Tag Archives: nebraska

A View from the Top in Siouxland, Mulberry Bend Overlook

20 Jun

A view of the Missouri River separating Nebraska (this side) and South Dakota and the Newcastle (NE) and Vermillion (SD) Missouri River Bridge at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019. (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

I came across a roadway leaving Vermillion, SD that crosses into Nebraska in Siouxland recently that I wasn’t familiar with but was pleasantly surprised. The bridge crossing brings one to the Mulberry Bend Overlook that sits on the Nebraska side of the Missouri River and looks out over the river and back into South Dakota. It was easy to spend an hour looking over the landscape and hiking a couple of accessible trails that were short but nice.

Information tablets and a rest area at the top of Mulberry Bend Overlook above the Missiouri River near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

A family makes it way along a trail above the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

It’s these kinds of excursions that I enjoy coming across when out and about in the area. Something unexpected, although not for locals probably. It will be a great site to revisit during different times of the year as well as the scenery will change with seasons.

A trail leads down below the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019, and a different view of the Newcastle (NE) and Vermillion (SD) Missouri River Bridge. (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

A bench and an information tablet in a rest area off of a trail below the Mulberry Bend Overlook overlooking the Missouri River near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

The bridge was only recently constructed within the last decade or so but makes it so much nicer to travel back and forth between the two states without driving miles away to cross over the Missiouri in Yankton, SD. But some history lessons are also included for those so inclined.

The Newcastle (NE) and Vermillion (SD) Missouri River Bridge at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

An information tablet along with others gives background information about the area at a rest point at Mulberry Bend Overlook above the Missiouri River near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

The views and really pleasant and spending time just looking and enjoying and hearing nature without a lot of other “white noise”, at least there were only a few other individuals there when I visited the site.

Possibly another little adventure to add to one of my Photo Safari classes I teach at a local community college, thinking those who attend that particular class will enjoy the views as much as I.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A view from a trail above the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

A look at the Missouri River from a trail below the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Enjoying Nature in Siouxland, DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge

17 Jan

Last fall while heading to southern Siouxland I stopped in at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge which actually straddles two states, Iowa and Nebraska, and did a short hike in nice weather, but limited area because of the migratory waterfowl movement in preparation for winter. It’s a nice place to spend a day, or even half a day. it also houses historical information about river movement during the early territorial times when people and goods moved upriver to the outer reaches of the early westward expansion of the U.S.

A raptor keeping watch for lunch along an inlet from the Missouri River at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A trail map of the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

There are a few exhibits within the learning or welcome center with staff there to assist one. And local area schools visit to learn more about their area and local history and the early pioneers.

A local school group visits the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge and play games that relate to animals found near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Exhibits abound at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge welcome center near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

But the attraction really is watching migratory birds that pass through, resting on their yearly trips and exploring the area through various trails that are easily accessible.

A walking trail makes its way through the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Trails traverse wooded areas at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A view out of a window at the welcome center at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge show resting geese near Missouri Valley, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

It’s a good place to get away from the stresses of the world, commune with nature as it were and just enjoy some peace and quiet.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland County Fairs, South Sioux City, NE

11 Aug

Many local county fairs have come and gone in the Siouxland region, although there are still some that haven’t opened yet. I recently went to the Dakota-Thurston Counties fair in South Sioux City, Nebraska.

It was different from what I remembered having attended it maybe 4-5 years ago. This year there was no midway or rides. Very few vendor booths other than a couple food booths. The 4-H exhibits, animal and items is what the fair was mostly comprised of. And I believe historically, county fairs was chance for country folk to show off their livestock and grown items, although I could be mistaken. And 4-H is an organization that many country kids and now town kids join and learn from by having to be responsible for seeing a project through from inception to the end, which generally incorporates showing their endeavor at the local county fair.

I enjoyed myself, and am reminded of my past days being involved in 4-H projects.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland’s Irish history, O’Connor House, Ponca, NE

9 Nov

This weekend and a previous weekend was the annual open house in Siouxland for the O’Connor House, a preserved piece of history in Dakota County, Nebraska. Catherine and Cornelius O’Connor, the original homesteaders, both arrived in America as children from Ireland after the great famine there. The two moved to the area and settled near St. John’s City, an Irish settlement, now known as Jackson, Nebraska. The residence, completed in 1875 by Capt. Cornelius O’Connor, was restored and is run by the Dakota County, Nebraska, Historical Society. Visitors can tour the O’Connor House two weekends in early November as the holiday season kicks off. The house is decorated for Christmas by various people from around the area.  Another blog entry by an ancestor of Capt. O’Connor who visited relatives in the area talks about her trip to visit the homestead that is listed with the National Register of Historic Places.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland’s Adams House Museum, Ponca, NE

2 Oct

I visited the Adams House Museum in Ponca, Nebraska, this summer and enjoyed a throw back into time in the Nebraska area of Siouxland. Located just down the street from the Cook’s Blacksmith Shop, Jackie King-Coughlin, Ponca Historical Society president, was giving tours of the house and filling in some of the history and background of the former family residence and artifacts within. Such as the crank washing machine, the “3-D” picture viewer and information about the Adams family, no relation to those of TV fame.

There are so many gems that we can find in “our own backyard” that I am always grateful in stumbling across them while just driving about, and sometimes doing a little search on the internet. I haven’t explored Nebraska as much as I have Iowa, but I need to do more. Seeing what life was in former times is always fascinating and helpful in understanding how people lived then. Reprints for the Adams House can be found here.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City

Siouxland PRCA rodeo, Cherokee

4 Jun

The Cherokee, Iowa, Chamber recently hosted a PRCA rodeo over the weekend with livestock supplied by the Barnes Rodeo Stock Company located in Peterson, Iowa. A parade preceding the event Saturday, June 2, 2012, through the downtown area of Cherokee was a fun event with a variety of floats, animals, (horses of course) and people getting everyone in the mood for the rodeo that followed. A jail break event even occurred during the parade put on by the Western Iowa Border Agents re-enactors. And of course, the rodeo that followed thrilled the spectators but left some of the contestants more bruised and broke than happy and paid. More photos here.

Jerry Mennenga, Sioux City, Iowa

Being Lost in Siouxland

20 May

To area residents, Siouxland represents a pretty specific area, or at least an area they have grown up in or learned about when relocating here. There are different ideas about Siouxland. Its geographic confines, mostly denoting Northwest Iowa, Northeast Nebraska and Southeastern South Dakota. Its defined by rivers, farmland, small communities and big heart. People lead simple lives, but during tough times they pull together and help one another. Neighbors, friends, strangers even, making sure that someone in distress isn’t by himself. Otherwise, Siouxlanders go about their lives and live them. Participating in a variety of activities and jobs supporting local sports teams and organizations. Some those activities and people will be found here in coming months. Sharing their lives and thoughts as time moves forward, occasionally looking backward to reminisce. I hope you enjoy their stories.

Jerry Mennenga, Sioux City, Iowa

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