Joseph F. Smith and the Origins of the Church Historic Sites Program

By Jennifer L. Lund

Jennifer L. Lund,Joseph F. Smith and the Origins of the Church Historic Sites Program,” in Joseph F. Smith: Reflections on the Man and His Times, ed. Craig K. Manscill, Brian D. Reeves, Guy L. Dorius, and J. B. Haws (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2013), 342–58.

Joseph F. Smith and the Origins of the Church Historic Sites Program

Jennifer L. Lund

 

Jennifer L. Lund is director of the Historic Sites Division of the Church History Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.

 

When Joseph F. Smith became President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on October 17, 1901, the Church owned one historic site—an acre of ground and a small monument in a cemetery at Mount Pisgah, Iowa. At his death seventeen years later, the Church boasted more than 550 acres over six Church history sites stretching from Sharon, Vermont, to Salt Lake City, Utah. This major foray into the ownership, preservation, and interpretation of historic places formed the foundation of a Church historic sites program that has expanded to include, as of 2012, approximately twenty-five key sites, dozens of markers and monuments, and nearly one hundred historic temples, tabernacles, and meetinghouses. At first glance, it appears that the acquisition of historic sites during the Joseph F. Smith administration was a calculated effort to memorialize the Church’s past. On closer examination, however, it is a much more complicated story—one in which opportunity and serendipity play prominent roles.

For most of the nineteenth century, the places where significant events in Church history occurred received only limited attention from Church leaders. In fact, historic sites held little importance for both Latter-day Saints and Americans in general. This indifference toward history and toward historic sites in particular began to change midcentury, a permutation that intensified and accelerated in the wake of the Civil War. [1] The most prominent expression of this shifting attitude was the proliferation of monuments on the landscape. In his important Mystic Chords of Memory, cultural historian Michael Kammen referred to the decades between 1870 and 1910 as “the most notable period in all of American history for erecting monuments in honor” of great men and “great deeds.” [2] This was also an era when a growing appreciation for the nation’s historical and architectural heritage spawned efforts to preserve and protect, as well as celebrate, important sites of cultural significance. The quintessential example of this populist movement is the effort to preserve Mount Vernon. In 1853, when pleas to Congress were ignored, activists formed the Mount Vernon Ladies Association of the Union and rallied women throughout the country to purchase and preserve the home of George and Martha Washington. By 1889, the federal government had begun to embrace the idea of historic preservation, and efforts to secure federal funding for the repair of Casa Grande Ruins in southern Arizona were successful. Three years later the site was designated as the first archeological and cultural reserve in the country, becoming the first National Monument and formally receiving that title in 1918. [3]

In an era when the national attention turned to the past and railroads linked even remote places, historic sites became prominent travel destinations. [4] For Latter-day Saints, visits to locations associated with the events of the Restoration were not solely motivated by curiosity; rather, they were religious pilgrimages wherein the faithful sought to experience firsthand the places of sacred events. The impetus to visit the sites of the Restoration may have begun as early as the 1830s. It was further established following the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in 1844, when a few Latter-day Saints traveled the mournful road to Carthage to witness for themselves the scene of the Martyrdom. [5] Following the westward trek, missionaries and others journeying east frequently stopped at Nauvoo or Kirtland. Some actually constructed itineraries around Latter-day Saint historic sites, such as the important 1888 tour that Andrew Jenson, Edward Stevenson, and Joseph S. Black made in Missouri, New York, Ohio, Illinois, and Iowa, to gather historical material for the Church Historian’s Office. These Saints also made a point of seeing all the major places of interest along their itinerary and documenting the historic sites in precise detail, interviewing local residents, measuring dimensions and distances, and in one case, commissioning a photograph. The letters the trio wrote to the Deseret News recounting their experiences, and particularly their descriptions of places, were influential in popularizing an interest in Latter-day Saint historic sites. [6] For those who could not travel, pilgrimages could also be taken from one’s parlor via the stereoscope. In 1904, the prominent stereograph company Underwood & Underwood took advantage of the national interest in historic sites and focused their lenses on the Church. They published thirty-eight views of Latter-day Saint sites in their series The Latter-day Saints Tour from Palmyra, New York, to Salt Lake City Through the Stereoscope[7]

