Tag Archives: rural iowa

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©)

Visiting a Small Town in Siouxland, Fonda

2 Dec

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

I like visiting the small towns that dot Siouxland. Most are quaint and all give a look into the history of what made this part of the state what it is. There are many time places to learn a little more about a community’s past, although it sometimes depends on the time of year and catching a museum when it is open.

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©)

I like walking the quiet streets and wondering what traffic must have been like during the early pioneer days when the town was just getting underway and full of promise for itself and its residents. A lot of communities though are slice of life and lifestyle that people call home and enjoy. A place to get away from other distractions that might be occurring elsewhere in the country.

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

 

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

I also enjoy the visual puns which I think are not on the minds of people when what they represent are originally created. A central park, like the one in Fonda, is just that, a central park to a community. But say the name and most times folk will think of New York City.

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©)

But it’s still a nice to go and sit at the end of the day and visit with friends and neighbors and soak in the community one knows and appreciates and hope for a continued success as the future keeps coming and life keeps changing.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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

Exploring Vision in Siouxland, Fonda

22 Nov

When out photographing I am always debating myself about the best way to present an image. I sadly must admit I have a strong opinion when I see things and immediately photograph something as I think it should be seen. I try to temper that strong opinion when teaching because we all see differently, and just try to offer an alternative viewpoint of an image in case a student didn’t consider that possibility. And trying to get them to look at scenes completely and then making an image because they felt strongly about it.

A light post and its shadow in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This is the image I decided I liked best even though I did a couple with a more horizontal view. I liked isolating the light pole and shadow within the frame without too much distraction around them. Which I think a more horizontal image would provide.

A light post and its shadow in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The shadow and light pole I think become lost with the space and other rectangular elements in the image. But that’s just me. I find these days I am shooting more squares simply because I like the presentation more and it gives me more vertical space to play with. Ah, it’s all in the eye of the beholder and preferences we all have in making our decisions with images.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Fall Season ending in Siouxland, rural Sac County

16 Nov

A cornfield in Sac County near Lytton, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The recent few days have been bringing more rain and now the possibility of snow in Siouxland.  The possibility of seeing harvest ready fields is dwindling, as may be the opportunity to drive around and look at them. When winter begins settling in I drive less on the secondary gravel roads as I decline to put to use my learned skills in getting unstuck in snow, drifts or mud and other misadventures from growing up on a farm and living in rural settings my formative years. As much as I like the fall season, I know it must end and I muster up the fortitude to set out and brave the stiff prairie winds that will be greeting this region soon and to not become the couch potato that I sometimes think is a pleasant alternative to the coming cold.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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©)

Enjoying a look in Siouxland, Cherokee

2 Oct

Colors brighten up some of the downtown area in Cherokee, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

During the end of summer in Siouxland, August, and the beginning days of what one expects fall to be, say September, the kind of day that appears in the morning can change. Temperatures have been wavering from hot and humid to cool. On a day that was supposed to be cool I made a trip to Cherokee to just take a look and walk about after checking out some possible fall foliage opportunities for later in fall in the outlying countryside. Everyday is different and brings a new opportunity to photograph a familiar place, as I have been to Cherokee a few times over the past 2-3 years. It’s a nice community and I enjoy visiting it and seeing what I might find this time.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A faded display along a walkway in Cherokee, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A walkway between buildings creates a light and shadow show in Cherokee, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A bridge railing creates a pattern in the creek below in Cherokee, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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