Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas in Nauvoo

We were decorating Land and Records and I was trying to sneak in a Charlie Brown Christmas, but I got caught. Actually, this is a staged picture, but I did try to make Christmas in Nauvoo a little more real.
Right after the program, President and Sister Ludwig's grandchildren came up to check out the baby in the manger. It was so precious to watch them. Perhaps children know something we don't when it comes to worshipping the Savior.

What a great blessing it was to be a part of this wonderful group of women. We have four former members of the Tabernacle Choir in our mission, and two of them are in this group. Then we have a lady who starred in Promised Valled when it was playing on the plaza where the Church Office Building is, and another lady who has sung with the Washington D. C. choir, and then there was me.

The "sort of" angel choir. We blended together very well, but in between shows while the curtain was closed we got a little silly. We did the Hokey Pokey and did circle back rubs and other silly things. President Boehmer, a member of the mission presidency said, "If you didn't have those white costumes on, I sure wouldn't know you were angels."

This was such a neat moment. One of the shepherds could see that Joseph's head dress was falling off, so he took time to adjust it and make it work. I caught the after the moment picture, but you get the idea. Sometimes the behind the scene pictures are more telling than the actual show.

This couple is so wonderful. They have been good friends to me ever since they arrived. They did such a remarkable job of portraying Mary and Joseph.

Mary and Joseph, the Shepherds and the Wise Men ( or the wise guys, more accurately stated)

This lady is from Nauvoo and she made her own harp. She played in between performances while people were walking in and going out.

In the green room of the Cultural Hall, getting costumes on-- As I watched, I thought of the Best Christmas Pageant Ever. So many of the things that were said and done were just like every description of a Christmas Pageant that I've ever read.

How appropriate that the Nauvoo Visitor Center Christmas Tree with its lights reaches up so that your eyes catch the light of the world who is pictured behind it.

Waiting for the tree to go on--This really is a cool thing. The town or at least some of them comes down and we have a joint tree lighting. The mayor of Nauvoo turns on the lights.

Nauvoo's annual tree lighting. Below is the Warsaw High School Band. The kids from Nauvoo go to Warsaw for high school. The missionaries around the top are waiting to sing our annual tree lighting song.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Nauvoo Brick Yard

This is the demonstration for brick making. First you start with the clay and sand mixture. You put water into it to create a cookie dough like substance known as "pug". I don't recommend eating it however. Then they would put it into the mold and level it off. After they took it out of the mold, they would turn it several days to dry the brick. (Remember they were doing about 40,000 of these at a time and they had several days worth going at a time) . Finally they would stack the bricks so the fire could get through them. It took about 60 cords of wood in order to do one firing. When they were done with the fire, they had to let the bricks cool for a week before they could use them. The bricks on the table represent different levels of bricks. The more salmon the color the more perfect the brick.
The clay pits were up on the bluff, so that's why seven of the brick yards were located on the bluff,and only two were located down on the flats. These are the brick hauling equipment and the means with which they got the clay from the ground to put into the mixture to make the bricks. Someone should have told them about Home Depot.

This is symbolic of the seven brick yards that existed in Old Nauvoo. The early saints built most of their homes out of logs and then finally built some frame homes and finally they were able build brick homes beginning about 1841. The Red Brick Store was one of the first brick buildings in Old Nauvoo. There were 350 brick homes when the Saints left. This meant that they were going to have a permanent dwelling and a beautiful dwelling. There are only two frame homes from the early days that are standing--the rest are brick homes. In the front is the representaion of the way they would stack the bricks to bake them. They would put somewhere near 40,000 bricks together before they would start the fires. The most amazing thing to all of this is that we have been asked to give this presentation if someone comes in between 9-11 AM wanting to have a tour. I don't think I want to do this when I grow up, however.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


The city of Nauvoo really knows how to celebrate Halloween. They start with decorations long before the evening. They have everyone involved in this marvelous process. The streets are roped off so no one can park on the street from 5 PM on. The businesses open their doors to pass out treats. The people dress in costumes and line the streets to look at the all beautiful pumpkins. Schools bring their students to carve pumpkins. There are bands and parades and booths all along the street. Even the most ardent Halloween Hater would love BOOTIFUL NAUVOO! The advertisement for this wonderful evening of fun for families--for young and old alike is on all the billboards that advertise Nauvoo. This is the one on HWY 96 on the way into town.
This is Durrell Nelson-- a transplant from Hooper, Utah to Nauvoo, Illinois. He is in charge of the beautiful plants and trees of the city. He is also the founder of the fudge factory and the instigator of BOOTIFUL NAUVOO. He has served as the Stake President here and is a marvelous man. His family spent three full days from 6 AM to 10 PM drawing, carving and preparing for this event!!!

Although it's a community effort, the carving takes place in the NRI warehouse. Each missionary is asked to donate one hour of time to carve pumpkins. One of the requirements of "getting" to carve is gutting the pumpkin. I thought of my great sixth grade sentence, "Guts were splattered everywhere!" I also thought, "Great Pumpkin is a comin' to town!"

