Tag Archives: rural america

Curiosity always wins while Traveling Siouxland, Lytton

10 Nov

Recently while doing some work in Siouxland I came across the small community of Lytton. Many times traveling to smaller towns requires an effort simply because they may not be on a major roadway that passes through them. And being a curious sort, I always need to stop and walk about. I especially liked the community’s link to an agricultural industry. The small community of no more that a few hundred individuals is anchored by a grain elevator and a farm dealer displays his wares in the downtown area where the business is located.

A grain elevator anchors one end of downtown Lytton, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Farm equipment forsale in downtown Lytton, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I tried finding a bit of history about the community doing an online search, but didn’t find anything that would give a quick cursory look into the community’s past. But it seemed a clean, orderly place to stop and visit and when there is more time, maybe a second look when work doesn’t beckon.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A quiet downtown Lytton, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A street leads out of downtown Lytton, Iowa into the country and a cornfield, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing Form in Siouxland through Light and Shade, Calliope Village

14 Oct

While visiting the Calliope Historical Village in September I looked for other ways in making images as I walked about the small historical complex. Visiting places again and again breeds familiarity and comfort and I always keep that in mind when thinking about photographing a place. And many times the kind of day, weather and light plays a part in making those decisions.

An indoor water pumpjack is silhouetted by a window at the Calliope Historical Village during Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Lights and shadows at the Calliope Historical Village during Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was a stormy kind of day that day and the light was soft and even and so my photographs reflected some of that aspect as I walked among the buildings looking at form and lines and whatever other notions caught my attention. Photography is limitless in subject matter, and highly personal as well. Two persons standing next to one another will see a scene differently and make different kinds of photograph depending on how they personally see and feel, as I sometimes think photography is as much intuitive as it is a thought process. Trying to fore a viewer’s eye to see what you see, sort of walking a quarter mile in someone’s shoes.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Lights and shadows at the Calliope Historical Village during Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Light and shadows at the Calliope Historical Village during Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating Labor in Siouxland, Calliope Historical Village, Hawarden

6 Oct

Siouxland is home to a number of a number of historical significance to the region, much like many early settlements in many locations around the country. Calliope Village, according to an official listing at the site of the city of Hawarden where the village is located, came into existence in 1860. “History reports that Sioux County, Iowa was founded January 20, 1860, on the banks of the Big Sioux River on the north edge of what is now Hawarden. Our “founding fathers” were Frederick Hubbell, W.H. Frame, Joseph Bell, and E.L. Stone who founded the settlement of Calliope (Kal’ e ope) for the express purpose of receiving a regulation count salary for organizing a county in Iowa.

In 1869, Calliope consisted of a courthouse, three log homes and about 10 residents. The infant town was driven back to the safety of Sioux City by Indian uprisings. In 1871, the Indians calmed down and the few rugged individuals who were willing to brave the wilderness returned to the settlement to find the original courthouse standing. By 1872 Moses Lewis bought out the remaining initial investors and used the office to issue fraudulent bonds. It wasn’t until 1874 that the settlement of Calliope was actually home to the earliest settlers. Progress came with a hotel, cabins and finally viability was enhanced greatly by the formation of a stage coach line to transport people to and from Sioux City.”

Calliope Historical Village open Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

That history and the historical village is all that remains of that early settlement. Fundraising and area residents made the village possible to remind current and future residents of the community’s historical background.

So it’s nice to visit the village on a holiday and see people stroll the grounds and check it out. Or relax and enjoy some music provided by a washtub band whose creation was musician’s Jerry Toft.

People celebrate Labor Day visiting the Calliope Historical Village in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Musician Jerry Toft plays a washtub bass and performs standards for visitors along with his friends at the Calliope Historical Village during Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

People celebrate Labor Day visiting the Calliope Historical Village and listening to a washtub band in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©

I visit the place from time to time. Sometimes with a class I teach and other times during the holidays or when I am passing through the area. The days are always different and so is the light. The village isn’t always open but it’s still nice to stop by and see. Of course the side attractions that come during days like Labor Day are not always present, and are a look back into time itself, and just fun to photograph.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Antique tractors carry a shine while on show at the Calliope Historical Village during Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Collectible farm tractors for some, on display at the Calliope Historical Village during Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Someone with a bias toward red tractors as a number of
Allis-Chalmers are on display at the Calliope Historical Village during Labor Day in Hawarden, Iowa Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Driving about Siouxland, Rural Iowa

8 Sep

Some days I get into my car and just drive about Siouxland. No particular destination in mind, just some wandering about the area looking at what is there.

