The Way It Looks Today


A Camera Tour of Church History Sites in Missouri and Illinois

In this second part of our photographic tour of Church history sites, we look this month at scenes in Missouri and Illinois. Photography is by Eldon K. Linschoten.

Independence, Missouri(click to view larger)

An aerial view of Independence, Missouri. Joseph Smith dedicated a three-acre temple lot here on 3 August 1831. Bishop Edward Partridge purchased sixty-three acres of temple lands for $130 on December 19. In this photograph, the temple lot is left of the dome-shaped building, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Auditorium. Just above the auditorium is the LDS visitors’ center, then the parking lot of the LDS stake center, and the stake center itself, with the mission home and the old chapel housing the mission office immediately above. On the temple lot itself is the white frame meetinghouse of the Church of Christ—Temple Lot.

Montrose, Iowa

View of Montrose, Iowa, looking across the Mississippi River from the site of the Nauvoo ferry. Here the pioneers crossed the frozen river in the winter of 1846.

Grove of trees west of the Nauvoo Temple(click to view larger)

Twice each Sunday, meetings were held in this grove of trees west of the Nauvoo Temple. From the open windows of Edward Hunter’s white house, Joseph Smith could “attend” services while in hiding.

Aerial view of Nauvoo(click to view larger)

Aerial view of Nauvoo, with the temple lot in the lower right-hand corner. The Seventies’ Hall is in the upper left.

The Savior calling his apostles

This large reproduction of a painting depicting the Savior calling his apostles is displayed in the Nauvoo Visitors’ Center.

Aerial view of the temple lot in Nauvoo looking east(click to view larger)

Aerial view of the temple lot in Nauvoo looking east. The foundations have been excavated.

This building housed the Times and Seasons(click to view larger)

This building housed the Times and Seasons where a newspaper of that name, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, a hymnbook, and several other books were published by the Church between 1839 and 1846.

The Nauvoo House(click to view larger)

The Nauvoo House, maintained by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is in the foreground. The light-colored house, left center, is the Mansion House in which the Prophet Joseph lived for the last ten months of his life.

Independence Visitors’ Center(click to view larger)

Independence Visitors’ Center, dedicated in 1971 as part of the temple lot.

Independence temple site

A 1929 excavation of the Independence temple site unearthed this square of limestone near the temple’s proposed northeast corner, the date—1831—scratched into its surface. The Church of Christ—Temple Lot owns it.

Excavated at the temple site(click to view larger)

Also excavated at the temple site, this rough stone was marked with “SECT 1831” meaning “south-east corner temple.”

Far West(click to view larger)

In 1838, the Saints gathered in Far West in Missouri’s Caldwell County. The Prophet Joseph dedicated this grassy field as a temple site, and D&C 118 instructed the Twelve to depart on their missions for England from here. Even though the Saints were driven from the state by mobs, the faithful apostles returned to this site before starting their journey across the ocean. Pictured here is the south-west cornerstone for the temple.

Kansas City’s first schoolhouse(click to view larger)

1862 monument commemorating Kansas City’s first schoolhouse; Latter-day Saints laid the first log for the walls on 2 August 1831.

 Missouri River(click to view larger)

Driven out of Jackson County, the Saints left Missouri by ferry boats across the Missouri River. They departed from this point at Independence Landing or from other nearby ferry stations. With hundreds of people making the wintertime journey, Parley P. Pratt wrote that the scene was “indescribable.”