Tag Archives: history

Reliving History in Siouxland, Ft. Atkinson State Historical Park, Ft. Calhoun, NE

23 Aug

A canon is fired during the Living History event at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, NE Saturday, August 6, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I enjoy visiting historical sites within and near the Siouxland region. Some of which have folk with a keen interest in portraying historical figures with knowledge of the area and are happy to share that knowledge with visitors. On a very hot, muggy August day I took a trip to Ft. Atkinson State Historical Park in Nebraska to again check out a living history day.

An re-enactor officer explains what life is like in the army during a Living History event at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, NE Saturday, August 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Trying to stay cool in a fort barracks on a very hot and sultry day during a Living History event at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, NE Saturday, August 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A re-enactor talks about available medical tools, and explained that horse hair was used during the 1800’s as sutures and explains it has been found only slightly less effective and strong as today’s modern suture material.

I had met some of these folk previously on a visit a few years ago and so it was fun to catch up a bit and see how they were getting on, but also to listen as they told “their stories” which reflects the early frontier life on the plains as this fort represents one of the first outlying defenses of a new nation pushing westward and various other folk with occupations that were supportive of the troops stationed at the fort but not employed by the military as personnel.

This particular day though there were few visitors and I would imagine that heat, with possible highs near 100, kept people away either staying indoors or checking out various water parks or river areas where one could stay cool. But fewer people meant more time to chat with these folk and learn more about the history they had to tell.

Signage outside the barracks seen during a Living History event at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, NE Saturday, August 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visitors check out one of the open buildings at the fort barracks during a Living History event at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, NE Saturday, August 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A re-enactor takes a smoke break during a Living History event at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, NE Saturday, August 6, 2022. The gentleman said he enjoys participating because it is generally quiet with a few visitors stopping by. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A re-enactor stays cooler in the shade of the fort barracks during a Living History event at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, NE Saturday, August 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was a nice day for what it was, but with searing temperatures and little breeze, spending time in the sunshine for a couple of hours was plenty of time. Unlike the 4th of July Living History event at the park, there is not as much pomp and circumstance and once one has seen and heard a canon fire, not much more needs to be said.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A re-enactor checks in with a fellow participant during a Living History event at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, NE Saturday, August 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A re-enactor spins yarn during a Living History event at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, NE Saturday, August 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An enlisted man can always find something to do seen during a Living History event at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, NE Saturday, August 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An enlisted re-enactor awaits visitors to talk about the soldiers bunk accommodations during a Living History event at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, NE Saturday, August 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The parade grounds inside the fort barracks seen at a Living History event at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, NE Saturday, August 6, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A cabin outside the perimeter of the fort barracks during a Living History event at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, NE Saturday, August 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visitors walk past a picketed garden area during a Living History event at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, NE Saturday, August 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A detail heads out to fire a cannon during a Living History event at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, NE Saturday, August 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Cannoneers prepare to fire during a Living History event at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, NE Saturday, August 6, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Cannoneers hold their position after firing during a Living History event at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Ft. Calhoun, NE Saturday, August 6, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Storytelling in B&W and a Little Imagination, Durham Museum, Omaha, NE

19 Jul

A former Union Pacific railway station, a statue pf a departing passenger from days gone by seen at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes when out and about wandering Siouxland and elsewhere, one can see something that sparks a little imagination and wondering on the part of the viewer. I think Black and White imagery helps tell a story a little better at times that color.

The Durham Museum was formerly a Union Pacific railway station and its heyday was before, during and after the 1930’s and 1940’s, especially during WWII. Information at the museum along with photographs show a great movement of people during the Second World War passing through the station. And so there are some statuary that depicts some of the history of the former railway station.

A former Union Pacific railway station, a statue pf a departing passenger from days gone by while two lovers sit tight in the background seen at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I have looked at the above the statue I wonder if this gentleman is a traveling salesman or maybe a jilted lover whose dearest’s heart was won by a new suitor seated with her in the background. And so the young takes his belongings packed into a single suitcase and leaves.

A sculpted piece at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The sculpted piece I believe was something on display and with meaning of the times when the station was built. The directional light creates an interesting effect and definitely gives a viewer a chance to study the statue which I believe is of a railway worker, judging by the wrench in the hand.

