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Revised Plat of the City of Zion, circa Early August 1833

In late June 1833, Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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drew a plat map with detailed explanations for laying out the city of Zion

Also referred to as New Jerusalem. JS revelation, dated Sept. 1830, prophesied that “city of Zion” would be built among Lamanites (American Indians). JS directed Oliver Cowdery and other missionaries preaching among American Indians in Missouri to find location...

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in Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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, Missouri. The presidency of the high priesthood

Both the office of the president of the high priesthood and the body comprising the president and his counselors; the presiding body of the church. In November 1831, a revelation directed the appointment of a president of the high priesthood. The individual...

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sent the plat with an architectural plan for the Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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House of the Lord

Plans for Far West included temple on central block. Latter-day Saints in Caldwell Co. made preparations for construction and commenced excavating for foundation, 3 July 1837. However, while visiting Latter-day Saints in Far West, 6 Nov. 1837, JS gave instructions...

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and a letter to the Church of Christ

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

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leadership in Jackson County; the package arrived on 29 July 1833.1 The letter accompanying the plat instructed Missouri bishop

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. JS appointed Edward Partridge as the first bishop in February 1831. Following this appointment, Partridge functioned as the local leader of the church in Missouri. Later revelations described a bishop’s duties as receiving...

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Edward Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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and other church leaders that “should you not understand the explanations Sent with the drafts you will inform us, so as you may have a propper understanding, for it is meet that all things should be done according to the pattern.”2 By August 1833, having drawn a new plat for Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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, Ohio, the presidency of the high priesthood apparently saw errors in the pattern for the city of Zion and commissioned Williams to draw a revised plat, featured here, as well as a revised plan for the Missouri House of the Lord.3

See Plat of Kirtland, OH, not before 2 Aug. 1833. In some respects, the plat featured here is similar to the Kirtland plat drawn the same month. The revised plat for Zion is larger than the seven-by-seven block structure of Kirtland and has two central blocks with twenty-four temples instead of only one portion of a central block for three temple-style houses, but the block dimensions and the consecutive numbering of lots are the same. The numbering of the lots in Kirtland radiated out from the central block while the numbering on the revised plat for Zion began at the most northwestern block.  


Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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, who had been in Missouri but had left before the original plat and architectural plan arrived, offered the only surviving explanation for the creation of the revised plat and plan. In a remark inscribed on the revised plan of the Missouri House of the Lord, Cowdery stated, “Those patterns previously sent you, per mail, by our brethren, were incorrect in some respects; being drawn in grate haste. They have therefore drawn these, which are correct. The form of the city was also incorrect, being drawn in haste. We send you annother.”4
The revisions to the plat reflect an evolution in Mormon city planning, offering more precision and some substantial changes, though the dominance and centrality of religious structures, which was a unique element in American urban planning, remained the same.5

Bushman, Believing History, 181–187.  


Unlike the earlier version, the revised plat of the city of Zion

Also referred to as New Jerusalem. JS revelation, dated Sept. 1830, prophesied that “city of Zion” would be built among Lamanites (American Indians). JS directed Oliver Cowdery and other missionaries preaching among American Indians in Missouri to find location...

More Info
contained no detailed written explanations. The revised plat was drawn to cover a larger area than the original: 1.5 square miles compared to the original one square mile. Rather than forty-two ten-acre blocks and seven fifteen-acre blocks,6

Although the explanation for the original plat called for fifteen acres to be in each of the blocks in the center row, the drawing of that plat showed sixteen acres in each of those blocks.  


this plat has 132 ten-acre blocks. Increasing the plat size to 1.5 square miles meant the addition of 1,624 lots, bringing the total number of lots from 976 up to 2,600, which would have more realistically accommodated the original projected city population of fifteen to twenty thousand by decreasing the per-dwelling occupation rate from an unrealistic fifteen to twenty persons to a more reasonable six to eight.7

See Hamilton, Nineteenth-Century Mormon Architecture, 17–19. The original plat and its explanation indicated that each lot would have only one house, or dwelling, per lot, suggesting that in many cases, multiple families would have to live in the same house. (Plat of the City of Zion, ca. Early June– 25 June 1833.)  


Revisions to the city center were also made. The two central blocks, each containing twelve temples, remained the central focus of the city, but they were reduced from fifteen to ten acres. Each temple block retained the configuration of four temples across and three down.8

The revised plat was first drawn with a different arrangement but was corrected before the plat was sent to Missouri.  


