Our Tom Morain given major Iowa history award

AMES, Iowa, Oct. 19, 2016 — Greene County native Tom Morain, long-recognized as one of the leading authorities on Iowa history, received the top award of the Iowa Museum Association when its members met here on Monday, Oct. 17.

Morain, who grew up in Jefferson, is now director of government relations at Graceland University, in Lamoni, where he also teaches and assists with the honors program.

tom-morain-mugshot
Tom Morain

He formerly served as director of Living History Farms and also was administrator of the State Historical Society of Iowa.   He has taught and shared Iowa history at Graceland, Iowa State University, several other colleges and across the state as a speaker for the Humanities Iowa program.    He has consulted on the development and displays of local history in the museums across Iowa, including our Greene County Historical Society Museum in Jefferson.

One especially notable achievement in his career came early-on, in 1988, when he authored the book “Prairie Grass Roots.”  That 287-page book is a well-researched and well-written portrayal of the history of Jefferson and Greene County from settlement up through the 1930s.  That followed an oral history project he conducted in 1979, when he did in-depth interviews of more than 40 Jefferson residents.  In 1989, that book won the prestigious Benjamin Shambaugh Award from the State Historical Society as the best recent book focusing on Iowa history.

He has often said that his love of local and Iowa history can be traced back to his childhood, when his father Fred Morain was editor & publisher of the Jefferson Bee & Herald and kept bound volumes of the newspaper stored in the basement of the family home.  The Morain boys would often pull out a particular year of old newspapers, put the big book on the ping pong table and spend hours reading them.  Tom’s brother Rick Morain followed their father as editor & publisher of the newspapers, and now in retirement writes the weekly “Greenery” column for the Jefferson Herald.

You can read a story from Graceland University Tom Morain’s winning of the leadership award of the Iowa Museum Association by clicking here.

And, on Tuesday of this week, Morain was interviewed by Charity Nebbe on Iowa Public Radio’s “Talk of Iowa” program, and you can listen online to their 30-minute chat by clicking here.

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How many courthouse structures have been built on the site of the current Greene County Courthouse?

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There have been three courthouses built where the Greene County Courthouse stands today.  Ground was broken on the current courthouse in November of 1915, the cornerstone was set in May 1916 and the new building was dedicated in October of 1917. The centennial celebration of the courthouse is already underway, with events being planned by the “Courthouse 100” committee, with support from the Greene County Historical Society.  You can learn more about the courthouse history and the celebration plans on the Facebook page “Courthouse 100: Greene County, Iowa.”

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