Monday, July 30, 2012

Cultural Hall

Welcome to the Cultural Hall.

The Cultural Hall was originally built as the Masonic Hall.  Many of the early members of the church were Masons.  The building was also used for banquets, church meetings, concerts, court sessions, dances, Dr. offices, funerals, grain storage, mass meetings, Masonic meetings, Nauvoo Legion meetings, police headquarters, recitals, schools, theatrical performances, and the winter before the Saints went west in 1846, they took out all the benches on the lower floor and used that room to build wagon boxes.

Now the first floor is used for the productions of "Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo" (two shows every night except Sunday) and "Just Plain Anna Amanda", a children's play (two shows every day except Sunday.)  It's quite a small room and only holds a little over 100 people, so you have to get tickets ahead of time for both of these shows.  Nothing costs money, they just have the tickets so it doesn't get over crowded.

On the second floor, the walls for the offices have been taken out and there is a wonderful display of antique quilts.  During the restoration of Nauvoo, people dontated the quilts for display.  Some of them are very old. 


I saved the best part until last.  The third story had been badly damaged and was taken off by some people who had used the building for a home.  When the church purchased the building in the 1960's and began the restoration process, they discovered a treasure just beneath the roof.  The ORIGINAL floor for the third story.  This story was used for banquets and parties and dances - so I love to go up there and imagine Joseph & Emma, Brigham & Mary Ann, Hyrum & Jerusha,  Heber C. & Vilate, Wilford & Phoebe, Lucious & Lury, and all the other wonderful people we are getting to know so well, dancing and laughing during happier times here in Nauvoo.  The spirit up there is amazing. 

The Nauvoo Brass Band would have been playing from the balcony.

And from the windows on the East side - this amazing view.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Seventies Hall

The term "Seventies" is found in Luke 10:1.  " . . . the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place . . ."   We often think of Christ and his apostles preaching the gospel but it's interesting to know that there were other seventy (missionaries) at that time too. 

When the early Saints joined the church, (maybe I should clarify - "Saints" is a term used to mean followers of Christ) they had strong testimonies and had usually studied the Bible extensively, searching for a church which included all the things that Christ's church originally included.  When they found it, they wanted to share it with everyone, so they were sent on missions.  The problem was that most of them had no idea how to teach, or even talk to people of other cultures.

Joseph Smith wanted them to have a place where they could learn those things before they were sent out.  So this Seventies Hall was actually the first MTC of the church (Mission Training Center).

With everything else they had to do, they began to build this building in their "spare" time.  They had the floor and the west wall almost completed when a tornado came along and blew it all down.  You can imagine how discouraged they were, and they wanted to just give up.

Brigham Young told them that it was the best omen in the world - that it meant the devil was mad and he knew the Seventies would receive many blessings from having that building.  So they doubled their efforts and finished the building.

It's a very symetrical building.  As you go in the front door, there are matching staircases to the right and the left in a kind of little foyer area.

Then you go into the main room downstairs.  Everything is the same on each side.  The benches have very straight high backs.  I think they are quite comfortable.  But no cushions.

Closer view of the front.

And on each side is an identical cute little stove.

Upstairs they used to display souvenir items that missionaries would bring back from their missions.  They called them "curiosities".   Now there is a display of artifacts that were found during the restoration of Nauvoo.

There is a library where you can find the names of the Seventies who lived in Nauvoo.

There are matching book cases on each side.

I found my ancestor, Nathan Williams Packer, in one of the books.  His brother, Jonathan Taylor Packer is there also (on a different page).  He is Boyd K. Packer's ancestor.

It's hard to see but he's first on this page

I really like serving in the Seventies Hall and it's even more fun when I get to serve there with Elder Knudsen.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Scovil Bakery

This is a really cute little bakery - and a real favorite of the guests.  It is almost always busy and very small inside so you often have to start a tour around back - outside.  Sometimes it's a little cooler in the shade - but not in July, and that seems to be when most of the people come. 

Tiny summer kitchen and outhouse

Well and Millstones

When the church was restoring the Cultural Hall next door in the late 1960's, they found evidence that there had been a bakery just one door south, so they started digging around and found the original foundation and were able to reconstruct the bakery on that foundation.  Here is a picture of what they found.

