What to Expect When You Visit the Church’s Historic Sites in Ohio

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offers guided tours of several historic sites in and around Kirtland, Ohio. As you experience them, you can gain a deeper understanding of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can learn about prophetic leadership, revelation, bestowal of priesthood keys, the importance of temples, and the dedication of early members of the Church.

The majority of the places at these sites are accessible for visitors who are in wheelchairs or who walk with difficulty. However, a few of the outdoor paths are not paved, and two of the historic buildings have upper floors but no elevators. Missionaries at the sites will adapt their presentations to accommodate the needs of all visitors.

Trained service animals are allowed at the Church’s historic sites in Ohio, including inside historic buildings. However, emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals and pets are not allowed. Please refer to the Church’s Service Animal Guidelines for more information.

The visitors’ center is open all year, but some of the other buildings may not be accessible during inclement weather. To check schedules and the availability of the sites, call 1-440-256-9805 or click here.

You may also enjoy touring the Kirtland Temple, which is owned and operated by Community of Christ.

Core Experience

1. Kirtland, Ohio

Historic Kirtland

Your visit to Historic Kirtland begins at the visitors’ center. Missionaries will invite you to watch a 24-minute movie about the Latter-day Saints in Kirtland before they lead you on a tour of historic buildings. If you choose to experience the entire tour, you will visit Newel K. Whitney’s store, Newel and Ann Whitney’s home (pictured here), a sawmill, an ashery, and the Johnson Inn. You will visit places where Joseph Smith received revelations and where Latter-day Saints worked together to build a temple.

A typical tour of Historic Kirtland lasts about 1½ hours. If you do not have that much time, missionaries can adjust the tour to meet your needs.

Joseph and Emma Smith Home

North of the cemetery is a home that once belonged to Joseph and Emma Smith. The structure of the home was recently restored to the way it was when the Smith family lived here.

Approximately 30-minute guided tours are available of the lower floor of the home. The tour is fully wheelchair accessible.

Admission is free, but tickets are required to tour the Joseph and Emma Smith Home. Tickets become available starting at 7:00 a.m. (Eastern Time) the day you’d like to visit. Visit historickirtland.eventbrite.com to reserve your tickets.

Historic Morley Farm

About a mile from Historic Kirtland is a place where Isaac and Lucy Morley once ran a large farm. The Morleys hosted Joseph and Emma Smith on their property from March 1831 to September 1831. While Joseph and Emma lived there, Joseph received 13 revelations that are now recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants. When you visit the site, you can go to a place where Joseph presided at a meeting of priesthood holders. To arrive there, you will need to take a short self-guided uphill walk, less than two-tenths of a mile, through a grove of trees.

Plan to spend 30 minutes or less at the Historic Morley Farm. Picnic tables on the property are available for you to use.

Kirtland Temple

For Latter-day Saints in Kirtland in the late 1830s, the temple was a sacred place of worship, learning, and community gathering. The temple still stands today, less than a half mile from Historic Kirtland.

Community of Christ owns, operates, and maintains the temple. They provide a tour that includes a museum exhibit and a film in their visitors’ center and a visit to the main congregational areas of the temple. If you take the tour, you will be asked to pay a small fee. All proceeds support the ongoing preservation of the building.

Plan to spend one to two hours visiting the Kirtland Temple.

For more information, visit kirtlandtemple.org.

2. Historic Johnson Home in Hiram, Ohio

After Joseph and Emma Smith lived with the Morleys, they moved to Hiram, Ohio, where they lived for a time with John and Elsa Johnson. The Johnson home was a place of conversion, revelation, Church administration, adversity, and devotion. It has been carefully restored to its condition when Joseph and Emma lived there.

The Johnson home is southeast of Historic Kirtland, about a 45-minute drive away. If you want to take a complete tour of the home, plan to spend 30 minutes to an hour. If you do not have that much time, missionaries can adjust the tour to meet your needs.

Other Options in Kirtland

1. Historic Cemetery

A historic cemetery is located just north of the temple. A number of early Latter-day Saints are buried there.

2. Stannard Quarry (at the Chapin Forest Reservation)

The Stannard Quarry, now part of the Chapin Forest Reservation, is located about two miles south of Historic Kirtland. It features a short trail with interpretive signs. In the 1830s, workers extracted stone from this quarry for the Kirtland Temple and other structures in the area. The site is no longer used as a quarry, but drill marks remain in the stone, revealing the quarrying process.