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Liberty Hall Orchard Adds to History

New Liberty Orchard "When thinking of Liberty Hall and its traditions," Cindi Wilson, director of Liberty Hall, said, "people first think of the building itself. There is more to the history of Liberty Hall. I discovered that Joseph Smith and his family planted apple orchards when they arrived in Lamoni in 1881 and became fascinated with the thought of repeating their actions."

Smith's daughter, Lucy, recants in Joseph Smith, A Centennial Tribute that trees in the orchard were placed conveniently so that those that bared fruit first, Duchess of Oldenberg, were at the edge of the garden. Other early eating apples like the crab grew in the near end of the orchard, while the winter varieties grew farther away. Smith stored his apples in the cellar to enjoy during the long, hard winters.

With all the burdens and grief that Joseph Smith carried, his apple orchard was something that brought him great joy and something he loved to share with others. "In that same spirit - and in honor of Joseph Smith III, I thought it would be fun to bring back some of his orchard," Wilson said. "Just like Joseph Smith, I chose Duchess of Oldenberg, Grimes Golden, Winesap, Jonathan, Willow Twig, and a Whiney crabapple. I also planted two apricot trees because he had these in his orchard, also."

"The Liberty hall orchard of 2013 is smaller than the Liberty Hall orchard of 1881, but I am trying to plant it in a similar fashion as Lucy described, having to use a bit of historic interpretation since there are no pictures that show it in detail," Wilson stated.

"When you come to visit Liberty Hall, please come visit our young orchard and in a few years you will be able to take an apple with you," Wilson promised. "That's what Joseph would have wanted."


New Organ Donated

New Liberty Hall Organ Music lovers and musicians of Lamoni enjoyed a special treat at Liberty Hall on Sunday afternoon, April 28 at 4:00 p.m. Charles and Pam Robison gave a concert on Liberty Hall's new, old, pump organ which was just installed in April. "In addition to playing the organ, the Robisons presented information on how the various features of the organ can be used and how it is constructed," Cindi Wilson, Director of Liberty Hall, said.

The organ was donated by the Robisons, who brought it from California where it had been refurbished by James Tyler. "Tyler is sometimes called The Organ Minder," Alma Blair, Liberty Hall Historian, said. "Tyler can't even play the organ, but for the last half century, he has been bringing them back to life."

The organ was manufactured by the Bernard Shoninger Organ Company of New Haven, Connecticut which was founded in 1850 and did well through the Civil War period making both organs and pianos. The company became one of the premier organ manufacturers of the mid-1800s. This organ has an 1881 case with patents of some of its parts dating much earlier. It also has bells.

"Of particular interest to Liberty Hall is that this is the kind of organ used by the Joseph Smith III family when they lived there from 1881 to 1905," Blair stated. For a long time Mr. Robison, an organ expert, has been looking for an organ to replace the Kimball organ Liberty Hall has been using. The Kimball was built later in the century and didn't match the organ shown in an 1885 photograph with the Smith children. "Robison determined the organ in the photograph was a Shoninger and began searching for one," Blair added.

"The concert was a joyful occasion with an informational presentation that was educational. It was also a time to thank the Robisons for their generous gift," Cindi Wilson, Director of Liberty Hall, stated.

New Director Appointed

Cindi Wilson Lachlan Mackay, Community of Christ Director of Historic Sites, announced the appointment of Cindi Wilson as the new Director of the Liberty Hall Historic Site, effective January 1, 2013. Wilson, with her husband Bryce, has been serving as caretaker for Liberty Hall for the past year and a half.


Barn Renovation

The Liberty Hall Barn Renovation

The Liberty Hall Historic Site has been renovating its 1920s barn so that it can be used by the Site, by the community and by Graceland University as activity space.

Phase OnePhase Two