Platting the City Beautiful: A Historical and Archaeological Glimpse of Nauvoo Streets
In the spring of 1839 the Latter-day Saints began arriving at their newly appointed gathering place on the Upper Mississippi. There they established Nauvoo, destined to become by December 1845 one of the two largest cities in Illinois.
Its design had been most influenced by the plat for the "City of Zion" at Independence, Missouri. zion was to be one mile square, divided by wide streets into blocks of ten acres, which in turn would be subdivided into twenty equal lots. A home and outbuildings would be erected on each lot, with sufficient space for garden, fruit trees, and domestic animals. No specific provision was made for the location of industrial or commercial establishments. With farms clusters outside the city limits, Zion would be an agricultural community with the benefits of city life as well. As new converts gathered, the city would be enlarged until it reached predetermined proportions; other Zion communities would then be created as needed.