Decatur County is located in south central Iowa along the Iowa/Missouri border, half way between Des Moines and Kansas City. Interstate 35 runs north and south through the county and features gently rolling farmland and rural communities with a rich history and family values.In Southern Iowa’s countryside lie several county and state parks that make a perfect getaway for nature enthusiasts. There are several beautiful game preserves and well stocked lakes that are sure to please those who like to hunt and fish.Take some time to relax and unwind. Pack a picnic and go hiking, or make camp under the stars and one of our three parks. There are several locations to choose from with both primitive and modern camping, sandy beaches, and nature trails.Decatur County welcomes you to visit and experience our beautiful historic rolling hills, safe clean environment, outstanding health care, first-rate education, and a sense of coming home.Decatur County offers a great place to live, work, play, and stay, so come visit us . . . new and exciting opportunities await you here in the heart of southern Iowa.
Lamoni Amish Country Store
Southern Iowa Welcome Center
109 S Spruce Drive
Decatur County Museum
111 N Main Street
PLACES TO STAY
Cobblestone Inn & Suites
226 Spruce Dr.
Maple Street Bed & Breakfast
218 N. Maple St.
Little River Inn Motel & Guest House
708 W. 1st Street
Peppermill Bed & Breakfast
408 S. St
Super 8 Motel
2013 E. Main Street
Little River Recreation Area
Take Highway 2 West from Leon .5 miles.
Slip Buff Park
2 miles west and one mile north of Davis City
Nine Eagle State Park
Ted's RV Park
1/4 mile east on Highway 2 off I-35
Exit 12 in Decatur City, Iowa
Open starting April 2020
SHOPPING IN LEON
Beachy’s General Store
Buck Naked Sporting Goods
From the Ground Gift Shop
Leon Hardware & Appliances
Long Creek Outfitters
New 2-U Thrift Shop
EATING IN LEON
From the Ground Coffee & Deli
The Cave Bowling, Bar and Grill
Casey’s General Store
Little River Lake Cabins & Campground
SHOPPING IN LAMONI
Amish Country Store
Off the Wall Interiors
Little River Lake Cabins & Campground
LODGING IN LAMONI
Maple Street Bed & Breakfast
Chief Lamoni Motel
Super 8 Motel
EATING IN LAMONI
Linden Street Coffee House
Pierce’s Dairy Cup
La Cocina Real
VISIT LIBERTY HALL IN LAMONI
Built in 1881 in Lamoni, Iowa, Liberty Hall was the home to Joseph Smith III until 1905. Smith was the first president of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints-now the Community of Christ. Liberty Hall served as the center of religious and social life for the community hosting parties, weddings, and many fun nights before the fire eating apples and popcorn, playing games and reading aloud. Liberty Hall is listed on the Iowa and National Registers of historic homes. Visitors are able to catch a glimpse into the life of a middle class family in an era from the late Midwestern Victorian. The house, furniture and antiques uniquely represent that time period and help to tell the story of a significant religious movement in American’s history.
COME EXPLORE THE GREAT OUTDOORS
If the great outdoors is your favorite place for recreation, look no further than Decatur County! Known for our parks, lakes, and trails there is something for the outdoor enthusiast throughout the year. Public hunting and fishing opportunities available.
Decatur County’s parks include picnic areas, boating, fishing, camping, cabin rental, swimming, hiking, and playground areas.
Little River Recreation. The Little River Recreation area in Leon, managed by the Decatur County Conservation Board and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, is a 2,200 acre recreation area that offers something for everyone! Contact 641-446-7307 for more information.
Slips Bluff Park. Slips Bluff Park is a picturesque, 400 acre park located three miles northeast of Lamoni and four miles west of Davis City. Slips Bluff provides a well-shaded campground with hook-up and tent spaces and a newly remodeled restroom and shower facility. The area offers 2.5 miles of hiking trails, and the 16 acre lake provides some excellent largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish, and walleye fishing. Contact 641-446-7307 for more information.
Nine Eagles State Park. Rugged wooded hills and valleys abundant with oak trees makes Nine Eagles State Park one of southern Iowa’s most scenic parks. Visitors enjoy six miles of hiking trails, swimming at the sandy beach, pleasant camping areas and shading picnic spots with tables and fireplaces scattered throughout the 1,100 acre park. Contact 641-442-2855 for more information.
