Tag Archives: lewis and clark expedition

Visiting Spirit Mound in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

18 Sep

Spirit Mound is seen in the background behind some sunflowers at the Spirit Mound Historic Prairie near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spirit Mound Historic Prairie is one of the place and stops taken by Lewis and Clark’s Expedition researching the Louisiana Purchase for then President Thomas Jefferson. For Native Americans at the time it represented a place of foreboding, as a website states: “Long before white men came to what is now South Dakota, the little hill known by the Sioux as Paha Wakan was held in awe by tribes for miles around. The Omaha, the Sioux, and the Otoes believe that the mound was occupied by spirits that killed any human who came near.”

The trail head at Spirit Mound near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A trail marker pinpoints a spot visited by the Lewis and Clark Expedition as it explored the “New West” for then President Thomas Jefferson seen at Spirit Mound near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The day I visited there were going to people out on the trail helping visitors to learn a little more about the Mound and other aspects of the area. But a morning rain”washed away” the volunteers as the event was postponed to the following day. But I don’t always let a little water dampen my enthusiasm or gear. And I missed the rain, and the informational pieces as I didn’t attend the following day, but enjoyed the short walk and look at Spirit Mound again as I had visited previously.

Rain puddles fill a walking trail at Spirit Mound near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Rain drops cling to a sign at Spirit Mound near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But there are now informational plagues erected along the trail to give a visitor some background and information one would have to research later, which still wouldn’t be a bad idea to understand more about Lewis and Clark’s expedition and the Native Americans who lived in the area centuries before. History can be fascinating and sometimes it seems surreal to walk in an area visited a century or two or more by explorers and others who lived in an entirely different world.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An informational plague talks about the history of Spirit Mound near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Storm clouds appear on the horizon nearSpirit Mound near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sunrise at a Monument in Siouxland, Sioux City

23 May

Sgt. Floyd Monument during sunrise Monday, May 13, 2019 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While out early recently I drove by the Floyd Monument located in Sioux City, dedicated to Sgt. Charles Floyd, the only member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to explore the Louisiana Purchase done by President Thomas Jefferson. The light was peeking through clouds and created a nice scene at the monument in Siouxland. I’m a sucker when it comes to light and shade. My only regret was not leaving earlier when the rising sun was creating “golden” outlines around some of the clouds. And my only excuse is that the coffee was still percolating.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

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©)

%d bloggers like this: