Nauvoo, IL

So Mormonism reeled back from Missouri to lick its wounds for one winter on the east bank of the Mississippi, and then, in a dazzling display of recuperative power, gathered again around its escap~d Prophet to build the city of Nauvoo, a city whose name Joseph said meant “beautiful plantation” in Hebrew. They did not stop to check the Hebrew dictionary; they simply came and dug in. In five years they transformed a stretch of high prairie and wooded bluffs, a malarial riverbottom swamp, and a fever-and-ague hamlet called Commerce into the city of Zion, the largest town in all of Illinois and the show-place of the upper Mississippi, with a population of 20,000 and a partly completed temple that was surely the most grandiose building in the Middle West, and would shortly be the most imposing ruin.