Tag Archives: jerry l mennenga

Light and Shadow in Siouxland, Yankton, SD

10 Jun

The Mead Cultural Education Center, a former mental institution for women, now houses the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy a good light and shadow display no matter how fleeting or seemingly impossible it might appear to be. The interplay and ying and yang of the two opposites can create interesting images and on especially sunny days, the possibilities are endless.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Mead Cultural Education Center is undergoing a restoration before competing exhibits of the Dakota Territorial Museum and other historical artifacts under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The exterior of the Mead Cultural Education Center is graced with many columns that adorned architecture of the period. It formerly was a mental institution for women and now houses area historical content and the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring the Past in Siouxland, Mead Cultural Education Center, Yankton, SD

21 May

The Mead Cultural Education Center, a former mental institution for women, now houses the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring history in Siouxland can be a fun exercise and the chance to learn about the region and see something I have not encountered previously. Recently I visited the Mead Cultural Education Center with some photography students from a Lifelong Learning class. It’s a grand old building and previously as an asylum for women who were considered insane and whose families did not want them living at home.

A grand marble staircase greets visitors as they enter the Mead Cultural Education Center, a former mental institution for women, which now houses the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Mead Cultural Education Center was a former women’s mental institution and will now house the Dakota Territorial Museum and other historical artifacts after a renovation under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Yankton County Historical Society is housed in the facility and plans over a period of time will include a number of historical exhibits about the area including the Dakota Territorial Museum that was located in another area of Yankton.

Currently an exhibit of the Lewis and Clark Expedition is up and running with a fairly extensive look at that group’s trip through the local area.

The Mead Cultural Education Center, a former mental institution for women, showcases the history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and now houses the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Mead Cultural Education Center, a former mental institution for women, showcases the history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in a unique way and also houses the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Some displays with area history is set up on the ground floor of he Mead Cultural Education Center, a former women’s mental institution and will house the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Some displays with area history is set up on the ground floor of he Mead Cultural Education Center, a former women’s mental institution and will house the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But while the class was there the group got a look in yet unfinished areas where future exhibits will be showcased and other offices housing various local organizations will be located as well as seeing some stored historical items waiting for space to be displayed.

Camille Swift, office manager for the Mead Cultural Education Center, gets animated as she gives some background during a short tour. The center also now houses the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Camille Swift, office manager for the Mead Cultural Education Center, standing in background, gives a historical account and describes the restoration of the building during a short tour. The center also houses the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Camille Swift, office manager for the Mead Cultural Education Center, not seen, gives background context and describes the current restoration project underway during a short tour. The center also houses the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Records and other historical artifacts are stored in rooms as the Mead Cultural Education Center, a former mental institution for women undergoes a restoration under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Once completed the Education Center will give a nice look into the history of the area and Yankton’s role in the history of the Dakota Territories. Yankton was the first territorial government seat when the Territories were settled but then later lost out to Pierre. It will be easy to spend a few hours learning about the past and in a space that has found new purpose for the future.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

 

History in Siouxland not Always Evident, Yankton, SD

15 May

A former dairy barn near the Mead Cultural Education Center that will house the Dakota Territorial Museum and other historical artifacts of the area under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Early psychiatric institutions in many states operated farms and dairy operations to feed its “patients” and to generate money to cover the cost of running a facility for those who needed help or were beyond the ability of families to cope. The Yankton (SD) State Hospital in Siouxland began operating in 1880. Although I couldn’t find any online information there is what appears to be a dairy or livestock barn on the grounds that is no longer in use. I learned from other places I have lived that it was common practice for these farms to operate with help from the patients. This barn looks to be relatively in good condition and I wonder what stories could be learned of its past.

an inside look of a former dairy barn near the Mead Cultural Education Center that will house the Dakota Territorial Museum and other historical artifacts of the area under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In today’s society these kinds of operations are no longer needed, although it gave those patients who worked a sort of pride in helping be productive for the “community” in which they lived. Somewhere though I have read where other businesses found these institutions to be unfair competitors impinging on their own market share and were not really concerned that work was beneficial for patients confined there. So much history and sometimes so little information.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A self-portrait at a former dairy barn near the Mead Cultural Education Center that will house the Dakota Territorial Museum and other historical artifacts of the area under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Winter and Spring Effects in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

13 May

The Vermillion River seen along the bike path near Cotton Park in Vermillion, SD Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Vermillion River near Cotton park flooded earlier this spring as seen from debris left in trees along the bank. This river and other waterways flooded when a still frozen snow-covered ground couldn’t absorb rain that fell in Vermillion, SD Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On an outing in Vermillion, SD with a Lifelong Learning class in photography that I teach we ventured along the Vermillion River that runs below Vermillion, SD. It’s like a lot of other rivers and normally provides a nice walk on a bike path near a park in the community. I have visited this walking a path a few times and I was struck by some fundamental changes, like sand being scooped off the walkways so people could pass through. This I guess occurred when the river ran high with rains and the ground still frozen from winter last spring. In only a couple of days or more sand was swept from the riverbed and deposited outside of the banks. But it will take more time to return the sand that accumulated.

