Independence, in Jackson County, Missouri, has a special hold on the hearts of the members of our movement. Designated in 1830 as the "Center Place" of Zion, members flocked here in the thousands, prior to their forced expulsion in 1833. Located near the Temple complex, Heritage Plaza preserves three historic buildings.
F.M Smith Study
Built by the Stallcup family in the early 1830s, this structure was initially located in eastern Independence, Missouri. Frederick Madison Smith, grandson of church founder Joseph Smith Jr., and himself president from 1915 to 1946, used this small brick building as his retreat and study.
F.M. Smith's faith and ministry were dominated by his desire to build 'Zion,' a model community that would be the 'social expression of Christ.' He struggled to balance his decisive leadership with the democratic consent of the church members, and his clear vision for the church often conflicted with other church leaders' opinions. Despite the setbacks resulting from two world wars and the Great Depression, he continued to call church members 'onward to Zion' until his death in 1946. The legacy of Frederick M. Smith for the Independence area can be seen in the construction of the Auditorium, expansion of Graceland University, and creation of Independence Regional Health Center.
Built by slave labor in 1826, the Jones H. Flournoy Home is one of the oldest houses in Independence, Missouri. It was originally located four blocks east of its current location. In 1831 church leaders led by church founder Joseph Smith Jr. visited Independence. They met Flournoy, who was eager to sell his farmland. Smith determined that this area would serve as headquarters and a gathering place for members. A site on Flournoy's property was dedicated for construction of a temple. Tradition holds that it was in this house that Bishop Partridge and Flournoy reached an agreement for the sale of the 63.33 acres of land that became known as the 'Temple Lot Property.' Cultural differences between church members and their neighbors resulted in growing tension. In 1833 the Latter Day Saints were driven from Jackson County.
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