Thursday, June 30, 2016 – FM greenhouses, The Brick Yard
This afternoon, after we finished our work, Sis. Johnson and I went to Nauvoo. Sis. Johnson needs plants from the greenhouses to replace some of the dead plants in the terracotta planters under the eave of the visitor’s center. The planters weren’t getting any light and some of the more sensitive plants died.
Richard Hancock, FM’s Horticulturalist, helped us pick out a couple of flats of plants that will do better under the eave of the Visitor’s center. Sis. Johnson is really excited about getting them planted tomorrow.
Next, we were off to “The Brick Yard” to make bricks. That was a lot of fun. In old Nauvoo in the 1840’s there were seven brickyards. Nauvoo was an ideal place to make bricks because the ingredients for making bricks were readily available.
There were many steps to making a brick like mixing, shaping, stacking, drying, firing and cooling, etc. It took over a month to make a brick start to finish.
To latter-day Saints in Nauvoo, bricks meant beauty and permanence. Therefore, demand for bricks was great. Wilford Woodruff wrote in his diary of stopping work on his house for two weeks, “for want of brick.” He also recorded nearly melting himself near a “brick kiln (where his bricks were cooling) having flung out seven thousand bricks” for his home.
The brick making industry was very important to the Latter-day Saint community in Nauvoo. It has been estimated that 350 brick homes were built during the six years Mormons lived in Nauvoo. Although many residents spent years building their brick homes, they abandoned their homes in 1846 to follow a prophet of God to the West.