Tuesday morning we were out early and on our way to Palmyra, New York. After spreading out beach towels (monogrammed Jensen) to reserve our seats for the Hill Cumorah Pageant we were on our way to the Smith Farm which straddles the boundary line with Palymyra Township on the north and Manchester Township on the south. One thing to keep in mind if you are a true Westerner is that they label things differently in the East. Townships are large parcels of land with many farms and homes. Villages are what we would consider a town, many houses clustered together with a main street with businesses and government buildings.
Eric and his family had gone right to the Smith Farm. We were hoping to do outdoor touring before it got really hot. Westerners, I can now say that we are indeed lucky to enjoy "dry heat." High 90's with high humidity is brutal and we were participating in an Eastern heat wave. I assumed that I could probably catch up with family in the Sacred Grove upon our arrival. I loved my solo walk into this grove of trees where I believe that Joseph Smith was visited by Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. It was a most beautiful morning and the birds were singing and the words and music of the hymn, "Oh, How Lovely was the Morning" played in my head. I was thrilled to be in this very special place.
And I was also happy to find these two. Their older siblings had been sent off to spend some time alone with their thoughts and feelings. When asked what was their favorite part of this trip, TJ, the oldest at 14, said, "My time in the Sacred Grove." Joseph Smith was 14 when he had this experience,
What a grand experience to share these places with these siblings.
They were excited to go inside the Smith's frame home.
I explained that the large kitchen/dining room was much like our combination kitchen and family rooms.
The Smith family would have dined at this table as they talked about their day.
This home is 85% original and furnished with items from the time period.
Of course, I loved the vegetable garden.
The main entrance and front of the home. It is in Manchester Township.
Reconstructed barn to the west of home placed on original foundations.
One feels as if they had gone back in time to the early 1800's.
The log cabin is in Palmyra Township. This is a recreation of their first home on the original foundation.
It was in a small upstairs bedroom in the log cabin that Joseph Smith was first visited by the Angel Moroni.
Another vegetable garden.
Our next stop was the Village of Palmyra.
We wanted to visit the Grandin Printing Press located in downtown Palmyra. E. B. Grandin would have been a contemporary of Joseph Smith, being about the same age. He passed away in 1845 from illness just months after Joseph.
This is where the first 5000 copies of the Book of Mormon were printed and published.
The building is original and that sunny yellow paint is authentic to what was found.
It was a wonder that a printing press of this caliber was available.
The Erie Canal flowed on the north side of Palmyra facilitating the heavy press being delivered here.
A sister missionary explains how the type was set and then stamped with ink.
Then a sheet of paper would be placed on top and pressed into the inked type. All 5000 pages or registers would have to be printed before the type was reset.
Registers would be hung to dry. The registers were then folded and hand sewn, pages trimmed, cover glued on, and title stamped in gold leaf by hand. It was a long process. Joseph Smith wanted the cover to be leather, just as would the family Bible.
This is one of those first edition Book of Mormons. My and Glen's ancestor, David Foote, obtained a Book of Mormon in 1830 and was baptized three years later. I am currently reading a reproduction of that first edition wanting to read it as David Foote did.
This building also had some original artwork including these paintings by C.A. Christensen of scenes from the Book of Mormon.
Interestingly, letters are found on the characters' clothing such as a "L" for Lehi and "N" for Nephi.
After leaving the printing building we walked out of the back of the building to the Erie Canal.
At the time, this was a wonder opening up travel between Albany and Buffalo.
The current canal is still in use but has been moved several hundred feet north from the original location. It used to flow closer to what is Canal Street and the businesses on Main Street.
Susan had researched and found that the Historical Society of Palmyra also had museums that we could visit. It was only $14 per family to visit all five. The kids loved visiting them and our guide seen in the background made it kid friendly. We later found her serving tacos in a bag at the Pageant.
The first museum was also the Society's headquarters. This building was an inn and each room held treasures like this round typewriter.
Civil War Room. Palmyra lost more of its soldiers at Gettysburg than did any other New York village.
Heather loved the school room.
And the doll room.
This is a photograph of Palmyra Bean, daughter of Willard Bean, who was sent with his wife to Palmyra in 1915 as missionaries. She was born in the parlor of the frame Smith home.
