Tag Archives: history

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

Preserving Siouxland History, Matlock

9 Jan

Last year I came across the small community of Matlock, Iowa. As I wandered around the small community I came across a number of antique vehicles scattered about the town and learned a set of brothers there collected and restored engines of a bygone era. I also met Charlie Schwebach who showed me his “museum” that he was putting together with artifacts from Matlock and some other communities that reflected a bygone era of that community of not quite 90 people.

It’s nice to meet people who preserve history of their community to share with others. It shows a commitment to where they were born and raised, and still reside. Mr. Schwebach said at the time his history museum would be opening sometime in 2017, ringing in the new year with a look at the past.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Exploring Siouxland, Matlock

1 Dec

While driving in the northern part of Siouxland recently, I came upon a small community, Matlock. A small rural community of 88 people. Like a lot of the smaller communities I have visited over the years, this one had its own unique aspect, antiques. In the downtown, on street corners, and along the streets while driving into the community. It seems a couple of brothers and others have placed antique tractors around the community, reminding locals and guests that Matlock had a past. One in which they are proud of, and rightly so. The state of Iowa didn’t become what it did because of major urban centers, but because of the hundreds, maybe thousands of smaller communities which sadly now are on the decline.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland History on the Roadside, Rural Sioux County

23 Nov

While up in rural Sioux County I drove by what appeared to be a former one-room school house. Sitting forlorn by the roadway. At one time a proud structure that was there to begin young people on their road to adulthood and citizenship for their local communities and county. Relics of a past, many older people I have talked with over the years have fond memories of attending such a school, and learned a lot from the dedicated teachers there and went on to become successful in their own right. They all learned a lot with little. Myself I attended the same one-room school house for one year that father had attended. Then that school district combined with others. I have memories of that year and sometimes think more about it that the two subsequent school districts I attended as more district combined. Just because it’s rural doesn’t necessarily mean it should be discarded or thought ill of. It is a different way of life, and when the United States was just beginning, these schools were a way for a sprawling nation to become educated and move the nation forward.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

What appears to be an abandoned former rural one room school house in rural O'Brien County, Iowa Saturday Nov. 5, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

What appears to be an abandoned former rural one room school house in rural Sioux County, Iowa Saturday Nov. 5, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Remembering the pioneers in Siouxland, Grant Cemetery

22 Oct

As I continue to wander around the Siouxland area I come across bits and pieces of history, mostly cemeteries that I am not acquainted with, in outlying smaller communities. Grant Cemetery in Monona County sits on a hill outside of Rodney, Iowa. A nice tribute to those who have passed on. One setting of the grave sites of some early pioneers under an expansive tree, looking west and forever seeing a sunset they possibly witnessed many times from this hill as they settled into a new place to begin their new lives.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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