Tag Archives: rural america

Spring Slowly emerges in Siouxland, Rural South Dakota

13 Apr

Flood water still fills a field bordering a main roadway in rural South Dakota Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finally it seems spring is beginning to flirt with the Siouxland area, some days of sunshine and cloud play with light over the landscape. But that doesn’t mean the area has rid itself entirely of winter or the leftover of bad weather that combined into too much water, liquid and frozen, that overran much Siouxland and others areas bordering it.

One main roadway is still closed because of flood water in rural South Dakota Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Still, it is nice to see sunshine and the light and shadow play that comes with clouds passing through, showing glimpses of what may yet be.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light play from the sun and moving clouds on a farm stead in rural South Dakota Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Looking for the Green in Siouxland, Rural Iowa

3 Apr

As the temperatures in the Siouxland region continue to rise, albeit slowly, I look forward to once again getting into my vehicle and driving about. Seeking whatever is over the next rise or pausing to enjoy the scene just outside my windshield.

Rural Plymouth County, Iowa, Monday, May 25, 2015. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Blue skies will return and the grass and surrounding countryside will begin to green up, leaving behind that barren winter look.

Near Smithland, Iowa rural Woodbury County Thursday, May 28, 2015. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Having grown up in the country, I enjoy tooling down a country road, be it gravel or black top. Not driving especially fast so that I can enjoy what I see and the quiet one generally finds in the country. Stop and listen, and you might hear birds, the wind, crickets, if it’s nearer dusk or evening and what some might call the sound of silence. Well, maybe to a city dweller.

Rural Plymouth County, Iowa, Monday, May 25, 2015. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The view can be expansive, even in the Midwest like in Siouxland, or a closer view of a country scene. While the photos themselves can’t relate all of the experience like freshly mowed alfalfa in a field, a nearby stockyard or the damp smell created by newly plowed earth or after a fresh rain, they can set up the experience to which a viewer if they so desire, then makes an effort to experience the same themselves.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Rural Plymouth County, Iowa, Monday, May 25, 2015. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looking to Backroads in Siouxland, Rural Clay County

25 Jan

As January heads towards the end of the month and the next wave of cold with teens and below zero readings popping up on weather prognosticators radar I start daydreaming of “warmer” days ahead, 40’s and 50’s are good, and hitting the road looking for images throughout Siouxland and areas surrounding it. I travel a number of the roads numerous times but never seem to tire of seeing familiar places and never of new places. So many places to explore, and such limited time. The next hill, summit and bend or curve in the road can be a splendid surprise. And I am hoping this year delivers in many ways.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A country road runs through rural Clay County, Iowa Saturday Oct. 8, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

History in Siouxland, Communication Breakdown and the Inkpaduta Tragedy, Rural Woodbury County

21 Jan

A stopping place for Inkpaduta before he and his Indian band in rural Woodbury County, Iowa before he and his group later moved north to an area near the Iowa Lakes where the group killed white settlers and kidnapped young girls, seen Saturday, August 6, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s probably been long stated that communication is key in any context. Even in today’s vitriolic political stalemate. People just don’t listen to one another and take offense at what is said. So history repeats itself. And a bit of history in Siouxland informs a person that communication between native Americans and the early settlers did not always garner the clarity that would have prevented violence and misunderstanding.

A plaque commemorating a stopping place for Inkpaduta before he and his Indian band in rural Woodbury County, Iowa before he and his group later moved north to an area near the Iowa Lakes where the group killed white settlers and kidnapped young girls, seen Saturday, August 6, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In 1857 a band of renegade Sioux Indians were wandering what is now the rural Woodbury and Monona Counties and places north. Settlers were pushing the Native Americans off their former land to live their own version of paradise and renewal, starting life in a new place. Inkpaduta was a tribal chief of this small band of Sioux and his name became infamous in what was to become northwest Iowa when later in the same year he and his band killed settlers and kidnapped young girls from the Spirit Lake area. It’s hard to imagine even what the area looked like in the late 1850’s compared to now, with farming of the area continuous since that time period, and probably even more expanded as technology allowed farmers to cover more ground with tractors and other mobile equipment.

Terraced corn crop in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Saturday, August 6, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Horses grazing in a field in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Saturday, August 6, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And whatever few trails carried travelers through the area probably still exist as one or many of the current roadways that traverse the area. What was probably idyllic looking then is probably the same as now, only with fields rather than prairie grass. Over so many decades one would hope people would learn that it is better to communicate and find a way forward than repeating past mistakes than generally never end well.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A gravel road running through a part of rural Woodbury County, Iowa Saturday, August 6, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An area in rural Woodbury County, Iowa near an Inkpaduta plaque marking a place where he and his tribe camped prior to heading north to the Iowa Lakes they later killed white settlers, seen Saturday, August 6, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

Small Communities in Siouxland, Waterbury, NE

7 Jan

A pathway leads to a former school, now apartments in Waterbury, Nebraska Saturday, August 6, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I visit small communities in Siouxland, I don’t really have any objectives in mind when photographing. Mostly justing taking photographs of what interests me visually. In some cases this “documents” a place and in other cases it does not. It just shows what I personally found interesting. Not having seen a place in more robust times I have nothing to compare the present to the past.

A former church now possibly a residence in Waterbury, Nebraska Saturday, August 6, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I just enjoy the visual elements and attempt to find something appealing to share with others, and whether it is successful or not is something someone else will have to answer.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A former church now possibly a residence in Waterbury, Nebraska Saturday, August 6, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting Siouxland, Alton

30 Dec

Somedays when I am driving about I stop in small community towns to visit and see what is there. Many times it’s during the week when people are at work so I don’t always see a lot of folk about. One such visit was in Alton, a community of a little over 1,200 people according to the last census count.

A mural reflecting Alton, Iowa Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Like many of Iowa’s small communities Alton came to life in the latter part of the 1800’s as people moved west. A railroad arrived in 1872 and a hotel was built in 1873. A saloon also opened, but closed shortly afterwards.

Downtown Alton, Iowa Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Part of down town Alton, Iowa Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A quiet town that hasn’t forgotten its roots, but like many of the smaller communities that started with vibrancy, its beginnings are now different that current developments and citizens and young have migrated to larger communities offering more opportunity, but is still a good place to raise a family and enjoy a slower, quieter pace.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A tribute to those locals who have served near downtown Alton, Iowa Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring Siouxland, Fonda

16 Dec

I never tire of visiting small communities in Siouxland, most with a population of 2,000 or less, and some communities with less residents still. The town of Fonda is one such place, with a population of almost 700 people. It’s quaint and has a museum I found that I need to visit in season, that is, when it’s warmer and days are longer to allow for some drive time.

A mural celebrating the community in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In the downtown area I came across a park that immediately made me think of another, slightly more famous park. Founded in 1870, Fonda’s park might not be so famous but offers the town’s residents a place to visit and hang out and have coffee with friends.

A Central Park in this not as famous community of Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A central gathering place in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There is also a community garden near the downtown area where residents can also chat while producing some garden vegetables and other edibles they may desire. This particular day I met a couple of locals, but they were too shy to hang around while a visitor explored the area.

A community garden anchors one end of the downtown in Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A couple local residents enjoy some sunshine in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But next summer I plan to return and visit the local museum to learn more about the history of the area and the community itself which hopefully will lead to more exploration and a chance to explore more of the area.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A little history posted on a museum in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Fonda Museum based in the McKee Opera House in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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