Tag Archives: small towns

Another River Town outside of Siouxland, Clinton

3 Nov

A scene along the Mississippi River in Clinton, Iowa August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While on a trip I stopped into another river town across the state from Siouxland which I had not visited in many years. Clinton, Iowa is also a river town. The mighty Mississippi River runs along the eastern border of Iowa and gives many communities a nice scene to view. Many communities these days have done work to improve the quality of life for its residents which includes walks and in this case, a river walk for residents and visitors alike to enjoy.

A man gets his coffee and snacks to sit and enjoy the view of the Mississippi River in Clinton, Iowa August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The community developed a very nice riverscape along the Mississippi with walking and bike paths. While visiting it one morning I saw people come and go with their coffee, meeting friends to walk, or passing friends who were walking in the opposite direction of others. A nice way to start one’s day and enjoy the bonhomie which this redevelopment seems to inspire.

Friends stop to chat and enjoy the day on a river walk with the Mississippi River in the background in Clinton, Iowa August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A memorial ready for unveiling at a park along the Mississippi River walk in Clinton, Iowa August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

All citizens should be so lucky that its city leaders keep in mind some quality of life amenities to enjoy, even if it’s simply getting outside for a walk and time to enjoy the surrounding beauty and away from other modern day distractions.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

in Clinton, Iowa August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A scene along the Mississippi River in Clinton, Iowa August 29, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Light and Shade in Siouxland, Cherokee

28 Oct

Light and shade scene during a Photo Safari outing in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

During a recent class outing with a class I kept coming upon light and shade scenes in the town of Cherokee. I never tire of this particular motif. The day was warm and sunny. Lately the weather is wonky again with rain and overcast skies, making me think that fall will never arrive and winter will sneak in as much as snow and ice and do such a thing. But walking around in a short block or two these images kept popping up and I kept photographing. Even variations on a theme I never tire of them. Works for me.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Light and shade scene during a Photo Safari outing in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Light and shade scene during a Photo Safari outing in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Small Town away from Siouxland, Mt. Vernon

16 Oct

I enjoy the area of Siouxland in which I live. But it is nice to get out once in a while and visit other places outside of this region. Most places have similarities rather than differences. I enjoy the architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries when many of Iowa’s small communities came into being.

Downtown Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Sunday Sep. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I stopped in at Mt. Vernon because of seeing some architecture along the roadway I was on, historic Rte. 30 or Lincoln Highway. A stretch of roadway that crossed the continental United States giving people with automobiles a chance to see as little or as much of the country without traveling by train. Many of these small communities still have stunning homes and businesses for buildings dating from the mid to late 1800’s. Mt Vernon came into being as a result of the U.S. battle with Chief Black Hawk who fled the area and the tribal lands were confiscated as was the case with many native people’s lands when the expansion west was underway.

A church near downtown Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Sunday Sep. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Downtown Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Sunday Sep. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The community is home to a liberal arts college which keeps it infused with younger people who come and go and possibly stay to raise their own families in a place they call home for at least four years. Quaint with a number of eateries downtown and a short walk from the college.

A mural on a downtown building’s wall in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Sunday Sep. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Historic homes in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Sunday Sep. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The community is extremely walkable and on a nice day it has places to visit and relax and enjoy. I am sure during an academic school year there are many events and other festivities taking place both in town and on the college campus. A nice combination for any community and the possibility to enjoy simple fruits of life in a picture perfect setting.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A city park just off of downtown Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Sunday Sep. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A closed Mt. Vernon visitors center in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Sunday Sep. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A Small Siouxland Community, Woodbine

27 Aug

The downtown area in Woodbine, Iowa, still retains brick streets seen Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting small communities in Siouxland is a nice way to spend a day, or part of a day. Sometimes it’s a destination itself and other times an event is going on that seems interesting. Woodbine is a community in the southern portion of Siouxland and has brick streets downtown and art work displayed there as well.

Street art still adorns the downtown area in Woodbine, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors waiting to see the Union Pacific Bi Boy Engine explore downtown Woodbine, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I visited there this summer I went because of an event, the Union Pacific’s Big Boy train engine was passing through on its way back west and would be making a s45-minute stop in the community.

Onlookers and train enthusiasts get a close up view and take photographs in Woodbine, Iowa of the Union Pacific’s steam locomotive No. 4014, Big Boy, as it heads back west on its rail system Friday, August 2, 2019.(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A number of people turned out. I noticed some downtown having lunch ahead of the train’s arrival and others milling about waiting to see the steel behemoth. I didn’t realize being a train enthusiast was such a large endeavor. I like the small community because it has a bit going on for it. And it seems to work at creating a place for people to come visit. My last visit included attending the Apple Fest, which seemed to have few apples and a lot more cars, muscle and other collectibles. But it’s just a nice small community that keeps up its appearance and seems to work at doing that.

A new art sculpture installation underway in downtown Woodbine, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Art pieces can be found at various places in downtown Woodbine, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

At one time when the Lincoln Highway, U.S. Rte. 30, was THE roadway west it was one those communities where motorists could stop and take a break from the long 2-lane driving that was prevalent as the super highways were just under construction. And so Woodbine became a bit of a destination in and of itself.

A little known fact about tiny Woodbine, Iowa, situated off of Highway Rte. 30 or Lincoln’s Highway is that George Wyman rode a motor-bicycle across America in about 50 days, seen Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A tribute to a little known fact about tiny Woodbine, Iowa, situated off of Highway Rte. 30 or Lincoln’s Highway is that George Wyman rode a motor-bicycle across America in about 50 days, seen Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And so during a week day the community was once again hosting a former celeb, made of steel, and rolling out its welcome and allowing people to hang out, enjoy themselves, as they waited for the train.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

People wait for the arrival of Union Pacific’s Big Boy Engine in Woodbine, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Wall art on a store in downtown Woodbine, Iowa, Friday, August 2, 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©)

A doorway into Siouxland, Pisgah and Vermillion SD

16 Jul

An interesting doorway found in Pisgah, Iowa. (Jerry L Mennenga©)

Doorways are funny things. They create first impressions much the same as when individuals meet new people. Some doorways are inviting and more impressive depending on the building attached to them. Doorways can create a status in life as it were, both public and private. And that depends on circumstances. Then again, too much can be read into doorways too.

Angles and shapes define a campus building at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Institutions, state and federal, need to maintain their buildings to a particular standard otherwise taxpayers will feel their tax dollars are not being utilized wisely, necessitating the construction of yet another building, because previous ones were not maintained.

Angles and shapes define a campus building at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

And sometimes older buildings find new life and purpose depending on who arrives and sees a use previously not encountered or possible earlier. And if such a use is successful it depends on whether or not people want to pass through a doorway to see what lies therein.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Mead Cultural Education Center, a former mental institution for women, now houses the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A grand marble staircase greets visitors as they enter the Mead Cultural Education Center, a former mental institution for women, which now houses the Dakota Territorial Museum under the auspices of the Yankton County Historical Society in Yankton, SD Saturday, April 6, 2019.(Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring Small Siouxland Towns, Decatur, NE

4 Jul

A small shopping district in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Downtown Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On a recent drive about Siouxland I crossed over the Missouri River into Nebraska near Onawa and visited the small community of Decatur, NE. Finding some online information one site purports that Decatur is the second oldest established community in Nebraska, forming in 1854 and incorporating in 1856. Pioneers settling the prairie and looking for a fresh start or just a different start from where they came. It’s a small community set in rolling hills and with a riverfront that I missed and have yet to explore.

But the community does have an urban legend from its early days and makes for a good tale about encouraging people to settle the area. Showing its sophisticated urban side post cards were evidently mailed out showing a trolley car operating in the small community. In the days before Photoshop, someone got creative in the darkroom and a legend was born.

The story of the trolly legend in Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An exhibit about a myth that became reality in downtown Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In the little park area a red telephone booth proudly stands holding various copies of books, a free standing little free library to share the joy of reading with those who happen to stop by.

A red telephone box is now a Lending Library destination in downtown Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While the downtown wasn’t particularly hopping the day I stopped by I want to return and explore the surrounding area including a riverfront walk that I missed as I was leaving town. Maybe in the fall, hoping for some colorful foliage on the trees standing on the surrounding hilltops. It could be picture perfect with any special effects in the photographic department.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Downtown Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Downtown Decatur, NE Saturday, June 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

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