It was in this climate of burgeoning interest in national and regional history, and particularly in the preservation of historic sites, that Joseph F. Smith began his administration as President of the Church. The fiftieth anniversary of the pioneer trek to the Great Basin in 1897 and the centennials of the births of Brigham Young in 1901 and Joseph Smith in 1905 initiated a series of anniversaries—each being marked and celebrated—which would keep history at the forefront in the approaching decades. With his early years as a clerk in the Church Historian’s Office and a mission in 1878 with Orson Pratt to gather records, President Smith was particularly attuned to the cause of history—a cause which for him, as a son of Hyrum Smith and a nephew of the Prophet Joseph, was very personal.[8] He was certainly also cognizant of the fact that he was one of the last Church leaders to have personally known the Prophet Joseph Smith. As a counselor to John Taylor, President Joseph F. Smith had also been involved in the decision to acquire the Church’s first historic site fifteen years earlier, thus introducing him to the concept of honoring the past through ownership, preservation, and interpretation.

In the mid-1880s, A. C. White, a farmer from Afton, Iowa, wrote to John Taylor about the small burial mound in the center of his farm that he and his father had carefully maintained. His inquiry had been sparked by a letter from his sister in Montana who described a conversation with Hannah S. Lapish, a Latter-day Saint visiting the area. Lapish discovered that her hostess’s family owned the farm where the Mount Pisgah cemetery was located and encouraged them to write to President Taylor, who she felt confident would buy the burial site to preserve it. White duly inquired, “What do the people want to do with the remains of their friends who were buried here?” President Taylor’s answer was to purchase one acre in the middle of the “old burial ground of the Saints” at Mount Pisgah. [9] He then assigned Oliver B. Huntington, the son of former branch president William Huntington, to finalize the purchase and plan a fitting memorial. Motivated by a commitment to honor his father who was buried in the cemetery, Oliver B. Huntington solicited donations from relatives and friends of the interred to fence the property and erect a fitting tribute. Since 1888, an obelisk has marked the spot telling visitors about the Latter-day Saints who, driven out of their homes in Nauvoo, stopped there for a season to prepare for their final journey west. [10] It became the first historical site purchased and preserved by the Church.

This first purchase of a historic site is an interesting case study for the acquisition of sites during the Joseph F. Smith administration. The site and its availability first came to the attention of Church leaders through an unsolicited letter from a source outside the Church, albeit suggested by a member. Once the site was in the Church’s ownership, minor improvements were made and a monument erected, in this case under the sponsorship of a committee. Of the historic sites considered by the Church between 1901 and 1918, all but one were initially contemplated in response to proposals by either lay members or outsiders. [11] Some proposals were turned down at first but later reconsidered. [12] Other sites were rejected outright, while a few were investigated seriously before being dropped. [13] A few additional sites not owned by the Church were memorialized with markers. [14] None of these cases reveals an overarching plan or strategy. I have surveyed conference addresses, publications, and the correspondence and diaries of Church leaders, and there is no hint of a deliberate, calculated attempt to celebrate Church history on the landscape. Indeed, once the Church acquired these sites, leaders were not quite sure what to do with them. While they talked about the opportunities to distribute religious literature, there was little effort to do so. It appears that the Church’s historic sites program began as a series of opportunities, presented at a time when the Church was emerging from significant debt. They cultivated a new public image in a climate where the celebration of history—particularly through the avenue of historic preservation and monuments—was on the rise. It was also a moment when significant anniversaries—the fiftieth anniversary of the pioneer trek and the centennials of the births of Church leaders—inspired a commemoration of the Church’s past. The historic sites designated or acquired during the administration of Joseph F. Smith are listed in order as follows: Temple Square (1902); Carthage Jail (1903); the Independence, Missouri, Temple Lot (1904); Joseph Smith’s birthplace (1905); the Smith farm and the Sacred Grove (1907); and the Far West Temple site (1909).

