Post Office &
Dry Goods Shop

LOCATION: Main Street

A US Post Office had already been established in Commerce (Venus before that) when the Latter-day Saints began settling in the area. It became the Nauvoo Post Office on April 21, 1840, with George W. Robinson as postmaster. He was followed in January 1845 by Elias Smith, who had been managing the print shop. The Nauvoo post office was very busy, as steamships and mail carriers picked up and dropped off mail several times a week.

Experience the Post Office & Dry Goods Shop from your computer or smart phone in three different ways: with our Virtual Tour,  Image Gallery, or schedule a  Live Video Tour. Click on the links below to see more.

Virtual 360° Tour

Take a look inside the Post Office & Dry Goods Shop right from your computer or smart phone by checking out our 360° Photos.

Image Gallery

Peek inside the Post Office & Dry Good Shop as you scroll through our image gallery.

Post Office
Frederick Merryweather rented space from James Ivins for a dry goods store in 1844. He may have moved from the south building to the north in 1845 when John Taylor purchased the property and designated the south building as the printing office. The Post Office may have been housed in either building, but it was not unusual for a post office to share space with another enterprise.
Post Office
Nauvoo’s post office moved at least three times. For a while, it was operated out of Sidney Rigdon’s home until he left Nauvoo in 1844. When Brigham Young appointed Elias Smith postmaster, the office moved to this complex. Elias was a cousin to Joseph Smith.
Post Office
There were no stamps in Illinois before 1847, so the postmaster would mark a letter as paid, partially paid, or unpaid. A recipient had to pay for unpaid mail; otherwise it was sent to a dead letter office in Washington D.C. Postage was based on weight and distance.
Post Office
Lucy Brown met Elias Smith while working as a nanny to the Taylor children. They married in 1845 and were sealed in the temple on the eve of the Saints’ departure from Nauvoo in 1846. The couple stayed in Iowa for a time but moved to Utah in 1851. Elias worked as a probate judge, the business manager and editor of the Deseret News, and Salt Lake City Postmaster.
Post Office
Featured in the post office is an antique cabinet used in the Nauvoo area in the middle of the 19th century. It had space for locked boxes and open shelves for letters. The Nauvoo Post Office would have used something similar to this to manage mail.
Dry Goods Store
Most merchants in Nauvoo imported goods from St. Louis and Cincinnati, as well as other cities to the east. Whether goods were made locally or purchased elsewhere, proprietors would advertise low prices in hopes of gaining customers.
Dry Goods Store
Frederick Merryweather sold books, stationery, and everyday hardware and crockery, much of which could be produced in Nauvoo. The collection on display resembles items common to the era and highlights Merryweather’s focus on selling local goods.
Dry Goods Store
Frederick and Sarah Merryweather arrived in Nauvoo in 1843. They did not go West with the Saints but settled instead in Cincinnati, Ohio, where they remained in a branch of the Church until the Civil War broke out in 1861. They made their way to Utah and then settled in California by 1870.
Dry Goods Store
These replica tools illustrate how a dry good store would stock practical items for daily use.
previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrownext arrow