The missionaries paid for and made popcorn and put together bags of candy with about 10 pieces each. We passed out 1000 bags of candy and about 2000 bags of popcorn. People from all around the area come to participate in BOOTIFUL NAUVOO.

THe Great Pumpkin Band of Nauvoo--otherwise known as the Nauvoo Missionaries. I'm not on the wagon because I was taking a picture of the wagon.

On the twelfth day of Halloween my true my love gave me...12 bats a flying, 11 masks a leering, 10 ghouls a groaning, 9 ghosts a booing, 8 monsters shrieking, 7 pumpkins glowing, 6 goblins gobbling, 5 scary spooks, 4 skeletons, 3 black cats, 2 trick or treaters and an owl in an old dead tree. This was my contribution to Halloween in Nauvoo. There weren't very many people around for the program until I started the 12 days of Halloween from Peanuts Pumpkin Carols. So I got it going and it was a great success, even if I do say so myself. About 100 people gathered around when we started that song. It was fun!!!

The man at the keyboard behind the sax is Elder Lamar Taylor. He is a very good friend of my brother, Thom. For an old man he's actually looking pretty good.

Three little pumpkins sitting on a fence, a witch came riding by, HAHAHA I'll take you all and make a pumpkin pie HAHA!

Boo! Boo! Boo! I'm a ghost to scare you--from Halloween town we come this night, dressed from tip to toe in white!

Ghosts and goblins all around--this is Halloween!

This is just one row of pumpkins. There were hundreds of rows just like this, and no, I'm not exaggerating!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Christmas Store

In Carthage, there is a store that is open only three months out of the year--The Christmas Store. The owner is a retired school teacher and he and his wife travel all over collecting ornaments for the 70+ trees they decorated in their store. But you don't buy the whole tree, you pluck the ornaments you desire off the tree and those are the ones you purchase. I have to admit, I was on sensory overload. When I got done, I couldn't believe I had only shot three pictures. I guess the rest were just implanted in my brain. Something I've always wanted to do--have a Snoopy Christmas Tree.
An Irish Santa complete with his Irish Whiskey

In honor of Elder and Sister Geilmann, serving in Ireland, an Irish ornament depicting the nativity.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Warsaw Signal

This is the building of the Warsaw Signal, owned by Thomas Sharp, who really hated the Mormons. He wrote many articles calling for "war" and for the renouncing of Joseph Smith as the leader. He even went so far as to call for the death of the prophet. He was one of the six who were put on trial for the martyrdom, but was acquitted by the jury as they felt it was unfair just to accuse those six when there were about 200 involved.
This is a typewriter found in the front window of the Warsaw Signal. Obviously it was not from the time of the Saints, but it is a very old typewriter that has probably been there for a very long time. What I wish I could have shown was the printing press that had fallen through the floor, but it was through a glass and my camera kept trying to flash it.

If you look up through the top glass, you can see a glimmer of light coming through, that is the roof of the building. It was reroofed not too long ago, but it rotted and the floor fell through the building, so the second level is no longer accessible.

Just to show a contrast, the final editorial of the Nauvoo Neighbor, published October 29, 1845, was written by John Taylor. He wrote: "As we are makig all the preparation in our power to leave the United States next spring, we have thought it advisable to discontinue the Neighbor at this number. We will suffer wrong rather than do wrong. There is room enough upon the earth for many nations to live in peace...The power that made Nauvoo; that gathered thousands from various climes and kingdoms, that reared the Temple, and that whispers to us now, 'peace be still and see the salvation of God' can guide us to bring forth a better city." With that the Nauvoo newspapers closed their circulations and the Saints prepared to move to the place "that God for us prepared."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fall in Nauvoo

You've heard the song April in Paris? Well this is Autumn in Nauvoo. The leaves are very slow turning this year. In fact, when I got here last year, the trees were bare and I wondered if I had come to the right city,but then I saw the temple and I knew I was in the right city. This is taken at the end of the Relief Society garden. It's so shaded in there that you can't get a good picture without a flash, but my flash wouldn't work because I was shooting out into the sun.
This is the John Taylor home and print shop. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to capture the color as I saw it, again, it was the time of day, but you might at least capture the feeling.

Some of the trees have already lost their leaves that is because we had such a wet summer and such a dry fall, but look at how many different kinds of trees you see across the field looking toward the stake center from the front of the temple.

This is the Stake Center surrounded by the fall foilage.

Not one of the great Kodak moments, but you can see the different colors as the leaves turn.

This is right across the street from the temple to the North.

This wasn't the picture I thought it was, but I don't know how to erase one off of the blog once I have loaded it on. So it doesn't capture the fall feeling, but it's a pretty good shot of the temple.

This is taken from my garage. I still maintain that I have the best view in all of Nauvoo.

