Tag Archives: travel

Enjoying Art in Siouxland, Buena Vista University

11 Jan

Student artwork on display in the Social Sciences and Art Hall at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Whenever I am in a college town traveling about Siouxland, and there are a few, I always like to stop into that institution’s art department building and see what students are creating. It’s always a joy. Whether photography, sculpture, or painting. It’s nice to see a person’s take on life. And during a visit to the campus of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake I was also struck by where the art was seen. I assumed it was time to change the pieces on display and so some waited on the floor until they are hung. That to me created another dynamic in art. It’s display. I found it just as interesting even though I assumed this would not be for the duration. It still gave me pause and got me to think about presentation. And certainly got my attention.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying Nature in Siouxland, Table Marsh Wildlife area

5 Jan

A beaver hut is seen in theTable Marsh Wildlife Area in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I enjoy spending time outdoors in nature in Siouxland, preferably in more agreeable weather that is not too hot nor too cold. Maybe I’m just picky. But the quiet, sometimes solitude and the chance to breathe fresher air can be restorative.

A wetland area, Table Marsh Wildlife is located in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

a lone bird soars over the Table Marsh Wildlife located in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are a number of areas around the Woodbury County and other places near where I live. I don’t always think about visiting them on specific days, or for that matter, most times at all. Sometimes when I see a sign on my way to someplace I am reminded I need to stop in there and check it out or revisit it. So my trips are not timed to capture a specific migrating bird or other creatures, but more out of curiosity of what is there, what does it look like and what might I find here and now in the present.

A sketchy dirt road leads to the wetland area, Table Marsh Wildlife, located in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

an old bridge makes passage over part of the Table Marsh Wildlife is located in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A wetland area, Table Marsh Wildlife is located in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But at that moment in time, everything stops for me, I don’t hear the sound of traffic, the chatter of other folk or anything that one might find intrusive in such an area other than birds calling or the blowing wind rustling tall grass. It’s just a moment in time to savor for what it is, before the next moment moves one forward to another place.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A couple of geese fly over the Table Marsh Wildlife located in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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©)

Finding bits of History in Siouxland, Smithland

28 Dec

Blossoming trees at the Fowler Preserve near Smithland in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always like stumbling upon a bit of history when driving about Siouxland. That happened to me a couple of years ago when visiting the Fowler Preserve in Woodbury County near Smithland. Trees and other fauna was just beginning to bloom. There are a couple of trails there that take one to the top of a hill where you can get a view of the surrounding area and to rest a bit as you make your way of the hillside.

Benches are sprinkled throughout the Fowler Preserve near Smithland in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Besides some normal accoutrements in parks like open space and picnic tables, I came across a large rock with a plaque. It made note of the fact that for 20 years, from 1856 to 1876, a stage coach trail passed through the area from Smithland to Sioux City. That century’s mass transportation which allowed small groups of people to get from one point to another on the western frontier without having to purchase their own horse, or wagon, or whatever might be available, until the railroads allowed even larger groups of people to move about. I was struck with awe the idea of standing someplace that 2 centuries earlier I could have spied the coach and its passengers making their way to a new place, seeing history unfold as people moved West, not knowing what to expect but hoping for a different, if not better life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A view of a picnic area at the Fowler Preserve near Smithland in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A stagecoach trail passed through the Fowler Preserve from the mid 1850’s to late the 1870’s near Smithland in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

(Click image for larger view.)

Man and Nature in Siouxland, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake

24 Dec

I always like seeing objects in juxtaposition to one another and how, mostly differences, can stand out if one takes the time to notice. During a trip to Buena Vista University in Storm Lake I was admiring one of the campus buildings and its sleek modern glass and steel look. Situated within an area of trees that were turning color.