Disc Golf. Two disc golf courses are available in Lamoni.
George Barrett Disc Golf Course – Graceland University: Challenging course in a beautiful campus setting. Long front 9, wide open over rolling hills and around Founders Lake. Back 9 has tight fairways and new growth rough.
Location: From I-35, exit 4 (Hwy 69) and head west to a left at Cherry St. to the 2nd stop sign. Course is on your left. Go up the hill and turn into the Library parking lot. 1st tee at top of hill, north of parking lot.
J & B Rolling Hills Disc Golf Course – US 69 and Spruce Dr
Location: From I-35 exit 4 west, 500 feet to 1st right at BP station, 0.1 miles to 1st right by red machine shed. Look for sign and basket on fence.
The Lamoni Recreational Trail features six miles of paved biking and hiking trails throughout a former railroad bed providing a gentle, relaxing day outdoors. A combination of beautiful, tree-lined vegetation, a pass through town and ending point of Historic Liberty Hall make this trail unique. A map for this trail can be found at http://www.leadonlamoni.com/recreation/. The paved 1.5 mile Leon Scenic Trail begins at the fairgrounds and connects to the Little River Recreation Area. The trail includes flat surfaces as well as gentle inclines and is a favorite among walkers and runners alike. Native grasses and trees surround the trail as well as outdoor recreational equipment and resting points.
The Leon Golf and Country Club, located at 1204 W. 1st Street in Leon, is a 9-hole golf course measuring 3,116 yards with a par of 36. This is a private club open to the public with the exception of member league play. Green fees are welcome for guests. Clubhouse/bar rental for parties, receptions and meetings available upon request. Contact 641-446-4529 for more information.
The Lamoni Golf and Country Club is located at 932 S. Smith Street in Lamoni, and measures 3,221 yards from the back tees and 2,427 from the front. PGA Professional Dave Ranney is the head pro and you’ll find a fully-stocked pro shop, golf carts, driving range and practice green here in Lamoni. Call 641-784-6022 for more information.
LEON 4TH OF JULY RODEO - IOWA'S RODEO OF THE YEAR
Join us for our four-day rodeo event. Named the Rodeo of the Year over years and sanctioned by the URA, IRCA, MRCA, & WPRA, this is an event you do not want to miss! Located at the Decatur County Fairgrounds in Leon, the rodeo provides fun and excitement for the whole family. Come enjoy the rodeo events, queen contest, entertainment, chuck wagon breakfast, dance, 4th of July fireworks, and many other scheduled events. Tickets are available in advance from local businesses or at the gate. Contact 641446-3535 for more information.
The Jefferson Highway, a new Iowa Heritage Byway, cuts directly through Decatur County. The Jefferson Highway is an international highway carving a path through Canada and the United States, “From Pine to Palm.” The highway runs from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Both Lamoni and Leon have photo ops along the Jefferson Highway to remember your trip through Decatur County. In Lamoni, take time to park and take a photo with the Jefferson Highway mural, located at the corner of Highway 69 (West Main Street) and North Chestnut Street. Stop by the corner of Highway 2 and North Main Street in Leon to take your picture with the Jefferson Highway marker, and say hi to Sally the elephant while you’re there! Join us the first weekend in June for “Junkin’ on Jefferson,” a 3 day event (Friday-Sunday) for shoppers who love antiques, upcycled items, and one-of-a-kind finds
LAMONI AIRPORT FLIES INTO FUTURE
Lamoni Airport growth is following a series of steps as it moves forward towards becoming the leading commercial airport in the southern Iowa/northern Missouri region. “This is our regional airport” Jordan Omstead, Airport Commission Project Manager and City Councilman, said. “We have based aircraft that belong to men and women from Leon, Van Wert, Davis City, Lineville, and as far away as Albany, Missouri. It has the potential to become the largest airport facility between Kansas City and Des Moines.”
It all began as an airstrip along with a beacon about three miles northwest of town. Moving to its current location as the 60’s decade turned, it started out one mile north of town with access to the county road as a narrow north-south asphalt runway together with a line shack. “Over the years, local business leaders like Vern Deskin and Chuck White, who donated land and raised funds to establish the airport at its present location, realized the economic importance of an airport to our region and contributed land, money, and talent,” Omstead said.
