The Nauvoo Illinois Temple stands on a high bluff overlooking a bend in the Mississippi River. The majestic building is a faithful reproduction of the original Nauvoo Temple built by Mormon settlers in the 1840s and destroyed by arson fire in 1848 and tornado-force winds in 1850. Featured on the grounds west of the temple is a handsome statue depicting Church founder Joseph Smith and brother Hyrum Smith on horseback; both were martyred in Carthage Jail during construction of the original temple. Nauvoo is rich in Church history and the destination of thousands of tourists each year.
Trial of Hope
In the concluding dedicatory session of the Nauvoo Temple, President Hinckley of the LDS Church, made a special request of all those who were then in Nauvoo. He asked everyone to take a few minutes to “walk down Parley Street to the waterfront,” to the landing on the Mississippi River from which the early Mormons departed Nauvoo and crossed into Iowa on their westward trek. He asked people to leave behind the comfort of their air-conditioned cars, to walk along this historic path and take time to read the plaques along the Trail of Hope.
At the edge of the river stands the Pioneer Memorial and “Exodus to Greatness” Monument. The Pioneer Memorial contains the names of many of those who died along the Mormon Trail and surrounds the “Exodus to Greatness” Monument, a stone mounted bronze frieze of the Mormon Trail.
Smith Family Cemetery
Fearing the threats of grave desecration made by Joseph's enemies, Joseph's and Hyrum's family placed sandbags in the caskets buried in the city cemetery. Joseph and Hyrum's remains were secretly buried under the basement of the Nauvoo House. After Emma's death the Smith family disinterred Joseph's and Hyrum's remains and re-interred all three under a shed on the property. There were no written records marking the graves and the exact location became lost from memory. In 1928, Joseph's family feared the rising Mississippi River would destroy the graves, so they commissioned an excavation to locate the bodies of Joseph, Emma and Hyrum and had them re-interred in a permanent plot in the Smith Family Cemetery, at the site shown in the following pictures.
Joseph Smith Jr. and his family moved into the Mansion House in Nauvoo in August 1843. Later a wing was added to the east side of the main structure for a total of 22 rooms. Beginning in January 1844, Ebenezer Robinson managed the house as a hotel, and the Prophet maintained six of the rooms for his family. The house served somewhat as a social center of Nauvoo society. Important dignitaries were received here by the Prophet.
Significant Events: On June 27, 1844, the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum were shot and killed in Carthage, Illinois, and their bodies were brought to this house to lie in state prior to the funeral. They are buried in a small family cemetery plot just across Main Street, west of the old log home that Joseph lived in when he first came to Nauvoo. Emma Smith lived in the Mansion House until 1871. Then she moved into the Nauvoo House, where she died in 1879.