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Red Brick Store

Store owned by the Prophet Joseph. Built in 1841 on the banks of the Mississippi, Joseph Smith’s store was the epicenter of spiritual life in Nauvoo. The ground floor was a store, but the upstairs was Joseph’s office and meeting area. Here the Prophet translated, received revelation, preformed temple ordinances, bestowed keys, and organized the Relief Society.

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Fading in Time

Fading headstone in the old cemetery. Nothing symbolizes mortality and man’s predicament better than a headstone returning to the earth: forgotten to all but One.

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Autumn Sidewalk

Golden leaves on a lone brick path. The beauty of Nauvoo, after all the labors of summer and preparations for winter, captured here in an autumn leaf-strewn path.

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Autumn's Glory

Wooded grounds below the temple. When the Saints purchased the land in what was then Commerce, Illinois, it was not a lovely city but instead a patch of heavily wooded and swampy land. Through much work and sacrifice it became a place Saints would later call the City Beautiful.

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Cold Morning

Window panes on a crisp October morning. These panes on Brigham Young’s home allow us to almost see through time.

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Farewell Upper Landing

Departure point for going West. Leaving their homes, their city, their temple, and their loved ones lost, the Saints truly brought an amazing sacrifice to place upon the altar.

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Prosperity

Jonathan Browning’s home and shop. Jonathan was a skilled blacksmith and gunmaker. His skills and craftsmanship were much in demand in the days of the early Saints.

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A Morning in February

Small brick home just off the Mississippi. This home, which long ago belonged to Church member William Gheen, sits in solitude on a cold February morning. William would pass away in the summer of 1845, leaving his wife, Esther, to take their eight children across the plains alone.

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As Night Falls

The temple on a cold February evening. This temple is a shining symbol of the sacrifice of those early Saints.

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Walking to Joseph’s

Home of Joseph and Emma. The Mansion House is often described as the home of the Prophet, but it was really more of a hotel where Joseph and Emma had some rooms for their family. Often during this period, however, Joseph was in hiding from Missouri mobocrats in various places in and around Nauvoo rather than residing in the Mansion House with his family.

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Path of Tears

Path to the old cemetery. This is the resting place for about 1,200 Saints that died during the establishment of Nauvoo. About 120 markers remain, many of them difficult to read with the passage of time. How many tears were shed on this trail as the Saints bid farewell to their loved ones?

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The Heavens Weep

Carthage. Just weeks before his death, Joseph counseled the Twelve, “Now, round up your shoulders and stand under it like men; for the Lord is going to let me rest awhile.”

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Evening at Sarah Granger Kimball’s Home

Soft light on a country lane to Sarah’s home. Sarah Granger Kimball, a powerful advocate of women’s rights. She was never content to live vicariously, either intellectually or spiritually. She was one of the twenty-three women known to have attended Joseph Smith’s School of the Prophets in Kirtland.

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October Crabapples

A symbol of simpler days. Some things just speak October. Autumn in Nauvoo was a time when jams and jellies were not simply purchased but instead made over conversation.

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William Gheen’s Home

Located just below the temple. This little brick home is typical of the brick homes built in Old Nauvoo.

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The Morning Breaks

Temple view from the flats. With the completion of the temple and the restoration of priesthood authority, a new dawn was breaking forth upon the earth. Parley P. Pratt expressed in poem the joy of witnessing the Restoration unfold: “The morning breaks, the shadows flee.” Truly this was “the dawning of a brighter day.”

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Tiny Grave

A Tiny gravesite behind Jonathan Browning’s home. In this tiny grave are the infant remains of Emma Eliza Browning, Jonathon and Elizabeth with broken hearts buried their precious little girl in the shadow of a rising temple. The temple in the background symbolizes both sacrifice as well as the hope and assurance of an eternal family.

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Sunset on the Mississippi

Evening draws to a close in Nauvoo. We are left to ponder what might have been.

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The Markhams’ Sacrifice

Stephen Markham’s homesite. When Stephen Markham first arrived in Nauvoo, he lived in a tent while he built a beautiful brick home for his family. But just a week after moving into their new home the Markhams sold it, giving the money to the prophet Joseph to help pay for legal difficulties arising from Missouri lawsuits. This was but one of the Markham family’s sacrifices.

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Temple Through the Grove

A sacred grove southwest of the temple. Joseph taught the Saints in groves. These groves offered some protection from the elements and were a place where heaven’s windows were opened. Kirtland was a time of revelation; Nauvoo was a time of instruction and increased understanding.

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Soft Autumn Glow

Fall foliage in front of the old homestead. Just a few yards from Joseph’s and Hyrum’s final resting place, this sacred place is now a place of peace and reflection.

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Standing Alone

A lone tree near the banks of the Mississippi. This tree standing alone in majesty and beauty, young, not yet fully mature, reminds us of the prophet Joseph in Nauvoo. He was taken when only 38 years old, and many times, he too stood alone.

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Ramus

Twenty miles east of Nauvoo (present-day Webster). Ramus was a small settlement of Latter-day Saints, among whom was Benjamin F. Johnson, a personal friend and private secretary to the Prophet. A conference of the Church held in Ramus is the source of Doctrine and Covenants sections 130 and 131.

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Temple

The crowning jewel of Nauvoo. Every belief, every hope, and every desire of these early Latter-day Saints culminated in the blessings afforded in the temple.

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Reflections at Montrose

A small pond at Montrose. Many Saints, including Brigham Young, John Taylor, and others, first settled on this side of the Mississippi. Countless miracles happened here.

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Old Burial Ground

Three miles east of Nauvoo off Parley Street. This is truly sacred ground. Here the remains of 1,200 Saints are buried. The vast majority of these graves are no longer marked.

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Heber’s Home

Home of Heber and Vilate Kimball. Heber C. Kimball was one of two of the original Twelve that never kicked his heels against the Prophet. Heber had the gift of prophecy, and later in life, when Brigham was asked about Heber, he would say, “Heber is my prophet.”

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Farewell, Upper Landing

Departure point for going West. Leaving their homes, their city, their temple, and their loved ones lost, the Saints truly brought an amazing sacrifice to place upon the altar.

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Fall Afternoon

Times and Seasons building next to John Taylor’s home. The Times and Seasons publication truly was a soft and gentle light to the Saints. Among others its editors were John Taylor, Joseph Smith, and William W. Phelps. This newspaper did much to teach and edify the Saints.

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Nauvoo Grove

Groves were places of worship and instruction. Many of the great and wonderful doctrines of the kingdom were taught in these sacred groves.

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Evening Warmth

View from Brigham’s Home. The word Nauvoo literally means “beautiful place.” Joseph taught that little children who die in infancy were too pure and too lovely for this world, and so likewise it seems for this city on the Mississippi. Within seven years of its establishment (1839–1846) the dream of Nauvoo would pass away.

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Evening Lane

Country lane near the river bottoms. To walk this lane on a cool evening is to almost transport back in time.

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After the Harvest

Harvested corn. A beautiful temple in the background, harvested crops in the foreground: Nauvoo was built to be a place to worship and to live in peace with God and man. This dream of the Saints, though, was never realized. The temple was completed in 1846, the same year the Saints were forced to flee.

At Rest

At Rest

Resting place for Joseph, Emma, and Hyrum. On the site of the original Smith homestead is the Smith family cemetery. It is a beautiful and restful location on the banks of the Mississippi.