The Nauvoo House is located across the street from Joseph Smith's Homestead, and on the banks of the Mississippi River. The Nauvoo House is owned by the Community of Christ Church(formally the RLDS Church), and is rented out for youth conferences and other group events, so there are no tours inside the Nauvoo house at this time. The Nauvoo House was never finished, but the walls were left intact when the Saints left Nauvoo. Emma Smith eventually made the Nauvoo House her home with her second husband, and finished a section of the large structure to live in, in 1869.
Background of Nauvoo House
The purpose of the Nauvoo House was house the large groups of immigrants and other Saints who were arriving in Nauvoo in large numbers. In Doctrine and Covenants 124:22-24, 56-83, 119-122 is a recorded revelation given to the prophet Joseph Smith on January 19, 1841. Four men are named as trustees of the proposed Nauvoo House: George Miller, Lyman Wight, John Snider, and Peter Haws.
Stock in the building sold for 50$ a share to those who believed in the Book of Mormon and the revelations of Joseph Smith.
The Nauvoo House was to be L shape with 120-foot riverfront, and 40 foot side running north to south. The first story was to be rock and the next two stories were going to be brick. The architect was a man named Lucian Woodworth.
On October 2, 1841(three years before the death of the prophet Joseph Smith) the presidency of The Church laid the houses South East corner stone. Placed in the cornerstone was a small Bible, Book of Doctrine and Covenants, copies of the Times and Seasons, coins, the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon, written mostly by Oliver Cowdery.
In 1879(35 years after the death of Joseph Smith, the year Emma Smith died), the second husband of Emma Smith, Lewis Bidamin opened up the contents of the cornerstone, and most of the documents were destroyed by mildew and water damage. What was salvaged has since been acquired by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Church now owns about 27% of the manuscript.
After the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum they were secretly buried in the basement of the unfinished Nauvoo House, but only temporarily. The bodies were moved across the street to the Smith family cemetery.
Around the year 1872, the Nauvoo House was used as a small hotel known as the Bidamon House or the Riverside Mansion. Emma and Lewis lived here until their deaths, Emma in 1879 and Lewis in 1891.
More Things to see in Nauvoo
References: "Sacred Places Ohio and Illinois, a comprehensive guide to early LDS historical sites" by LaMar C. Berrett General Editor and Keith W. Perkins and Donald Q. Cannon p. 130