Tag Archives: history

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

Early History of Jazz Around Siouxland, Durham Museum, Omaha, NE

1 Feb
Band leader Dan Desdunes served as band director for Father Flanagan’s Boys Home band seen on display at the Durham Museum Friday, December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

History can be found in many ways as one drives about and visits places in and around Siouxland. A companion exhibit to one about Billie Holiday at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE recounts through photographs early days of jazz in the Omaha area. Names of early musicians who led the way to a changing style of music.

An exhibit of early African American jazz groups of Omaha currently on display at the Durham Museum Friday, December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Band leader Dan Desdunes with the Boys’ Town band outside of Union Station in Omaha, NE circa 1928 seen on display at the Durham Museum Friday, December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Basie Givens was an important musician in Omaha during the second World War and formed a 16-piece orchestra with fellow works from the then local bomb plant called the “Basie Bombadiers”. Earlier in the late 1920′ he played in a local group called the “Jungle Rhythm Boys”. A number of photos documenting the history of jazz in Omaha is on display at the Durham Museum Friday, December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A number of musicians then as now played in a variety of groups and different venues to make a living creating “sound” or music and pursuing their particular passion. Even now in the Old Market area of Omaha one will find street musicians playing, providing entertainment (depending on one’s taste) and during the warmer months can be found around the area.

The “Jungle Rhythm Boys” was a musical group started in the late 1920’s by Basie Given and Alvin “Junior” Raglin which is part of an exhibit about the early Omaha jazz era currently at the Durham Museum Friday, December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Band leader Dan Desdunes had his own band, the Dan Desdunes Band and a number of known musicians played with him and in other groups during those early jazz days in Omaha, NE seen on display at the Durham Museum Friday, December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Not a frequenter of the clubs in the Omaha area, I can only surmise that this tradition continues probably buoyed by the internet which would allow musicians to draw a wider audience to hear the music produced. But even with an online outlet, there is nothing quite like listening to music played live, in person which becomes part of the ambience and charm of the day or night when you encounter it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The photograph is of Ruth Brown performing at the Dreamland Ballroom in 1949 and is part of an exhibit of the history of jazz in Omaha, NE currently on display at the Durham Museum Friday, December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. The ballroom hosted jazz greats that included Duke Ellington, Fats Domino, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An exhibit of early African American jazz groups of Omaha currently on display at the Durham Museum Friday, December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

History on Hallowed Ground in Siouxland, Fairview Cemetery, Albaton

28 Jan
Resting sites of early residents who may have settled the area seen at the Fairview Cemetery near the early settlement of Albaton, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So many small communities in Iowa, present and past, maintain cemeteries that collectively hold a lot of history of Iowa in Siouxland and elsewhere. But many times those histories of former residents or pioneers are not accessible to more than the few remaining residents or folk who live in the immediate area.

The site of the former Albaton Wesleyan Church, 1886-2005 at the Fairview Cemetery, near the early settlement of Abaton, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Fairview Cemetery is the final resting place of many early residents who may have settled the area two centuries previous near the early settlement of Albaton, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Resting sites of early residents who may have settled the area seen at the Fairview Cemetery near the early settlement of Albaton, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

At most sometimes one can find a listing of those buried within these various resting places like Fairview Cemetery in Albaton, but beyond that or knowing descendants or local residents, not much else can be discerned about the history of the place or its former residents.

Judging by the dates some of these folk buried here as elsewhere were pioneers to the area. Traveling by wagon train or walking to find a new life west of the Mississippi at the time. A reference to the former community I found online also showed photographs but nothing definitive about the place itself.

So a cursory understanding who settled into the area, and if they prospered will never be known outside of descendants if any exist. History is a continuum of life, but sometimes that life and history can be very fleeting on that long road.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Resting sites of early residents who may have settled the area seen at the Fairview Cemetery near the early settlement of Albaton, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Resting sites of early residents who may have settled the area seen at the Fairview Cemetery near the early settlement of Albaton, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The site of the former Albaton Wesleyan Church, 1886-2005 at the Fairview Cemetery, near the early settlement of Abaton, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Viewing Jazz in Siouxland, Billie Holiday at the Durham Museum, Omaha, NE

24 Jan
A Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition of photographs by photographer Jerry Dantzic of singer Billie Holiday during 1957 while in Sugar Hill, New York City, a part of Harlem now on display at the Durham Museum Friday, seen December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. Billie Holiday performed with many of the greats of that jazz era including Ben Webster, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Doc Cheatham, Vic Dickenson, Danny Barker, Milt Hinton and others. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently on a trip to Omaha I was able to view a traveling exhibit by the Smithsonian Institution about the singer Billie Holiday and photographer Jerry Dantzic who spent time following her about in the New York area documenting her life on and off the stage. This occurred in the late 1950’s and Dantzic’s documentation of Holiday was done with cameras and B&W film. The exhibit at the Durham Museum is there through early February. And it reminds me of my earlier days of photographing for newspapers when the film of choice, basically the only film, was black and white. Normally Kodak Tri-X, with an ASA (these days ISO) of 400.