Seeing the contrast between nature and a building of glass and steel, the Estelle Siebens Science Center, at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Man’s relationship with nature is a complicated one. At least it seems to have become that way. Some folk just want to strip nature bare and reap whatever profits are there for the taking without being good land stewards and without much thought, leaving that heavy lifting to someone else. In some places planners seemed to realize the two need to work in harmony and attempt to make that happen. Whether it is successful or not depends on who is viewing and if they are paying any attention. Either from the outside looking in, or the inside looking out.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Nature outside, maybe looking in the glass and steel building on the campus of the Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying History near Siouxland, a Union Railway Station, Omaha, NE

8 Dec

The Durham Museum was formerly a Union Pacific Railroad station in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Nov. 7 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are so many facets of history that sometimes its easy to overlook particular pieces of it, even when it’s not so easy to overlook once you are aware. On a recent outing to Omaha, NE with some friends, we visited the Durham Museum which used to be a Union Railway Station.

The entry hall or main waiting area of the Durham Museum, formerly a Union Pacific Railroad station, dwarfs visitors now as then, seen in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Nov. 7 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

To say the least, the place is magnificent and utterly gorgeous. We traveled to the Museum to see a current showing of a wildlife photographer’s work which was very impressive. But once one walked into the station it was hard to keep moving toward the exhibit housed there. A brochure says for a station to be a union station it required a train depot to serve more than one railroad line. And evidently during its heyday this station served the Union Pacific, Chicago & Northwestern, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific, the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, the Illinois Central System, the Missouri Pacific and the Wabash Railway. And small scenes of recreated history as well as plaques informing a visitor abounded about the place.

A few replica scenarios show what the Union Station’s original purpose are on display at the Durham Museum, formerly a Union Pacific Railroad station in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Nov. 7 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A few replica scenarios show what the Union Station’s original purpose are on display at the Durham Museum, formerly a Union Pacific Railroad station in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Nov. 7 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Displays tell the history of the former Union Pacific Railroad station, a hub of action during the Second World War, and now the Durham Museum, in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Nov. 7 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I find it hard to imagine the hustle and bustle that must have been happening in this station. I have not been to New York’s Grand Central Station or other still functioning railway stations so I have no sense of the enormity of the number of people gathered in one place just passing through.

Displays tell the history of the former Union Pacific Railroad station, now Durham Museum, in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Nov. 7 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Displays tell the history of the former Union Pacific Railroad station, now Durham Museum, in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Nov. 7 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The bronze scenes help give a sense of what might have occurred at the time and is a pleasant little scene for families to take photographs around while visiting. I would think it would in the day have been easy to have gotten lost or separated from companions. But not so much today. It’s a grand place to reflect on changing demographics and transportation modes but truly filled with history that anyone can appreciate.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A few replica scenarios show what the Union Station’s original purpose are on display at the Durham Museum, formerly a Union Pacific Railroad station in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Nov. 7 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Displays tell the history of the former Union Pacific Railroad station, now Durham Museum, in Omaha, NE Wednesday, Nov. 7 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fading Fall Remnants in Siouxland, Storm Lake

24 Nov

Winter is already bearing down on parts of the U.S. recently, even though some mountain regions in the western part of the country has already received snow fall earlier this year. Fall and its colorful display is becoming a distant memory in Siouxland as winds and now rain and some snow have removed most leaves from the trees. Visiting Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake I got a chance to take in some color, even though it was an overcast day with a bit of chill in the air.

A feel of fall in Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I kept thinking how colors on the trees would just pop with a nice blue sky in the background. But wishful thinking didn’t make it so. So I enjoyed the color and visit and even made a new friend while visiting.

A feel of fall in Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A feel of fall in Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Meeting new friends in Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy seeing places during different times of the year. Having previously visited this park the starkness of the trees made other objects standout more, including some new wood carvings.

One of many wood sculptures in Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And the lake itself I like to see. It’s calming sitting on a bench and enjoying the lapping of water against the shoreline. Although this particular day as the lake took on a glassy kind of scene the chill in the air made me a bit more circumspect about sitting on a bench and enjoying the view. Just standing and enjoying the lake and taking a few images made me think more of a couple of coffee shops where I could acquire a warm or hot cup of java and help me brave these changing elements and photograph a bit more before returning home.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A hazy, wet fall day in Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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