Tag Archives: washta iowa

Standing Icons in Siouxland, Rural Iowa

5 Aug

Driving around Siouxland I have come a great number of barns still standing after decades of service, some in better repair than others. Having grown up on a farm I just enjoy their look, the purpose served and their iconic tradition for American history and agriculture. These days economically it’s all steel sheds and bins. I will miss these silent sentries that have witnessed a changing landscape over so many years and will lament when driving about the countryside not finding them standing tall, silent and reflecting an integral part of American history.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A barn sits idle in a wooded grassy area in rural Monona County, Iowa, Monday June 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Part of the rural life sits within the city limits of the small community of Washta, Iowa, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating History, 150 years worth in Siouxland, Washta

25 Jul

Recently the small community of Washta celebrated its sesquicentennial or 150 years of being a community. It’s a small community of a little over 200 people who came together and had three days to commemorate its being in existence. I attended the day the small town had a parade and even though the temperatures were hitting high notes that day, people came out to enjoy the festivities and enjoy themselves.

Classic cars lined the downtown street prior to the parade for the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

People line up for a box lunch of pulled pork and sides during the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have visited a number of small communities since starting this blog and some after 100 years are faring better than others. With changing times, demographics  and employment, small communities sometimes find it hard to continue. So it’s a blessing and a joy seeing people revel in their community’s existence and enjoy the day. Small town festivities are like no others that one will encounter. During the parade a man yelled out to someone in the parade asking if he still had seen corn to sell. With the current heavy rains, some farmers are having to replant some fields which were drowned out. It’s that kind of atmosphere and closeness that is nice to see. As well as people who probably have lived their entire life there remembering past times as they watched the parade.

An older farmer watches the parade and probably remembers years past during the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A small band plays during the parade at the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With a number of smaller communities losing young people to “big” cities it’s nice to see a slice of Americana that still exists in a small way and for people to still enjoy a slower and more quiet way of life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A grain elevator can be seen in the background during the parade of the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Only in smaller farm communities will children wave at farm implements participating in a parade like the one for the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying History in Siouxland, Grand Meadow Heritage Center, Washta

17 Mar

I like attending various festivals in the Siouxland region. Each has its own story to tell and many times there is a slice of life one can find out about the community hosting the festival. Or a former community like at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center Festival held each fall.

An older couple walk about enjoying seeing equipment that was not an antique when they were young during the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The one in particular revolves around its rich agricultural past. Many of the exhibits are set up that reflect the fact that Iowa in earlier days contained a great many small farms, as did a lot Midwestern states.

Local residents and retired farmers reminisce about the days they actually used the “antique farming equipment on display at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Older collectible Allis-Chalmers tractors on display during the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

At these festivals I find many older people looking over equipment they used as young folk when mechanization was first being introduced into farming, beyond the horse drawn plow and planter. THe Heritage Center pays tribute to that former glory when work was a little more physical.

An “old timer” oils a corn shelling machine at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An “old timer” feeds corn into the auger of a shelling machine at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A volunteer watches the corn flow into a container wagon at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An old truck hooked up to a wagon to collect the corn cobs after corn has been run through a shelling machine at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And then to watch people record the action with their modern device to share with others later makes me smile, both for the contrast of old and new but also that this way of life will not be forgotten.

A gentleman uses his smart tablet to film a demonstration of corn shelling at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Iowa is still very much an agricultural state deriving much of its revenue from ag related business. But the small farm is no longer part of that equation. In America, bigger is better and these days necessary it seems to compete with big ag and multi-national corporations. It makes me a bit wistful, but like with other areas of life, progress continues, most times for the better and then some times it gives one pause.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Visiting new/old places in Siouxland, Washta

27 May

It seems I am always out for a drive in the Siouxland area. But I think it’s better than sitting at home, except maybe on a cold, blustery and snowy day. This particular day took me the small community of Washta.

Like many of the small communities I have visited Washta has a grain elevator business anchoring part of its downtown. And it seemed a busy place the day I was there as a number of large trucks were passing through heading to a variety of road construction projects nearby. Midwestern winters and heavy grain trucks during harvest can take a toll on county roads.

But the community is a small quiet place. A few individuals out and about while I was there. I happened to meet the mayor who was at the city hall having returned from a golf outing. Now retired, he was staying active, although it sounded like he would not be participating in any of the majors golfing events. He sounded like he still enjoyed himself.

I always find the chance to meet people and get to know the area something that I never tire of as I explore Siouxland. Everyday can be a new day and another story to hear.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Grazing horses in Siouxland, Rural Cherokee County

25 Aug

Sometimes just driving around some back gravel roads in Sioxland you come upon a scene that just stands out. Although when I am out with students they will look at something and not see what I see. It could be a big open field. Tall weeds, drifting clouds and some horses off in the distance. But I see what I am looking for in my head and am trying to impart that aspect of photography to my students. It took me a while to get there, and I tell them patience and continued shooting and looking and editing. Then you come to a place where you finally start to find what you are seeing, because your mind is always working in the background. Much like software programs when you sit at your computer.

Clouds, field, grazing horses, sunny day, it is a no-brainer for me, even at a distance. Then you get closer.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Grand Meadow Heritage Center

7 Sep

This weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 8&9, there will be a festival at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center near Quimby and Washta, Iowa. The center itself is set up as a museum area with older buildlings and displays of times past. A log cabin, a former one-room school house, wagons, a black smith shop and a museum in a former area community school.

There should be a variety of activities occurring, although I am not certain what is actually taking place and have not been able to find much information doing an internet search. There is some antique farming equipment and people will be dressed in period clothing. This is a posting that contains a map and directions to find the Center, which is east of Hinton off of County Road C66. Reprints of the Center are here.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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