Tag Archives: rock rapids iowa

Enjoying a Frosty Day in Siouxland, Rock Rapids

4 Mar

The Train Depot Museum in Rock Rapids, Iowa, Monday, February 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga ©)

This particular Siouxland winter seems to continue forever. It’s still February, well technically maybe not, but the continued cold spell doesn’t appear to have an end in sight. On a recent excursions for a photo assignment in Rock Rapids recently I stopped by a Train Depot Museum in the community. Everything seemed frozen in place. Although it really wasn’t, standing outside to photograph was really tough after just 10-15 minutes the cold was that pervasive.

Because of a good amount of recent snowfall there were piles of it about which at least made it easier parking near the little museum. It all looks so nice from inside the warm car. Crisp blue sky, snappy colors, yes. I could settle for a fall scene though.

The Train Depot Museum in Rock Rapids, Iowa, Monday, February 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga ©)

But the days are getting a bit longer and the sun a bit stronger which will hopefully melt some of the accumulated snow. I don’t if this year I will wistfully look back and fondly remember this winter other than to remind myself how really cold it was. Did I see some nice winter scenes? Yes, but with temps in the single digits and minus zero with wind chill added on, well, there is always next year. Getting soft? Maybe, but hey, I’m not going to complain about that either, much.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Train Depot Museum in Rock Rapids, Iowa, Monday, February 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga ©)

 

 

Looking for the Oddity in Siouxland, Rock Rapids

30 Apr

On the first outing in Siouxland this spring for my Photo Safari class I teach at the local community college we visited Rock Rapids, a small community that has more than three dozen murals decorating the downtown area, with more planned. The community of 2,500 souls has a nice downtown and area parks. But for me visiting this time I was looking for other images although I did photograph some of the murals that decorate the community.

One of the many murals depicting the history of the community seen during aPhoto Safari class outing in Rock Rapids, Iowa Saturday April 28, 2018. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

For me with a bright sunny day I was looking for shapes and patterns and light and shade for my images.

Seeing shapes and patterns for Photo Safari in Rock Rapids, Iowa Saturday April 28, 2018. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing shapes and patterns for Photo Safari in Rock Rapids, Iowa Saturday April 28, 2018. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

It sometimes is a challenge to see the same place again and find something that appeals to one in a different way. Having an “arsenal” of ideas and compositional techniques to help one create images is always a good thing, and a way to keep one’s eye fresh and looking beyond the sometimes obvious. But every visit brings its own uniqueness to a photograph. Ten minutes later and what one saw is now a memory.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seeing shapes and patterns for Photo Safari in Rock Rapids, Iowa Saturday April 28, 2018. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing shapes and color for Photo Safari in Rock Rapids, Iowa Saturday April 28, 2018. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing shapes and patterns for Photo Safari in Rock Rapids, Iowa Saturday April 28, 2018. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Siouxland history through murals, Rock Rapids

15 Jun

Every Siouxland community has a history. Rock Rapids, Iowa, is no different, except that its history can be seen as you wander around the streets of this northwest Iowa town,  presented on buildings.

Some murals are smallish and painted on small boards costing around $800.00 while others are large, covering an entire wall with costs close to $18,000.00.

But not even the largest mural compares with the smile seen on Rock Rapids Mural board member Norma Jansma’s face when she talks about them. Jansma said the mural project began in 2002 with a group of towns people wanting something depicting the history of the community. Right now there are 26 murals telling the story of this place located in Lyon County. And all but six of the murals have been privately funded.

A recorded history says the area was surveyed in 1848 by Jefferson Davis and eventually a treaty was signed with the Sioux Indians giving the white man the chance to settle the area. History states the first white man to settle in Rock Rapids was someone only known as “Old Tom”. A Mr. James Gilman surveyed the town itself in 1872, which was platted in 1874 and incorporated in 1885.

The murals depict various personalities and events that affected the town such as a well respected doctor who delivered more babies in his lifetime than the town’s number of residents, the cost of war, the town’s volunteer fire department, a soda fountain and other “pioneering” personages. Jansma said a variety of artists have painted the different murals. Some of which are painted on the buildings themselves while others are painted on boards and attached to the buildings. One was even repainted, “The Ladies of the Night”, which Jansma said turned the heads of visitors from Sioux Center. The original was attached to a building which burned down, and it was decided that even the more salient part of the town’s history should be told, and another location was found to put up the replacement.

Two more murals are planned for the near future, one during the summer of this year, 2013, and another, #28, planned for the spring of 2014. And Jansma said she hopes this history lesson will continue to remind everyone of where they have been and maybe help direct them to where they are going.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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