Impressions of a summer’s day and scenes in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was a dreary, overcast day the day I went out and so began photographing in B&W to match soft light and pale look I saw as I went about. I find shooting black and white images digitally more challenging that when I photographed with black and white film. Then at least I could count on how I processed the film and eventually what kind of photo paper to print on to achieve a print that I liked. Now it’s all about seeing tonality and understanding the conversion digitally via software. And there is some very excellent software around to help people. I pretty much stick to Adobe Photoshop and Elements when I do my work.

Impressions of a later summer’s day and scenes in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Impressions of a summer’s day and scenes in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I don’t always feel like I achieve the same affect, but I keep trying and the software keeps getting better. So eventually I might achieve what I am looking to capture.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Impressions of a summer’s day and scenes in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summer in Siouxland, Rural Plymouth County

29 Aug

A summer’s day in rural Plymouth County, IowaThursday, Aug.9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Driving around Siouxland it is hard not to see a bucolic scene along the highways and byways. Part of the charm of “flyover” country is that it appears peaceful and unhurried. That is not always the case as evidenced by news stories. And for those who are on a pell-mell journey to arrive at their next destination before they left their current place, forever is a word that pops up often on the trip.

But that is the allure of such a place. Quiet, slow, peaceful and calm. And enjoying the moment that is presented here and now.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying Nature and its Creatures in Siouxland, Winnebago, NE

19 Aug

Recently I did a little work for a friend that required me to photograph some bison near the community of Winnebago, NE. These graceful creatures move fairly swiftly if they want too and are very aware of their surroundings. Trying to get close-up photographs of them was challenging. But also fun to watch them move about within an enclosure near the outskirts of the community. And being patient as they come to realize you mean them no harm.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Bison graze in a field across from a Ho-Chunk housing development in Winnebago, NE Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Bison grazing in a field late afternoon near Winnebago, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Bison grazing in a field late afternoon near Winnebago, Nebraska Friday June 22, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Threshing Bee in Siouxland, Granite

15 Aug

I attended a threshing bee festival in the small community of Granite this summer. As a child I remembered going to one or two with my parents in the 1960’s. It brought back memories of looking at what I thought then was old equipment, which today is even older.

Visitors fill a grandstand to watch a tractor parade of various makes, models and vintages at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A variety of older and antique tractors were on display at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The event was kind of an ode to tractors with various makes and models on display as well as participating in a parade. But the people attending enjoyed it, much like people attending a stock car race o other event.

Visitors mill about and visit small museum like homes plus lunch stands at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors enjoy the tractor parade that mostly featured antique and older working tractors at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am certain the event brought memories to some older farmers attending who actually used these tractors and other implements in their own farming when they were younger and farms were then smaller and more diverse. In the 1960’s and ’70’s farms were generally 200-300 acres and the farmers also either raised beef cattle or milked dairy, had pigs and chickens and also varied their crops between corn, soybeans, oats and alfalfa plus some grazing acres for their livestock, Today farms are really nothing more than large tracts of land which either produces corn or soybeans. That is a topic that could be discussed for years.

But I like the nostalgia of the event and was glad in seeing people enjoy this historical look back at an earlier era when times were tougher and more physical, but in which people derived a lot of self satisfaction.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Visitors checked out a variety of antique and older working tractors at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors enjoy seeing a variety of older working and antique tractors at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Gene Anderson of Harrisburg, SD sits in his refurbished Model A at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Looking for the latest about the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A tractor parade of various models and age was the highlight of the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors enjoy the shade as they watch a tractor parade of various makes, models and vintages at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Entire families show off their antique tractors during a parade at the 34th annual Threshing Bee in Granite, Iowa July 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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