Lamoni Travel Guide

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  • Lamoni
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Lamoni Things to Do

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    by mtncorg Written Apr 26, 2008

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    Following the death of the founding prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., in 1844, the vast majority of the Mormon population of Nauvoo, Illinois responded to the leadership of Brigham Young and set out to establish a new Zion in the parched lands of the Great Basin around what is today Salt Lake City. The actual trek began in early 1846. A trail was established across the southern reaches of the Iowa Territory (Iowa didn't become a State until December 1846) by advance parties. These advance parties were not to reach Utah until the summer of 1847 and it would not be until 1850 when the bulk of the 12000 pioneers would reach their new home. The Iowa section of what became the Mormon Trail only makes up about a quarter of the total length but in many ways it comprised some of the most trying times the pioneers were to face due to inexperience, lack of roads/trail and poor weather conditions. Literally hundreds died along the way. It has been estimated that there were about 400000 emigrants who went West between the years of 1840 to 1860 with over 250000 of those heading to California. The original Mormon party consisted of about 3000 people of whom one in ten would die along the road. Two large recuperation camps were established at Garden Grove and Mt Pisgah. A huge outfitting camp was also set up at Kanesville - near Council Bluffs - from which pioneers could spend the winter in anticipation of the next year's push across Nebraska and Wyoming to Utah.

    Many of the sites along the Mormon Trail were commemorated in 1996 in honor of the 150th anniversary of the trek and Iowa has done itself proud in establishing a modern-day Mormon Trail route on which you can retrace the old trek from. Several communities along with the State have established memorials to one of the more extraordinary migrations in human history. One of the most famous Mormon hymns, "Come, Come Ye Saints" - sung to the old English folk tune "All Is Well" - comes from William Clayton's crossing of Iowa in 1846:
    "Come, come ye Saints,
    no toil nor Labor fear;
    but with joy
    wind your way.
    Though hard to you
    this journey may appear,
    Grace shall be
    as your day.

    'Tis better far for
    as to strive
    Our useless cares
    from us to drive;
    Do this and joy your
    hearts will swell --
    All is well! All is well!"

    Replica of a pioneer dugout log cabin at Mt Pisgah
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    by mtncorg Written Apr 26, 2008

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    Sitting about a mile west of town is the former home of Joseph Smith III who was the eldest son of Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Mormon movement. He became the leader of the RLDS church in 1860 which was comprised of many Midwestern congregations that had not followed Brigham Young to Utah. Members began to congregate around Lamoni in the late 1879's and Joseph Smith III moved his family and the church headquarters here in 1881, building his home here at Liberty Hall.

    The house is very well restored - made to look as it appeared in the 1900-1905 time period - full of antiques from the Smith family. The house is a fascinating look at middle class late 19th century life. Smith married three times - his first wife died in 1869 and second in 1896 - and enjoyed 12 children over his long life. The family lived here from 1881 until 1905 when the RLDS church moved its headquarters to Independence, Missouri. After they moved away the house was used for a variety of things until the church began to restore the house as a monument to their founder in 1973.

    The home is open for tours Tue-Sat 10am-4pm and Sun 1.30-4pm from March to December. I happened by on a Monday and was lucky enough to be shown in by a very knowledgeable caretaker who was happy to take a break from house painting. He mentioned that between 600 to 800 people visit the home each year. This is a well-deserved detour off I-35 halfway between Des Moines and Kansas City.

    Liberty Hall - home of Joseph Smith III One room school where Smth's children attended
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    by mtncorg Written Apr 26, 2008

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    Founded in 1895, Graceland University is non-sectarian though has always been affiliated with the RLDS/Community of Christ Church. There are now two campuses - this main one in Lamoni, Iowa and another urban campus in Independence, Missouri a couple miles west of the church’s headquarters on Truman Road. The largest archive of the Korean War in the US is maintained there in the Center for the Study of the Korean War. Graceland’s campus in Lamoni reveals a flat and attractive campus dominated by the old school building, Higdon Hall which houses the administrative offices. There are about 1100 students on campus in Lamoni - about the population of the town. Most famous student in recent times was American decathlete champion Bruce Jenner who is remembered here with the naming of the athletic complex after him. The school’s first graduate - he was the only student in his graduating class - was Frederick M. Smith who became the second President of the RLDS church.

    Sun shines off administrative bricks
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Lamoni Hotels

  • Super 8 Motel Lamoni

    2013 East Main Street, Lamoni, IA, 50140

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Families

Lamoni Off The Beaten Path

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    by mtncorg Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    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.

    Monument to Henry A. Wallace at Lake Orient Henry A. Wallace's life reduced to plaque size Back inscriptions on Wallace monument The monument and the bass beyond
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    by mtncorg Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    French communalists relocated here after the closing of their community in Nauvoo, Illinois. They had a 46 year run as a commune here a few miles to the east of Corning, Iowa in the latter half of the 19th century. Nothing but a State historical roadside sign remains of their community, though plans are afoot to restore the community and a few artifacts are exhibited in the Adams County House of History in Corning - Corning is also the boyhood home of TV entertainer Johnny Carson and his home is also a museum that is open in the summer.

    Road marker commemorates Icarians of Corning
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    by mtncorg Written Apr 26, 2008

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    In 1836, shortly after the expulsion of Mormons from Independence and Jackson County, the town of Far West was founded. With the failure of the Kirtland Bank and all that followed in Ohio, Joseph Smith and most of his Kirtland followers came west to Missouri transforming Far West overnight. A temple was to be built but debt was not to be incurred for this edifice as it had been in Kirtland. The cornerstones were laid on July 4,1838 and these cornerstones have been uncovered and preserved in an LDS-owned monument. Across the way is a local Community of Christ congregation church with a monument showing a map of the original town. Besides these two monuments and the little chapel, nothing else remains from the once flourishing town of 5000. Residents were forced from their homes during the late fall and winter of 1838-39.

    Important features of some branches of the Mormon tree that were revealed in Far West to Joseph Smith included a new name to the church - "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" - and the principle of tithing 10% of one's profits which became the financial cornerstone for the church replacing the earlier Law of Consecration which was more oriented to a more communal way of living.

    LDS Monument on the temple site at Far West Map of the former town of Far West Shadows linger over the temple site at Far West Community of Christ congregation at Far West
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