Tag Archives: okoboji

A Dark Event in Siouxland’s History, Inkpaduta and the Massacre, Arnolds Park

6 Feb

Every place probably has a dark past somewhere along the way. Even in Siouxland as mentioned previously a band of renegade Sioux Indians massacred white settlers in the Arnolds Park region and referenced as the Spirit Lake Massacre. And a memorial still exists in the region today telling perhaps only the one side of what happened, as tragic as the tale is.

The Spirit Lake Massacre Monument with the Gardner Cabin in the background which tells the story of a young girl was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014. The museum is situated in the back center. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A museum and a replica Gardner Cabin is of historical significance for the remembrance of a young girl who was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014, (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

This explanation appears on the history net website, while still does not excuse the massacre that took place, it helps give a fuller picture of why events took place. “In the spring of 1857, the renegade Wahpekute Dakota Chief Inkpaduta and his band of warriors descended on the homesteads near Spirit Lake in northwestern Iowa and committed murder and mayhem. The causes of the massacre are still debated. One reason can be traced to an 1854 episode when a whiskey trader and horse thief, Henry Lott, and his son killed, among others, Inkpaduta’s blood brother Sintomniduta and Sintomniduta’s wife and five children. Inkpaduta (meaning ‘Scarlet Point’ or ‘Red Cap’) appealed to the military to punish Henry Lott, but the killer fled and was indicted in absentia. The prosecuting attorney, Granville Berkley, took Sintomniduta’s head and skewered it on a pole over his house in a gross act of contempt. Lott was never found, and justice was never served.”

And the site and museum in Arnolds Park allows visitors a look back into time of settlers in the area and the story of Abbie Gardner who survived the massacre as a prisoner and later rescued. A short video presentation in the museum alludes to the wrongs committed  by white settlers against Inkpaduta to help explain why the massacre took place.

A look in a replica of the Gardner Cabin. The historical significance is the remembrance of a young girl who was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014, (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A look in a replica of the Gardner Cabin. The historical significance is the remembrance of a young girl who was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014, (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A look in a replica of the Gardner Cabin. The historical significance is the remembrance of a young girl who was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014, (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And the related history in the museum helps fill in the background and what occurred to Gardner who eventually moved back to the Spirit Lake / Arnolds Park region and used the Gardner cabin as one of the first must-see tourist attraction sites in the area.

A photograph, circa 1862, of the Gardner Cabin hangs in a museum near the cabin in Arnolds Park which tells the story of Abbie Gardner, a young girl who was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in Arnolds Park in 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014, (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A depiction of an Indian raid in the in the 1850’s seen in a museum in Arnolds Park next to the Gardner Cabin and tells the story of a young girl, Abbie Garnder, who was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in Arnolds Park in the 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014, (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An 1895 photograph showing Abbie Gardner-Sharp, front row with hat, and seated next to Charles Flandreau and Chetanmaza (Iron Hawk) during a dedication of the Spirit Lake Massacre. Iron Hawk was one of the three Indians who rescued Gardner from the renegade band of Sioux and Flandreau financed the venture to find the captives. The Gardner Cabin stands next to a small museum that tells the story of Gardner-Sharp as a young girl was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in Arnolds Park in the 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014, (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Besides the memorial and cabin the site also has the remains of those killed. in a small burial plot.

A burial plot the Gardner and Luce family members who perished in the 1857 Spirit Lake Massacre with the Spirit Lake Massacre Monument and the Gardner Cabin and museum in the background which tells the story of a young girl, Abbie Garnder, was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in Arnolds Park in the 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A burial plot the Gardner and Luce family members who perished in the 1857 Spirit Lake Massacre near the Gardner Cabin and a museum which tells the story of a young girl, Abbie Garnder, was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in Arnolds Park in the 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A burial plot the Gardner and Luce family members who perished in the 1857 Spirit Lake Massacre near the Gardner Cabin and a museum which tells the story of a young girl, Abbie Garnder, was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in Arnolds Park in the 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A burial plot the Gardner and Luce family members who perished in the 1857 Spirit Lake Massacre near the Gardner Cabin and a museum which tells the story of a young girl, Abbie Garnder, was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in Arnolds Park in the 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes one never expects to find that such an event occurred in the area and I have found various little nuggets of history that probably many locals may not be aware of so many decades removed from the actual event. But I find that it helps one understand and better appreciate a place or region with what has gone on before.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Gardner Cabin is a historical remembrance where a young girl was the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in 857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014, (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Abbie Gardner-Sharp is seen behind a store counter of her family home that in 1891after returning to Arnolds Park and purchasing the cabin, Gardner-Sharp operated one of Iowa’s earliest tourist attractions. This photo and others as well as historical pieces are found in a museum next to the Gardner Cabin where Gardner, as a young girl, was taken captive and then became the sole survivor of a Sioux Indian massacre in 1857 and later found alive, seen in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Monday, July 1, 2014, (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fall in Siouxland, Arnolds Park

