1996
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“Comment,” Ensign, Sept. 1996, 80

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Clear, Specific Instructions

Thank you for “The Invisible Heartbreaker” (June 1996). Finally an article with clear, specific situations! It was a tremendous help and eye-opener. Sometimes articles on marriage have been so vague and general that it’s frustrating to figure out if you have a problem or not. This article was truly inspired!

Name Withheld

Winter Quarters, Kanesville, and Council Bluffs

Map of Winter Quarters

The article “Church Historical Sites” (July 1996) mentions the construction of the new visitors’ center at Winter Quarters in “Iowa.” Actually, the Mormon Trail Center is in north Omaha, Nebraska, to be exact. Many members coming here have also erroneously thought that Winter Quarters is in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Elden L. Fletcher
Director, Mormon Trail Center

Indeed it is so. For many members the terms Winter Quarters, Kanesville, and Council Bluffs fade into ambiguity. Under the leadership of President Brigham Young, a vanguard group of Saints left Nauvoo on 4 February 1846, crossed the Mississippi River, and journeyed across Iowa. Because they reached the Missouri River later than expected, a decision was made to delay the trek to the Rocky Mountains until 1847. Thus, the Saints built a headquarters called Winter Quarters on Indian lands on the west side of the Missouri River at the site of present-day Florence, Nebraska, a part of Omaha. In addition to this settlement, the Saints established numerous smaller settlements nearby on both sides of the Missouri River. The term Winter Quarters was sometimes loosely applied to the totality of all these settlements in the Middle Missouri River Valley.

But because of U.S. Government concern about Indian relations, the Saints were instructed to vacate their Nebraska sites, and in 1848 Church headquarters was moved eastward across the Missouri River to a nearby Iowa settlement the Saints named Kanesville, which became the main staging area thereafter for pioneers en route to the Salt Lake Valley. Following the 1852 departure from Kanesville of the bulk of remaining Latter-day Saints, new residents to Kanesville of other faiths renamed the town Council Bluffs in 1853.

Today, on the western side of the Missouri River in north Omaha, Nebraska, the Church is completing construction of the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters. Scheduled to open in spring 1997, the new center will feature exhibits telling the story of the gathering of Latter-day Saints from all over the world to Salt Lake City and its environs during the latter half of the 19th century. The Church maintains no historical sites in Council Bluffs (formerly Kanesville), Iowa, but a group of Latter-day Saints and members of other faiths has reconstructed the historic Kanesville tabernacle, where significant events including the reorganization of the First Presidency in December 1847, with Brigham Young as President, occurred three years after the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. Kanesville was named after Colonel Thomas L. Kane, a loyal supporter of the Latter-day Saints. In addition, today the Church helps maintain as a historic site the Thomas L. Kane Memorial Chapel in Kane, Pennsylvania, where Colonel Kane is buried.—The Editors