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Mount Vernon is a city located in the I-380 Corridor region of Eastern Iowa. Home to historic Cornell College, Mount Vernon is a vibrant community uniquely influenced by the college but possessing an individual identity. It is frequently cited in travel magazines for its unique culture and excellent food.


In many respects, while they maintain separate identities, the histories of Mount Vernon and Cornell College are inextricably linked. Cornell was founded in 1853 as the Iowa Conference Seminary but, in 1857, it would be renamed after iron tycoon William Wesley Cornell, a distant cousin of Ezra Cornell (founded of Cornell University). As the college expanded, the town invariably also enjoyed the benefit. Today, many members of the faculty and staff at Cornell are also long-time residents and participants in the community, which gives the town a strong college feel. The entire Cornell campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mount Vernon has also historically benefited from its close proximity to Iowa City and Dubuque as it is the on the primary route between the two.

Get in[edit]

Map of Mount Vernon (Iowa)

Mount Vernon is located primarily to the northeast of the intersection of Iowa Route 1 and US 30.

Get around[edit]

The primary method of travel within the city is car. However, many portions of the community are entirely walkable including the downtown area and Cornell campus.


  • 1 King Chapel, 600 First Street SW (Located on the Cornell Campus, immediatey to the east of Bowman-Carter Hall), +1 319 895-4000. Cornell's ornate original chapel, King Chapel is visible from Route 30 and is a point of pride for the community. Call ahead to see if the interior is open, which houses one of the largest pipe organs west of the Mississippi. The chapel has hosted a number of famous speakers including Booker T. Washington, Helen Keller, Carl Sandburg, Amelia Earhart, Milton Friedman and more recently, Barack Obama. King Memorial Chapel (Q6411877) on Wikidata King Memorial Chapel on Wikipedia



  • The Silver Spider, 117 1/2 1st St NW (In the western portion of downtown Mount Vernon), +1 319-895-9977. An eclectic shop full of gifts, jewelry and clothes. This is the sister shop to the one in Iowa City.


  • Palisades Cafe, 117 First Street West (In the western portion of Mount Vernon's downtown), +1 319 895-4041. One of Oprah's favorite places, the Lincoln Cafe serves high quality food.


  • 1 Fuel, 103 1st St E (In the eastern portion of Mount Vernon Downtown), +1 319 895-8429. A coffee and espresso shop in downtown Mount Vernon, Fuel Nest offers a variety of coffee drinks for your pleasure.



Go next[edit]

Routes through Mount Vernon
AmesCedar Rapids  W  E  ClintonRock Falls
ENDAnamosa  N  S  → Solon → Iowa City

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