In 1836, shortly after the expulsion of Mormons from Independence and Jackson County, the town of Far West was founded. With the failure of the Kirtland Bank and all that followed in Ohio, Joseph Smith and most of his Kirtland followers came west to Missouri transforming Far West overnight. A temple was to be built but debt was not to be incurred for this edifice as it had been in Kirtland. The cornerstones were laid on July 4,1838 and these cornerstones have been uncovered and preserved in an LDS-owned monument. Across the way is a local Community of Christ congregation church with a monument showing a map of the original town. Besides these two monuments and the little chapel, nothing else remains from the once flourishing town of 5000. Residents were forced from their homes during the late fall and winter of 1838-39.
Important features of some branches of the Mormon tree that were revealed in Far West to Joseph Smith included a new name to the church - "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" - and the principle of tithing 10% of one's profits which became the financial cornerstone for the church replacing the earlier Law of Consecration which was more oriented to a more communal way of living.
1859 Jail, Marshal's Home, and Museum
Found here are four buildings - the county jail which has held such notables as William Quantrill and Frank James, the marshal's restored home, the country historical museum, and a one-room schoolhouse.
I have not yet had the opportunity to tour these facilities, but hope to do so soon, and will add more photos and commentary at that time.
Nancy and I were fortunate to be led on our tour of the home by Jim Legge, president of the assocation governing the estates. Jim is a colleague of mine at the Nazarene Publishing House in Kansas City.
"The Peach Room"
The ladies' parlor, also known as the Peach Room, is light and cheery.
"The Dining Room"
My favorite room in the mansion: warm and elegant, with wonderful views of the grounds. Accomodates up to 24 dinner guests, and is still used for special occasions. The home and grounds can be rented for weddings.
"A Second-floor Bedroom"
A wonderful porch (unfortunately missing from most new homes) goes all the way around the house.
"Old-fashioned Flowers at the Well"
Coreopsis and other old favorites adorn the flower bed surrounding the well pump. The second-floor porches on this corner of the house were used for sleeping on those hot, humid days of the Missouri summers.
Buildings shown in this picture include a chicken coop, animal barn, and the carriage house - now used as a visitor's center and gift shop.
Large old trees shade the well-kept lawn. A very short walk from the spot where this photo was taken enables visitors to view the swales (deep ruts created by numerous wagon trains) on the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California Trails.