Tag Archives: lost in siouixland

Another River Town outside of Siouxland, Clinton

3 Nov

A scene along the Mississippi River in Clinton, Iowa August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While on a trip I stopped into another river town across the state from Siouxland which I had not visited in many years. Clinton, Iowa is also a river town. The mighty Mississippi River runs along the eastern border of Iowa and gives many communities a nice scene to view. Many communities these days have done work to improve the quality of life for its residents which includes walks and in this case, a river walk for residents and visitors alike to enjoy.

A man gets his coffee and snacks to sit and enjoy the view of the Mississippi River in Clinton, Iowa August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The community developed a very nice riverscape along the Mississippi with walking and bike paths. While visiting it one morning I saw people come and go with their coffee, meeting friends to walk, or passing friends who were walking in the opposite direction of others. A nice way to start one’s day and enjoy the bonhomie which this redevelopment seems to inspire.

Friends stop to chat and enjoy the day on a river walk with the Mississippi River in the background in Clinton, Iowa August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A memorial ready for unveiling at a park along the Mississippi River walk in Clinton, Iowa August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

All citizens should be so lucky that its city leaders keep in mind some quality of life amenities to enjoy, even if it’s simply getting outside for a walk and time to enjoy the surrounding beauty and away from other modern day distractions.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

in Clinton, Iowa August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A scene along the Mississippi River in Clinton, Iowa August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Another Small Town outside of Siouxland, Morrison, IL

26 Oct

Downtown Morrison, Illinois August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A home under renovation along Hwy. 30 in Morrison, Illinois August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In my youth my family would drive through the community of Morrison, IL on our way to visit relatives using Hwy. 30 which then was a major thoroughfare before the advent  of the many expressways built after the early 1960’s. It has a county courthouse and the county fair is held there. I also remember the grand homes that could be seen on the hill bordering Rte. 30 as vehicles made their way through town. The homes are still there and now that so many years have passed a few are undergoing some renovation. It’s nice to see they have survived and have not been torn down and replaced. The town began in the latter 1800’s and named for a wealthy merchant. And by becoming the county seat with the courthouse made certain the community would grow and survive.

Downtown Morrison, Illinois August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A home on the hill along Hwy. 30 in Morrison, Illinois August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A home along Hwy. 30 in Morrison, Illinois August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The older homes still carry the elegance of the time period they originally were built. Appearing on the hill overlooking the downtown area and more than likely occupied by the the wealthier merchnants of the day. Many homes appear to retain their original character. Bot over time like older brick buildings that went up in the 19800’s and 1900’s, the expertise and construction cost for their material has also grown.

A home along Hwy. 30 in Morrison, Illinois August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Landscaped home along Hwy. 30 in Morrison, Illinois August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I know reading and seeing photos of residences and communities in the East like Boston and others in New York state, there the buildings are maintained and preserved. The Midwest being settled later came to that party later and while it might be possible in larger communities like Chicago or St. Louis, smaller communities can struggle to preserve these homes and commercial properties. A sign of the past that gives a little inkling of what came before present day and a look of life after the first influx of settlers who cleared the land and created those places or communities we now call home.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A home along Hwy. 30 in Morrison, Illinois August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A home along Hwy. 30 in Morrison, Illinois August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Small Towns outside of Siouxland, Rock Falls, IL

4 Oct

A park near downtown along the Rock River in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I like visiting small towns when I get out and about outside of Siouxland. Some places I knew when I was younger and it’s always interesting to see how places have changed. Many cities and small towns these days are trying to give their residents and community a little better environment to enjoy even if it’s only a few acres compared to what was there in the past. I don’t have a recollection much of Rock Falls, IL other than it sat across the Rock River from Sterling, IL which housed a wire mill for a few decades. But like so many communities, that business and those workers are all part of history. The river appears nicer than it did in younger days of the two communities with work being done to provide some recreation if only visually with a few amenities which might also benefit visitors and tourists.

A former wire mill sits across the river near downtown along the Rock River in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Art along the riverfront near downtown along the Rock River in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Art work scattered about along with benches to sit and enjoy the ambiance is a nice touch. Whether or not these are taken advantage of it’s hard to say having only passed through. But it’s nice to see the gesture and attempt made to enhance communities. A number of people were enjoying fishing along the Rock River as the day’s light faded. I’m not certain what is there to catch these days.

A man fishes in from the back near downtown along the Rock River in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The falls of the Rock River that flows between Sterling and Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But I spent maybe 30-40 minutes walking along the river front and enjoying the evening before finding a nice Thai restaurant with excellent food nearby which made for a nice end to a day. A saying states one can never go home, but sometimes visiting works. Some places I remember more than others, but as a child one never really gives much thought to places I believe, unless there is a really special reason too. I remember the mills along the river and dismay when they closed eliminating jobs with substantial pay as factories throughout much of the country were shipped south and overseas. So the quality of life made with good wages now seems supplanted with a quality of life through pleasant places to spend part of a day or evening. On balance who knows if one is better than the other.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Art along the riverfront near downtown along the Rock River in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Downtown and along the Rock River in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Learning History Outside of Siouxland, the Waterman Area Heritage Society, Waterman, IL

16 Sep

Travel can always be an educational experience. If one decides to do that. I came upon a small town museum that packed a lot of local history within its walls and two women who were happy to share it. The Waterman, IL, Area Heritage Society had only a few large displays but tons of stuff to peruse.

