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

Categories: Nauvoo Period
Journal: 45:3

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.