Tag Archives: history

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

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

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