A traveling exhibition by the Smithsonian Institution of photographer Jerry Dantzig’s images of singer Billie Holiday’s life in and around Sugar Hill, a section of Harlem in New York City in the spring of 1957, seen on display at the Durham Museum Friday, December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. Dantzic photographed in available light so as not to disrupt the performance of Holiday in the various places she performed. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An enlarged contact sheet from the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition of photographs by photographer Jerry Dantzic of singer Billie Holiday during 1957 while in Sugar Hill, New York City, a part of Harlem now on display at the Durham Museum Friday, seen December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dantzic was a photojournalist and this particular project was something he had done at the time and it was published in magazines that used a lot of photographs, namely Life magazine and similar publications. These publications did photo spreads of several pages of subjects both topical and varied.

A Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition of photographs by photographer Jerry Dantzic of singer Billie Holiday during 1957 while in Sugar Hill, New York City, a part of Harlem now on display at the Durham Museum Friday, seen December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One of photographer Jerry Dantzic’s Leica M3 cameras he used to create images of singer Billie Holiday’s life in and around Sugar Hill, a section of Harlem in New York City in the spring of 1957. A traveling exhibition by the Smithsonian Institution is on display at the Durham Museum Friday, December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) using mostly black and white film with available light at the Durham Museum Friday, December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dantzic was a “fly on the wall” as he recorded unguarded moments of his subject, Holiday, by then a renowned singer recognizable by people on the street and performing in upscale clubs. The B&W film made for a more gritty presence but also necessary as Dantzic photographed without flash using whatever available ambient light was present. In film days shooting in difficult low light situations photographers were always happy in capturing the content and telling a story, and sometimes the “graininess” of film came with the territory. Whereas today people might get chastised for not ridding an image of that grainy/pixelated look because of technology that makes it possible to make an image look perfect.

It is fun looking at the images Dantzic created and understanding the conditions in which he worked and being able to capture his subject in ways to tell the story he was pursuing.

A Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition of photographs by photographer Jerry Dantzic of singer Billie Holiday during 1957 while in Sugar Hill, New York City, a part of Harlem now on display at the Durham Museum Friday, seen December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. Dantzic photographed in available light so as not to disrupt the performance of Holiday in the various places she performed. Billie Holiday performed with many of the greats of that jazz era including Ben Webster, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Doc Cheatham, Vic Dickenson, Danny Barker, Milt Hinton and others. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition of photographs by photographer Jerry Dantzic of singer Billie Holiday during 1957 while in Sugar Hill, New York City, a part of Harlem now on display at the Durham Museum Friday, seen December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. Billie Holiday performed with many of the greats of that jazz era including Ben Webster, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Doc Cheatham, Vic Dickenson, Danny Barker, Milt Hinton and others. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition of photographs by photographer Jerry Dantzic of singer Billie Holiday during 1957 while in Sugar Hill, New York City, a part of Harlem now on display at the Durham Museum Friday, seen December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

History comes in many forms, mostly in books and the written word, sometimes in film through cinema and again in photographs. The photos encapsulate a particular time period and allows one as much time as needed to stand and view and contemplate what is seen. The exhibit also invokes a recording method that is now mostly extinct as far as the process used. Technology has made it easier to photograph in seemingly difficult conditions. And technology should make life “easier” through progress no matter the subject or medium.

But this exhibit harkens to another time period. The B&W invokes an era that has passed but was preserved so others who did not see the work published could still enjoy it for what it is a generation or two later.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition of photographs by photographer Jerry Dantzic of singer Billie Holiday during 1957 while in Sugar Hill, New York City, a part of Harlem now on display at the Durham Museum Friday, seen December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition of photographs by photographer Jerry Dantzic of singer Billie Holiday during 1957 while in Sugar Hill, New York City, a part of Harlem now on display at the Durham Museum Friday, seen December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. Billie Holiday performed with many of the greats of that jazz era including Ben Webster, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Doc Cheatham, Vic Dickenson, Danny Barker, Milt Hinton and others. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition of photographs by photographer Jerry Dantzic of singer Billie Holiday during 1957 while in Sugar Hill, New York City, a part of Harlem now on display at the Durham Museum Friday, seen December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE.

Viewing History in Siouxland from a Hilltop, Council Bluffs

10 Jan
A view of Omaha, NE across the Missouri River from the Lincoln Monument in Council Bluffs, IA Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding bits and pieces of history tucked into corners and hilltops, one never knows where something of note might turn up in Siouxland. During Abraham Lincoln’s early days of politics he visited the Council Bluff’s area. From a view atop a hill he saw the expansion of the westward movement of folk and what would become a “staging ground” for the Union Pacific Railroad. The people of Council Bluffs dedicated this small park not far from the cemetery where General Grenville M. Dodge’s wife is buried. Dodge was a general in Lincoln’s army during the Civil War.

