Volunteers protect historic building

The Nauvoo House was the last building the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. was attempting to have built, on property he donated, before his martyrdom in 1844. (See D&C 124.) It was to house visitors to Nauvoo. It is used for that purpose today.

One hundred forty-nine years later, descendants of many pioneer families of 1844 have joined with other Nauvoo area residents to try to save this building from rising Mississippi River flood waters.The building is now owned by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and is used for visiting groups. Nauvoo House administrator Don Albro of the RLDS Church joined with two officers of the LDS Church's Nauvoo Restoration Inc. - manager James Sorensen and director Arthur Elrey - and local government officials to arouse all who could be of help in saving the dike that protects the property.

Starting the afternoon of July 7, crews were put to work filling sandbags obtained from the National Guard by the Nauvoo City police. Trucks from Nauvoo Restoration Inc. and the Joseph Smith Historic Center brought the bags to the dike, where male and female members of many Nauvoo church congregations, business people, youth and even some tourists formed lines long enough to pass the bags up onto the dike.

Bishop Martin Dale Jacobs of the Nauvoo Ward, in hip boots, was one of those finding the weak spots below the water line to fill with sandbags.

The work went on late into the night. It was predicted that the river would rise another two feet. While workers waited for the loads of sandbags, refreshments were served by the RLDS staff in the dining hall of the Nauvoo House. Relief Society sisters at the LDS ward helped out by preparing more food.

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