Joseph Smith's Nauvoo stretches along the Illinois bank of the Mississippi River. Established in 1839 as a place of refuge for Latter Day Saints driven from Missouri, thousands soon gathered here from throughout the United States, Canada, and England. Nauvoo quickly became one of the largest cities in Illinois. Just as quickly, growing political, economic and even military power combined with the introduction of controversial religious ideas led to conflict with neighbors. Joseph Smith Jr. and his brother, Hyrum, were killed by a mob in Carthage, Illinois in 1844. The community soon fragmented.
Many left early in 1846 to start their epic trek across the plains to the valley of the Great Salt Lake. Others stayed in the mid-west and eventually regrouped around Joseph Smith III as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The Joseph Smith Historic Site preserves the properties and memories of Joseph Smith Jr., founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, his father, Joseph Smith Sr., and son, Joseph Smith III. Original structures on the site include Joseph and Emma Smith's Homestead and Mansion House, the Nauvoo House, and homes of Sidney Rigdon, William Marks, Jonathon Wright, Aaron Johnson, and Hiram Clark. Reconstructions include the Red Brick Store and the Homestead summer kitchen.
Next to the Homestead is the Smith Family Cemetery, final resting place of Joseph and Emma Smith, Hyrum Smith, Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith, and numerous other family members and friends.
The Joseph Smith Historic Site is part of the Nauvoo National Historic Landmark District.
Projects at Joseph Smith Historic Site
- Homestead, Mansion House, Nauvoo House, etc.: The Foundation funds all annual repair and maintenance on all historic properties on the site.
- Support Structures: The Foundation funds all annual repair and maintenance on the Visitor Center, maintenance shop, and all other support structures on the site.
- Red Brick Store Ramp: The Foundation funded the construction of a ramp at the back of the Red Brick Store to improve accessibility.
- Hiram Clark Home: The Foundation funded the structural stabilization of the Hiram Clark Home.
- Visitor Center Theaters: The Foundation funded the replacement of acoustical drapes and dimmer equipment in both Visitor Center theaters.
- Grounds: The Foundation is funding the annual grounds budget for the 40-acre site.
- Signage project: The Foundation is funding a major upgrade of directional, informational, and interpretive signage for the site.
- Portable Speakers: The Foundation provided portable speakers for use by Historical Interpreters.
- RV pads: The Foundation funded the installation of Recreational Vehicle pads at Camp Nauvoo for use by Joseph Smith Historic Site volunteers.
- Museum Store Consultant: The Foundation funded a museum store consultant whose recommendations significantly improved both the visitor experience and store sales.
Help Preserve Joseph Smith Historic Site
Click on the button below to make a generous donation towards the preservation of the Nauvoo historic sites