Nauvoo's history dates back further than 1839, when its name was Quashquema but the area only began to flourish after the arrival of the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith and his followers [often referred to as saints]. Smith renamed the area Nauvoo [which means "beautiful place" in Hebrew.]
Within a few years, the community became one of Illinois largest cities and Nauvoo was considered for becoming Illinois' state capital. Religious persecution escalated, resulting in the murder of the Mormon prophet in nearby Carthage, Illinois. Within months the Mormons were driven out of Nauvoo. They followed their newly called prophet, Brigham Young to Salt Lake City valley. Nauvoo survived but was never the thriving community it enjoyed during the Mormon habitation. It was re-settled by the French, German and Swiss who planted the area with extensive vineyards and produced fine wines. A boarding school was built for young ladies by the Benedictine Sisters.
By the mid-1900s, descendents of the early Mormons settlers of Nauvoo chose to return to Nauvoo with determination and pride. They set themselves a mission to restore Nauvoo - the homes and shops of their ancestors to their former glory. They also set a goal to rebuild the Mormon Temple that had been ruined by anti-Mormons. [This has just recently been accomplished - see article here
Historic Nauvoo now has over 30 restored sites which are free to the public and open all year. Many are complete with volunteer guides, dressed in 1840s style who share interesting facts about life in early Nauvoo. Othe guides demonstrate the hardships of early pioneer life, including making brickmaking, printing presses, making pottery, and much more. You can also visit the Joseph Smith Historic Center and see the Historic Temple Square Gardens where the magnificent Nauvoo Temple has been rebuilt in the exact style and design of the original [with appropriate improvements in building codes and standards.]
Nauvoo is open all year with activites and events planned for all seasons. During the summer months walking tours are held, and the spectacular outdoor musical theatre productions. Vibrant colors of Fall in Nauvoo are gorgeous create a gorgeous, tranquil atmosphere. Winter brings memories of the past with its authentic holiday decorations. In winter, the Mississippi River is home to the Bald Eagle. With their winter-nesting area high on the cliffs, it is likely that you could see one flying along the banks of the Mississippi River or perched in a tree. When spring arrives, Nauvoo once again becomes "the city beautiful" with its abundant flowers, beauty, and signs of new birth.
Visit Nauvoo - "The City Beautiful" - a step back in time.
Information provided by Nauvoo Tourism
Nauvoo Illinois Temple Open House
Visit Nauvoo's Historic Restoration
Have fun in your own backyard!
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