- Amish Country
Today the Mormon Church has rebuilt 10 buildings that were part of the historic village of Kirtland. Although Kirtland was not originally formed to become the headquarters of the new church, that's what it became in the 1830s. In the 1990s, the Mormon Church invested $15 million to renovate, restore or rebuild some of those buildings that were built by Joseph Smith and his followers. It was this site where the first Mormon Church was constructed after its founding in New York.
The historic restoration site in Kirtland has become a religious pilgrimage site where today's Mormons can visit and see how the church survived during its early days.
In 1831 several years after Joseph Smith had his first series of revelations, and as the movement began to gain converts, it was decided the church needed to expand. By 1831, the new church had established its headquarters in Kirtland, Ohio. Joseph Smith urged the membership to gather in Kirtland where the first Mormon Temple was constructed. The new church remained here and prospered for a time with membership approaching 3,000. In 1838 several events came together and the church
In 1836 Joseph Smith and the Church leaders began the legal process of incorporating a bank. However, they failed to gain a legal charter from Ohio. With this failure, the group decided to form a joint-stock company called the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company. It was unchartered, unauthorized, but the founders believed they had a legal right to create a private organization that could perform regulated banking operations. Unfortunately, regulated banks refused to honor the currency printed by the Anti-Banking Company. In short order, the currency notes were acquired by others. They then demanded the notes be redeemed for gold or silver. Since the bank did not possess sufficient hard currency on hand to satisfy the demand, the Anti-Banking Company had to suspend operations.
On July 6, 1838, a mile long line of wagons and carts, carrying 500 people began what would become a 3 month journey to northern Missouri. They were leaving behind everything they had worked to accomplish over the previous 7 years, abandoning their homes and businesses locked, but not protected. Most of the buildings left behind were poorly constructed and not worth much. Other homes and buildings were just the opposite, yet the departing Mormons accepted no money for their real estate holdings.