The first of these sites, Temple Square, does not always appear on lists of historic sites, but there can be no doubt that it encompasses the most historically and theologically significant space in Salt Lake City and perhaps in the entire Church. [15] While the Church did not acquire this site during the Smith administration, it did transform it into a visitor destination for the purpose of explaining the Church’s beliefs, as well as interpreting its historical roots. Charles J. Thomas, Salt Lake Temple custodian during its construction, officially hosted visitors in the Temple Block beginning in 1875. James Dwyer, a local bookseller, spent an hour or two each day on the square during the 1880s–90s, explaining Church history and doctrine and handing out Articles of Faith cards. However, when the Bureau of Information—under the direction of the First Presidency—opened in 1902, more than a hundred local missionaries were assigned to serve as guides, which heralded a significant shift in approach. [16] No longer was the goal simply to welcome visitors, but rather to present those visitors with an accurate, positive portrayal of the Church in an effort to alter public perception. Building upon the model used at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Temple Square represented the first foray into creating a permanent location for telling the Church’s story. [17] In Exhibiting Mormonism: The Latter-day Saints and the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Reid L. Neilson characterized the fair as “the catalyst of Mormonism’s emerging transformation from a nineteenth-century missionary-minded people to a twentieth-century evangelistic and public relations juggernaut.” [18] Indeed, Temple Square became the faith’s primary public relations venue. However, since the Square also included three important buildings—the Salt Lake Temple, Tabernacle, and Assembly Hall—history was a central part of the site’s message. In fact, other than a new bureau building in 1904 and an expansion six years later, all of the major elements added to the Square over the next three decades memorialized the Church’s past: the statues of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, first conceived in 1904, realized and placed in the sculpture niches of the Salt Lake Temple in 1909 and finally placed on Temple Square in 1911; the Seagull Monument by Mahonri Young erected in 1913; the major 1919 expansion of the Bureau of Information to house the collection of the Deseret Museum and the installation of the Deuel log cabin in a memorial bowery; and the monument to the Three Witnesses by Avard Fairbanks erected in 1927. [19]

Of all the historic sites acquired during this era, Temple Square is the only one that had a built-in audience. By 1902, Salt Lake City was a prominent tourist destination. Easily accessed by railroad, visitors came to see the sites of Latter-day Saints, particularly the magnificent temple completed and dedicated in 1893, as well as the natural wonders of the West. Thus efforts to beautify the square, develop public relations kiosks, conduct tours, present organ recitals, erect monuments, and distribute literature met an already existing demand from both LDS and non-LDS tourists. Today, Temple Square remains Salt Lake City’s most visited historic site.

The first historic site actually acquired during the Joseph F. Smith administration was also the site of the murder of President Smith’s father and uncle. Carthage Jail seems to be an odd place to begin an effort to memorialize the Mormon landscape. Indeed, when the matter was presented to Church leaders, John Smith, then the Patriarch to the Church and also a son of Hyrum Smith, remarked that “if some one would put dynamite under it and blow it to atoms it would suit him.” President Smith, on the other hand, felt that it could be used to distribute literature and “enlighten the many Tourists.” [20] The owner of the property, Elizabeth M. Browning, approached the Church through an agent in May 1903, offering to sell the old jail where she and her late husband had resided for many years. [21] This was apparently not, however, the Browning’s first attempt. President Smith reported that several years earlier the jail had been “offered for sale . . . and was considered favorably with a view to opening up in the building a bureau of information and keeping on sale the church works and gospel tracts, but for some reason the matter dropped through.” [22] After serious discussion, on this occasion the council concluded to purchase the jail, as Rudger Clawson noted, for its “great historic interest to the Latter-day Saints and in fact to the world.” [23] The purchase was finalized in November. Although an Iowa newspaper reported that a “memorial museum” would soon open on the property, the Church continued to lease the building to tenants. [24] Asahel H. Woodruff, president of the Northern States Mission, investigated the possibility of finding a Latter-day Saint to rent the property or possibly using it as conference headquarters. [25] These options did not come to fruition and the building continued to be a residence with the tenants conducting occasional tours. [26]

            On the very day that the Quorum of the Twelve reorganized the First Presidency following the death of Lorenzo Snow, they also determined to explore the purchase of a tiny portion of the Temple Lot in Independence, Missouri. A. L. Hartley of the Church of Christ Temple Lot, or the Hedrickite Church as it is commonly known, wrote to inform the Church in Utah that less than an acre of ground was available for sale. [27]  James G. Duffin, president of the Southwestern States Mission, investigated on behalf of the First Presidency. He discovered that the lot was extremely small, the title was not clear, there would be hefty expenses for curb and gutter, and the city was unsure how that section of Independence would be developed. Duffin recommended that the Church not pursue the purchase at the time. However, he also learned that another twenty-five acres of the Temple Lot was also for sale. [28] After several fits and starts and much negotiation over three years, President Duffin finalized the acquisition on April 14, 1904, adding additional acreage the following year. [29]

The purchase of a portion of the Temple Lot was not motivated by historical sentiment, but rather by theology. From the time the Saints were evicted from Jackson County in 1833, they had intended to return to redeem Zion and build a temple in the “center place.” In 1900, representatives of the Hedrickites visited Salt Lake City to persuade Church leaders to join them, along with a delegation from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now known as Community of Christ), in meetings to consider jointly building the temple in Zion. Leaders of the Church declined to participate, yet they renewed their commitment to one day build a temple in Independence. President Lorenzo Snow stated that “the time was fast approaching, in his opinion, when the Lord would require the building of the Temple at Jackson county.” [30] He also outlined a plan whereby the Church, once it was out of debt, could quietly purchase land in Independence—including portions of the Temple Lot. [31] Thus, when an opportunity presented itself, Church leaders were prepared to act swiftly. They even had a fund for that purpose at their disposal. [32]

While the Temple Lot was purchased with the intent of building a temple, the construction was a dream far in the future. Instead, President Duffin often found himself leading tours across the fields which were rented to a local farmer. Church leaders and members thought of the site as one of primarily historical significance, including it on the pilgrimage circuit when visiting Independence. It was also the site to which missionaries and members retreated to celebrate events such as the Fourth of July and Pioneer Day. [33]

The most prominent and influential site acquired during this period was the birthplace of Joseph Smith in Sharon, Vermont. When he first visited the site in 1894, Junius F. Wells, editor of the Contributor, thought that a monument ought to be erected there someday. As the centennial of Joseph Smith’s birth neared in 1905, Wells recalled his impression and approached the First Presidency with a proposal. He was assigned to investigate the authenticity of the farm, purchase the property in behalf of the Church, and oversee the placement of an impressive granite shaft, all in time to mark the anniversary of the Prophet’s birth in December. [34] More than just a simple marker, the monument is highly symbolic, celebrating Joseph Smith as both a son of Vermont and a prophet of God. Together, the monument, the nearby Memorial Cottage [35] or visitors’ center, and the formal landscaping combine in a complex and very sophisticated interpretive program that has long served as a model for other Church historic sites. The dedication and unveiling of the monument was a grand affair, with local dignitaries and a large contingent of visiting Church leaders in attendance. President Joseph F. Smith offered the dedicatory prayer. The Utah delegation, having witnessed firsthand the public relations success in Vermont, embarked on a brief tour of Smith family and Latter-day Saint historic sites in Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio, before returning home. [36]

The company arrived in Palmyra, New York, on December 26, 1905, and went immediately to the Smith farm and Hill Cumorah which they toured with much interest, holding a brief devotional at each location. While the visitors waited for the train that evening, William Avery Chapman, the owner of the Smith farm, came to the hotel and met privately with President Joseph F. Smith. According to Edith Ann Smith, who kept a detailed journal, “it is supposed” that Chapman “offered to sell the church his farm.” There are no documents that confirm the topic of conversation between the two men; however, Sister Smith expressed the sentiment of the company thus: “We all hope some day the church will own the Home—the grove and the Hill, but whether it will be secured within a short space of time or in the future we cannot tell. The thought was expressed that some day it would be done.” [37] Fifteen months later, shortly after President Smith had announced that the Church’s debt had been retired, Church leaders decided to buy the Smith farm and the Hill Cumorah. [38] George Albert Smith, who was sent to negotiate the purchases, was met with only partial success. Pliny T. Sexton declined to sell his portion of the property encompassing the Hill Cumorah, whereas Chapman agreed to the deal as long as he would be allowed to continue to live on the property as a tenant. Thus the Church made its first self-initiated acquisition of a historic site in 1907.

One last property, the Far West Temple site, also came into Church ownership during these years. The land, which was then owned by Jacob Whitmer, a son of John Whitmer, had first been offered to the Church in 1888 when Andrew Jenson, Edward Stevenson, and Joseph S. Black visited. [39] Twelve years later, in 1900, Whitmer renewed the offer. President Snow tersely instructed a clerk to inform Whitmer, “Not buying land at present & don’t expect to.” [40] Nine years later, priorities and interests had changed along with the Church’s financial status. Samuel O. Bennion, president of the Central States Mission, purchased approximately eighty acres at Far West in behalf of the Church, including the temple site. [41]

