A trip to Nauvoo is a journey through both geography and history. A good guide book can make it not only easier, but also more enjoyable and educational.

There are a lot of books that tell the story of Nauvoo in both text and pictures. Any of them can add to your experience. But if you're specifically looking for guidebooks, here are four that combine the historical and geographical aspects in particularly nice ways:

THE LDS FAMILY TRAVEL GUIDE: Independence to Nauvoo, by Becky Cardon Smith, Granite Publishing, $14.95.

Smith starts out with a section on planning your trip, including tips on how much time to allow for various sites, suggestions on where to say, figuring costs, what to take, what to do before you go. She also includes a brief church history overview.

Sites covered include Independence, Liberty, Haun's Mill, Adam-Ondi-Ahman, Hannibal, Nauvoo, Carthage and others. Each section provides details on how to get there, planning your time, local sight-seeing tours, background stories, where to find ATMs, shopping, recommended restaurants, lodging and camping options, nearby church services. There are also pages for you to jot down your own notes. Pictures and maps are also helpful.

Owners of the book also receive discounts at more than 50 locations for such things as meals, lodging, tours and gifts.

Sample text: "Gallatin is a small town located 8 miles south of Adam-Ondi-Ahman. The town was named after Albert Gallatin who was Secretary of the Treasury under President Jefferson and President Madison. There is little to see here of Church historical interest, aside from a marker on the courthouse lawn. But the stories and events associated with Gallatin are worth remembering and discussing. While at the courthouse notice the hand-wound antique clock in the dome. Gallatin also has the dubious distinction of being one of the towns robbed by Frank and Jessie James."

OLD MORMON NAUVOO AND SOUTHEASTERN IOWA: Historic Photographs and Guide, by Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and T. Jeffery Cottle, Fieldbrook Productions, $14.95.

The book begins with a brief history of Nauvoo as well as an overview of Nauvoo today. The city is divided into eight guided tours, each set off with clear, easy-to-follow maps. Sites are designated with markings to denote "no present standing structure," "standing structure or marker" and "standing structure open to public."

The old photos are a lot of fun. Historical background about each site is included.

Tours of surrounding communities include Carthage, Webster (Ramus in the Mormon era), Quincy, Montrose and others.

The appendices include a helpful glossary of architectural terms, an illustrated discussion of the architecture of Nauvoo and a discussion of the famous "Temple on the Hill" daguerreotype.

Sample text: "The Porter Rockwell marker is at the southwest corner of Munson and Partridge streets."

Historical Background: "Orrin Porter Rockwell was born on 28 June 1813 at Belcher, Hampshire County, Massachusetts. He married Luana Beebe on 2 February 1832 in Jackson County, Missouri. Rockwell was baptized on 6 April 1830 at Fayette, New York. In Nauvoo, Rockwell served as a personal bodyguard to Joseph Smith. He was endowed in the Nauvoo Temple on 5 January 1846."

SACRED PLACES, Volume Three: Ohio and Illinois, ed. by LaMar C. Berrett, Deseret Book, $19.95.

The book includes sites related to LDS history and important sites not related to LDS history, both clearly marked.

The Illinois section, written by Donald Q. Cannon, provides a brief history of the church in the area. There are also lots of illustrations and several maps. Nauvoo is divided into 12 separate walking and/or driving tours, starting at the Visitor's Center and ending with Parley and Water Streets. Brief descriptions of sites on each tour talk about the site as it is and as it was.

Beyond Nauvoo, the state is divided into geographic regions including other sites in Hancock County (Carthage, Ramus, Big Mound, etc.); Northeast (Monmouth, Chicago); East (Walnut Grove); and Southeast (Quincy, Zelph Mounds, Cahokia).

Throughout, the text provides lots of background and context information. There's also a chronology and geography of Zion's Camp.

Sample text: "The Perrigrine Sessions home was located on the SW corner of Hotchkiss and Hyde Streets, near the home of Perrigrine's parents, David and Patty Sessions. Perrigrine, born in 1814, was a captain of 50 in a wagon train that went to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. He settled north of Salt Lake City in a settlement that took his name, Session's Settlement, and eventually became Bountiful, UT."

THE TRAVELERS' GUIDE TO HISTORIC MORMON AMERICA, by R. Don Oscarson and Stanley B. Kimball, Publishers Press, $10.

Now in its 23rd printing, and updated in 2000, this book provides a succinct state-by-state guide to church history sites from Vermont to Utah. It provides maps, including the quickest way to get to important sites, as well as the scenic route if you have more time for stops.

Included are both church-related sites as well as lists of non-church sites in the vicinity. Descriptions are brief, but the handy size makes it a convenient and quick reference tool. New photography by Scot Facer Proctor also adds interest.

Sample text: " Court House Square: After viewing the Carthage Jail, tourists may wish to drive around Court House Square. It was here on the morning of June 25, 1844 that Governor Thomas Ford addressed the Carthage Grays and harangued them concerning the Mormons. Here also Governor Ford ignominiously paraded Joseph and Hyrum before the jeering Carthage Grays. The original courthouse is gone."


E-mail: carma@desnews.com