Signs for Joseph Smith Historic Center and Historic Nauvoo can be found in close proximity to one another. In this case, along Main Street in lower Nauvoo, they face off against each other across the street, a symbol of the 1846 schism still existing between those followers who went west with Brigham Young to Utah and those who remained behind, later uniting behind the banner of Joseph Smith III.
In Nauvoo, if you look close, you will notice as many license plates from outside Illinois as from the State itself. Very prevalent is Utah, as you might expect. Some of the local people are uneasy about Nauvoo’s future, afraid the Mormon influx with the Temple’s restoration, will swamp them.
Down on the riverbank at the end of Parley Street, next to the Monument commemorating the 1846 exodus is another outdoor stage where a summer program is put on called Sunset on the Mississippi.
You don’t have to go to the pageant, however, to see the sunset ;-\ Quiet pervades except for the occasional cicada and flight of geese.
Pageantry and Mormon history seem to go hand in hand. As at the Hill Cumorah site in New York – near Rochester – where Joseph was given the inscribed golden plates from which the Book of Mormon was written, to here at Nauvoo, the LDS Church relives history via musical drama in which the cast of hundreds is included. There is a 300 foot outdoor stage which is home to the ‘City of Joseph Pageant’ and is the LDS take on the history of events that transpired in Nauvoo – building, death of Joseph Smith and exodus to Utah.
Another outdoor stage, near the Nauvoo State Park on IL 96 just almost across from the Wilford Woodruff house, is the Sod Stage. Here is the 60+ year ‘Wedding of the Wine and Cheese Pageant’ put on by the town of Nauvoo, celebrating Navuoo’s long history as a winemaking area and as one of America’s former leading bluecheese making sites.