Church to Renovate Carthage Jail Site
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“Church to Renovate Carthage Jail Site,” Ensign, Aug. 1988, 79

Church to Renovate Carthage Jail Site

The Carthage, Illinois, site where the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were martyred will soon undergo an extensive renovation.

“We wish to properly recognize this very important location in the history of the Church, and to also accommodate a growing number of visitors who come to the site each year,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency.

The renovation will involve the entire city block on which the nineteenth-century Carthage Jail stands. A new wing will be added to the visitors’ center, and new exhibits, landscaping, and off-street parking will also be added, President Hinckley said.

At the same time the Carthage renovation plans were announced in Salt Lake City, a similar announcement was made in Nauvoo, Illinois. Elder Loren C. Dunn of the First Quorum of the Seventy, who is President of the North America Central Area of the Church and president of Nauvoo Restoration, Inc., made the announcement at a gathering of mayors and other dignitaries.

For years, the Church has operated a visitors’ center adjacent to the old jail where Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed by a mob on 27 June 1844.

Life-size statues of Joseph and Hyrum Smith—replicas of those that have stood on Temple Square in Salt Lake City since 1911—will also be placed on the property, and the area around the jail will be cleared off and given a park-like appearance. The block itself will be enclosed by a wrought-iron fence, and six monuments will be placed along a brick walkway from the parking lot to the visitors’ center.

The project will be financed largely by contributions made by generous donors, Elder Dunn said.

(Above) Carthage Jail site is due to be given a new park-like appearance, with improved facilities for visitors. (Inset) Renovation will include the entire city block where the jail stands.