Leading Iowa historian Tom Morain, a native of Greene County, will be memorialized in special state program online on Tuesday evening, Nov. 24

DES MOINES, Ia., Nov. 22, 2020 — One of Iowa’s leading historians, Tom Morain, the Greene County native who died of cancer at 73 last month, will be honored in a special online program on Tuesday evening, Nov. 24, at 7 p.m.  Hosting the free public event will be Leo Landis, curator at the State Historical Museum in Des Moines, and Charity Nebbe, host of Iowa Public Radio’s “Talk of Iowa” show, who often called on Morain for his expertise on historical topics.

The event is titled “Historian Stories: Remembering Tom Morain.”  You can register beforehand for the program by clicking here, and then you will receive email instructions how to join in on the Zoom audience.

Brothers Tom (left) and Rick Morain, when they presented a Greene County Historical Society program in 2018.

Morain, who grew up in Jefferson, retired in the past year after a distinguished career, the last stop of which was director of government relations at Graceland University, in Lamoni, where he also taught and assisted with the honors program.

He formerly served as director of Living History Farms and also was administrator of the State Historical Society of Iowa.   He 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.

He also presented several historical programs for the Greene County historical group, most recently in November, 2018, when he and his brother Rick Morain, retired editor and publisher of the Jefferson Bee and Herald, gave an overview of the political history of their home county.

One especially notable achievement in Tom’s 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.

You can read Tom’s obituary in the Jefferson Herald 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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