The Lincoln Monument in Council Bluffs, IA commemorates the time Abraham Lincoln visited the area in 1859 when it was more rural to view where the Union Pacific Railroad’s eastern terminal would be located seenThursday, Nov. 4, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Lincoln Monument in Council Bluffs, IA commemorates the time Abraham Lincoln visited the area in 1859 when it was more rural to view where the Union Pacific Railroad’s eastern terminal would be located seenThursday, Nov. 4, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A major street is seen below the Lincoln Monument in Council Bluffs, IA Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Lincoln Monument is from where the later president saw an area chosen as the first eastern terminus for the yet to be built transcontinental railroad system. Doing even a cursory search online doesn’t really turn up more information other than Lincoln “slept here” kind of reference like George Washington. But it is an easily accessible area and a great place to take in views of the surrounding landscape and in the distance Omaha, NE, across the Missouri River.

Morning might be a better time with better weather and less haze that seems to settle in once the afternoon arrives. A small snippet of history, tucked away but with a nice view.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Turning leaves on trees seen below the Lincoln Monument in Council Bluffs, IA Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A view from the hilltop wherefrom where Abraham Lincoln surveyed the surrounding area in 1859, seen Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting History in Siouxland, Adams House Museum, Ponca, NE

5 Dec
A look at an earlier century of living at the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Through one of the photography classes I teach at a local community college I look for destinations for the class to visit near and far within Siouxland. Besides possibly introducing the students to places locally they might not have visited before, it also puts their photographic skills to test from composition to using ISO and white balance settings to possibly trying slow shutter speeds or dragging the shutter. My reasoning is that if they are on vacation someplace, they shouldn’t be afraid of pulling out the camera and using it to document their trip or to make awe inspiring imagery to share later with family and friends.

Volunteer Ken Johnson talks about the history of the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A look at an earlier century of living at the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Adams House Museum is a brick home built in the early 1880’s by a local druggist named E.D. Ayers according to a printed handout presented by the museum. Volunteer Ken Johnson gave the class a quick history lesson about the house and some of the furnishings, not all of which are original but mostly period pieces to the early family that lived there.

In the early 1900’s a local farmer and his wife, Sam and Della Adams, purchased the home, and it was noted in the information handed out that only wealthier folk in those days could afford to build or purchase a brick home.

A stairwell leads to the upstairs while a doorway at left goes into a sitting parlor at the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A look at an earlier century of a formal sitting parlor at the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Remnants of history on display at the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s always interesting to walk through a home museum. To see what appliances and other types of utensils were used during a particular time period one to two centuries ago. Various photographs about the museum showed snippets of history about the area and what it looked like before really being settled. Photographs showing the early days of a community are so totally different than what one sees today. Which is only natural, considering there are so many more folk living these days, and living longer.

A number of items within the museum were donated by area families, passed down through the generations are now on display for others to consider its place in history and a bit of reminder that actual people inhabited this house and others in the area helping create what it has become.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A look at an earlier century of living at the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A small hallway seen at the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A photograph on display at the Adams House museum of an earlier period in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A photograph on display at the Adams House museum of an earlier period in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A photo of the Ponca Chiefs delegation on display at the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A photograph on display at the Adams House museum of an earlier period in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A historical document signed in 1896 on display at the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A historical document signed in 1896 on display at the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Adams House Museum, a historical place documenting life in an earlier century seen in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Prepping for Halloween in Siouxland, Albaton

30 Oct
Two friendly Skeltons wave from a Halloween display set up at a crossroads at the former site of Albaton, Iowa, Tuesday Oct. 19, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Life can somewhat be filled with surprises, even in Siouxland, finding unexpected treasures in unexpected places. While out driving about looking for some harvesting and previously having seen a roadside sign for a community called Albaton, I found it, at a crossroads in the countryside with a couple of homes nearby, along with a church.

A Halloween display set up at a crossroads at the former site of Albaton, Iowa, Tuesday Oct. 19, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A crossroad at the early settlement of Albaton, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looking for information online didn’t produce an onslaught of information, but another person posting to a blog as well. From indications it may have been a regional hub for a local railroad line that faded away along with the railroad hopes of those settling around it. Now the area sits among farmland, recently, waiting for harvest. One can only imagine what early days were like. And it’s nice to see a sense of humor as someone decorates the corner with seasonal displays for the holidays. May have to make a trip out for Christmas to see if the engine is lit up and sparking with the “spirit” of the holiday, bringing a little light to the surrounding darkness in the countryside.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Halloween display set up at a crossroads at the former site of Albaton, Iowa, Tuesday Oct. 19, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Halloween display set up at a crossroads at the former site of Albaton, Iowa, Tuesday Oct. 19, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
%d bloggers like this: