Tag Archives: travel

Enjoying History in Siouxland, Without Knowing it, rural South Dakota, Beresford

20 May

Older barns in disrepair seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I traverse various parts of Siouxland while driving about I find that I see fewer and fewer older wooden barn. The rustic look, even in disrepair, hail to an era that has for the most part passed. Farmers or those farming ( industrial operations) no longer erect the wooden structures that at one time housed animals, harvested crops and machinery. As the bigger is better mantra continues to envelope America and it’s ideal of business the small farmer also has disappeared and the structures now that house equipment is metal or fiberglass. More cost effective, less maintenance and all of those things that attribute to the bottom line.

But I miss seeing the structures. And most times I happen upon them at the wrong time of day while out driving around. Maybe seeing them in passing. Sometimes stopping, sometimes not, depending on if I am time constrained to arrive someplace.

Two older barns seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The rustic nature appeals to my visual sense, but the use and disuse and decay speaks to another passing of an era where form and factor are no longer valued. That thought could be addressed to a lot of areas and state of affairs these days. When at a small time museum a few years ago a docent was showing school children and older wall phone which had the spin knob to wind it up and get a connection along with the ear piece held to one’s head and the extended speaker you had to lean into to speak with the operator, as well as the desk top model with the rotary dial.

The children had no idea what the two items were, and were quite astonished when they learned that what they carried in their pockets and took for granted was large, non moveable and didn’t have a screen. Advances in technology is marvelous with many wonderful inventions, but sometimes I wonder at what loss does this occur without the accompanying history that brought the state of humanity to this next level of achievement and the effort to get there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An older barn in disrepair seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Art is in the Eye of the Beholder in Siouxland, Making Decision on Representation, Little Sioux Park, Correctionville

16 May

A slow shutter speed exposure of water running in the Little Sioux City River at Little Sioux Park near Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Deciding how best sometimes to represent a scene found in Siouxland, or anywhere is dependent upon the person. And sometimes the representation doesn’t quite fulfill the artist’s or photographer’s intent.

Photographing moving water with a slow shutter speed, during daylight without a neutral density filter doesn’t quite capture the scene as well as very early morning or early evening when using a slow shutter speed would be more beneficial. But it doesn’t hurt to try, and practicing seeing and the skills and mechanics one has at hand is always a good thing I believe. Practice makes one better at achieving results and seeing in the first place. Of course, being prepared is helpful. But I don’t pack the suitcase when I go out photographing and walking. A couple lenses and a camera body and I utilize what I have at hand. Grateful when something works out, aw shucks when it doesn’t.

Of course, there is always tomorrow and another walk. I might not encounter the same scene with the same elements and lighting, but that’s the beauty of taking walks and exploring.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A correct exposure of water flowing in the Little Sioux River at Little Sioux Park near Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Refuge in Siouxland, Little Sioux Park, Correctionville

12 May

A Trumpeter swan checking out visitors at Little Sioux Park near Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are a number of wildlife refuge areas to be found in and around the Siouxland area. Visiting Little Sioux Park recently I thought it lucky to see some Trumpeter swans at the small lake there. Stealthily trying to get out of my vehicle to photograph these creatures I realized it was odd, they weren’t flying away, but rather coming toward me.

A Trumperer swan swims to shore to greet a visitor at Little Sioux Park near Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two Trumperer swans come to shore to greet a visitor at Little Sioux Park near Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It seems the swans at the park all have a damaged wing, and so live there. Enjoying a quiet area, free of predators, except maybe humans, and greeting park visitors maybe in the hopes of gaining a treat.

The swans ambled slowly but without hesitation up the fence line to greet the new comer and check them out.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Trumpeter swan “grins” at a visitor at Little Sioux Park near Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing a Historical Landmark in Siouxland, Garfield Township Hall, Beresford, SD

28 Apr
The former Garfield Township Hall seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 the hall was built sometime around 1908. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Bits and pieces of history are scattered throughout Siouxland, probably like many other places, and little recognized by most people, even those living in the area. Passed by and seen as some old building, maybe past its prime. The Garfield Township Hall is a historic place that served its purpose earlier in another century.

According to a Wikipedia account the township of Garfield was established in 1880. It was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. And currently it appears that someone or group is trying to give it a little TLC.

The former Garfield Township Hall seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 the hall was built sometime around 1908. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Township halls in earlier days was a place for pioneers and locals to conduct business in the area. At the time the region of Dakota Territory was being settled and developing from early trading posts and forts along the Missouri River. It is reported the hall was constructed sometime in 1908. It served as a polling place, a theater, a local government office, and a public meeting space. The Wiki report states that in 1936, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) added a basement and renovated the building’s facade to its present appearance. The Garfield Township Hall is one of the few remaining buildings of historic note that is still standing.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The former Garfield Township Hall seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 the hall was built sometime around 1908. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Imagining History in Siouxland, Inkpaduta Canoe Trail, Correctionville

26 Apr
A sign informs a visitor about the Inkpaduta canoe trail near Copeland Park in Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I come across a piece of history in Siouxland I was not familiar with previously, I sometimes try to imagine what life may have been like in that time period, at least what the landscape might have appeared to those first settlers, and of course, to those already living in the region.

A sign informs a visitor about the Inkpaduta canoe trail near Copeland Park in Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Little Sioux City River is the Inkpaduta canoe trail near Copeland Park Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular day was not an ideal day to photograph in black and white. Overcast, darkish and a brown landscape does not make for exciting and provoking imagery. But given the history of the Little Sioux River and what an earlier exploring photographer might have seen and recorded make me think photographing in black and white appropriate.

Also this reference at Copeland Park in Correctionville to Inkpaduta does not include the sadder saga that occurred in Okoboji of where settlers were massacred by this chief and his braves which happened in retaliation to his own brother being killed by a white settler for the reason of not helping a starving group of Native Americans who had long resided in the area “now claimed” as his land.

The Little Sioux City River is the Inkpaduta canoe trail near Copeland Park Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Little Sioux City River is the Inkpaduta canoe trail along with a forested area near Copeland Park Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So I try to imagine the area as seen by those first inhabitants, long before farming reshaped the landscape or any kind of building touched the landscape. Photographing in black and white might be an homage to an earlier exploring photographer but probably did not do justice to the scenes depicted. I personally like a bit more contrast and saturated blacks. However I don’t spend a lot of time in post processing and do not use plug in accessories that might create a stronger B&W image.

It was just nice to find another slice of history I had not previously encountered and enjoy that day the relative quiet that was almost certain prevalent in the day when there was no traffic noise from a nearby roadway. Just the sound of leaves underfoot and the running of the water in the riverbed. Maybe as Simon and Garfunkel believed in their tune, “The Sounds of Silence”.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A forested area along the Inkpaduta canoe trail at Copeland Park Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding Spring Colors in Siouxland, Alton

6 Apr
Spring color in downtown Alton, Iowa Friday, April 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Ah Spring, a slow arrival here in Siouxland. Temperatures overnight still hover in the 30’s. And a brisk prairie wind makes it feel even chillier. So finding spring color in the area while the trees are still bare and the landscape brown, can be challenging.

Spring color in downtown Alton, Iowa Friday, April 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spring color in downtown Alton, Iowa Friday, April 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The small community of Alton though has spruced up some of its buildings, “splashing” color onto walls to brighten the downtown area. It does make it a bit more cheerful on a blustery, albeit, sunny day. Like many others, I look forward to getting out and visiting places and enjoying balmy days in the 40’s and 50’s. Temperature in the 60’s would be nice, but I can be patient. Some color I did find was reminiscent of the passing winter, but sometimes one just move forward, and not dwell.

Maybe May flowers.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An orange snow plow adds color to the downtown area of Alton, Iowa Friday, April 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spring color in downtown Alton, Iowa Friday, April 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing Changes in Siouxland, Joslyn Museum, Omaha, NE

31 Mar
Construction is underway for an addition at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will be closed until sometime in 2024 according to its website. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Changes are underway at an art museum in Omaha, NE, The Joslyn Museum. The collection of artwork there is amazing to see as are the various traveling exhibits the museum brings to share with its visitors. Traveling throughout Siouxland one has an opportunity to enjoy world class art in a number of places, and sometimes those places need a refresh to adjust to a new era and planning for their own future.

Construction is underway for an addition at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will be closed until sometime in 2024 according to its website. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A small school group checks out a glass exhibit by artist David Gilhooly at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Construction is seen underway for an addition from inside the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will be closed until sometime in 2024 according to its website. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Myself and some friends were not alone the particular day we visited. School groups, families and other small groups and individuals moved about the exhibit rooms enjoying the art and sculpted pieces on display. A nice to see scenes depicted centuries ago by famous, and maybe not so famous artists but all worth the time to view, maybe sit and contemplate what the is there. In a museum time becomes somewhat irrelevant and for good reason. There is no need to hurry, but better to linger and savor and enjoy the beauty before one’s eyes.

Artwork at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A family check out a painting at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A visitor checks out artwork at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The museum will be closing this May for a couple of years according to information on its website. And I wanted one last change to wander and browse the fine art and architectural sights within the building. A little selfishly, I enjoy visiting the museum on hot summer days. When it’s unbearable to be outdoors, the dim lighting and wonderful works to view was always a respite from the day’s oppressive nature. A sanctuary to just sit and enjoy beauty and all that is offered.

Change and the future sometimes requires one to learn patience and to anticipate what new experiences the Joslyn Museum will offer its patrons and visits in the years to come.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Construction is underway for an addition at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will be closed until sometime in 2024 according to its website. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Day Out in Siouxland and a Frozen Falls, Falls Park, Sioux Falls, SD

29 Mar
With a lower than normal water flow, people take a photo near the water falls at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The winter in Siouxland this year was a curious season. Almost no measurable snowfall except in some areas of the region which causes concern for an agricultural area since moisture is necessary for planting crops in the spring. But also allowed residents to check out areas that normally are off limits due to water levels. The Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD is one such place. Visitors were able to access areas normally not available simply because the presence of water was too high and safety was an issue. Safety is always an issue, but folk were taking advantage of the low water levels to take photographs and see the park in a different light.

Low water runoff exposes a large area at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Foam floats into the air from where the waterfall hits the area below it at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But some area residents made the best of the situation with low water levels in the park from the Big Sioux River, and enjoyed themselves as we all adjust to whatever the new normal might be.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A white-ring mallard sits in flowing water along with a juvenile mallard at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking a Walk in Siouxland, Downtown Sioux Falls, SD

21 Mar
Sculpted art work in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Even in winter it’s nice sometimes to get out of town and take a walk in a nearby community, like Sioux Falls, SD. The downtown landscape around it and Falls Park will be changing in the years to come with some major construction underway along the Big Sioux River that runs through the community.

A walk from Falls Park into downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A walk along the Big Sioux River in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It had been a little while and there seemed to be new artwork in the downtown area, although it could be just new artwork to me since I have not been there for a few months. And as the weather cooperated and warmed up the day, it was nice to saunter about without an agenda to see what might photographically be appealing.

Dated billboard in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sculpted art work in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sculpted art work in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are numerous times when walking around a community it’s easy to become enthralled with architectural offerings as buildings’ angles and lines will draw one’s attention. And it’s easy to walk past street artwork as it’s just there, in harsh light and somewhat challenging to photograph.

But therein lies the challenge and a chance to savor these pieces of art for their own sake, which may look different on a summer’s day with trees leafed out and shade and a chance to saunter without a chill, that happens even happens on “warm” winter days.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sculpted art work in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A statue of Richard Franklin Pettigrew stands near Falls Park in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Pettigrew was a founding father of Sioux Falls and his early years was a surveryor and later land developer. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looking Forward to Visiting new Places in Siouxland, Memorial Park, Omaha, NE

17 Feb
A statue dedicated to those who served in the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts seen at Memorial Park in Omaha, NE Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As the weather trends, hopefully, toward spring and the coming warmer months I once again begin thinking about places I want to visit or revisit in Siouxland that I might have seen briefly but would like to spend more time looking about. I always find it’s never too early to plan, well most times.

There are places I have driven past on my way to somewhere, else, and always tell myself that I need to stop and explore. The coming months I will begin thinking about some of those places and plan to take the time to visit them, explore and try not to be too destination oriented. Get there, get home. But take the time to walk about and explore and see what I have been missing. Some of these include small towns I have driven through or passed that might be a mile of two off the main road.

Faded fall colors on the grounds of the Memorial Park in Omaha, NE Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A memorial to those who have served the United States during war and other conflicts see at Memorial Park in Omaha, NE Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And I keep learning that it never pays to be in a hurry, but to slow down, look, listen and enjoy. When I worked for various newspapers I rushed about a lot, getting to assignments then back to the office to get the photographs turned around for the next day’s publication. But now, I don’t have an editor asking me to be in two places at once or to work faster. Time is a curse and a blessing, depending on how one looks at it. But I’m still photographing and still enjoying it and hope to find more places as time permits.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The grounds of the Memorial Park in Omaha, NE Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, and buildings seen in the distance of a private school located next door. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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