The temple measured 128 feet in length and 88 feet in width. The top of the tower was 158 feet above the ground.
2. When was the temple built?
Construction began in the fall of 1840. The cornerstones were set during a conference in April, 1841. The building was dedicated May 1, 1846.
3. Who designed the temple?
The building had an original architectural style, inspired by visions received by the Prophet Joseph Smith. William Weeks was the official architect and supervised most of the construction. However, Brother Joseph closely guided Weeks in the design of the temple as he had seen it in vision, requiring, for example, that it have round windows on the second level.
4. How much did the structure cost?
The final cost was more than $1,000,000. Many church members labored for months without pay to complete the temple. Others donated money or other property to pay construction costs. Building stones (some weighing 4,000 pounds) were quarried near Nauvoo and transported to the temple site. Lumber for the building was sawed in Wisconsin and floated down the Mississippi river to Nauvoo. The bell in the tower (which weighed 1,500 pounds) was donated by some British members of the church.
5. Can I tour the temple if I visit Nauvoo?
No. The temple no longer exists.
6. What happened to it?
Because of mob violence, almost all church members left Nauvoo in early February 1846. Some stayed behind and completed the temple, which was publicly dedicated on May 1, 1846. The remaining Church members were driven from the city in September of 1846, and the temple was abandoned. A mob desecrated and damaged the building. Finally, in November 1848, an arsonist's fire completely gutted the building, leaving only the bare walls standing. A French Icarian group purchased the structure and was planning to renovate it when a tornado struck, knocking down some of the walls and damaging others severely. The building was torn down and the temple stones used to build other structures in Nauvoo.
7. Who set the building on fire?
Lewis A. Bidamon, (who married Emma Smith, widow of the Prophet Joseph, on December 23, 1847), stated that Joseph Agnew was the person who set the building on fire. He was paid 500 dollars by the people of Warsaw, Carthage, Pontusac and surrounding settlements for his evil deed.
8. Where are the distinctive "Sun Stones?"
One is on display in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. Another is displayed at Nauvoo State Park in Illinois. Others were stolen or lost.
9. Where is the bell that was donated by the British saints?
The Nauvoo Bell is located on the West side of Temple Square in Salt Lake City. It can be heard tolling on the hour, a gentle reminder of the beautiful Nauvoo temple.