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Things To Do in Nauvoo, Illinois

Nauvoo Things to Do

Though it is a small city that sits on the banks of the Mississippi River, Nauvoo offers many things to do for incoming tourists. Its rich past means that there are a number of historic structures that act will be interesting for tourists.

Mormon History

Located in the city is the Nauvoo Temple. The second temple built by the Mormons, the first being in Kirtland, Ohio,it was the first temple to offer the fully ‘revealed’ rites that developed during the Nauvoo period. The building began construction in 1841 and was not finished until almost a year after Joseph Smith’s murder in May of 1846. Today, the temple is still an impressive building to go see, particularly at night when the exterior is lit up. As with all LDS temples, entry is only permitted to members of good standing. However, the nearby Visitors’ Center explains the role of temples within the Mormon belief system.

Also relevant to Mormon history is the historic Joseph Smith Homestead. This is the log cabin that served as the first home for Joseph Smith Jr. and his family in Nauvoo. The original house was a simple blockhouse dating back to very early in the 19th century. There is also a nearby cemetery dedicated to the Smith family. It was common for pioneer families to set aside some ground near their houses to bury family members, which is why the grounds near the homestead today act as a historic cemetery.

Historic Buildings

There are a number of buildings standing in the area that have existed for centuries. A restoration of the original 1840’s building, the Printing Office is one part of three contiguous buildings: the Printing Office, John Taylor’s home, and the Post Office. The John Taylor home was one of the earliest brick homes in Nauvoo. It was occupied by Taylor and his family while he served in the attached Printing Office as editor for Church periodicals.

Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about things to do in Nauvoo.


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