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Churches and Religious Orders


Clermont "Church of Our Savior"

The Church of Our Savior, better known as the "Little Stone Church", or Episcopal Church, was built in 1857 by Mrs. Francis Jones Vinton, who lived in Providence, Rhode Island. She remembered  the Bible verse, "Thy Praise shall sound from shore to shore," and decided to build three churches in memory of her son, Elisha, and a daughter who died in their youth. One was built on the Pacific coast, in San Gabriel, California, one on the Atlantic coast in Rhode Island, and Mrs. Vinton believed Clermont to be the geographical center of the United State, she chose the site in keeping with the Bible verse.

The church in Clermont is built of native stone, quarried from the Williams quarry east of Clermont and the trim is dolomite. It is said to be the most beautiful of the three. Age and erosion have turned the rough stone to a beautiful soft grey. The long narrow windows and the tall square tower add much to the beauty of the "Little Stone Church".

Just north of the church and in the same block is a beautiful life size statue and monument erected by Ex-Governor Larrabee to the memory of Col. David B. Henderson, late speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives. North on highway 18 and across the street is a superb monument and bronze statue of Lincoln in a properly fenced in park.  This monument was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Larrabee while traveling abroad.

On a very prominent bluff overlooking the town of Clermont and near Montauk, may be seen a rare collection of statuary - the largest and finest collection in any one private place in the United States. Here one sees four costly bronze statues  -- Grant, Sherman, Farragut and General Dodge of Iowa. In the centuries to come , these statues will stand as landmarks to some of America's greatest men, both in military and civil life. And the generous giver , Mr. Larrabee, will never be forgotten while deeds of loyal Iowan's are sought for the future historians. Of such men the world has none too many.

~ source: Fayette County Union Newspaper, West Union, Iowa, Sect C, Page 1-4, 01 Jul 1976; reprinted with permission
~ contributed by Erin Wilker  and transcribed by Constance Diamond for Fayette County IAGenWeb

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