Tag Archives: ponca nebraska

Visiting History in Siouxland, Adams House Museum, Ponca, NE

5 Dec
A look at an earlier century of living at the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Through one of the photography classes I teach at a local community college I look for destinations for the class to visit near and far within Siouxland. Besides possibly introducing the students to places locally they might not have visited before, it also puts their photographic skills to test from composition to using ISO and white balance settings to possibly trying slow shutter speeds or dragging the shutter. My reasoning is that if they are on vacation someplace, they shouldn’t be afraid of pulling out the camera and using it to document their trip or to make awe inspiring imagery to share later with family and friends.

Volunteer Ken Johnson talks about the history of the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A look at an earlier century of living at the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Adams House Museum is a brick home built in the early 1880’s by a local druggist named E.D. Ayers according to a printed handout presented by the museum. Volunteer Ken Johnson gave the class a quick history lesson about the house and some of the furnishings, not all of which are original but mostly period pieces to the early family that lived there.

In the early 1900’s a local farmer and his wife, Sam and Della Adams, purchased the home, and it was noted in the information handed out that only wealthier folk in those days could afford to build or purchase a brick home.

A stairwell leads to the upstairs while a doorway at left goes into a sitting parlor at the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A look at an earlier century of a formal sitting parlor at the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Remnants of history on display at the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s always interesting to walk through a home museum. To see what appliances and other types of utensils were used during a particular time period one to two centuries ago. Various photographs about the museum showed snippets of history about the area and what it looked like before really being settled. Photographs showing the early days of a community are so totally different than what one sees today. Which is only natural, considering there are so many more folk living these days, and living longer.

A number of items within the museum were donated by area families, passed down through the generations are now on display for others to consider its place in history and a bit of reminder that actual people inhabited this house and others in the area helping create what it has become.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A look at an earlier century of living at the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A small hallway seen at the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A photograph on display at the Adams House museum of an earlier period in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A photograph on display at the Adams House museum of an earlier period in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A photo of the Ponca Chiefs delegation on display at the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A photograph on display at the Adams House museum of an earlier period in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A historical document signed in 1896 on display at the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A historical document signed in 1896 on display at the Adams House museum in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Adams House Museum, a historical place documenting life in an earlier century seen in Ponca, NE Saturday Oct. 23, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Paying Respect in Siouxland, Omaha Valley Cemetery, Ponca, NE

19 May

The Omaha Valley Cemetery sits atop a couple hillsides off of Highway 77 South near Homer, NE Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As I drive about the Siouxland region I like to visit cemeteries that I come across. I find that for these rural and small town graveyards some of the earliest occupants were laid to rest in the mid to late 1800’s. Pioneers the majority of them traveling months to reach a new place and start a new life. Most likely by wagon train as the railroad system for the young country had not yet united the east and west.

The dearly departed of the Omaha Valley Cemetery have nice vistas as the cemetery sits atop a couple of hillsides off of Highway 77 South near Homer, NE Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Early settlers are buried in the Omaha Valley Cemetery which sits off of Highway 77 South near Homer, NE Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Without delving into area archives or doing an online search, I will never know the story about any of these early settlers, or even their descendants. I just like to pay my respect for the chances they took in settling what at that time was still wilderness to a point and creating a life with their blood, sweat and tears, and sometimes life.

The Omaha Valley Cemetery off of Highway 77 South near Homer, NE Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Occupying a couple of hilltops the Omaha Valley Cemetery sits off of Highway 77 South near Homer, NE Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some of the rural cemeteries reside on a hill, giving the occupants and their visitors a chance to view the countryside around them. What the photographs cannot tell visitors to my blog is the sound of the leaves rustling as the wind blows, scents arriving and leaving, birds chirping and just enjoying the day. A place to stop, ponder and reflect and say a little prayer for the departed and for friends and relatives still toiling on this earth. Just taking a moment to be still, listen to the sounds of silence and enjoy before jumping back into life and the race most of us must run.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Early burials can be found in the Omaha Valley Cemetery off of Highway 77 South near Homer, NE Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Sitting on a couple of hilltops the Omaha Valley Cemetery is off of Highway 77 South near Homer, NE Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Stopping by the Siouxland’s Adams Museum, Ponca, NE

31 Mar

As I plan future classes for some of the photography courses I teach through a Lifelong Learning program at a local community college, I like to visit places in Siouxland where I will take people prior to actually scheduling an outing. Sometimes places I have previously visited have changed and I try to know about surprises in advance. Recently I stopped by the Adams Museum in Ponca, NE while taking a drive out that way. The museum was closed when I stopped by but still afforded me an opportunity to shoot photo that I was happy with in a couple of respects. I love light and shadow and the interplay of the two working together, and I also was happy to see the sunshine again. With winter storms still passing through Siouxland and bringing still a little more snow and hopefully more rain, the sunshine was a nice guest appearance until Ol’ Man Winter moves on.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A shadow of the entrance gate to the Adams House Museum in Ponca, Nebraska Thursday, March 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Siouxland’s Ponca State Parkand approaching Winter, Ponca, NE

29 Nov

This Fall in Siouxland has been especially nice this year. A weather person with one of the local TV stations said the normal temperature for November this time of year is usually 30 degrees, and today the temp was somewhere in the 50’s. Not bad. Toward the end of summer I always get a little wistful when I start to hear that sound of the locusts, buzzing into the night, noting that soon the season will be changing and that cooler temperatures are on the way. The sound is such a simple sound, background noise really. But significant in its own way. I have heard it for years, and am glad I recorded it this year. Another passing, another season, another chance to begin again and see the world fresh with the coming blanket of white. This piece is of some scenes in Ponca State Park in Ponca, Nebraska, as the locusts serenade the viewer.

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

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