The genesis and rapid growth of Nauvoo, Illinois, between 1839 and 1846 is a vital and intriguing part of early Mormon history. When Joseph Smith first visited the future site of Nauvoo in the spring of 1839, he saw only a few poorly built log cabins and shanties and only one stone house. By the time of the exodus west seven years later, Nauvoo was a city with an estimated population of about 12,000 people. They had built or were building over 2,500 homes, many business establishments such as stores and mills, and numerous Church and public buildings. The latter included the magnificent Nauvoo Temple, a hotel, an armory, and a masonic hall. Such rapid growth required enormous amounts of labor and building materials.