Nauvoo is a wonderful place. I have always enjoyed visiting this small town to experience the rich history and heritage of faith. During the first week we were there, I spent much of my time setting up for shows in the heat and humidity. That first week we also had two shows outside of Nauvoo, one in Carthage, Illinois and one in Fairfield, Iowa.
Carthage is also a very special city. It is a must see whenever anyone visits Nauvoo. It is only thirty minutes away and is a very important piece of the Nauvoo story. In this small town, is the old Hancock County Jail where Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were killed by a mob while waiting for a fair trial. The site is preserved by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is staffed by missionaries who give tours and tell the story of Joseph Smith and his martyrdom. The Jail has been restored to its 1844 floor plan, style and décor. While on the tour, you visit the debtors’ cell, dungeon cell and the room now called the martyrdom room. This last room has the original door with two bullet holes in it through which Hyrum was shot.
Many people who visit the jail don’t realize that this jail was also visited by Abraham Lincoln a few times as a lawyer visiting clients. It is one of the many stops on the Looking for Lincoln tour. Another stop on this tour in Carthage is the Hancock County Courthouse. The building there now is not the building Lincoln visited but he did speak in the square and defend clients in the original building. The current building was built in just after the turn of the century, completed in 1908. It is a beautiful building with amazing stained-glass especially in the central rotunda with its stained-glass domed ceiling.
That night the Young Ambassadors performed in the newly rebuilt Charger Community Center. It was so new, there weren’t even curtains in the stage house or any technical support like lighting or sound gear. It has the potential to be a great venue with good infrastructure in place. The show went well and was well received.
If you visit Nauvoo, be sure to take the time to visit Carthage and other surrounding communities.
I didn’t get a chance to see much of Fairfield but I did get to see and work in their great theater and convention center. It is a well designed theater and I was surprised to see such a great facility in such a small town. The show went well there too.
On the way to Fairfield, we drove through a very heavy thunderstorm. It was wonderful. I hadn’t been in that kind of thunderstorm in more than seven years. Utah just doesn’t experience rain and thunder like that. I loved it. It happened a couple more times on this tour, with one of those times cutting our show short. That night when I got back to the condos we were staying in I just stood out in the downpour. I loved it. Take the weather into consideration when you are planning a trip to the Midwest. Be prepared for sudden changes of weather that could be severe in nature. Don’t let this get you down but make a backup plan so you are ready if this happens to you.
More to come soon about our Nauvoo tour …