“Church Receives Award for Joseph Smith Home,” Ensign, Aug. 2001, 78
The Preservation League of New York State has given a 2001 Excellence in Historic Preservation Award to the Church for the restoration of the Joseph Smith Sr. frame home in Manchester Township, near Palmyra, New York.
“This statewide award program recognizes those who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the preservation of New York State’s irreplaceable architectural heritage,” said Scott P. Heyl, Preservation League president. “The careful restoration of the building has returned this magnificent structure to its original appearance and will certainly add to the interpretation of the site.”
“The frame house was the last-built heritage of the Joseph Smith Sr. family,” said Don Enders, Church curator of historic sites. “It is a wonderful place where sacred aspects of the gospel were carried out, such as bringing the gold plates home and placing them there.” Elder Spencer J. Condie of the Seventy, a counselor in the Presidency of the North America Northeast Area; Brother Enders; and Steve Olson, operations director for the Museum of Church History and Art, represented the Church at the awards ceremony in New York City on 1 May.
The Smith family moved to the Palmyra area in 1816, establishing a farm in Manchester Township and building a log house where Joseph received the visitation from the angel Moroni (JS—H 1:30–47). By 1822 the eldest son, Alvin Smith, had begun work on the larger frame house. He died before it was completed, but in 1825 the Smith family moved into the partially finished farmhouse. It was in this house that Joseph hid the gold plates beneath the fireplace hearth, and once between his younger sisters, who were in bed, during a mob intrusion (see “Cradle of the Restoration,” Ensign, Jan. 2001, 44).
The Smith family moved out of the frame house in 1829, and over the years successive owners altered the building.
In 1997 the Church began work to restore the frame house to its original state. The home is situated somewhat between the Palmyra Temple and the Sacred Grove.