HENRY A. WALLACE MONUMENT - ORIENT
If you visit Independence, then a visit to Truman’s Democratic rival, Henry A. Wallace’s hometown of Orient, Iowa, is giving equal time. Wallace was a scientifically-oriented liberal Democrat who became the Secretary of Agriculture under FDR in 1933 - his father had been also been a Secretary of Agriculture under Harding and Coolidge - serving until 1940 when he was elevated to the Vice Presidency over the protests of southern Democrats. FDR was forced by the same forces to drop Wallace in 1944 but made him his Secretary of Commerce. Wallace lasted until 1946 when differences over relations with the USSR with his VP successor Harry Truman got him fired. He would run against Truman as a Populist in 1948 but only gained minor support. He was very trusting of Stalin and had some of the people he mentioned that he would have elevated to high positions of government if he had been President in 1945 turned out to be Soviet agents. He subsequently recanted his support of the Soviet Union and supported Truman in his Korean conflict.
Here in his hometown of Orient, Wallace is remembered by this monument at the nearby bass pond, Lake Orient, and his boyhood home was restored as a museum in 1996 and is located about five miles outside of Orient but you need to figure out in advance how to get there as I didn’t see very many obvious signs that pointed the way.
After being forced to leave the Independence area in 1833, Mormon refugees resettled to the north in the sparsely populated Caldwell County founding the community of Far West. Venturing further north in to Daviess County, the Mormon community of Adam-ondi-Ahman grew to over 1500 in the summer of 1838 shortly after Joseph Smith declared that this was where Adam and Eve had been exiled to after their fall from Grace in the Garden of Eden. Joseph had revealed earlier that the Garden of Eden had actually been located in Independence, so when the faithful were exiled from the modern day Garden of Eden what better paths to take then ones taken in ancient times. It was also here that many of the Kirtland, Ohio refugees - the Kirtland Camp - came to be settled. Alas, their stay was not long as conflict with non-Mormons who feared Mormon political control led to retreat to Far West and eventually to Nauvoo, Illinois.
Many prime sites in Mormon history are owned not by the main Mormon branch - the Utah-based LDS church - but they do own the 3000 acres making up Adam-ondi-Ahman - the name Mormons believe derive from the original Adamic language though translations run from ‘Adam’s grave’ to ‘Valley of God where Adam dwelt’ to ‘Adam with God’. The significance of the site to Mormons is that it was here Adam met his children three years before his death and bestowed his blessing upon them. It is also here that before the Second Coming, Adam will convene another meeting to turn the government of the human family over to Jesus Christ.
Well worth getting off I-35
"Historic small town (with a good cafe)"
I was driving to Kansas City in May 2008, and was looking for a place for food and fuel when I stopped in Lamoni for the first time. Good choice: it's a pleasant place with a college, Graceland University, and a decent cafe on the main square in the center of town. It's the Linden Street Cafe, and they make a nice veggie sandwich.
Such is the United States today that a traveller can be pretty well assured of finding good fresh food and decent coffee in any community where there is higher education. So much better than just going to one of those chain places along the highways. And please, whatever you do, don't drink coffee that is brewed in a gas station. Your coffee taste buds will shrivel up and die!
The town of Lamoni (population 2444) is actually about 2 miles west of I-35 on US 69 but if you are passing by, I recommend that you consider making a stop here. It's the last (or first) exit in Iowa, and about halfway between Des Moines and Kansas City.
Graceland University is a small institution (2300) students associated with the Community of Christ - the denomination formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints. (Aka the reformed Mormons.) At one time it was the headquarters of the institutions, and there are several interesting historic sites nearby - which you can read about on MtnCorp's Lamoni page here:
The name of Lamoni comes from the Book of Mormon: he was an important King of the Lamanite people.
This area is also home to a significant Amish population. I was passing through on a Saturday, and I saw several horse-and-buggy outfits making their way into town.
It's nice that this isn't a touristy place: it always makes me a little uncomfortable to see tourists taking photographs of Amish people.