Sunday, March 30, 2008

Palmyra, NY

Days Three and Four were spent in Palmyra. Day Three We first drove to Fayette to tour the Whitmer farm. It was really rainy so I didn't take my camera out. Then we drove up to Palmyra. We came through on the same highway that the Hill Cumorah is on. We drove to the top to see the monument and walk on the paths surrounding the hill. We decided to go in to the visitor's center because I remembered they had a Dead Sea Scroll exhibit on display through the end of March. The couple that was there was extremely knowledgeable. You see Joseph is somewhat of a history buff. He really knows his stuff and also has read up on many stories most people don't ever hear. By this time he was kind of tired of all the guided tours and just wanted to ask questions that he was interested in finding the answers too. This couple, particularly the wife, was the same way and she really had studied up on all the things that occurred leading up to the church being able to obtain the Hill Cumorah, etc. She recommended several books to read. It was great. The couple we met in Kirtland took the Dead Sea Scroll exhibit tour with us. We then went on into the town of Palmyra. We visited the little cemetery where Joseph Smith's older brother Alvin is buried. We then went to the Grandin Building where the printing of the Book of Mormon took place.The building is original but has been restored throughout for safety's sake. The Grandin building is actually the one on the left. The church purchased the building to the right for a visitor's center. That's where the tour starts. It was amazing to hear how Mr. Grandin was only in the printing business for about 5 years. Just long enough to obtain enough funds to buy the latest printing press which was only used once - for printing the Book of Mormon. The other press he had was for printing the town paper, leaflets, smaller periodicals, etc. By the time this tour was over the other visitor's center for the Smith Farm was closed so went and found a hotel and decided to walk through the Sacred Grove.

Just a word about our stay in Palmyra. We stayed at the Palmyra Inn which is located right around the corner from the stake center and temple. We thought it would be very expensive because it is so nice. It was the cheapest place we stayed throughout our whole trip! It was really a wonderful place to stay.

We were the only ones in the Sacred Grove both times we went. It was quiet, beautiful, and calming. One thing we were struck by was the trees are all still bare. Buds were just barely starting to develop on the trees. In all the paintings you see of the First Vision, the Sacred Grove is in full summer foliage. But that is not when the vision occurred! Joseph Smith describes the day "was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring" (JSH 1:14) The trees would most certainly only have buds on them in early spring. I guess trees with leaves make for better paintings than bare ones. :D We were glad to have been there at this time of year.

When the Smith Family cleared land for farming they removed big rocks and used them to build fence lines. There are still several original rock fence lines on the property. One also extends up to the edge of the temple grounds.

This is just outside of the Sacred Grove heading towards the Smith home. The Sacred Grove is on the right.

The path from the Sacred Grove to the Smith Home goes over Crooked Creek. It would be a really fun place for kids to play in the summertime!

We started Day Four with a session in the Palmyra Temple. The British tour group we met in Kirtland was there also. It was so fun to hear their accents. The Palmyra Temple is the same design as all smaller temples except the entry way by the baptismal font extends all the way to a window overlooking the Sacred Grove. In most temples that area is the offices.
This is the view you see from the window (below). No I didn't take my camera in to the temple! There is a balcony on the outside where visitors can walk around and tour the grounds.

After our session the Temple President, President Seibach, took us into his office and spent a good 15 minutes telling us the history of how the rest of the Smith Farm was purchased paving the way for the temple to be built. As you'll see in a picture further down the main road went right between the Smith frame home and the Sacred Grove. In 1995, the church wanted to move the road so visitors would be safer. Before they could do that they needed to purchase property right behind the Smith frame home and right across from the Smith log home. A gentleman by the name of Ted Bellafontain owned one acre right there and would not sell. Then in 1996 he heard a voice telling him it was time to sell so he sold it to the church driving a hard bargain all the way. He wanted $175,000 for his one acre and house but wanted the church to build him a new 2,000 sq. foot home further up on the hill (where the temple parking lot is now) where he would live for the rest of his life, rent free, and then it would be the church's to do what they wanted with it. The church agreed and began building Mr. Bellafontain's new home. The time came where the new home was almost completed but the old one needed to be knocked down for the road construction to begin. Mr. Bellafontain, in his late fifties, decided to take a vacation for several weeks to snowmobile in Canada. While there he struck a tree and was killed. The house was moved still further down the street and is where the temple president lives. The temple and parking lot are now where the new house was being built.

All the windows in the Palmyra Temple are stained glass depicting the Sacred Grove. They were beautiful! After our time at the temple we took the tour of the Smith Log Home and the Smith Frame home. Because the weather was cold and snowy we were the only ones!

This is a replica of the log home. Quite small for Lucy and Joseph Smith and their nine children!
Upstairs were two rooms. The larger one were for the six boys, the smaller for the three girls. It was in the log home that Moroni appeared to Joseph three times in one night instructing him concerning the gold plates and the work God had for him to do.

Here is where Stafford road originally went. The log house is just out of frame to the right. The church paid to have the road diverted to the east (left) behind the frame home. This is looking south to the frame home that Alvin was building for the family. He died before it was completed.

The house is the original. You can see where some boards have been replaced because of rotting. They really loved the color red! The doors inside have some of the original paint on them.

This is the hearth that Joseph had to hide the plates under when a mob came looking for them.

This is a view of the frame home, cooper shop (left), and threshing barn (right) from the Sacred Grove.

I just love the color of this wagon! After touring the Smith homes, Sacred Grove, and visiting the bookstore in town again we drove along the edge of Lake Ontario to Niagara Falls and then Buffalo.

This was the first patch of blue sky we'd seen all week! Niagara Falls was gorgeous but too darn cold! The wind was blowing hard so the mists would freeze before they got to you. It was not fun being pelted with frozen mist! And my camera got wet. Thank goodness we were able to dry it off and no damage was done. I think we were the only ones there who actually spoke English. There were several tourists from Denmark and Sweden and a big group from Japan.


AllisonK said...

You made it to NY as well. It was the perfect trip. I loved visiting Palymra, but we had the children with us. It would be so much more meaningful just the two of us.

Your photographs are beautiful!

Corrie said...

I'm really enjoying reading your travelogue and seeing the beautiful photos. I never made that connection before about the trees being bare. Although I wonder what they will look like in a month's time.