternoon I heard sirens sounding and thought, sadly, that somebody’s home or business was in danger as the fire department call is not always the best thing to here.

But this particular day the sirens repeated themselves in the proximity of the downtown area so I inquired if there was a special event or parade about to take place. An employee of the local  newspaper informed me that on Friday afternoons during the summer months the fire department gives local children a ride around the downtown in the fire trucks.

And walking a block over to the staging area where the trucks were parked, kids and parents were lining up to take part of a community event that maybe someday will instill  one or some of these youngsters to be involved in their local volunteer fire department. A job for many small communities that still depends on the support of its local citizenry.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland Historical Places, Grand Meadow Heritage Center

25 May

Wow scouting out some potential places in Siouxland to which I could take photo students I once again came across the Grand Meadow Heritage Center. I have visited it a couple of times previously. The site of a former school which houses a great deal of historical artifacts from the surrounding area. Three floors of the former school plus outlying buildings as well. Once a year generally in early autumn the center hosts an event. There is food, music, people portraying early settlers and a chance to go through the former school and see its contents. It really is worthwhile to get a sense of the area in another era and century.

But this day I was looking at what students in my class could see without getting inside any of the buildings. So it’s a challenge to visually see what might appeal and how they can put newly acquired skills to the test in capturing an image.

Shooting with a neutral density filter and slow shutter the windmill cranks it up at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center near Washta, Iowa Tuesday, May 16, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When in school I always enjoyed history, but it is different outside of the academic setting and one is standing in a place the ages ago is so very different than what is see today in this 21st century. The old saying of knowing where you have been so you know where you are going is an apt saying, it just depends on whether anyone is listening at the moment. Places like Grand Meadow is a reminder. Harder times for certain, but in some ways, simpler, less chaotic and more centered.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Faces in Siouxland, Tulip Festival, Orange City

23 May

As many times as I return to the Tulip Festival in Orange City I am always seeing new and more faces. The entire community is involved in a effort to keep the town’s Dutch Heritage alive  and join in the celebration whether dancing traditional folk pieces, performing in various productions or parading through the streets. One always gets a Midwest welcome from smiling faces and people who genuinely seem to enjoy their 3-day holiday.

Faces of the annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday, May 18, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And most of the time entire families are involved in the celebration. I have met and chatted with people that are now adults who remember their childhood participating in children’s activities associated with the parade. And the adults’s parents recall their participation. And now it’s the adult’s children who participate while the adults have moved on to adult enterprises associated with the festival.

Faces of the annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday, May 18, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The costumes worn by the residents representing various cultures within the Dutch heritage whether fisherman, cheese makers, farmers, it gives the visitor a glimpse into the past and a little bit of knowledge of where the ancestors of these people hail from. Plus, the food is not bad. And sweets. Did I mention coffee? It’s just a nice day to enjoy a celebration.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Seeing what is there in Siouxland, Onawa

30 Apr

On a recent outing with a class to check out Onawa, Iowa, we visiting a museum, surrounding grounds and the downtown area including a Carnegie library now the public library. The purpose behind this class is to put students into various situations and places and then photograph what appeals to them. I answer some technical questions as well as point out some visual items to them to help them broaden their perspective when photographing. On this particular outing I was looking at a variety of subjects that attracted my attention which included color and light play. Then I tried to isolate those scenes or objects in a way to make my vision something any viewer later would also see while looking at my photos.

When shooting photographs, it’s the photographer’s viewpoint and impression they are or should be trying to convey to the viewer, whoever that might be. For the classes it is always a fun exercise and outings. The last class everyone shows their favorite photos from the previous outings. And so they can compare notes and see where they may have seen something similar or be amazed at what another person saw and they did not.

It was a nice way to spend part of a day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

History in Siouxland, the Pettigrew House and Museum, Sioux Falls, SD

19 Apr

On a trip in Siouxland to Sioux Falls, SD, I stopped by a historical house and museum of one R.F. Pettigrew. This gentleman was the first sitting U.S. Senator from the state of South Dakota. He also sounded like a bit of a rough and tumble character, actually involved in a brawl with another politician, beating someone with his cane. Evidently gentleman were not synonymous with genteel. Pettigrew however did much for the city of Sioux Falls in its early days and was also a world traveler. There is a small collection of items in the museum from Egypt and the Orient from his travels.

It’s fun to learn about local history, even if it is next door and to find out how places were shaped through the actions of its citizens.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Siouxland’s Double Decker Walking Bridge, Yankton, SD

21 Mar

I have made a few trips to the small community of Yankton, SD. It originally was  the gateway to the Dakota Territory in the late 1800’s. The first territorial Capital of the Dakota Territory when North and South Dakota was one large land mass. On every trip to Yankton I always take a walk on the Meridian Bridge, which is a double decker bridge built in 1924. According to the National Park System the bridge’s lower deck was designed to carry a rail line which never materialized. Eventually the bridge was sold to the city of Yankton in 1946 and from there the ownership came to the state of South Dakota. Just upriver is a newer vehicle bridge the double decker is now a walker’s paradise connecting South Dakota and Nebraska that give an individual a “bird’s eye” view.

I am never disappointed when I walk it, always finding something new to view and enjoy. The different seasons present different images a person can photograph. One of these days I will need to make an early trip to see what the bridge looks like during sun rise. For now, I think I will sleep in and get there to enjoy the late morning, have lunch downtown and again enjoy it late afternoon, maybe catching a sunset.

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

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