This week’s site is the Mansion House which served as Joseph and Emma’s second home in Nauvoo. 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 15 of 1843. Additionally, the Mansion House served as the venue where several temple ordinances were performed before the completion of the Nauvoo Temple. Joseph leased the Mansion House to Ebenezer Robinson in January of 1844 who continued to use it as a public-house.
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. Additionally, George Cannon made death masks of Joseph and Hyrum while at the Mansion House. 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.”
Emma continued to live in the home after Joseph’s death until moving into the Nauvoo House in 1869. In the 1890s, the hotel portion of the home was removed. The Community of Christ currently maintains the home and tours are available.
Taken from: Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., 5: 556. and http://www.mormonhistoricsitesfoundation.org/USA/illinois/nauvoo/mansionHouse/history.htm