5 Oct

It is hard to realize that fall is officially here. The days have much less humidity and the sky is a bright blue and the temperature cooler, which I personally like. But summer seemed to pass quickly with fleeting moments that are gone. A few classes for me start around this time that I teach at a local community college and it is fun to see people get excited about getting out with a camera and shooting better photos and enjoying themselves. Even though I enjoy the fall season most, I will miss summer only because I know winter will be here even quicker.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

A quick look at History in Siouxland, Arnolds Park

3 Aug

Earlier this summer I took a drive up to the Okoboji, Iowa area before the summer season and visitors inundated the area to just relax and enjoy some time away from home. It had been particularly warm the days prior to my trip and pleasantly, arriving early in the morning, it was nice walking along the lake shore, finding a coffee shop and enjoying the breeze before the temperature began rising.

When it did get hotter, I stopped into the Maritine Museum located near Arnolds Park Amusement Park where I found fascinating tidbits of history about the region, boat building that had occurred and photos of early days around Lake Okoboji and its residents and early guests. It was a fun day even spending some of it indoors and learning more about the early days of tourism.

 

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland’s end of season, Arnold’s Park Amusement Park

19 Oct

The crowds have long dispersed from their summer activities and life has considerably slowed in the small communities of Arnold’s Park and Okoboji. But the lesser crowds doesn’t really change any photographic opportunities one can find. On a recent visit which was overcast and rainy, it was nice to be able to walk in quiet and just enjoy the scenes as they were without a lot of hustle and bustle. For some of the photography classes I teach I always remind people that sometimes what you are looking to photograph isn’t there, so you adjust and photograph what is there, and see the opportunities in front of you and sometimes you can be very surprised by the results.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Fall in Siouxland’s Iowa Lakes region, Okoboji

21 Oct

I traveled last week up to the Iowa Lakes region in Siouxland that includes Okoboji, West Okoboji, Spirit Lake and other small communities clustered around that area. It was during the week and quiet. The summer crowds had left. The summer residents have left their summer homes and local workers were prepping them for winter. The resorts and businesses that catered to them were closed. One could see leaves turning on trees around the lake and in amongst the homes. The air was cool and crisp in the morning then turned warm in the afternoon. I had a quiet walk around the place, talking to a few local residents and just enjoying the solitude. Something that at times seems in short supply.

I like fall. A good time for contemplation over a cup of coffee as the sunlight comes and goes more quickly. The quality of light in the fall is just very nice. It has a crispness to it that isn’t as harsh as summer light, but softer, and also a shorter time span. And just makes being outside more enjoyable.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland, where the living is easy at the Lakes, Arnolds Park

3 Jul

I lived in the Siouxland area close to 12 years now, and until this year, had never visited the Iowa Lakes Region in northwest Iowa. It is only a 2-hour drive north, through pretty farm country and then into the lakes area. In the summer time, the lakes area is where people go to play, for families and singles. The area around Arnolds Park, East and West Okoboji and other areas are highly developed. According to history, this area has been popular a long time as a place to get away and relax. The amusement park has been a magnet for decades, as well as the lakes, where people constantly boat. My second visit this past week saw storm clouds and intermittent rain showers pass over the area. It looked dark and foreboding, reminding me more of England and images I have seen of it that of sunny Iowa, corn fields and a Field of Dreams. Personally, I liked the dark clouds, and overcast skies. I like summer, but not as much as fall and early spring. The wind gusts in the area that day were 30-40 miles an hour, maybe more. There were whitecaps on Lake Okoboji. And being early in the week, fewer people. Crowds are okay, but large crowds are not a favorite of mine.

The communities surrounding the lakes though are highly developed. Some might think overly developed. Like a university town during school, these communities overflow with humanity in the summer. Rental cabins are compressed into what space there is. Even shoreline homes are shoe horned next to one another. It is a cozy feeling. So many people trying to just get away from whatever daily routines they have to enjoy themselves and relax. People I know have family rituals and talk about their childhood memories of visiting the lake. They now take their children to the lakes region, creating another set of childhood memories and passing on the tradition. However like many popular places to get away too, sometimes prices are steep, but worth it. Real estate in the area I am told has increasingly gone up. People talk of previously owning places around the lake, now just visit, becoming more like nomads without a permanent residence.

But it is a nice place to visit. Welcoming, friendly, truly an Iowa place that tells its neighbor to stop on by and have a cup of coffee. I can see the allure, and will be making more trips to visit myself. Sometimes wondering why I waited so long, but know that I will return. One weekend I plan to watch the crowd and see the surge of humanity that flocks to the lakes with people everywhere, just getting away and forgetting the outside world for a few hours or a weekend.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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