Tag Archives: rural america

Finding History While Wandering in Siouxland, Rural South Dakota

21 Apr

Older tomb stones in an unnamed cemetery in rural South Dakota Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes while driving around Siouxland I will stumble upon something I haven’t seen before and I always find that exciting. Although it doesn’t mean it’s something not known to others. I recently came upon an older, possibly pioneer cemetery in rural South Dakota. The older tombstones gave that impression, yet there were newer stones there as well so it’s still hallowed ground that continues in use.

A fence line bordering an unnamed cemetery in rural South Dakota Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Older grave markers in an unnamed cemetery in rural South Dakota Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I couldn’t find a name along the fence line for the cemetery and was then not able to do any research online as to its origins and who exactly may have settled in the area originally farming what was probably then part of the Dakota Territories. Given its location on a secondary road the settlers and this cemetery sat far from civilization. In a way it still does. But the plot of land is tended and that shows respect for those who have passed from this earth by those whose time has not come to follow. I can only suppose that it is descendants who continue to use this cemetery and care for those relatives who have left this earth, holding on to a dream of a new and better life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An unnamed cemetery in rural South Dakota Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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©)

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