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Temple District in Historic Nauvoo recognized with Award of Excellence from national historical association

The Nauvoo Ilinois Temple in Nauvoo, Illinois on Saturday, May 29, 2021. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
The rebuilt Edward and Anne Hunter home in historic Nauvoo, Illinois, is shown in 2021. The Hunter home is part of the Temple District of Nauvoo. The West Grove regeneration project is next to the home. Credit: Kenneth Mays
The William and Caroline Weeks home in historic Nauvoo, Illinois, in 2020. William Weeks was an architect for the Nauvoo Temple. The home is part of the Temple District of Nauvoo. Credit: Kenneth Mays
The Nauvoo Illinois Temple is seen behind the area of the West Grove regeneration project in Historic Nauvoo, Illinois, in 2021. It's one of the projects in the Temple District. Credit: Kenneth Mays
The rebuilt Edward and Anne Hunter home in historic Nauvoo, Illinois, is shown in 2020. The Hunter home is part of the Temple District of Nauvoo. The West Grove regeneration project is next to the home. Credit: Kenneth Mays
The interior of the rebuilt Edward and Anne Hunter home in historic Nauvoo, Illinois, shown in 2021. The Hunter home is part of the Temple District of Nauvoo. Credit: Kenneth Mays
The restored Orson and Marinda Hyde home in Historic Nauvoo, Illinois, in 2021. It’s one of restored homes in the Temple District. Credit: Kenneth Mays
The Edward and Ann Hunter, left, and William and Esther Gheen homes in Historic Nauvoo, Illinois, are part of the Temple District and are shown in early 2021. Credit: Kenneth Mays

The Temple District in Historic Nauvoo, Illinois, has been recognized with the American Association for State and Local History’s Award of Excellence.

The Award of Excellence is one of the association’s Leadership in History Awards, a prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation of state and local history, according to a news release from the association on June 15. 

In addition to the Nauvoo Illinois Temple, the Temple District includes restored homes from 1840s Nauvoo, portions of the original street grid, the regenerating woodlot in the West Grove, and historical landscaping.

The restored homes are those of William and Caroline Weeks, Edward and Ann Hunter and William and Esther Gheen. Williams Weeks was the temple architect and conferred with Joseph Smith on the design. Joseph stayed in the Hunter home for a time and there received revelations about the details of the sacred temple ordinance of baptism for the dead. 

“This neighborhood presents not only the lives of its residents but more importantly the design, construction, use, and spiritual significance of the Nauvoo Temple, which was the dominant feature of the historical city and the principal reason for its founding in 1839,” according to the news release. 

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated the Temple District in May 2021.

Read more: Elder Cook dedicates Temple District of Nauvoo — reflecting on the past, looking forward

Church members were in Nauvoo from 1839 to 1846, and in addition to homes and businesses, they built the Nauvoo Temple. While they were in Nauvoo, leaders introduced baptism for deceased ancestors and other temple ceremonies and the idea that family relationships can be eternal.

The Temple District of Historic Nauvoo’s Award is one of 53 to be presented by the American Association for State and Local History during the association’s annual conference in September. 

The Temple District was recognized by Landmarks Illinois with the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award during an event at Chicago’s Davis Theater last October.

Read more: What is the Temple District of Nauvoo and why does it matter to Latter-day Saints?

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