Every year thousands of people visit the restored town of Nauvoo, Illinois. Missionary couples, called by the Church, give free tours of the various sites. They explain the history of the city and give demonstrations of some of the skills of the early Saints who helped the city flourish.
In 1839, under the direction of Joseph Smith, several hundred acres of land on the Mississippi River in Illinois were purchased to build a new city where the Saints could gather. The city was called Nauvoo, meaning “Beautiful Place.”
Between 1840 and 1846 the city grew until it became one of the largest cities in the midwest. The bustling community was home to craftsmen, tradesmen, lawyers, and doctors. There were schools, factories, a library, and three halls where dramas were performed.
As the city grew, so did the conflicts with nonmembers in neighboring communities. In 1846 the Saints were forced to begin an exodus from the city, abandoning their homes and many of their possessions.
The purpose of the Nauvoo restoration is to “restore the historically important part of the old town of Nauvoo as it was when it flourished during the period 1839–1846, as one of the vibrant forces in the westward expansion of America; and to give an understanding of the people of Nauvoo as shown by the homes they built and the way they lived, and an understanding of … the strength of their faith” (Articles of Incorporation, Nauvoo Restoration, Incorporated).
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
3/4 cup oil or lard
1/2 cup hot water
1 teaspoon soda
1 heaping teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups white flour
Combine, sugar, molasses, and oil. Add hot water, measuring it in same cup as molasses so that you get all molasses out of cup.
Add eggs, then beat.
Sift together remaining ingredients.
Refrigerate dough for 1 hour, then roll out and cut with cookie cutters.
Place on lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350° F (180° C).