Tag Archives: Mapleton Iowa

A look into Siouxland history at the Ring House, Mapleton

1 Sep

Many people who live in large cities have numerous places to go to find out about history of their area. Museums are a good place to start. But sometimes in smaller communities one has to search for history, especially if you do not live within the community. I came across the Ring House in Mapleton, Iowa, over the summer. It was the first frame built house in Maple Valley and utilized black walnut wood for the construction. The home was later moved from its original location to within Mapleton proper for preservation.

I find any look back into history an interesting endeavor. The owner of the home came from the East Coast, New York state, in the 1850’s. There are some original furnishings in the home, which a simple two-room lower with smaller rooms upstairs. It seems the idea of McMansions in those early pioneer days in the Midwest was not on everyone’s minds.

The information within the home gives people another glimpse of early life on the prairie and about the people who took the risk and populated the region. As an old saying goes, “You don’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you have been.” History is something people never really think about or search out, which is sad, because even though it is always there, one has to look for it or it just disappears.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

History in Siouxland, Mapleton

6 Aug

Over the Fourth of July I spent a little time in a private museum in Mapleton, Iowa. I say private because it is a former church now owned by an individual who has turned the space into a history museum. Keith Robinson is a former teacher from the area and has garnered quite a collection of Mapleton history as well as presidential memorabilia in his The Museum of American History. Some of it dating back to the mid and late 1800’s. With all the hubbub of this election cycle getting underway, I find it fascinating to look at these items and try to imagine what it might be like in those bygone days before mass media, before the internet, and candidates travelled by train and people campaigned by wearing a certain type of hat, or displaying a particular kind of dish ware or wearing a particular pin in your tie. Possibly a more simple election cycle without 24/7 TV ads and bombardments from paid circulars in your mailbox and tons of emails.

In those days, people probably found it as trying as we do today, sifting through all the “garbage” and hype to figure out who is a worthy candidate that one wants to support. But whatever innocence there may have once been about campaigning for the U.S. presidency, there certainly isn’t anymore. And people have become more cynical and skeptical about what their politicians can do for them and not what they can do for their country.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Celebrating the 4th of July in Siouxland, Mapleton

6 Jul

Celebrating the 4th of July in a Siouxland small community is pretty much the same as in a large community. People get together, there may be a cookout, a parade and general relaxing on a national holiday. But small towns may do some things a little differently, as a friend told me it is just weird to have farm machinery in a parade.

I attended the 4th of July parade at the Siouxland community of Mapleton, Iowa. It has a population a little over 1,200 people. The parade included a number of entries that also included the farm equipment, antique tractors and other floats that my friend thought a little strange. But that is the beauty of small towns, this parade reflects the residents and its occupants and neighbors. Prior to the parade families were hanging out in the local park, eating food, most of which is homemade or cooked on the spot, and enjoying various entertainment that included karaoke, bouncey tents for kids and a small country combo.

It was a nice event, on a nice day and a chance to see how the sacrifices of those that came before us allows the rest of us to enjoy this solitude and holiday in even the smallest communities.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Small town restaurants in Siouxland

10 Apr

When I get the chance to get out and drive around, I always like to find a local place to eat lunch or dinner. In small communities, this can sometimes prove difficult because most places open early for breakfast and coffee and then close by 1 or 2 p.m. But even so, I always enjoy the names and sometimes the look of the establishment because it is so fitting for its location within that community.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland Small Town’s Decor, Mapleton

4 Mar

When out driving about and coming into a small community in the Siouxland region, it is always striking that a town’s decor, its buildings, are fascinating. The structures, many built in the late 1800’s or early 20th century are as fine as any you could fine in a large city, such as Chicago or Omaha. But oft times those buildings fall into disrepair from lack of use, communities losing its population due to businesses closing or moving away to large urban settings. And that is a shame. The character of these communities, like Mapleton, Iowa, add much to what created this region and gives the area depth of character.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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