Brickyard

LOCATION: Kimball and S. Hyde Streets
While most historic buildings in Nauvoo today are brick structures, only about 15% of all Nauvoo homes were made of brick by 1845.  It was not unusual for a family to live in a log cabin while building a more substantial home out of brick or wood. At least seven commercial brickyards operated in Nauvoo, but some people also made bricks on their property for their own houses. 
Click on the links below to experience a 360° Walk-through, view an Image Gallery, and schedule an In-person or Virtual Tour.

360° Walk-Through

Take a look inside the Brickyard right from your computer or smart phone by checking out our 360° Photos.

Image Gallery

Peek inside the Brickyard as you scroll through our Image Gallery.

previous arrow
Slide 1
Brickyard
This demonstration brickyard was built to showcase the process and importance of brick making in Nauvoo, but this was not the site of a brickyard in the 1840s. At a brickyard, brick makers constructed temporary “scove” or field kilns to fire up to 60,000 bricks at a time. A scove kiln is formed by stacking molded bricks in a 30x20 foot space such that controlled fires can be set inside them.
Slide 1
Demonstration Room
Nauvoo bricks were made with clay, sand, and water readily available in the region. Clay had to be weathered for several months (usually over the winter) and tempered before it could be molded into bricks. Molded bricks then needed to dry thoroughly, a process that could take days depending on weather. Dried bricks next required firing to make them strong enough to use.
Slide 1
Stages of a Brick
Firing bricks required skill with raising the temperature of the fires slowly over time, first to steam away excess water, then to fully dehydrate the clay (at about 1400°F), and then to vitrify it to a glass-like hardness (above 1600°F). At that point, the fires would be extinguished so the bricks could cool over two or three days before being handled. Bricks were then sorted according to quality.
Slide 1
Souvenir Brick

Historic Nauvoo’s souvenir bricks are made on site by volunteers who press them into a patterned mold-- and then dry, fire, and cool them until they are ready for distribution.
Slide 1
Nauvoo Bricks
Bricks were not just used on homes but also for pathways, terraces, and other outdoor spaces. The Nauvoo Temple basement floor was paved with bricks set in a herringbone pattern.
next arrow
Slide 1
Slide 1
Slide 1
Slide 1
Slide 1
previous arrow
next arrow