As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the city of Nauvoo holds a special place in our hearts. This small Illinois town was home to early members of our faith. It was there that they gathered after being expelled from the state of Missouri. For about five years, the City Nauvoo, also called the City of Joseph, or City Beautiful (as it means in Hebrew), was home to the saints as they came from Missouri and as converts from all over the Eastern United States and Europe. This small swampland quickly turned into the second-largest city in Illinois at the time.
A few of the reasons why this place is so special is because this is where the saints built their second temple, the first that would be used for individual ordinances. It was here that Joseph and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles directed the work of the Church. It was here that Joseph and Hyrum departed their families and followers and road the short distance down to Carthage to meet their martyrs doom.
This was our first time here as a family. Leslie and I came here shortly after we were engaged to attend the dedication of the temple here in 2002. I had been here with my family twice prior to that.
The City of Nauvoo is set up in a way to show off the way of living in the early to mid-nineteenth century. They allow the children to participate in dressing up, help with blacksmithing, and act out parts of what individuals would have done during this era. It is a gem of US history as well as Latter-day Saint history.
While here, we visited the many homes, the temple, the riverfront, Carthage Jail, where Joseph and Hyrum were killed, the courthouse, the red brick store, the blacksmith shop, the Browning gun shop, and the Nauvoo Pageant where we learned about the history of Nauvoo. Our children had a wonderful time. Whether you are a member of our faith or any other faith, this is a great place to come and enjoy a small piece of Americana and learn of that era.