On Thursday, July 21, we visited the birthplace of the Prophet Joseph Smith in Vermont.We knew he was born in Sharon, Vermont, but it turns out the home he lived in was on the dividing line of Sharon and South Royalton, Vermont. Later he said he was born in Sharon, so that is what history now says.
We really enjoyed going through the visitors' center in Vermont. We allowed plenty of time, so we weren't rushed and enjoyed everything our missionary guide shared with us. He and his wife are the directors of the site. They arrived in January 2011 and interestingly enough we met them as they were on their way to the site because they stopped in Palmyra for some tours of our sites.
These two portraits are of Joseph Smith's parents. The top one is his mother Lucy. She was living when it was painted and was the model. The bottom one, of Joseph Smith, Sr., his father, was painted using sketches of him and pictures of other family members that resembled him.
The hearth on the fireplace below was one of my favorite artifacts. When the property was purchased by the Mormon Church, this hearthstone and a front step were the only parts remaining of the home where Joseph was born.
Below is the head of a bronze statue of Joseph. The statue is about 8 feet tall because the artist said Joseph seemed larger than life to him.
Here Steven stands in front of the monument erected to honor Joseph Smith. Junius Wells came on assignment from the First Presidency of the Mormon Church to Vermont in the spring of 1905 to purchase the land, design the monument, arrange the construction of it, and oversee the dedicatory ceremony.
A special highlight for us was a ride in a golf cart with the directors' wife to the Solomon Mack home site. Solomon was Joseph's grandfather; his mother's father. This home was about 1/2 mile from where Joseph lived with his family. He would have spent considerable time here with his siblings, visiting grandparents.
Here is another view of the monument, which stands 38 1/2 feet tall, one foot for each year Joseph lived. The monument is solid granite and is one of the largest single pieces of flawless granite in the world. It weighs 40 tons and the base, which is made up of four pieces of granite, weighs 60 tons. Moving that much granite 35 miles in 1905 with horses and a wagon was a huge task. The specially constructed wagon had wheels that were 22 inches wide. To read more about the amazing story of moving this monument, go to the following link and scroll down almost to the end. Placing the monument.
This original stone step is located where the home once stood. As mentioned earlier, this front step and the hearth stone are the only remains of the original home.
Near the end of our visit we climbed Patriarch Hill for a panoramic view of the monument and the Visitors' Center. We mentioned to our Senior Missionary Guide how peaceful it was in the area, and that we felt that peace even before we saw the monument, as we were eating our picnic lunch. He told us that in a blessing President Joseph F. Smith left as he closed the dedicatory service he said, "Peace be with you, and unto this place, unto this monument and unto all who come to visit it..."