Tag Archives: rural nebraska

Summertime in Siouxland, Nature in rural Nebraska

7 Aug

Summertime can be a cornucopia of critters, both large and mostly small. Insects blossom during this time of warmer temperatures and humid days. But what can a person do? When driving about in Siouxland I do stop my car and get out and take a look around. Sometimes a closer look, which makes it all the better when one is pleasantly surprised in nature.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A butterfly lands on a thistle in a field at Winnebago, NE August 3, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A butterfly finds a landing spot in a field at Winnebago, NE August 3, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Learning Local History in Siouxland, Decatur, NE

22 Jul

One can find a lot of local history at the Decatur Museum in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It never amazes me that little gems can be found in places with a little bit of luck and curiosity. While out driving about in Siouxland one day I ventured over the Missiouri River into Nebraska and the community of Decatur. It prides itself being the second oldest settlement in the state, dating back to 1854, and incorporated in 1856. Information found says a little over 400 people live there. The nice part, besides being located next to the Missouri River is the community’s museum.

Jane Judt, upper right and Norma Williams , center right, greet visitors and tell them about the local history located at the Decatur Museum in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A lot of local history can be found at the Decatur Museum in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. This month was about local sports history. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A lot of local history can be found at the Decatur Museum in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One of the museum docents, Jane Judt, explained that theme of presentations is always changing every few months, so the information provided doesn’t get stale and which I would believe encourage locals to stop by and see what historical facts are being shared. When I visited the theme was sports with a variety of memorabilia displayed.

Jane Judt talks about the history of the Decatur Museum in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An upstairs room decorated as a classroom at the Decatur Museum in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A lot of local history can be found at the Decatur Museum in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But the small museum also contains nuggets of information about the early settlement days and the people who relocated to this area as folk migrated to the west looking for a fresh start and an opportunity to improve their lives. Tales told over and over again in many small communities’ museums that are found throughout the U.S. It’s the story of immigrants and people looking for a better life, a tale that reflects  many who settled in the Siouxland region.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A lot of local history can be found at the Decatur Museum in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A lot of local history can be found at the Decatur Museum in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A lot of local history can be found at the Decatur Museum in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (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©)

Santa in Siouxland, Rural Nebraska

20 Dec

During the “winter months” which could be from November to April, depending on the temperature,  I find it nice to get out of the house and into the country for a drive especially when the temperature is north of 15 degrees. To me temperature is important if you plan to photograph something and don’t want to lose your fingers or nose from the cold. And some days with wind gusts up to 20 miles and hour on the “prairie”, it’s just bone chilling.

I took a drive into Nebraska, checking out a small town for a possible story idea I want to pursue. On the drive I detoured down a gravel road and found a fun site, Santa in a barn. Maybe he was just scouting for a place to take a power nap during his busy night next week, but it’s not always in the city where one can find fun decorations.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Rural Nebraska

Cook’s Blacksmith Shop Museum

9 Aug

Recently C.O. Cook’s Blacksmith Repair shop museum was open in Ponca, NE. According to some literature it originally opened in 1884. I wasn’t able to glean a lot of information about the place, except that it functioned as a working smithy shop until sometime in the 1970’s as far as I understand. There are a number of original tools on hand that makes one realize what kind of technological advances have occurred. But it also makes one realize the craft that was involved in the work done. A local young man, Luke Sorensen, demonstrated some smith work using a portable forge he said dated from the late 1800’s. At this visit I met another local gentleman, Harold Curry, who said he grew up in the Ponca area and can remember as a boy men lining up with their horses waiting for them to be shoed.  The local Ponca Historical Society oversees the museum along with the blacksmith repair shop. President Jackie King-Coughlin said the shop is open roughly three times a year. That same day the Adams House Museum was also open and I will share some thoughts and photographs of the historic place in another post. Reprints can be found here.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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