Hangers, usually donated from area airports upgrading their fields, followed dotting that asphalt runway. The airport began to evolve into its present appearance with the 2,900-foot runway in 1988 followed by a taxiway and apron. At first, aviation fuel – called Avgas – was pumped from a used gas pumper truck which the airport purchased. The present two fuel pumps and two aboveground storage tanks were installed in the early 1990’s. Over a period from 2006-2008, another hanger was erected by Don Breshears, Lamoni Airport Commission member, along with an Amish crew using an old crane borrowed from A to Z manufacturing. “Assembling the metal hangar frame was like putting together a giant erector set,” Breshears said. A pilot’s lounge and bathroom were finished in 2007. Another hanger came in 2016-17.
Extending the runway has been a major objective. The 500-foot extension of the 2,900-foot runway on its south end was accomplished in 2017 bringing the runway to 3,400 feet. This is large enough for a King Air to land. “Future plans call for extending the runway on the south to 4,000 feet allowing access by turbine-powered aircraft,” Breshears said.
“Our airport has significant impact on Southern Iowa’s and Northern Missouri’s potential for economic development,” Omstead said. “A recent Iowa DoT study found that major corporations rank ‘access to a commercial airport’ as third on a list of regional features when considering locations for expansion. The commercial size airport that we are building will be an economic driver that our region can leverage to compete for these businesses. Consider flying in to Lamoni for your next visit to Decatur County.
LEON SCIT THEATRE
Built in 1931 during the Art Deco period, this 88 year old landmark has one of the last silver screens to still be used in the state. With the addition of digital surround sound and air conditioning, one can be assured of the best seat in the house whether you’re in the balcony or on the main floor. The Central Decatur drama department offer live musical and plays on the stage at different times during the year, and have played to capacity crowds of 230 per night. Visit Leon SCIT Theatre on Facebook for more information and current movies.
GRACELAND UNIVERSITY COLISEUM THEATRE
The Coliseum Theatre, located at the northeast intersection of Main and Maple streets in Lamoni, was built in 1911. It was first used by Graceland for student recitals. On October 30, 1925, Graceland signed the contract to purchase the building. Call 641-784-5665 for our 24 hour movie line to learn about upcoming show. Stay up to date by following the Coliseum Theatre on Facebook @ColiseumTheatre.
Decatur County Freedom Rock
Decatur County’s Freedom Rock was unveiled April 22, 2015. The 28th Freedom Rock to be completed in the state of Iowa by artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II, it is a great site to visit in southern Iowa. The rock serves as a thank you to all of our Veterans and a remembrance of our POW/MIA/KIA. The front side of the rock thanks all Veterans who’ve served across our country including soldiers from the Revolutionary War, WWII, and the War on Terror. The back side represents our POW/MIA to share the message, “They are never forgotten.” The north side honors those lost serving our country. The Korean War, often called “The Forgotten War,” is represented through a dedication to D. Darrell Johnston. Sorensen highlights specific stories of local veterans in each county in hopes to inspire more Veterans to tell their stories. M/Sgt. D. Darrell Johnston fought in the Korean War earning the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart taking a heavily defended hill under enemy fire. For a list of complete counties booked for the Tour and locations of already existing Freedom Rocks, visit www.thefreedomrock.com.
Visit Liberty Hall in Lamoni
Built in 1881 in Lamoni, Iowa, Liberty Hall was the home to Joseph Smith III until 1905. Smith was the first president of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints-now the Community of Christ.
Liberty Hall served as the center of religious and social life for the community hosting parties, weddings, and many fun nights before the fire eating apples and popcorn, playing games and reading aloud.
Liberty Hall is listed on the Iowa and National Registers of historic homes. Visitors are able to catch a glimpse into the life of a middle class family in an era from the late Midwestern Victorian. The house, furniture and antiques uniquely represent that time period and help to tell the story of a significant religious movement in American’s history.
Leon Chamber of Commerce-(641) 442-6511
City of Leon—(641) 446-6221
Lamoni Area Chamber of Commerce—(641) 784-6311
City of Lamoni—(641) 784-6311
Decatur County—(641) 446-4323
Decatur County Development Corporation—(641) 442-6511
1. What is the name of the heritage byway that travels through Decatur County?
a. Ans: Jefferson Highway
2. There are two locally-owned and operated theatres in Decatur County. What are their names?
a. Leon SCIT Theatre; Coliseum Theatre
3. Decatur Co