Inside it's equipped as a bakery would have been in the 1840's. That's a picture of Lucius Scovil on the wall. 

Behind me - in the corner - is a really steep spiral staircase to the basement.  You have to come up them practically on hands and feet.

Lucious and his wife, Lury, endured much persecution along with the Saints in Ohio, Missouri, and then in Nauvoo, but  Lucious was a very kind and generous man.  When the Saints left Kirtland, he had a wagon and a team of horses but many people didn't, so he would move a family about 100 miles to the Ohio River and then go back for another family.  He moved about 5 families before moving his own family. 

His faith was also tested in another way in Nauvoo.  His 14 year old son, died of consumption.  Then in January, 1846 - just before the Saints were driven from Nauvoo, His wife, Lury, gave birth to twin daughters who only lived for 10 days.  3 days later, Lury also died.  His testimony of the importance of temple ordinances was greatly strengthened.  He knew his family would be together forever. 

He started west with his remaining 4 children but didn't get very far before he was called on a mission to England.  He didn't want to leave his children but he wanted to do what the Lord asked him to do, so he left them in the care of family and friends and went to England.  On his way there, he came back to Nauvoo and sketched the temple.

In England he commissioned 150 dozen fine china plates with the picture of the temple on them, surrounded by the names of the leaders of the church at that time.  An original is displayed in the bakery, another in the Heber C. Kimball home, and 12 are in the museum of Church History and Art in Salt Lake City.

Before leaving the bakery, each guest is given a yummy molasses cookie.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Webb Brothers Blacksmith & Wainwright Shop

Wainwrights were wagon builders, wheelwrights constructed the wheels, and blacksmiths (among other things) provided the iron parts for the wheels.  When the Saints prepared to move west, everyone in the city was engaged in a massive wagon building effort. 

There were forty-eight blacksmiths in Nauvoo.  This shop was  reconstructed on its original foundation.

Oh look, Elder Knudsen is going to work.

Outside there is a wagon like the ones they constructed.

Up close you can read the sign:

First, you go into the wainwright shop.  They show you a loaded wagon.

Then they show you how they built the wheels.

Each family was given a spoke and a felloes and was responsible for cutting out 26 felloes and 52 spokes for their wagon.  The wheel behind Elder K. on the left is a completed wheel.

When they got it all together, the blacksmith put an iron rim on to hold it all together and then they soaked it in linseed oil and turpentine, turning slowly for two hours.  That was usually the young boys' job. 

While they explain how to build the wheel, the Elders talk about how the wheel is like a family.  The hub is like the mother, the spokes are like the children, the wooden rim (felloes) is like the father, and the iron tire that holds it all together is like the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Then they go into the blacksmith shop.  The blacksmith made all the metal items in the house such as doorknobs, hinges, latches, chains, etc. as well as items for farm use such as horseshoes and oxen shoes.

They explain how shoeing a horse is different than shoeing an oxen.  An ox will not pick up his foot like a horse will, so they have to put him in a contraption like this with a strap under its belly to lift it up.

They also make a tiny little baby horseshoe while they're talking.

First they get a piece of iron rod really really hot - RED hot. ( I might add here that the day we took these pictures it was 101 - 102 degrees outside  with a heat index of 117.  He just happens to be standing by an 800 degree forge.  As you can see from his shirt, he was working very hard. )

When he's all finished, he gives the horseshoe to someone in the tour.

The quarter helps you see how tiny it is.  Isn't it cute?

He also tells a story of a young man who wanted to marry his sweetheart but her father didn't think he had enough money to take care of her so he told the boy he couldn't marry her until he could give her a diamond ring.  The boy was quite creative and took a horseshoe nail to the blacksmith and had him bend it into a ring.  The horseshoe was made by the Diamond Horseshoe Company.  He got the girl and everyone who comes to the blacksmith shop gets a Prairie Diamond Ring.

From the blacksmith's window, the wagons could be seen lined up for two miles on Parley Street, waiting for their turn to cross the Mississippi River that cold February 1846.  What amazing people.