Tag Archives: peterson iowa

Learning History in Siouxland, Kirchner Home at the Peterson Heritage Park, Peterson

14 Sep
The home of J.A. Kirchner, an early settler in the Peterson, Iowa area see at the now Peterson Heritage Park in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, April 10, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy learning a bit more history about the Siouxland area. Most of the region was first explored and somewhat settled in the early 1800’s with more folk following during midcentury and the latter portion beginning in the 1850’s. Peterson, Iowa was first settled around 1856 with a small fort being build in 1862 because of the Dakota Indian War. One of the first people to build a frame house was J.A. Kirchner who settled in the area was a farmer. Local historian and farmer Michael Hyde gives tours of the home and history about Kirchner and other early settlers who called Clay County home. The home had many of the “modern day” conveniences for its time period and more luxurious than living in a lean-to or sod house.

Local historian Michael Hyde talks about the J.A. Kirchner home that is now a museum and its owner who was an early settler in the area. The home is in what is now the Peterson Heritage Park in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, April 10, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Local historian Michael Hyde talks about the J.A. Kirchner home that is now a museum and its owner who was an early settler in the area. The home is in what is now the Peterson Heritage Park in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, April 10, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always find it fascinating and interesting to see what modern appliances and other items were available in another century. People living in comfort that today some folk might shake their heads at and not understand. But life is what you make of it and some people fare better than others which is sad. But one can learn to appreciate what is available now as compared to 100 years or more ago and what seems like hardship now may not have been then.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A comfortable bed at the time seen at the J.A Kirchner museum home at the Peterson Heritage Park in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, April 10, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Rope was used in place of bed springs two centerues ago for early settlers seen at the J.A Kirchner museum home at the Peterson Heritage Park in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, April 10, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Bedroom and its furnishings seen at the J.A Kirchner museum home at the Peterson Heritage Park in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, April 10, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The dining room of the J.A Kirchner museum home at the Peterson Heritage Park in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, April 10, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A kitchen with modern appliances for the time seen at the J.A. Kirchner museum home at the Peterson Heritage Park in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, April 10, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at the Peterson Heritage Park in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, April 10, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Churning creme to make butter while seated at a kitchen windown seen at the J.A Kirchner museum home at the Peterson Heritage Park in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, April 10, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at the Peterson Heritage Park in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, April 10, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Entertainment of an earlier century found at the J.A Kirchner museum home at the Peterson Heritage Park in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, April 10, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Children of early settlers seen in the J.A Kirchner museum home at the Peterson Heritage Park in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, April 10, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Early settlers in Peterson, Iowa seen at the Peterson Heritage Park in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, April 10, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Nature in Siouxland,Prairie Heritage Center, O’Brien County

25 Aug

The Prairie Heritage Center is off of state Hwy 10 outside of Peterson, Iowa seen Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I never tire of finding new places to visit in Siouxland. Places people tell me about, and which I then forget, only to “discover” it while driving about. I really need to write these suggestions down, someplace where I can remember I put my list.

The Prairie Heritage Center is located in O’Brien County, just outside of Peterson on a bit of a hill and stretches out toward a small river and grasslands. As one drives down the long lane you see an unusual sight, a pre-historic critter standing overlooking the valley below, giving the visitor an idea of what creatures may have roamed these hills millennia ago.

Art decorates and suggests a prehistoric past which may have roamed the area seen at the Prairie Heritage Center Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Benches are located near the Prairie Heritage Center near Peterson, Iowa for a chance to sit and enjoy nature and its surroundings seen Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The center contains information about the immediate area, history of what may have come before and helps one understand the natural habitat and why it is important. There are also tablets outside that contain relevant information about the area and what animals roamed prior to most of Iowa becoming a farming state.

A family looks over exhibits located inside the Prairie Heritage Center near Peterson, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Plaques give information about the area at the Prairie Heritage Center near Peterson, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Plaques give information about the area at the Prairie Heritage Center near Peterson, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Then there are a couple of easy walking trails that lead down into the valley area below the center although without some bushwhacking it’s not possible to reach the river stream that runs through the area. I thought that might have been nice to walk in the cool shade of the trees on a hot summer’s day, but the tall grass, fear of ticks and not wanting to trip on underlying tree limbs or logs under the grass, I stayed on the trail. But it’s a nice area to visit and return to, which I plan on in the fall. A worker at the welcome center said not all trees along the river are burr oak, whose leaves only turn brown in the fall after turning green in the spring. So depending on weather and conditions, there could be some nice fall shots waiting for a photographer traipsing out and about in October and November.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Trails lead away from the Prairie Heritage Center and allow visitors a closer look at the prairie and fauna seen Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Prairie Heritage Center near Peterson, Iowa sits on a hilltop overlooking a valley seen Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors climb the view overlook to see the valley below the Prairie Heritage Center near Peterson, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

History in Siouxland, Kirchner Park Museum, Peterson

23 Aug

The Christian Kirchner house seen on the grounds of the Kirchner Park Museum complex in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes timing is everything as one drives about Siouxland checking out what lies over the next hill. A few times I have driven through Peterson and each time I was never lucky enough to find the Kirchner Park Museum open. Only to learn later that it’s by an appointment situation and entails a little more planning on my part next time. The home is of a pioneer who settled the area and built one of the firsts, if not the first, wood frame house. A small museum next door houses various artifacts and farming implements as far as I know. There is even a one-room school house situated on the grounds, all of which most likely holds interesting history of the area, and someday, I hope to learn what some of that history is. And better plan my next trip there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A look inside one room of the Christian Kirchner house on the grounds of the Kirchner Park Museum complex in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The porch area of the Kirchner Farm Machinery Museum on the grounds of the Kirchner Park Museum complex in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Rock Forest Schoolhouse on the grounds of the Kirchner Park Museum complex in Peterson, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Traveling in Siouxland, Peterson

29 Nov

With winter setting in, I know my travels about the Siouxland region will be a bit curtailed. With recent snow and some more expected getting out and about safely becomes a bit of a concern. I have driven on my fair share of “black ice”, finding myself driving creatively until the car slows enough for Rod Serling to relent control of it.

This past October though, I came across a small museum like area in the small town of Peterson, Iowa. Kirchner Village was named for a gentleman who settled in the area and evidently grew to some prominence. Naturally when I drove through the small museum was closed, but it will give me impetus to go back through that area and check it out. History is always fascinating getting to know a bit about a small town or area is wonderful.

The Christian Kirchner home, now at the Kirchner Heritage Village in Peterson, was the first frame house in Clay County, Iowa, built in 1887. Many early settlers built mud huts and lived in these as it was quick and  simple to construct and people could shelter in them fairly easily. The Siouxland region I am sure is markedly different now that when early settlers arrived. So learning more about the area one lives in and near is always beneficial.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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