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Iowa Historic Sites

Kanesville Tabernacle
The reconstructed Kanesville Tabernacle and the visitors’ center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, is a historic site that commemorates the reorganization of the First Presidency in 1847. The visitors’ center also includes exhibits, historical artifacts, and a film about the Mormon Battalion, whose members enlisted about 10 miles south of the tabernacle. The Mormon Battalion was a group of about 500 Latter-day Saints who joined the United States Army in 1846, during the Mexican-American War, to help provide financial support for their families and other Mormon pioneers. For information about visiting the Kanesville Tabernacle, click or tap here. The original tabernacle was built in December 1847 in the Council Bluffs area of Iowa, which was later renamed Kanesville by the Latter-day Saints. On December 27, many Saints attended a meeting in the tabernacle during which they sustained Brigham Young as President of the Church and Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards as counselors in the First Presidency. This marked the first time that the First Presidency had been organized since the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. The process of sustaining a new President helped establish the pattern of succession that continues in the Church today.
Mount Pisgah Monument
The Mount Pisgah Monument is located in a small cemetery on the route of the Mormon Trail near the town of Thayer, Iowa. The cemetery likely includes as many as 150 Latter-day Saint pioneers who lived in the temporary settlement of Mount Pisgah between 1846 and 1852. The original grave markers are long gone, but a 12-foot-high obelisk memorializes those who died at Mount Pisgah and provides the names of 63 of those interred there. Interpretive markers and a reconstructed pioneer-era log cabin can be found in an adjacent state preserve. For information about visiting the Mount Pisgah Monument, click or tap here. Mount Pisgah was one of three temporary way stations Latter-day Saints established in central Iowa during the exodus from Nauvoo. Between 2,000 and 3,000 pioneers lived in Mount Pisgah at its height, and thousands more stopped there briefly on their way west. Although the community provided refuge and a chance for the Saints to rest and prepare for their journey further west, illness was rampant and the death rate was high. Mount Pisgah and the other settlements in central Iowa were completely abandoned in 1852, when Church leaders called Latter-day Saints still residing in the Midwest to gather to Utah.
What to Expect When You Visit the Church’s Historic Sites in Nebraska and Iowa

Nebraska Historic Sites

Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters: Omaha, Nebraska
The Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, located in Omaha, Nebraska, is a visitors’ center with exhibits about Winter Quarters, a major settlement for Latter-day Saint pioneers after they left Nauvoo, Illinois. The exhibits describe the Latter-day Saints’ westward migration to the Salt Lake Valley in Utah by wagon, handcart, sailing ship, and train. Next to the trail center are the Mormon Pioneer Cemetery and the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple. The Mormon Pioneer Cemetery, which was a burial site for some of the pioneers who died at Winter Quarters, includes a monument called Tragedy of Winter Quarters, sculpted by Avard Fairbanks. For information about visiting these places, click or tap here. Winter Quarters was one of as many as 90 Latter-day Saint settlements along the Missouri River in Nebraska and Iowa. Although the settlements were temporary homes on the way to the Salt Lake Valley, many Saints worked and built as if they would stay there for decades. They established successful farms and businesses and even published a newspaper. Brigham Young and other Church leaders spent time at Winter Quarters, ministering to the Saints and helping them prepare to travel west. While there, Brigham received a revelation that helped the Saints organize themselves and prepare spiritually for the trek. That revelation became Doctrine and Covenants 136.
What to Expect When You Visit the Church’s Historic Sites in Nebraska and Iowa

Wyoming Historic Sites

Utah Historic Sites

California Historic Sites

Historic Temples and Meeting Houses