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Kenneth Mays
Mormon Trail Center at historic Winter Quarters.

On a historic site in the Greater Omaha, Nebraska, area is the Mormon Trail Center at historic Winter Quarters. It is situated adjacent to what was once the Winter Quarters burial ground and the Winter Quarters Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Winter Quarters was the site on the western bank of the Missouri River across from Kanesville (present-day Council Bluffs), Iowa which was located on the eastern side of the river. Many Latter-day Saint pioneers spent the winter of 1846-47 there after crossing Iowa, before continuing on to the West later on. The circumstances at Winter Quarters were most challenging. Hunger, cold, misery and death seemed to be everywhere.

View of the Mormon Trail Center at historic Winter Quarters from the Mormon Pioneer Cemetery. | Kenneth Mays

Now, visitors often leave the center committed to keeping this story of sacrifice and suffering alive. The Mormon Trail Center is owned and maintained by the LDS Church and staffed with several missionary couples and a number of full-time sister missionaries. Various types of displays and media interpret the site and story of this moving chapter of LDS history.

A bay window looks out on the cemetery where so many were interred during that challenging time.

The center is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Admission is free.

Beyond the center, additional related sources (of many) include: "Mormons at the Missouri, 1846-1852," by Richard E. Bennett and "Winter Quarters The 1846-1848 Life Writings of Mary Haskin Parker Richards," edited by Maurine Carr Ward.