Tuesday, December 06, 2016 – Clean Visitor’s Center, William Weeks Historic Home, Coleus Haircut
Early this morning we went right to work at the Visitor’s Center removing all of the frozen flowers, foliage and plants from the flowerbeds. That was the easy part, we spent most of our time blowing the leaves out of the flowerbeds and off of the sidewalks.
Richard, Kiana, Sis. Johnson and I all had blowers and it still took us a couple of hours to get all of the leaves blown out into the lawns were they can be vacuumed by the mowers.
Next we stopped at the historic home and office of William Weeks to clean the flowerbeds and pick up downed branches. While we were there Richard gave us a tour of the house. In the past there were Senior Missionaries living there but now it is being renovated and restored to its 1840’s appearance. When it’s finished it will be one of the sites where tours are given.
Most of the house still has its original 1840’s building material in place. The doors, windows, bricks and fireplaces are original as are most of the wood floor planks. However the weight bearing floor and ceiling joists have been reinforced with new wood. The stairs down to the basement and up to the upstairs bedrooms are new wood but these staircases have to be the steepest in all of Nauvoo. The stairs are only 10 degrees off of straight up vertical. It is amazing and very difficult to walk up and walk down. We used to think that the Lucy Mack Smith home in Old Nauvoo had the steepest stairs but the William Weeks home and office has that home beat by a mile.
The William Weeks home is an important piece of history here in Old Nauvoo. William Weeks played a significant part in the design and construction of the Nauvoo Temple. William was the principal architect of the original Nauvoo Temple.
After the Saints moved west to Utah the original architectural drawings were lost and would have remained in obscurity if not for a “chance” meeting in 1948, when missionaries serving in the small desert town of Boron, California, knocked on the door of Leslie (the grandson of William Weeks) and Zetta Griffin. The missionaries built a good relationship with the Griffins, and Leslie, who was not a member of the Church, told the elders that they had William’s architectural drawings. The Griffins felt strongly that the drawings should be returned to the Church. They asked one of the elders, who was returning home to Utah in a few days, to give the drawings to the Church archives.
Years later these same drawings were instrumental in rebuilding the Nauvoo Temple. Bishop Keith B. McMullin, then a member of the Presiding Bishopric, said, “Efforts have been made to reflect as closely as practical the original exterior designs and interior appointments. Brother Weeks’ drawings were an essential part of this study and research. The manner in which the Nauvoo Temple has been reconstructed would not have been possible without these original plans.”
We finished the rest of the morning and the afternoon working in the greenhouses. And like yesterday we trimmed plants that are growing too fast and are too large. We spent our entire time on the Coleus benches giving them a “Haircut.” The “Haircut” is different from the “Defoliation” we did yesterday but the end result is the same. The growth of the plants must be slowed down.