21 December 2010

Nauvoo, IL- So much to see and do Preview

When people hear the name Nauvoo, the first thing that usually comes to mind is this:
Nauvoo Temple
and Nauvoo's Mormon history is the reason it's still famous, remembered, and visited by many today.  We'll get to that, but for today we're going to stray away from the actual Nauvoo Historic District and we're going to look at the other historic district of Nauvoo- the business district at the top of the hill (not so far away from the LDS Temple).
panorama of Nauvoo

Nauvoo wasn't always Nauvoo.  The area was first called Quashquema by the Native Americans; then in the early 1800s, the first white settlers called the town Venus, until 1834 when they changed the name to Commerce. 
Joseph Smith and Zion's Mercantile
In 1839, the Mormons bought Commerce and in April of 1840 Joseph Smith renamed the town, Nauvoo.(ref) 
Nauvoo theater sign
In the mid-1800s, after the Mormon War in Illinois (which, besides Abraham Lincoln, is one of the most significant periods in Illinois history), the majority of the Mormons fled Nauvoo.  Luckily for the historic preservation of the city, many German immigrants came to Nauvoo and moved into the almost empty city.(ref)  At the same time, the Icarians (a French utopian society) immigrated to Nauvoo and set up a commune there.(ref)
icarian house
In the 1900s, Nauvoo became known for its wine and blue cheese industries.  Unfortunately in 2003, the cheese factory was shut down.(ref)  Today thanks to the restoration efforts of many Mormon descendants Nauvoo is known for its history and the massive restoration of many historic buildings, most of which are below the Temple on the flats of Nauvoo.(ref)
we are proud of nauvoo
One of the most recent moves to preserve Nauvoo's history is a extensive walking tour put together by the Nauvoo Historical Society, called "The Way We Were."
downtown nauvoo
The tour covers almost all of the buildings in the downtown (the only ones that were left out were ones no information could be found on). 
Motel Nauvoo
Different sheets on each group of buildings are found in their respective modern buildings and there's also a master pamphlet that tells where all the sheets can be found that all of the buildings, like The Hotel Nauvoo, have.
The Hotel Nauvoo
The walking tour covers architecture,
1295 Mulholland St.
State Bank of Nauvoo
The Hudson Building
and has a ton of great pictures and other resources.  
look up
I highly recommend the Nauvoo Walking tour. It's one of the best examples I've ever seen of making history fun and easily accessible to everyone.

For walking tour info click here:
The Way We Were
For more information about Nauvoo Tourism in general, check out these links:
Nauvoo Historical Society
Nauvoo Tourism Office
City of Nauvoo

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