Mormons to restore historic site

BY ROBERT L. BAKER

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have announced their intentions to develop an historic site in Susquehanna County which played a significant role in the growth of the Church that now has 14 million members.

Formerly known as the town of Harmony, the site is significant as the place where Joseph Smith translated much of the Book of Mormon in the early 19th Century

“This site is sacred ground for Latter-day Saints,” Church historian and recorder Elder Marlin K. Jensen said.

Church leaders were sent a letter April 15 about plans which will include reconstruction of historic buildings and construction of monuments commemorating the restoration of the priesthood. No specific details about groundbreaking were forthcoming, however.

The church’s purchase of 10 acres of land in Oakland Township for $2.1 million in January rekindled discussion about the church’s serious interest in likely creating a visitor center.

Susquehanna County Historical Society curator Betty Smith said that in recent years, a researcher from the Latter Day Saints Church had been meticulously trying to identify the types of plants and trees that grew along the Susquehanna River more than a century ago, and he had also been combing records for any know photographs of the old Joseph Smith homestead.

“We’ve been expecting they had plans to do something big in an historical way,” Smith said.