Tag Archives: lewis and clark expedition

History in Siouxland Sergeant Bluff

3 Feb

I always find it fun to explore history, especially if it is close by and local. A friend recently made me aware of a small museum in Sergeant Bluff, The Sergeant Bluff Historical Museum. The small community is named for Sergeant Charles Floyd who was the only person to die on the Lewis and Clark Expedition exploring the west and what would become the Louisiana Purchase, seeking information for President Thomas Jefferson .

The Sergeant Bluff Historical Museum located in downtown Sergeant Bluff, Iowa Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Photos on display of an earlier period of Sergeant Bluff at the Sergeant Bluff Historical Museum in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

While the community is named for one of the explorers of the western U.S., the contents of the museum are more home-based and concerns the community itself and its own past. The area was settled in the 1850’s, mostly by trappers. It was later platted in the middle 1850’s and appears to have become incorporated as a community in the early 1900’s.

A horse drawn school bus with an earlier version of the community’s name on the side at the Sergeant Bluff Historical Museum in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. A docent said the “Sargent Bluffs” spelling was in the late 1800’s and later changed by the state when the community became incorporated. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

A copy of a 1919 horse drawn school bus on display at the Sergeant Bluff Historical Museum in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

At one point the community’s name was called Sargent Bluff’s and later changed to its present spelling of Sergeant Bluff. Exploring bits and pieces of history is always fun since one never really knows what one might find. The museum contained a replica of an early era kitchen and one-room school.

A replica setting of a school room on display at the Sergeant Bluff Historical Museum in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And treasures were “stuffed” into what available space is there. I was informed the museum has undergone changes over the years, increasing in size and changing locations to better accommodate its collection of items.

In an attempt to display more items a farm wagon was hoisted up onto a platform to allow more floor space for other exhibits at the Sergeant Bluff Historical Museum in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

I always enjoy getting out of my immediate surroundings and visiting other communities, but sometimes those little gems can be found closer to home and provide a fun and informative opportunity as well.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

 

Passing by History in Siouxland, Spirit Mound, South Dakota

8 Sep

Returning from a trip in South Dakota, I passed by an attraction that I had mostly forgotten about, not having visited it in a few years, Spirit Mound in South Dakota. To native Americans during the Lewis and Clark expedition, the mound was a sacred place where spirits would kill visitors according to a legend. Not being aware of this, or maybe ignoring it, the some of the expedition climbed the hill and took in the surrounding view. And were awed by what they saw. A quote from the Spirit Mound website says, ” (William) Clark wrote: “from the top of this Mound we beheld a most butifull landscape; Numerous herds of buffalow were Seen feeding in various directions, the Plain to the N. W & N E extends without interuption as far as Can be Seen- … no woods except on the Missouri Points…if all the timber which is on the Stone Creek [Vermillion River] was on 100 a[c]res it would not be thickly timbered, the Soil of those Plains are delightfull.”

Clark also wrote, “Capt Lewis and my Self Concluded to visit a High Hill Situated in an emence Plain three Leagues N. 20º W. from the mouth of White Stone river, this hill appear to be of a Conic form and by all the different Nations in this quater is Supposed to be a place of Deavels or that they are in human form with remarkable large heads and about 18 inches high; that they are very watchfull and ar armed with Sharp arrows with which they can kill at a great distance; they are said to kill all persons who are so hardy as to attemp to approach the hill; they state that tradition informs them than many indians have suffered by these little people and among others that three Maha men fell a sacrefice to their murcyless fury not meany years since- so much do the Mahas Souix Ottoes and other neibhbouring nations believe this fable that no consideration is sufficient to induce them to approach this hill.”

It is easy to forget about history that surrounds us. Even in close proximity that is forgotten simply because life compels us on to other needs or destinations. But it is always good to take a moment and remember and revel in what came before.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Spirit Mound, SD, Monday, August 29, 2016, which the Lewis and Clark Expedition visited as they mapped the West.       (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spirit Mound, SD, Monday, August 29, 2016, which the Lewis and Clark Expedition visited as they mapped the West. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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