I enjoy B&W photography and probably don’t utilize it enough when out shooting and exploring Siouxland. For me it depends on the light and how it encapsulates a subject and sets is apart from its surrounding. And I sometimes miss having a darkroom, and the ability to create an image first on film, then adding to it via the actual developing process to give and take away contrast depending on how one processed the film and with what developer was used, and finally through the printing process. Using a “hard” paper that really accentuates the light and shadows or a softer paper with more grey tones appearing. The one watched while the image appeared in the developing tray coming to life and fulfilling, hopefully, the vision one had in mind when creating the image on film.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Union Pacific railway sign hanging at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating One’s History in Siouxland, Tulip Festival, Orange City

11 Jul

A dance is performed by older students generally in high school at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are a few smaller communities in the Siouxland region that each celebrate their cultural heritage on a yearly basis. One of those being the Tulip Festival in Orange City. The entire community seems to get behind the celebration and most everyone seems to be involved, children through adults. The costumes, dances and other “cultural” activities depicted are a fun way to explore and see where a community hails from and their remembrance of those roots. And as is oft stated, pictures are worth a thousand words.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Dancers enjoy themselves performing at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The boy makes a speedy turn with the young lady as a dance is performed by older students generally in high school at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A flag bearer waves during the parade at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A dance is performed by older students generally in high school at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looks like a challenge among the bicycle singers at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A parade participant heads to the starting point for the event at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One of the artisans hawking wares of the day typically found in early Dutch days in the parade at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A character in costume at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Various flags of the Netherlands on display during the parade at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The MOC Floyd High School marching band performs during the parade at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers enjoy themselves while performing at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The MOC Floyd High School marching band performs during the parade at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A dance is performed by older students generally in high school at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A local junior high school band baton twirlers perform at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Local junior High school band members perform during the parade at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Learning and Understanding History in Siouxland, Nelson Mandela, The Official Exhibition, Durham Museum, Omaha, NE

19 Jun

Short films about Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela : The Official Exhibition, is his life and pursuit for a free South Africa, currently at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I wouldn’t exactly call myself a history buff, but I do like learning and attending presentations and exhibition in and around Siouxland where I can learn something new, or expand upon something I am familiar with but not necessarily know the entire story, or rest of the story as radioman Paul Harvey used to exclaim.

I recently visited the Nelson Mandela: The Officials Exhibition at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE. It is slated to finish in early July. I am aware of who Mandela is/was and mostly remember him as a person who spent a considerable amount of time in prison only because he wanted fellow South African citizens to enjoy a free life away from the “colonial rule” that Afrikaners imposed on them after the Dutch colonized the country to its benefits a large swath of the country in the 1600’s.

Photographs, artifacts and short films give a history about Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela : The Official Exhibition, is his life and pursuit for a free South Africa, currently at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Photographs, artifacts and short films give a history about Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela : The Official Exhibition, is his life and pursuit for a free South Africa, currently at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The exhibit takes a deep dive into the man’s past, history and what led him to become the leader to free his fellow citizens and help them obtain the rights so long denied them by early occupiers, often mainly by force. The reading was fascinating but also the images that accompanies the exhibit showing a young Mandela who actually spent most of his life out of public view. Firstly, hiding from those who wanted to harm him, and later, in prison, after defying the ruling administration of the country and encouraging his fellow countrymen to stand up and seek their freedom.

Nelson Mandela : The Official Exhibition, about his life and pursuit for a free South Africa, currently at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Photographs, artifacts and short films give a history about Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela : The Official Exhibition, is his life and pursuit for a free South Africa, currently at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Part of the exhibity with photographs, artifacts and short films give a history about Nelson Mandela and representation of cell blocks. Nelson Mandela : The Official Exhibition, is his life and pursuit for a free South Africa, currently at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I personally like history, more so when I learn something new and its purpose served the greater good and the “good guys” won. Some days during in recent years, I just have to wonder. Those who say they are the good guys and winning, are a bit suspect.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Photographs, artifacts and short films give a history about Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela : The Official Exhibition, is his life and pursuit for a free South Africa, currently at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Photographs, artifacts and short films give a history about Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela : The Official Exhibition, is his life and pursuit for a free South Africa, currently at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Photographs, artifacts and short films give a history about Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela : The Official Exhibition, is his life and pursuit for a free South Africa, currently at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Photograph of Nelson Mandela with Zelda la Grange, formerly a private secretary of his during he last remaining years, seen at the Nelson Mandela : The Official Exhibition, about his life and pursuit for a free South Africa, currently at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, May 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sharing One’s Heritage in Siouxland, Tulip Festival, Orange City

17 Jun

Young boys “clean the streets” and themselves as per tradition during the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have attended the Tulip Festival for many years in Siouxland which occurs over a three-day period. The community of Orange City celebrates its Dutch Heritage with sometimes well over 20,000 visitors in one day. A review of the various areas of the Netherlands are represented by folk in the regalia they wear which depicts what part of the country and the status of the folk wearing the outfits.

While that is educational, one of the better parts in my opinion is the street cleaning. It can never be clean enough.

