Transforming Swampland into Nauvoo, the City Beautiful: A Civil Engineering Perspective

Mormons began settling in Nauvoo, Illinois, on the banks of the Mississippi River, in 1839. They found the area uninhabitable due to standing water, dense underbrush, and mosquitoes. The Saints successfully drained lowlands and diverted runoff from higher ground, allowing buildings and gardens to be installed. A team of engineering faculty of Brigham Young University studied soil, topography, extant ditches, and historical records to reconstruct the design and methods the Saints used to drain Nauvoo. Their report includes ample maps and graphics to explain how the Mormons were able to transform the swampy land into a beautiful city.

Additional maps and notes on this article:

* Table 1: Location of cross sections and characteristics of each section.
* Table 2: Material properties used in for soil zones in groundwater analysis.
* Figure A: Stratigraphic profile showing rock types and geologic age for Nauvoo area.
* Figure B: Logs of hand-auguer drill holes on east-west section through Nauvoo, Illinois.
* Figure C: Storm intenstiy-duration-frequency curves for Nauvoo.

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 45:3
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