These acquisitions represent a major new initiative for the Church during the Joseph F. Smith administration—the ownership of sites that are significant primarily for their historical character. Each of the sites was foundational, directly connected to major events in the life and ministry of the Prophet Joseph Smith or to the establishment of Church headquarters in Salt Lake City. There were also several additional sites that were considered and declined or else ignored. While the reasons for such decisions are not always evident, these latter sites were perhaps not as central to the Church’s history as those previously purchased. These sites included the Winter Quarters cemetery in Florence, Nebraska, Lucy Mack Smith’s birthplace in Gilsum, New Hampshire, and the Nauvoo House in Nauvoo, Illinois. Although it is clear that Church leaders had some interest in returning to Nauvoo, they likely did not want another point of potential conflict with the Reorganized Church. The theological distinctions between the two churches had already played out on the historic site landscape when the Reorganized Church initiated lawsuits to establish ownership of the Kirtland Temple and Independence Temple Lot, and publicly voiced their objections to the Latter-day Saint-sponsored monument at Sharon, Vermont. [42] When Charles Bidamon wrote announcing the Nauvoo House was for sale, the First Presidency did not respond. They may have been particularly wary since Bidamon confided that he was in negotiation with Heman C. Smith, Apostle and Church Historian of the Reorganized Church, for the same property and may have been hoping for a bidding war to his advantage. [43]

During this initial era of historic site ownership, the Church rented the sites primarily to non-Latter-day Saint tenants who gave occasional tours or at least tolerated visitors. The main exceptions are Temple Square and Joseph Smith’s birthplace. In both cases, the Church created a public venue where it could reach out to people, fostering understanding of Latter-day Saint history and beliefs, thereby improving the Church’s public image. Both sites deliberately used history to that end. A third exception, the Smith Farm in New York, had Latter-day Saint tenants beginning in 1915 who provided tours to visitors. While the primary rationale for these sites looked outward, there was also an imperative to teach the membership as well. When President John R. Winder, a counselor to President Joseph F. Smith, first proposed erecting a memorial “to perpetuate the memory of the Prophet and Patriarch” on Temple Square in 1904, he reasoned that such a monument would communicate the significance of these men and their contributions and sacrifices to two distinct audiences—first, the youth of the Church for generations to come, and second, “the thousands of people who visit us.” [44]

The historic sites program which developed under President Joseph F. Smith’s direction revolved around three principles: first, ownership of the land in order to protect the site from desecration, destruction, or development; second, preservation of key elements of the site as a record of the past; and third, interpretation of the site through tours, monuments, statuary, formal landscaping, and publications. Although no one at the time refers to this as a “program,” the hallmarks of multiple acquisitions and guiding principles are present. As President of the Church, Joseph F. Smith led the way. He recognized the value of historic sites and committed resources to both their acquisition and memorialization. Perhaps of equal importance, however, was the continuing legacy he inspired. President Smith assigned Apostle George Albert Smith to acquire two of the most important sites, the Smith Farm and the Hill Cumorah, in New York. That assignment, which was not completed until 1928, cultivated a deep and abiding interest in historic places in the young apostle. In 1930, Elder Smith became the founding president of the Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association which marked 120 sites during his presidency. He also played a key role in the centennial celebrations in 1930 and 1947 and converted several sites from rental property to tourist attractions with missionary-led tours. [45]

During his presidency, Joseph F. Smith faced a rabid anti-Mormon press and the challenge of leading a people in the throes of transforming a peculiar sect isolated in the west to a religious faith more in tune with American values. As Kathleen Flake suggests in her book The Politics of Religious Identity, President Joseph F. Smith and other Church leaders may have championed the Church’s past as a vehicle to preserve a unique Latter-day Saint identity while at the same time giving up the distinctive social, economic, and political attributes of the Church’s kingdom. [46] Whatever the motives, Joseph F. Smith made a major commitment to preserving Church history through the acquisition, preservation, and interpretation of historic sites. Now more than one hundred years later, we are the beneficiaries of his foresight.

Notes

[1] Michael Kammen, Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture (New York: Knopf, 1991), 52–61.

[2] Kammen, Mystic Chords of Memory, 115.

[3] Norman Tyler, Ted J. Ligibel, and Ilene R. Tyler, Historic Preservation: An Introduction to its History, Principles, and Practice, 2nd ed. (New York: W. W. Norton, 2009), 30–31; National Park Service, “History and Culture,” Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, http://www.nps.gov/cagr/historyculture/index.htm.

[4] Kammen, Mystic Chords of Memory, 106, 201–2.

