Nauvoo, the Beautiful
Nauvoo was founded on swamplands along the Mississippi River in 1839. The Saints had been forced to flee persecution in Missouri and thousands relocated north to an area then known as Commerce, Illinois. When Joseph arrived in Commerce, having been allowed to escape from prison, he renamed the place “Nauvoo,” a Hebrew word meaning “beautiful place.”
Nauvoo became a symbol of hope for the early Saints…hope for peace, hope for freedom of religion, hope for a better life. From the swamplands, the early Saints built a prosperous, organized city that soon became so populous that it rivaled Chicago in size.
Building a City
Building a city from nothing is never easy, and the early settlers faced epidemics of cholera, malaria, and typhoid while the swamp lands were drained. But work went forward on houses, stores, blacksmith’s shops, and of course, the temple. It soon became the headquarters of the Church. At its height, Nauvoo boasted more than 2,000 homes of brick, frame, and logs.
The time of prosperity and peace was short-lived. Persecution against Church members increased and the Saints were again forced to leave their homes. This time, as they left their beautiful city behind them, it was to the unsettled West that they travelled. There they would finally find a permanent home.
In Nauvoo today, visitors can explore more than 40 authentically restored homes and businesses built by the early Saints. You can step back into history as you explore the life in the 1800’s and the faith of a people determined to worship God and follow their prophet.
Plan Your Trip to Nauvoo!
This website contains all the information you need to plan your trip to Nauvoo. You’ll find information, photos, and reviews on accommodations and food, tips on sites not to miss. We'll fill you in on recreational activities like hiking in the nearby state park, and much more.
If you are traveling with your family, don’t forget to check out our Resources for Kids section, where you will find games, stories of pioneer children, Nauvoo history for kids, and printable worksheets to help them get excited about the trip. We also have Family Home Evening presentations that will help you prepare for your trip or talk about what you learned. Throughout the site, you'll appreciate the beautiful Nauvoo photograhy by LifeThought.