Mansion House, Nauvoo, Illinois

Joseph Smith's Mansion House Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
Joseph Smith’s Mansion House
Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress,
Prints & Photographs Division

The Mansion House served as Joseph and Emma’s second home in Nauvoo, and they first moved into it on August 31, 1843.The Mansion House served to entertain many individuals that came to Nauvoo. Initially, Joseph hosted guests free of charge, but was unable to continue to support himself doing so. It eventually became necessary for him to start charging guests in September of 1843.2Additionally, the Mansion House served as the venue where several temple ordinances were performed before the completion of the Nauvoo Temple.3Joseph leased the Mansion House to Ebenezer Robinson in January of 1844 who continued to use it as a public-house.4

The Mansion House as seen from the Joseph Smith Homestead. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
The Mansion House as seen from the Joseph Smith Homestead. Photo by Kenneth Mays.

After the martyrdom of the Prophet and his brother in Carthage, the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum were displayed in the Mansion House for the Saints to view. It is estimated that over ten-thousand people viewed Joseph and Hyrum’s bodies that day.5 Additionally, George Cannon made death masks of Joseph and Hyrum while at the Mansion House.6 Zina Jacobs, a member of the Church living in Nauvoo, described the experience of Joseph and Hyrum’s bodies being returned:

This afternoon the bodies of the martyrs arrived in town. . . . I went into this house for the first time and saw the lifeless, speechless bodies of the two martyrs for the testimony which they held. Little did my heart ever think that mine eyes should witness this awful scene.7

Emma continued to live in the home after Joseph’s death until moving into the Nauvoo House in 1869 and in the 1890s, the hotel portion of the home was removed.

The Mansion House as seen looking east to west. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
The Mansion House as seen looking east to west. Photo by Kenneth Mays.

 

Map & Directions


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Hours of Operation:
March – November: Monday Through Saturday – 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Sunday 1:00 AM – 5:00 PM

December: Monday Through Saturday – 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Sunday Closed

January – February: Friday and Saturday only – 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Admission: $2.00 preservation fee per person.

Ownership Status

The Mansion House in Nauvoo is owned and maintained by Community of Christ. It is open for formal tours conducted by authorized docents from Community of Christ. Tours begin at the Joseph Smith Historic Site located at 865 Water Street in Nauvoo. There is a small preservation fee charged for those who go on the tours.

Photos

The Mansion House during winter. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
The Mansion House during winter. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
The Mansion House as seen from the Joseph Smith Homestead. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
The Mansion House as seen from the Joseph Smith Homestead. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
The Mansion House as seen during the Christmas season. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
The Mansion House as seen during the Christmas season. Photo by Kenneth Mays.

Articles & Resources

Sources

Kenneth E. Stobaugh, “Stobaugh Reviews Early Nauvoo History,” Restoration Trail Forum, 1974.

Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., introduction and notes by B. H. Roberts (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1932-1951), 5: 556.

Ibid, 6: 33.

Lisle G. Brown, “The Sacred Departments for Temple Work in Nauvoo: the Assembly Room and the Council Chamber”, BYU Studies, Vol. 19, No. 3, (Spring 1979), 364.

Smith, 6: 185.

Ibid, 627 – 628.

“Passing Events,” Improvement Era, Vol. 28, No. 4, (February 1925).

7 Quoted in Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and Jeni Broberg Holzapfel, Women of Nauvoo (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1992).