"And now I say unto you, as pertaining to my boarding house which I have commanded you to build for the boarding of strangers, let it be built unto my name, and let my name be named upon it, and let my servant Joseph and his house have place therein, from generation to generation."
-Doctrine and Covenants 124:56
In 1841 church members were commanded to build two "houses," a house for the Lord (the Nauvoo Temple) and a house for man to be known as the Nauvoo House. It was to be "a delightful habitation for man, and a resting-place for the weary traveler." Joseph Smith donated the property and a "Nauvoo House Association" was incorporated to sell stock and oversee construction. The $100,000 building was to be "L form, presenting a front on two streets of 120 feet each, 40 feet deep, and three stories high, exclusive of the basement story." Only the foundation and part of the first floor were completed during Smith's lifetime.
Around 1865 Lewis Bidamon, second husband of Smith's widow Emma, began tearing down the original structure. The stone was used to build the Bidamon Stable to the north and the brick to complete the Nauvoo House as it appears today. Lewis and Emma eventually moved in and operated it as a hotel called the "Riverside Mansion" until Emma's death on April 30, 1879. Still known as the "Nauvoo House," the building today serves as a hotel for family reunions and youth groups.
-Community of Christ
Ebenezer Robinson, who was a leading man in the church from the time of its establishment in Ohio until Smith's death, says in his recollections that, when the people assembled on October 2, 1841, to lay the corner-stone of Nauvoo House, Smith said he had a document to put into the corner-stone, and Robinson went with him to his house to procure it. Robinson's story proceeds as follows : —
"He got a manuscript copy of the Book of Mormon, and brought it into the room where we were standing, and said, ' I will examine to see if it is all here ' ; and as he did so I stood near him, at his left side, and saw distinctly the writing as he turned up the pages until he hastily went through the book and satisfied himself that it was all there, when he said, 'I have had trouble enough with this thing; which remark struck me with amazement, as I looked upon it as a sacred treasure.'
After Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed by a mob in June 1844, their bodies were secretly buried in the cellar of the unfinished house to prevent their bodies from being stolen. Later, their bodies were removed and buried close to the Homestead.
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