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Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 11 - Oh what a difference a day makes!

Boy, a good night sleep can really change a person's outlook on things.  Today we really visited Nauvoo and how very different it was.  It was everything everyone says about it.  We had a great day today.  Yesterday it was raining when we went into Nauvoo, today the sun was shining and it was in the 60's.  We started our day with a quick tour of the town, took in a session at the temple, rode on a horse drawn carriage, watched a musical production put on by the missionaries, and enjoyed a beautiful sunset on the Mississippi River.  What more could a person ask for?

Last night when we drove into Nauvoo, we were hunting for a place to stay.  We were so tired that we saw nothing.  We ended up staying across the river in Iowa in the town of Fort Madison.  As we drove around town today we were so surprised to see several places to stay...oh well!

As we left Fort Madison this morning we saw a fort that I really wanted to check out but we had an appointment for a temple session and didn't want to be late.  As it was, we got back too late tonight to see it so I guess it is for another day.

The Nauvoo temple was a replica of the original.  The original was finished just prior to the Mormon's leaving Nauvoo in exodus.  In October of 1849, the temple was set on fire and destroyed.  In 1850 a tornado struck the temple toppling one wall.  Other walls were then torn down for public safety.  Between 1937 and 1962, the LDS church reacquired the land.  In 1999, President Gordon B. Hinckley announced the rebuilding of the temple in it's original footprint.  On June 2002, the Church dedicated the new temple.  The exterior is an exact replica of the original but the inside is designed more like the modern temples.

After our temple session, we hurried and changed, ate a snack then went on a horse drawn carriage ride.  They offered three kinds of tours...a wagon pulled by oxen, a horse wagon, and a carriage pulled by horses.  We chose the carriage ride.  The guides, missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint,s gave us a brief history of the area as well as told us interesting facts about the time (from journal writings of those that lived in Nauvoo in the 1840's).  It was a peaceful ride around the area.  The ride we took didn't actually show us much in the way of buildings as all of those buildings no longer exist but we saw the land where many of the Church members lived.
Our horses were Rod and Rick...Belgian horses.

  This was the view from Inspiration Point on the Mississippi River.  The white building across the river is a manufacturing company that makes the de-icer for airplanes.  The river was much lower when the Mormon's lived here.  The dam on the river has raised the level of water covering several islands that once were a part of the view.  40% of all merchandise for the north goes down this river because it is much cheaper than shipping by trucks.

 The trees in this area are not that good for building.  Because of the moisture content, they tend to rot out in the middle thus making them useless for boards.  There are some really weird trees here that have spikes.  The Indians used these for fishing hooks.  The spikes were good for punching leather to make holes for sewing.
The men were so busy trying to build the temple and other buildings that the women and children were the ones that cleared the brush on the land.  Much of the land was covered with brush.  These women had to work hard.

The Mormons had to convert this swampy ground into usable land and they did so by digging drains for the water from the hillside to flow through which did the trick.  The ground was covered with a slab stone rock so they had to dig under it to make the water flow.  This culvert is a modern time assistance to the problem.

We really enjoyed our ride.  The horses were just glad when the ride was over because we were their last work for the day.  They got to go back to their pasture to rest.

We then rode around and checked out the area.  There are a lot of brick buildings still standing or that have been refurbished.  Very few log homes made it.

Joseph Smith's house shows the original log house and then the larger house he built.  Beside the house is the cemetery which now has Joseph's body along with that of Emma, his parents, and his brothers.  No markers were showing so we didn't actually go in the yard.  This part of Nauvoo is owned by the Community of Christ Church.  The brick building in the background is the Endowment House.

We also visited the Brick Making building where we saw a demonstration on making bricks.  We got a souvenir brick at the end of the tour.

In the evening, we went to a production in the Cultural Hall called "Rendezvous".  It was a fun musical presented by many of the missionaries serving in Nauvoo.  They told the story of the Church and it's members through music and drama.  The setting was this little room with wooden pew-like seats and a small stage.  The cast interacted with the audience from the very beginning.  There was no way you could sit there without a smile on your face.  I forgot to take in my camera so this is a picture from the website.

As we left the production and headed to our car, we saw the most fitting ending to a perfect day....a gorgeous sunset.  Unfortunately, my camera is on  it's last legs (I had tons of problems with it suggestion, never go on a trip without a decent camera).

So yesterday I would have driven home instead of checking out this bit of history but today, I am so glad we gave it a look with fresh eyes.  I strongly suggest that you should definitely spend a few days in Nauvoo. There is a lot to see and do - something for the whole family!

Tomorrow we are going to Carthage Jail and then on to Missouri for Church history.

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