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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day 7 - Palmyra Continued - Day 8 Return to Greenville, PA

We have already moved on to Pennsylvania again but I first need to finish telling about our wonderful trip to Palmyra.  Last post I talked about the Hill Cumorah and the Joseph Smith farm including the Sacred Grove.  Tonight we will cover the Harris house, the Printing Press, the community today, and the Whitmer home.

Let's start with the town of Palmyra as seen today.  This was a cute little town.  One interesting thing was that there are 4 huge churches on one corner of the main street.  There are some interesting buildings everywhere in New York and this town was no exception.  One thing we noticed in most of these small towns was that they do not usually have grocery stores, restaurants, and motels.  This town was also no exception.  In their defense, most motels, restaurants, and bigger food stores are generally located near the more main highways.  Palmyra has a major highway within a few miles...just not in town.  What we also saw was now nice everything looked.  Homes maybe needed painting but the grounds were kept neat and clean.  Note:  sorry about the line through some of the pictures...our car windshield has a crack.  The little white place is about the only place to eat in town and it is called the Chill and Grill.  It is mostly an ice cream shop but they make great hamburgers.

Also in town is the Harris House.  It is not owned by the Church but the Church has made arrangements for people to view the outside of the house.  It says that there are no tours because it has private residents.
The Stake Building is located on Temple Street just down from the Joseph Smith farm and across from the Palmyra Temple.  The temple picture is actually taken from the Joseph Smith farm.  An interesting note is that the community had a fit about having the temple in the area and then they protested against the church cutting down the trees between the temple and the farm even though the church owns all of the land...hummmm.  Anyway, this temple is the only temple that has 3 clear windows so that the Sacred Grove can actually be seen from the the temple.  There is a man that works the Joseph Smith farm named Bob that is not a member of the church.  He is known for slipping over and removing a tree or two and disposing of it without a trace.  Slowly over the years the trees are disappearing and the view is appearing.

Next we went to the printing press where the Book of Mormon was mass produced for the first time.  My husband and I were getting pretty tired at this time and we thought we would try to slip in and take a quick look then move on.  We knew guided tours take quite awhile.  We knew immediately that we would have to do the guided tour.  We had thought about skipping this tour but this turned out to be one of our favorites.  We would have been so disappointed had we not done this tour.  Note:  Joseph asked E.B. Grandin of the printing press to print 5000 hard bound Book of Mormon's.  At first he declined but then changed and agreed to do it.  They sold the first of the books for $1.75 each and later for $1.25 each.  You have to understand that a good income was $1.00 a month so this was almost 2 months worth of work.  There is lots to tell about this place but I am only going to show a few pictures.  It is most fascinating to see how they printed books in those days.

Finally, we visited the Peter Whitmer farm.  This is where the Church of Jesus Christ was officially organized.  It is also the location of a satellite televised General Conference celebrating 150 years.  The Prophet stood right where Joseph Smith stood 150 years earlier.  My husband and I also got to stand there!  Note:  The Elder that was giving us the guided tour said that we had come at a perfect time because this time of year hardly anyone is visiting there.  We got the super grand tour of the Whitmer home.  He said there were very few missionaries there at this time.  He said in a month there would be about 50 missionaries and in July, there would be over 500 missionaries.  He said in the summer, they open a door on one side of the building and the other and people get to go straight through...not even stopping because of the crowds.

Finally, a note about the grounds where all of these places were located.  The Church has purchased all the land except the Harris House.  Not only have they purchased the land where these historic sites are located, but they have also purchased land surrounding these sites.  To help with the community, county, and state, they lease the land out to local farmers.  This helps the farmers and everyone as they pay taxes on this extra land.  The income received from the farmers pays for the taxes so everyone is happy!

We loved our stay in Palmyra and enjoyed every single tour and site we visited.  I am so grateful for this opportunity to taste a bit of history.  It was amazing to know that we walked where our leaders once walked.  If you ever get a chance to go to this area, do not miss the chance to visit these historic sites and be sure to take the tours.  These guides have so much information to share.

Day 8 - we traveled back to Greenville, PA.  As we were traveling to Erie, a very distant cousin called us (we had called him - got his name out of the phone book - but he was not home.  We left a message and he returned the call as we were heading to Erin, PA).  He told us to come back to Greenville and he would show us the cemeteries where my husband's ancestors were buried.  So we did!

What a wonderful day we had today.  It poured all the way from NY to PA but slowed down after we got here.  Our new cousin (very distant be we are related) walked us through some very wet and soggy and extremely well hidden cemeteries.  We did find some of our relatives even though some stones were extremely difficult to read.  He and his wife then took us around town and showed us some original houses, a barn, and a school once bearing the family name.  I took my little portable scanner and scanned tons of information he had about the family.  What a great day!  Thank you to distant relatives.

Our cousin drove up to meet us in this crazy little car.  I had to put it on the blog.

Tomorrow we are headed back to Ft. Wayne, Indiana again to visit with our friends one more time before we leave Indiana.

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad you are doing this. What a fun trip. Next time I am coming. :)