[5] Davis Bitton, “The Ritualization of Mormon History,” Utah Historical Quarterly 43, no. 1 (Winter 1975): 76; Brian Q. Cannon, “‘Long Shall His Blood . . . Stain Illinois’: Carthage Jail in Mormon Memory,” Mormon Historical Studies 10, no. 1 (Spring 2009): 3.

[6] The letters were later issued in a special supplement issue to Jenson’s Historical Record and as a pamphlet titled Infancy of the Church. Andrew Jenson, Autobiography of Andrew Jenson (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1938), 150–84; Andrew Jenson and Edward Stevenson, Infancy of the Church (Salt Lake City: n.p., 1889).

[7] Underwood & Underwood published two boxed sets, one with twenty-nine views and one with thirty-eight views. James Ricalton and Henry A. Strohmeyer, The Latter-day Saints’ Tour from Palmyra, New York, to Salt Lake City Through the Stereoscope (Ottawa, KS: Underwood & Underwood, 1904); B. H. Roberts, The Latter-day Saints’ Tour (Ottawa, KS: Underwood & Underwood, 1905); see Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, “Stereographs and Stereotypes: A 1904 View of Mormonism,” Journal of Mormon History 18, no. 2 (Fall 1992): 155–76.

[8] Richard Neitzel Holzapfel & R. Q. Shupe, Joseph F. Smith: Portrait of a Prophet (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 33–36, 61–62.

[9] A. C. White to John Taylor, ca. 1885, as cited in O. B. Huntington, “Pisgah Burying Ground,” Deseret Evening News, January 7, 1888, 5; Hannah Settle Lapish, “The ‘Mormon’ Burial Ground at Mt. Pisgah, Iowa,” Improvement Era, May 1914, 662–66.

[10] White to Taylor, Deseret Evening News, 5.

[11] The lone exception was the Smith Farm in Manchester, New York.

[12] Carthage Jail in Carthage, Illinois, and the Far West Temple Lot, Caldwell County, Missouri.

[13] Lucy Mack Smith’s birthplace in Gilsum, New Hampshire; Winter Quarters Cemetery in Florence, Nebraska; Nauvoo Cemetery and Nauvoo House in Nauvoo, Illinois.

[14] Three Witnesses Monument at Richmond, Missouri, and the Hyrum Smith Monument in the Salt Lake City Cemetery are two examples of monuments erected during this era.

[15] B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1957; repr., Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1965), 6:426–31; Steven L. Olsen, “Museums and Historic Sites of Mormonism,” in Mormon Americana: A Guide to Sources and Collections in the United States, ed. David J. Whitaker (Provo, UT: BYU Studies, 1995), 523–37. Temple Square does appear on lists of historic sites in the following: Richard H. Jackson, “Historical Sites,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, ed. Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 2:592–95; T. Jeffery Cottle and Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, “Historical Sites,” in Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History, ed. Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard O. Cowan (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 502–4. 

[16] “Bureau of Information and Church Literature,” Improvement Era, September 1902, 899–901; Levi Edgar Young, “The Temple Block Mission,” Relief Society Magazine, November 1922, 559–63; Church Educational System, Church History in the Fulness of Times, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2000), 474–75.

[17] The strategy employed at the Chicago World’s Fair represented a shift from “private evangelization” to “public education.” The new model emphasized the physical and cultural accomplishments of the Saints over doctrine, celebrated the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and utilized exhibits, artwork, and tour guides to communicate with visitors. See Reid L. Neilson, Exhibiting Mormonism: The Latter-day Saints and the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair (New York: Oxford University, 2011), 47, 178.

[18] Neilson, Exhibiting Mormonism, 7.

[19] “Bronzed Statues Placed. Figures of the Prophet and Hyrum Smith Adorn Temple Doors,” Deseret Evening News, November 5, 1909, 8; Edward H. Anderson, “The Prophet and Patriarch,” Improvement Era, July 1911, unpaginated insert; Journal History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, October 1, 1913, 3–9, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, “Mormons Open New Museum in Temple Square,” Salt Lake Herald, May 14, 1919, 7; “Log Abode of Sturdy Pioneer is Re-erected,” Salt Lake Herald, November 3, 1918, 36; “First Log Cabin Preserved Intact,” Salt Lake Herald, April 13, 1919, 21; “Monument to the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon,” Improvement Era, May 1927, [624].

[20] Danish Apostle: The Diaries of Anthon H. Lund, 1890–1921, ed. John P. Hatch (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2006), 247.