Right across the street from Land and Records is this marvelous tree. It will be interesting to see how many squirrels stop living there when all the leaves fall off.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sarah Granger Kimball

Sarah Granger Kimball about the time she married Hiram Kimball--isn't she beautiful?
Their home has the second most magnificent view of the temple only to be exceeded by mine. Every day she could look out her window and see the progress on that magnificent structure. She also saw the temple burning in 1848, and watched the tornado of 1850 knock it down. She had vision and spunk. In addition to all of the things she did for the Relief Society, she served on the committee for Women's Sufferage (Votes for Women--step in time!), and attended as a delegate the Constitutional Convention of the State of Utah. Her 75th Birthday was spent throwing a party for the widows and poor of her ward, and she paid for their transportation to her home. When the home was restored and dedicated in 1982, Barbara B. Smith, who recently passed away, and who was at the time serving as the General Relief Society President of the Church declared, "WE WANT THE WORLD TO KNOW THAT SOMETHING BIG CAN COME OF SOMETHING SMALL. WE HOPE THAT WOMEN WILL UNDERSTAND THAT WITHIN THEIR OWN HOMES, THINGS CAN HAPPEN THAT WILL HAVE GREAT SIGNIFICANCE IN THE CHURCH AND IN THE WORLD." Sarah understood that and showed all her life.
This is the Kimball family Bible--a gift from Hiram to Sarah. In it is recorded their family history up through the birth of their first grandchild in Sarah's own handwriting. Now this is another one of those miss the forest for the trees pictures, because I did not take a picture of the room in which the sisters of Nauvoo first met to determine a women's organization needed to be established. Margaret Cook, Sarah's seamstress, wanted to do something to help the work of the temple. She could sew but had no means to purchase material. Sarah had means to buy the material, but couldn't sew (maybe that's why I like her so much), so they determined that their efforts together could make a difference. They wanted to share that with others and invited them to this very living room. It was determined a consititution should be drafted by Zion's Poetess, Eliza R. Snow. When it was shown to the prophet, Joseph Smith, he responded, "Tell the sisters their offering is accepted of the Lord, be has something better in mind for the women." Later he said of the Relief Society, "The church was never fully organized until the women were thus organized."

Hiram Kimball was a very succcessful merchant of Commerce when the Granger family moved here. He was well respected and well-to-do. He had a frame home that was so well built that it still stands today. The foundation of her store is out in the cow pasture behind the home. I've got to meet the farmer that rents it and see if I can walk out there to see it. He was 14 years Sarah's senior, and not a member of our faith, but when he followed the family back to Kirtland (sent there at the request of Joseph Smith to take care of the financial mess and dispose of properties) to ask for her hand in marriage, they readily agreed. He married Sarah, and then in 1843 joined the Church. His business kept them from going west in 1846, but in 1851, Sarah had enough and packed up their two boys (the third son to be born while in Salt Lake) and moved west. He joined her a year later. He was called on a mission to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) and enroute, the boiler of the ship blew up and he was killed. Sarah was a widow for about thirty years.

The silver cup in the upper right hand corner of the china closet was given to Sarah in token of appreciation of her many years of service in 1880. She served as third counselor to Eliza R. Snow in the General Relief Society Presidency and was secretary to the General Board for many years. Eliza asked Sarah for an outline of the board that she established to run her ward. It was from that outline that guidelines for ward Relief Society Boards were established. Although she was not "honored" by what she did to begin Relief Society, she was thought of with great esteem by Eliza R. Snow, and that would be one of the greatest things that I could think of as a word of praise.

This is somewhat ironic. The rocking chair with the paper sitting on was made by Brigham Young. The Brigham Young house has a chair made by his brother, Phineas. You just never know where things are going to pop up in Nauvoo. Sarah served as Relief Society President of the Salt Lake Fifteenth Ward for 41 years (just shoot me now, as Doug Myler can tell you I was begging at the end of two for release). I guess she deserves to have a chair of Brigham's in her home, and probably a lot more--several crowns of glory.

Sarah and Hiram's bedroom. This is located on the second floor on the south wall, so it would have been a very warm room. Although the shaving stand did not belong to Hiram, men of affluence were able to have them,and he was a man of affluence. You notice the baby cradle. When their son, Oliver, was born, Sarah went to Hiram and asked how much he was worth to him. Hiram told her a lot. She asked, "A thousand dollars?" Hiram agreed at least that. She asked if he was half hers. He, of course, responded in the affirmative. Then she said, "I'd like my half of that money donated to the building of the temple." As Hiram gave $500 to Joseph Smith, he related why that money was being given.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A barge going through the locks at Keokuk

The barge floating into the lock. There are large cables tied to either side to keep it on a straight course. It takes about 10 minutes to get all the way from the back to the front.
The railroad and road swings back. This is the old road before the new bridge was built, but the railroad still uses the track, so they can't just take it out.

The gates of the lock swing open. That is so amazing to see such large gates open up!

The gates begin to open. They swing back into an indentation that allows the barge to float through freely.

The front of the barge starts to move through the gates. At first, it looked like it only had about one foot clearance on each side, but upon closer examination, it had a whole three feet on each side.

Finally, the tug comes through. It's amazing how much smaller it looks out in the middle of the river as opposed to standing on top of it.

The final phase is that it pulls off into the Mississippi River in the deepest part and moves on downriver to New Orleans where most of the cargo will be sent overseas.