A local barbershop is created in the Waterman Area Heritage Society in Waterman, Illinois August 31, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While taking a few photographs and browsing artifacts, the two volunteers began telling me about the area and sharing stories of their growing up. The museum had quite a collection of “antique” phones, mostly rotary dial but also some push button ones, which they remarked that school children can not imagine using. Let along hearing stories about country “party lines” where maybe 10 families used the same line to talk with another and others and at times had to be vigilant about that one busy body who liked to listen in on other’s conversations.

Volunteers share a funny story about local history in the Waterman Area Heritage Society in Waterman, Illinois August 31, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I was lucky as well in that I happened upon the small museum with 10 minutes left before it closed. So I didn’t spend a lot of time perusing items on display but did learn about an area family that built a scale replica of a ship that was placed over a vehicle and the family traveled the United States participating in various parades.

A tribute to the Eakle Family that traveled and participated in many municipality parades across the country during the 20th Century seen in the Waterman Area Heritage Society in Waterman, Illinois August 31, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Recorded history via a photograph in the Waterman Area Heritage Society in Waterman, Illinois August 31, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One item of note the volunteers pointed out were broaches that were created in probably the 19th Century. I had seen something similar at another museum I was visited and the broaches were made with human hair collected over a period of time and probably done over the winter months when going outside might not have been an option then as streets snow removal was probably not what it is today.

Fine craftsmanship broach pins done with human hair seen in the Waterman Area Heritage Society in Waterman, Illinois August 31, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So many small museums, so little time, but serendipity can be one’s friend if a person does nothing more than simply look and push open a door to see what lies on the other side.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Items of note on display in the Waterman Area Heritage Society in Waterman, Illinois August 31, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Graduates of a former community school seen in the Waterman Area Heritage Society in Waterman, Illinois August 31, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Walk Outside of Siouxland, Hennepin Canal Parkway, Rock Falls, IL

10 Sep

A walk and bike trail along the Hennepin Canal Parkway in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On a recent trip I had a little time to stretch my legs after a bit of a drive and decided to check out the Hennepin Canal Parkway near where I was staying. For a later summer’s walk the temperature was not terrible or the humidity. I had checked out the Hennepin Canal Parkway a few years ago when visiting some relatives. The canal travels a bit of a distance, and for bike riders that gives them a good ride on even ground. I saw a couple headed out as I was walking back to my vehicle. And the gravel pathway, more for bicyclists than walkers was nice to get the heart rate up a bit.

The Parkway’s site states:

“Constructed from 1892 to 1907, the Hennepin Canal played an important role in U.S. history and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Hennepin was the first American canal built of concrete without stone cut facings. Although the Hennepin enjoyed limited success as a commercial and industrial waterway, its construction involved a number of engineering innovations, and its waterway, locks, aqueducts and adjoining towpath continue to provide a beautiful recreational resource.

The towpath provides 155 miles of hiking/biking fun from the Illinois River to the Rock River, with the feeder canal path to Rock Falls.  Segments of the trails are open to horseback riding and snowmobiling in season.  Fishing along the Hennepin is outstanding, and the canal is open to boating and canoeing (locks are no longer operational and must be portaged).  Campgrounds and day use areas are located all along the canal.”

I knew I wasn’t going to go any distance and kept stopping every wee bit to photograph, so maybe I didn’t get my heart rate up that much. But I really enjoyed the light play and reflection coming off the water in the canal.

Reflections in the water along the Hennepin Canal Parkway in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Reflections in the canal seen from a walk/bike trail path along the Hennepin Canal Parkway in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The part of the canal I walked is surrounded by trees and farm fields. I was lucky to have a nice sunny, blue sky kind of day as well. I am certain had I waited around, I might have gotten some nice sunset light, but water, trees, damp soil and I knew I would be mosquito bait just waiting to happen.

A meadow scene along the Hennepin Canal Parkway in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The afternoon early evening light though created some nice scenes and allowed me to play with light and shade. Something I can enjoy anywhere, as long as the sun cooperates.

The Hennepin Canal Parkway in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Backlit leaf along the Hennepin Canal Parkway in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

But as I walked along the canal the water seemed to become more active and I started seeing more light refraction that to me became more intriguing as I walked along. And while my heart rate wasn’t racing from my causal walk, I realized I needed to stop and head back, otherwise I would be in the next county, having taken hundreds of water photos of water reflections. Patience and discernment is sometimes necessary as I walk and shoot photos. On trips one can never go back again, but then again, shooting tons of photos doesn’t help the eye become better at creating a photograph one might consider a keeper, if just for oneself, as well as avoiding a half day spent editing. Being practical is important too.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Reflections in the canal seen from a walk/bike trail path along the Hennepin Canal Parkway in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Reflections in the canal seen from a walk/bike trail path along the Hennepin Canal Parkway in Rock Falls, IL August 28, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

 

 

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