The Promise Of America #42
In Iowa, United States
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"Promise of America"
Norwegian-American Immigrant Family Monument
The statue, sculpted by the late Clifford J. Carlson, is located on the east edge of Lake Mills in a setting of Iowa prairie land. The monument is dedicated with gratitude to the thousands of immigrants who settled in the prairies of the upper midwest in the 1800's.
The monument depicts an immigrant family of the 1860's who stand together ready to begin a new life. With faith and family to sustain them through the hardships which lay ahead, the immigrants went forward to claim the "Promise of America". With strength and determination they founded a great agricultural community.
Lake Mills history
Lake Mills traces its history back to the 1850's. The first settler in the area was Joshua Thomas. He was soon followed by many others, a good share of whom were of Scandinavian descent.
C. D. Smith incorporated the community in 1869.
Lake Mills has always been a prosperous community. The name Lake Mills comes from the fact that the town was built on what was then the shoreline of Rice Lake. There was also a grist and lumber mill located on the banks of the old town lake.
During the first half of the 20th century the city depended on Cool Spring Canning Company for jobs. When the canning plant closed in 1957, an agressive group of Lake Mills' residents began what has turned out to be a highly successful drive to create jobs for people in the area.
Richard Sears, the founder of the huge Sears organization, was depot agent here from 1880 to 1886 prior to moving to Redwood Falls where the company picks up his trail to success. Pulitzer prize winning author Wallace Stenger spent his early life here. Jesse Parker, a legend in Iowa education, was born and raised in Lake Mills. Governor Terry E. Branstad, who served in the state's top office, has roots in Lake Mills. Branstad opened a law practice here as a young attorney, and continued to call Lake Mills home while serving as state representative and lieutenant governor before being elected to the Governor's office, a position he held for 16 years.
Other Area Attractions
Country School Museum
In the late 1900's, a historical country school was moved from west of Lake Mills and is now located at 308 North Mill Street in Lake Mills. The building has been restored and many of the original desks, book, and accessories remain in the school, providing an opportunity for visitors to experience education as it was in years past.
The school was restored through the efforts of the Lake Mills Area Historical Society. The school is open for tours on Sunday afternoons during the summer or by appointment. For further information or to schedule a tour, call 641-592-5253.
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Last Updated: on 4/20/2015 3:11:40 PM Pacific Daylight Time (10:11 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum