From Quashquema to Commerce to Nauvoo

In 1839, Joseph Smith chose Commerce [now Nauvoo, said to mean “beautiful place”] as the home for his followers.

Nauvoo was originally a Sauk and Fox village. After the Indians moved west of the Mississippi, promoters had a difficult time because the marshy bottom lands attracted few settlers.

Nauvoo became one of the largest cities in Illinois after Mormon converts from the USA and Europe swelled the population to approximately 15,000.

Nauvoo Survey Stone

Site of the original survey stone for Nauvoo. All streets for the city were platted from this point.

Stone Arch Bridge, Nauvoo

The stone arch bridge in Nauvoo was built in 1850 by a German, M. Baumert. The bridge spans a drainage ditch built by the pioneers of Church of the Latter Day Saints to drain swampland along the river.

Brickyard, Nauvoo

The early settlers of Nauvoo lived in log cabins but they soon began constructing their homes in brick. At the brickmaker, you can see how bricks were formed, baked, and dried. You may take home a souvenir Nauvoo brick.

Webb Brothers Blacksmith Shop

Situated beside a blacksmith and wagon shop is a shoeing stock for oxen. The reconstructed shop sits on it original foundation. The shop was owned by Chauncey Webb, along with his father and brothers. Visitors to the shop receive a souvenir “prairie diamond” ring made from a horseshoe nail.

Calvin Pendleton Home and School

Calvin Pendleton was an herbal doctor, a gunsmith, and a teacher. He taught reading, writing, and arithmetic to children and penmanship to adults.

Brigham Young Home

Like most sites, the home of Brigham Young in Nauvoo is open to visitors. When you tour the home, you will hear about the letter written by Mary Ann to Brigham telling him of Joseph Smith’s death.

Jonathan Browning Home and Gun Shop, Nauvoo

During a tour of the Jonathan Browning Home and Gun Shop, you will learn about the humble beginnings of Browning Arms Corporation. Authentic rifles, handguns, and shotguns from the early 1800s are on display.

Cultural Hall

The Cultural Hall is the heart of Old Nauvoo's social life. A musical drama documenting life during the golden age—Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo—is performed nightly throughout the year. [Note: See Comments section regarding performance.] Located behind is the Family Living Center where you can see demonstrations of trades such as spinning, bread making, candle making, etc. As you walk back up to the street, you can taste bread from the brick oven at the Scovil Bakery.

Seventies Hall

Nauvoo's first library where men and women gathered to listen to Brigham Young and other Church leaders. Seventies Hall is named after the missionaries sent out from Nauvoo, which is patterned after the “seventy” that Jesus called to carry the Gospel to every city and place.

Summer Kitchen

First home of Lucy Mack and Joseph Smith Sr [father of Joseph Smith]. Joseph Smith's wife Emma used the summer kitchen thus not heating up the main house during the hot and humid summer months. In the adjacent lot is the Smith Family Cemetery, the final resting place for Joseph Smith, Emma Smith, Hyrum Smith, Lucy Mack, Joseph Smith Sr., and other family members and friends.

The Prophet's Last Ride

On June 24, 1844, Joseph Smith, with his brother, Hyrum, left Nauvoo for Carthage on what would be their final ride. They paused on the bluff, admiring the unfinished temple Joseph said, "This is the loveliest place and the best people under the heavens; little do they know the trials that await them.”

Carthage Jail

Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were martyred at the Carthage Jail. Built in 1839, the Carthage Jail is a two-story rectangular gable-front building constructed of red limestone and measures twenty-nine by thirty-five feet. The jail was built to incarcerate petty thieves and debtors and to serve as a temporary holding place for violent criminals.

Trail of Hope, Nauvoo

"1846 began the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo. Leaving behind their home, beautiful city, family and friends who they quite possibly would never see again in this life. As they journeyed west, they recorded their feelings and experiences in personal journals..." There are 29 reader boards along the Trail of Hope.

Eyes Westward, Nauvoo

Joseph and Brigham on the banks of the Mississippi River looking towards the west. Joseph is holding a map of the westward trek which he had seen in vision.

Nauvoo Temple

The Nauvoo Temple stands on a high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. The building is a reproduction of the original Nauvoo Temple built by Mormon settlers in the 1840s. The temple was destroyed by arson fire in 1848 and tornado-force winds in 1850.

2 Replies to “From Quashquema to Commerce to Nauvoo”

  1. “Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo is no longer performed (anywhere); not even in the Cultural Hall.

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