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Six buildings to be dedicated in Kirtland

KIRTLAND, Ohio — Six new structures recently built on Church property in Kirtland will be dedicated May 18, the First Presidency has announced.

Included in the dedication are a new visitors center designed in the architecture of the 1830s when the Church was centered in Kirtland, renovation of the Newel K. Whitney home, reconstruction of the John Johnson Inn on its original site, a schoolhouse, and a sawmill and ashery rebuilt on original locations.

The dedication comes after years of an exhaustive and thorough discovery of the location and specifications of each building. Except the new visitors center, each building was part of Church history in an era that, "was one of the most significant seven years in the history of the Church," said Steven Olsen of the Museum of Church History and Art who oversaw the research and reconstruction.

The new buildings create something of a historic village located below the hill of the Kirtland Temple. Visitors to the area will enjoy an increased sense of what life was like in Kirtland at the time of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

In the John Johnson Inn, reconstructed to look as it did when Church leaders conducted Church affairs and published a newspaper there, visitors can search a database containing names of 1,800 families who lived in early Kirtland. This is the only location where this information is available.

The Newel K. Whitney home, closed in November 2000 for renovation after serving as a visitors center for more than a decade, has reopened after extensive work restored the building to its original size and dimension.

Also included in the historic village is the reconstruction of a 170-year-old sawmill originally constructed by early members to provide lumber for the Kirtland Temple. The water-powered sawmill was built after local mills refused to sell lumber to the Church.

Kirtland's first framed schoolhouse is being restored after its foundation was discovered during an archeological dig. The restoration is based on findings and historical descriptions from experts on early schoolhouses in Ohio.

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