[21] Stan Larson, ed., A Ministry of Meetings: The Apostolic Diaries of Rudger Clawson (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1993), 602; George F. Gibbs to G. Edmunds, May 8, 1903, correspondence.

[22] Larson, A Ministry of Meetings, 602.

[23] Larson, A Ministry of Meetings, 602.

[24] Keokuk Constitution Democrat, as republished in “Church Now Owns Old Carthage Jail,” Lehi Banner, December 3, 1903, 1, 3; Cannon, “‘Long Shall His Blood,’” 6.

[25] Asahel H. Woodruff to Joseph F. Smith, January 25, 1904, correspondence, Letterpress Copybooks, 1901–12, Northern States Mission, Church History Library.

[26] Cannon, “‘Long Shall His Blood,’” 6–7.

[27] Clawson, Ministry of Meetings, 338.

[28] James G. Duffin to Joseph F. Smith, December 19, 1901, correspondence as recorded in James G. Duffin, diary, December 31, 1901, holograph, Mormon Missionary Diaries, http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/MMD/id/66169/....

[29] Duffin to Smith, April 14, 1904; August 24, 1904; October 3, 1905.

[30] Journal History, February 10, 1900, 4. For background, see R. Jean Addams, Upon the Temple Lot: The Church of Christ’s Quest to Build the House of the Lord (Independence: John Whitmer Books, 2010), 31–40.

[31] Journal History, February 21, 1900, 14.

[32]Journal History, February 21, 1900, 13; “Redemption of Zion,” Improvement Era, May 1904, 547.

[33] Duffin, diary, April 27, 1904; July 4, 1904; July 22, 1904; July 25, 1904; August 23, 1904; George Albert Smith, diary, September 6, 1904, microfilm of holograph, Church History Library.

[34] Keith A. Erekson, “American Prophet, New England Town: The Memory of Joseph Smith in Vermont” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 2002), 60.

[35] A small cottage for a caretaker and guests was constructed on the site of the birthplace home and served to host visitors until 1959, when it was demolished to be replaced by a modern visitors’ center dedicated in 1961. Gary L. Boatright Jr., “Historical Landscape of the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial,” Mormon Historical Studies 11, no. 1 (Spring 2010): 101, 108. 

[36] Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and Paul H. Peterson, “New Photographs of Joseph F. Smith’s Centennial Memorial Trip to Vermont, 1905,” BYU Studies 39, no. 4 (2000): 107–14.

[37] Edith Ann Smith, journal, December 26, 1905, holograph, Church History Library.

[38] G. A. Smith, diary, March 28, 1907.

[39] Alexander L. Baugh, “The Mormon Temple Site at Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri,” in The Missouri Mormon Experience, ed. Thomas M. Spencer (Columbia: University of Missouri, 2010), 86.

[40] Undated note on letter from J. D. Whitmer to Bishop Black, November 30, 1900, correspondence, Lorenzo Snow General Correspondence Files, 1898–1901, Church History Library.

[41] Max H. Parkin, Sacred Places, vol. 4: Missouri, ed. LaMar C. Berrett (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2004), 314.

[42] Kim L. Loving, “Ownership of the Kirtland Temple: Legends, Lies, and Misunderstandings,” Journal of Mormon History 30, no. 2 (Fall 2004): 45–71; Adams, Upon the Temple Lot, 26–31; Benjamin C. Pykles, Excavating Nauvoo: The Mormons and the Rise of Historical Archaeology in America (Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 2010), 23–25.

[43] Mrs. M. J. Beaty to Joseph F. Smith, October 13, 1906, correspondence; John Bliss to Joseph F. Smith, June 16, 1906, correspondence; Charles E. Bidamon to Joseph F. Smith, May 26, 1909, correspondence, Joseph F. Smith General Correspondence. Bidamon offered Smith family furniture two years later, noting that he was in negotiation with the State of Iowa, which suggests he may have been hoping for a bidding war. Charles E. Bidamon to Joseph F. Smith, November 6, 1911, correspondence, Joseph F. Smith General Correspondence.

[44] John R. Winder, “Joseph and Hyrum Memorial,” in Conference Report, April 1904, 77.

[45] Glen R. Stubbs, “A Biography of George Albert Smith, 1870 to 1951” (PhD diss., Brigham Young University, 1971), 250–55, 334–35, 338–91.

[46] Kathleen Flake, The Politics of American Religious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle (Chapel Hill & London: University of North Carolina, 2004), 109–17.