There was an entire room dedicated to church history including this portrait of E. B. Grandin.
Joseph and Emma Smith.
Palmyra is proud that it is the location of Winston Churchill's maternal grandparents' wedding.
Toby loved this model ship. Leaving the inn, we next toured the Erie Canal Depot where the donkeys used to pull the barges through the Canal were stabled.
Next stop was a later era printing office. Tradition holds that this truck belonged to E. B. Grandin.
These printing presses were faster as paper could be rolled through the press one after another.
The kids got to do a bit of printing themselves.
The William S. Phelps (not William W. Phelps) General Store has a most unusual story. It remained in the same family for 108 years. In 1940 at the beginning of WWII, the owner just walked out the door and locked it. Rumor has it that he didn't want to deal with ration coupons.
When his daughter died in 1975, the store went to the Historical Society. They found everything just as it was that day in 1940. Those are 73 year old eggs.
It's a time capsule of products and packaging as it would have been in 1940.
These were the original doors leading into the store. The Smiths would have entered and exited those doors many times. They gave us a copy of ledger pages with the Smith names written on them.
The cash register.
Another surprise awaited us out those doors. A staircase led to the back of the owner's living quarters above the store.
Their daughter lived there until her death in 1975 without updating anything. She still used the outhouse.
Took baths in this contraption.
Washed her clothes the old fashioned way.
Water was collected from rain on the roof and stored in this cistern.
The living quarters were well appointed.
She taught piano lessons and those are family photos on the piano.
Beautiful and rare tri-fold door dividing music room from the parlor.
Looking the other direction.
These stairs led upstairs to the bedrooms.
Beautiful entry way at top of stairs.
Wall paper and hat rack in entry way.
It gave me a new appreciation for living above the store. The door on the right leads to the staircase and entry way. The double doors are the entrance to the store.
Eric's family stands in front of the print shop.
Final museum was the Alling Coverlet Museum.
It houses the largest collection of hand woven coverlets in the United States.
Each year they rotate coverlets for display from the collection of over 400.
This was the type of bed covering that was in demand in the early 1800's.
Two of the most respected weavers were two gentleman from Palmyra.
There was also a quilt room upstairs.
Thanks Toby for hanging in until the end.
This reminded me a bit of the quilts I made with my children's classes while in 5th grade. It is a history quilt for Palmyra including Joseph Smith in the lower corner. Putting these museums together was a bicentennial project for Palmyra in 1976.
The red and yellow hand applique was popular in the 1800's as well.
We drove north of town to the location of the Martin Harris Farm.
The original home burned down in 1850 and was replaced by this lake stone method house.
There are many structures of this style building in the area which were built from stone found on the banks of Lake Ontario and then put together by those who had constructed the banks of the Erie and other canals.
Martin Harris mortgaged this farm to obtain the funding to print the first 5000 copies of the Book of Mormon.
Farms in this area are so green and beautiful without irrigation or a sprinkler in sight. They are kept green with high humidity and regular rainfall.
Next we were off to claim our seating for the Pageant. We also bought dinner from the many Palmyra service clubs who raise funds by providing food prior to the Pageant. Thus we saw our wonderful museum guide in the Lion Club's booth. The 700 Pageant participants also do service projects with these service clubs. It is a win win.
There is Joseph Smith walking by with his Book of Mormon era wife. Many families travel to Palmyra to be in the Pageant at their own expense spending a week rehearsing and then another preforming for thousands. We met people from everywhere.
My crew in front of Hill Cumorah with the set behind them. There were chairs in place for 7000.
That set was amazing. There were lights, water, fire, and special effects.
And at times it seemed that all 700 of them were on stage.
I especially loved how they created a ship for Lehi and his family to cross the waters to the Promised Land.
The Pageant doesn't begin until dark which is about 9:15pm. The children really enjoyed it, especially Julianna. She was mesmerized. We were also impressed with the way they handled traffic. We were on our way in now time but still had our almost one hour drive to Cayuga Lake and the Driftwood Inn. Unlike Cinderella we were back before midnight but just barely.
It was a good but long day in Palmyra. It was also very hot. All I wanted when I got back to my room was a long cold shower. However, I wouldn't have missed it going with the family I love for anything.