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Joseph Smith Historic Site

865 Water St. , Nauvoo, IL 62354


Learn the story of the Latter Day Saint movement in Nauvoo during the early 1840s at the Joseph Smith Historic Site. Within the Visitor Center, you can see original paintings of Nauvoo by David Hyrum Smith as well as other artifacts and information.

Smith Family Homestead: When early church members first gathered in Nauvoo, this cabin on the river became Joseph and Emma's first home. With four children and many guests staying in the log cabin, Joseph soon found it necessary to add a large keeping room for meals and other gatherings. Later, in 1858, Joseph III returned to the homestead his father had used so many years before and completed the final addition where he could raise his family. On the walking tour, guests will view the inside of the Homestead. Guests will see the handhewn construction that was used to create the home and many furnishings from the time.

Mansion House: As Nauvoo grew rapidly so did the number of Joseph and Emma’s guests. In 1842 Joseph built this fine frame house just across the street from the Homestead. As it was being finished, however, Joseph chose to add a hotel wing on the east to accommodate their many guests. This final home for Joseph and Emma gave them space to raise their children, meet with guests, and provide rooms for visitors. Today the original residence still stands. The hotel addition was demolished in 1890. While on the walking tour, guests enter the home to view the rooms used by Joseph and Emma and hear about events that took place here.

Red Brick Store: Joseph Smith's Red Brick Store became the center of community life after its construction in 1841. In addition to serving as a general store and tithing office, it also hosted many civic and religious meetings. Joseph kept an office upstairs and the large upper room was home to the first meetings of the Nauvoo Female Relief Society and other important activities. The building was home to Nauvoo’s RLDS congregation by the 1860s but eventually fell into disrepair and it was torn down in 1890. Reconstructed in 1979 and once again an operating general store, the shelves are stocked with goods inspired by one of the original account books. Walking tours of the Smith properties end here, but visitors can also explore the upper room of the store on their own.

Nauvoo House: In 1841 a group of investors, led by Joseph Smith, began a joint-stock company to build a massive hotel called the Nauvoo House. Slowly over the course of the next few years, the building began to take shape. Construction continued after Joseph's death in 1844, but the walls were not yet three stories high when work stopped in 1846. Decades later Emma Smith’s second husband, Lewis Bidamon, finished part of the structure and together they operated it as a boarding house called the Riverside Mansion. It was in this building that Emma Smith Bidamon lived during the last eight years of her life.

Smith Family Cemetery: The Smith Family Cemetery, a peaceful setting on the banks of the Mississippi River, serves as the final resting place for about twenty-four members and friends of the Smith family. Among those buried here are Joseph and Emma Smith, Hyrum Smith, Joseph Smith Sr., and Lucy Mack Smith, Samuel Smith, and Don Carlos Smith. Thousands each year visit the Smith Family Cemetery to remember the lives of those buried here. The cemetery is open 24 hours a day.

The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area Passport Stamp for Nauvoo is located at the Joseph Smith Historic Site Visitor Center. A fun way to Look for Lincoln in the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area!

The Passport to Your National Parks program is a voluntary program that nearly all parks within the National Park Service (NPS) participate. You can purchase an official NPS Passport book at several sites and begin recording your visits to NPS sites by stamping your passport with a rubber cancellation stamp. The cancellations, similar to those received in an international passport, record the name of the passport community and the date it was visited. The stamps also provide a record of your adventures.


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