Photo Safari students from Western Iowa Tech walk along the bike path near Cotton Park that was cleared of sand from a flooding Vermillion River seen in Vermillion, SD Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Erosion of the bank of the Vermillion River along the bike path near Cotton Park in Vermillion, SD Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One can also see new erosion from the rushing river water and how eventually it will affect paths that run alongside it and provide enjoyment and a respite for locals. Nature can be beautifully destructive at times. I was also amazed at how high some river detritus I saw along the path as the water spread out of its banks and ran high.

 

A wooden bridge gives a good vantage point at Cotton Park in Vermillion, SD Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And that’s what I like about visiting and revisiting local areas because they change. Sometimes changes that we as people don’t find beneficial but for me it’s the exploring and looking and just being outside finally with warmer temperatures even though nature sometimes reminds us that we are just along for the ride.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying the Light in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

9 May

This particular spring seems to just be an extension of winter in Siouxland. Grey skies, blustery, rain, which is better than snow and easier to scoop. Only intermittently does it seem that the suns peeks through the clouds, and some days I just want to photograph in sunshine.

Light and shadow on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It makes it much easier to record light and shade moments and to see more definition. Sunshine also helps make photos seem punchier, although for some subjects, cloudy skies are much better to photograph under because soft light renders those subjects in a more appealing manner. I just have to remind myself when summer is in full swing that I enjoy photographing light and shade and not wistfully wish for a cloudy, overcast day for photographing some subjects.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Cloud cover on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Sunshine hitting the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding Bit and Pieces of History in Siouxland, Little Sioux

3 May

A placard next to Murray Hall tells some of the history of Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A former jail cell now sits alongside a placard with some of the history of Little Sioux City, Iowa Tueday, April 9, 2019, sitting next to Murray Hall. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s surprising sometimes the little bits and pieces of historical knowledge one can find when visiting places in Siouxland. Little Sioux is a small community in southern Siouxland. But a couple of the buildings sport dates harkening back a couple of centuries, and it’s possible the community was settled in the mid to late 1800’s

A brick house which looks like it could date from the late 1800’s sits empty in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

What looks like a former general store or meeting place now houses a small museum about the area in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Inside of what looks like a former general store or meeting place now houses a small museum about the area in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Except for history buffs and those living in the immediate area, it’s sad to me that so much history is being lost everyday because it really has no currency for most people. And today it seems some folk are trying to “rewrite” history because they didn’t like the outcome in the first place an in a few hundred years, who will really know what the truth is. But those who are interested it’s around us in many shapes and forms and only takes a little looking to find it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A former barbershop for sale with a building date of 1891 sits looking for a new occupant in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Another former business in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An abandoned house in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

 

Honoring those who gave all in Siouxland, Little Sioux

27 Apr

Flags flapping at the American Legion Post 410 in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When passing through various small communities in the Siouxland region one can almost always find a memorial to community members who joined the military and paid the ultimate sacrifice during war. I recently came upon American Legion Post 141 in Little Siouxand it had created a tribute to those people from the immediate area who served their country.

The American Legion Post 410 has seen many years of service in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A figurine in the window of the American Legion Post 410 in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I found interesting at this particular memoriam that mention was made of people serving in Grenada and also the Spanish-American and the Mexican war. One doesn’t always find that tribute to soldiers who fought in those campaigns.

Not all war in memoriams contain names of those who fought in the Spanish American War seen in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Names from the community of those who fought in the Mexican War, as well as at Grenada area found in memoriam in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

These salutes to those braves souls find more attention in small towns I believe because there are fewer people there to actually serve as compared to a larger city. And the loss of someone that probably everyone knew while no greater than those from larger towns becomes more impactful in a smaller community. It will also be interesting to see these salutes thrive as the dynamics between the rural and city communities continues with more people leaving smaller ones to find jobs and opportunity in larger ones.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An in memoriam with names of those who served sits next to the American Legion Post 410 in Little Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

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