Boys place water for “cleaning the streets” during the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Boys place water for “cleaning the streets” during the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes it’s a near miss for the young girls who follow with brooms to sweep the street clean during the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The burgermeister or mayor, walks the parade route and then declares it untidy and a “band” of boys appear and begin to pour water onto the streets and each other followed by young and girls and often their mothers sweeping to make the street/parade route presentable for visitors to enjoy the parade.

Young girls and their mothers sweep the water strewn street for the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Young girls and their mothers sweep the water strewn street for the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Young girls and their mothers sweep the water strewn street for the the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When the streets are clean the parade begins and all is right in the world.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Young girls and their mothers sweep the water strewn street for the the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Young girls and their mothers sweep the water strewn street for the the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

History in Siouxland, Building and Expanding, Sioux City Railroad Museum, Sioux City

28 May

Information and display about the work at the rail yard in Sioux City that operated as a repair yard seen at the Sioux City Railroad Museum Saturday, April 16, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. Also seen is a new exhibit not completed concerning the Holocaust that took place in Europe during the Second World War. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some new exhibits are being prepped for opening sometime down the road that expands on the history of the Sioux City Railroad Museum which was a functioning repair yard servicing steam and diesel locomotives and repairing rail cars for 65 years.

As the museum has grown it is expanding its educational framework and in the last year added actors who portray “real characters” who lived and worked in the rail yard between 1918 and 1981. And now new exhibits will explore more in-depth the work done at the yard as well as information regarding the Holocaust that took place in Europe during WWII.

The inside of a boxcar of a new exhibit not completed concerning the Holocaust that took place in Europe during the Second World War seen at the Sioux City Railroad Museum Saturday, April 16, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Information and display about the work at the rail yard in Sioux City that operated as a repair yard seen at the Sioux City Railroad Museum Saturday, April 16, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A new engine has been added to the mix and some excavation was also occurring on the museum grounds as more information about the repair yard is discovered and catalogued for inclusion in the future. History is so soon forgotten it seems these days. Transitory and fleeting. But what is most times forgotten seems oft repeated.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A boxcar for a new exhibit not completed concerning the Holocaust that took place in Europe during the Second World War seen at the Sioux City Railroad Museum Saturday, April 16, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A new “fixer upper engine” at the Sioux City Railroad Museum Saturday, April 16, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The 1355 steam engine seen at the Sioux City Railroad Museum Saturday, April 16, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Imagining History in Siouxland, Inkpaduta Canoe Trail, Correctionville

26 Apr
A sign informs a visitor about the Inkpaduta canoe trail near Copeland Park in Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I come across a piece of history in Siouxland I was not familiar with previously, I sometimes try to imagine what life may have been like in that time period, at least what the landscape might have appeared to those first settlers, and of course, to those already living in the region.

A sign informs a visitor about the Inkpaduta canoe trail near Copeland Park in Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Little Sioux City River is the Inkpaduta canoe trail near Copeland Park Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular day was not an ideal day to photograph in black and white. Overcast, darkish and a brown landscape does not make for exciting and provoking imagery. But given the history of the Little Sioux River and what an earlier exploring photographer might have seen and recorded make me think photographing in black and white appropriate.

Also this reference at Copeland Park in Correctionville to Inkpaduta does not include the sadder saga that occurred in Okoboji of where settlers were massacred by this chief and his braves which happened in retaliation to his own brother being killed by a white settler for the reason of not helping a starving group of Native Americans who had long resided in the area “now claimed” as his land.

The Little Sioux City River is the Inkpaduta canoe trail near Copeland Park Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Little Sioux City River is the Inkpaduta canoe trail along with a forested area near Copeland Park Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So I try to imagine the area as seen by those first inhabitants, long before farming reshaped the landscape or any kind of building touched the landscape. Photographing in black and white might be an homage to an earlier exploring photographer but probably did not do justice to the scenes depicted. I personally like a bit more contrast and saturated blacks. However I don’t spend a lot of time in post processing and do not use plug in accessories that might create a stronger B&W image.

It was just nice to find another slice of history I had not previously encountered and enjoy that day the relative quiet that was almost certain prevalent in the day when there was no traffic noise from a nearby roadway. Just the sound of leaves underfoot and the running of the water in the riverbed. Maybe as Simon and Garfunkel believed in their tune, “The Sounds of Silence”.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A forested area along the Inkpaduta canoe trail at Copeland Park Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Story Continues in Siouxland, Heritage Village, Sioux Center

17 Mar
Larry TeGrotenhuis looks over contents of the Roelof’s Store at the new location of the Heritage Village now located at the Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As time continues to “march forward” changes sometimes take place and people and places adjust to those changes. In Siouxland, the Heritage Village in Sioux Center is undergoing such a change. The history infused village is a special place where people could come to learn about early life during settler days and other times. But expansion at a local university and the need for for an athletic sponsored facility necessitated that the village make way for progress. As has been documented numerous time throughout history, progress moves forward and at times history is just that, history.

Buildings of the Heritage Village are now located at the Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A spot for a barn of the Heritage Village still to be relocated to the new location of Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Heritage Village supporters Linda Prins, Erma TeGrotenhuis, Larry TeGrotenhuis and Stan Prins talk about the next steps in preparing the Heritage Village now located at the Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In early reported discussions available via media in became clear the village garners a lot of support and so a new place was found and costs covered to move the existing history place across town where the new home looks to provide more space and play a continued part in educating youngsters and other interested parties about the history of the prairie and early life there. Every fall a festival takes place where busloads of school children arrive and get some hands on history lessons as well seeing and hearing about life one to two centuries before they were even born. A long, long time ago, although still in this galaxy.

The Heritage Village is now located at the Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Heritage Village supporters Stand Prins, right, and Larry TeGrotenhuis go into the Roelof’s Store to talk about the next steps in getting work completed in the next few months at new location of the Heritage Village now located at the Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A number of trees from the previous location have been moved along with buildings and contents of the Heritage Village now located at the Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Members of the Heritage Village board state they plan on having a fall festival with plans to move forward with getting the grounds completed and buildings secured on the new site. Not a quick or easy task. But the group is dedicated in seeing that with progress, history is not left behind in a forgotten memory or dusty pages of a book on a shelf.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

With some buildings already removed just remnants of the Heritage Village remain still to be moved at the former site. Heritage Village will be located to Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The sod pioneer house at the former Heritage Village is one of the few remaining buildings to relocate to Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With some buildings already removed just remnants of the Heritage Village remain still to be moved at the former site. Heritage Village will be located to Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The old jail cell awaits a spot at the new location of the Heritage Village now located at the Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With some buildings already removed just remnants of the Heritage Village remain still to be moved at the former site. Heritage Village will be located to Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A desolate site with some buildings already removed and just remnants of the Heritage Village remain for moving at the former site. Heritage Village will be located to Tower Fields in Sioux Center, Iowa, seen Friday, February 18, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Walking Through History, Oto Cemetery, Oto

11 Mar
An older grave marker at the Oto Cemetery in rural Woodbury County Tuesday , January 18, 2022 near Oto, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have walked about a number of rural cemeteries I have come across in Siouxland. Reminders of those early settlers and pioneers who came to Iowa couple centuries ago looking for a better life than the one left behind. Walking through the various cemeteries one can never really know why folk left and traveled to an unknown area, then, far away and probably weeks or months in the making of the journey, considering it was done by wagon train.

Oto Cemetery overlooks the small community in rural Woodbury County Tuesday , January 18, 2022 near Oto, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Older grave markers have dates around the mid 1850’s at the Oto Cemetery in rural Woodbury County Tuesday , January 18, 2022 near Oto, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But the folk were remembered, and most are laid to rest on a hillside, overlooking an area they settled to begin a new life. In a place still cared for, and with the occasional new occupant that comes to join those before them, laid to rest, for an eternal slumber, until the final calling they all most certainly believed in.

A peaceful resting place to await their next journey.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Older graves markers sit atop a hill at the Oto Cemetery in rural Woodbury County Tuesday , January 18, 2022 near Oto, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A detail image of an older grave marker at the Oto Cemetery in rural Woodbury County Tuesday , January 18, 2022 near Oto, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Points of Interest in Small Towns around Siouxland, Luverne, MN

3 Mar
The Hinkly House sits on a street just outside of the downtown Luverne, MN Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When out exploring places in Siouxland and elsewhere sometimes there is not enough hours in the day. Or one visits on the wrong day. During an excursion north of Siouxland in Minnesota a museum and a former Carnegie Library caught my eye. The Hinkly House is a museum of local history, but only open a couple months out of the year and then only on Thursdays according to its website.

I’m always a sucker for history and the chance to learn a little more about a place. However this particular trip I was headed to a state park just outside of the community of Luverne, the Mounds State Park for a bit of a hike and as it turns out some views as some of the park in located on a hill. And with the drive and shorter fall days I didn’t take the time to research the area other than to just enjoy the drive and visit. Planning is always good, but spontaneity is also good at times.

The Hinkly House sits on a street just outside of the downtown Luverne, MN Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Hinkly House sits on a street just outside of the downtown Luverne, MN Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The former Carnegie Library located in Luverne now houses a music venue where lessons and performances are found, giving local folk a chance to learn and listen at the Luverne Street Music.

The Luverne Street Music is located in a former Carnegie library building in Luverne, MN Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Beyond what I read on the organization’s website not much other information was found while visiting, but it was nice to see the building continuing service, as so many former Carnegie Library Buildings do in the small communities where they were built. Still serving the public in some form or another and most times through some kind of educational function or manner.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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