The revised plat, however, omitted a third central block that was to contain the bishop

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. JS appointed Edward Partridge as the first bishop in February 1831. Following this appointment, Partridge functioned as the local leader of the church in Missouri. Later revelations described a bishop’s duties as receiving...

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’s storehouses

Both a literal and a figurative repository for goods and land donated to the church. The book of Malachi directed the house of Israel to bring “all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house.” In JS’s revision of the Old Testament...

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. With the exception of the two central blocks, each of the remaining 130 blocks contains twenty half-acre lots. Lot numbering begins with the block in the northwest corner (the map being oriented with north at the top), moves to the blocks south, and then continues column by column in the same manner, moving east.
This revised plat is the first known Mormon city-planning map to include street names. The original plat called for sixteen 132-foot-wide streets, while this revised version has four 132-foot-wide streets (all of which border the two temple blocks) and twenty-one 82½-foot-wide streets. Thirteen streets run north to south, and twelve run west to east. Five streets border the central temple blocks: Zion Street, located north of the temple blocks; Jerusalem Street to the south; Bethlehem Street to the west; Kirtland Street to the east; and Chapel Street, which runs north and south between the two blocks. All of the other streets have names that feature an ordinal number and a cardinal direction; the street numbers increase as they radiate out from the temple blocks in each direction. For instance, the first numbered street east of the temple blocks is named First Street East.
Before receiving the revised plans, Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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wrote to Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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on 13 August with some questions concerning the original plat and plan for the House of the Lord. His letter arrived in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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in early September, after Williams had revised the plat. JS responded to Partridge via a 4 September letter to Vienna Jaques

10 June 1787–7 Feb. 1884. Laundress, nurse. Born in Beverly, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Daughter of Henry Jaques and Lucinda Hughes. Lived in Boston, 1827–1830. Baptized into LDS church by E. Harris, 12 July 1831. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1833....

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, acknowledging receiving the letter and stating that the “brothern whom we have recently sent to Zion

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, designated Missouri as “land of promise” for gathering of Saints and place for “city of Zion,” with Independence area as “center place” of Zion. Latter-day Saint settlements elsewhere, such as in Kirtland, Ohio, became known...

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will give them all the information they need about it.”9 Sometime after 18 August and before 4 September, Orson Hyde

8 Jan. 1805–28 Nov. 1878. Laborer, clerk, storekeeper, teacher, editor, businessman, lawyer, judge. Born at Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Nathan Hyde and Sally Thorpe. Moved to Derby, New Haven Co., 1812. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, ...

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and John Gould

21 Dec. 1784–25 June 1855. Pastor, farmer. Born in New Hampshire. Married first Oliva Swanson of Massachusetts. Resided at Portsmouth, Rockingham Co., New Hampshire, 1808. Lived in Vermont. Moved to northern Pennsylvania, 1817. Served as minister in Freewill...

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, following instructions from JS, left Kirtland for Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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with letters, the revised plat of the city of Zion

Also referred to as New Jerusalem. JS revelation, dated Sept. 1830, prophesied that “city of Zion” would be built among Lamanites (American Indians). JS directed Oliver Cowdery and other missionaries preaching among American Indians in Missouri to find location...

More Info
, and the revised architectural plans for the House of the Lord

Plans for Far West included temple on central block. Latter-day Saints in Caldwell Co. made preparations for construction and commenced excavating for foundation, 3 July 1837. However, while visiting Latter-day Saints in Far West, 6 Nov. 1837, JS gave instructions...

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. They arrived in Jackson County in late September.10

See Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 18 Aug. 1833; Letter to Vienna Jaques, 4 Sept. 1833; “History of Orson Hyde,” 12, Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, 1856–1858, 1861, CHL; and Knight, History, 439.  


When these latest plans arrived in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

More Info
, Bishop Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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saw a need to further revise the arrangement of the temples in the two central blocks; he drafted revisions by late September 1833.11 In November, renewed violence in Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

More Info
, which culminated in the expulsion of church members, derailed any immediate plans to build the city of Zion

Also referred to as New Jerusalem. JS revelation, dated Sept. 1830, prophesied that “city of Zion” would be built among Lamanites (American Indians). JS directed Oliver Cowdery and other missionaries preaching among American Indians in Missouri to find location...

More Info
in accordance with any of the revised patterns.12
The following transcript presents a note by Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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first, the cardinal directions second, and the street names third. The text found in the city blocks is then transcribed, one block at a time. The first block transcribed is the one in the upper left corner of the plat, which is the northwest corner; the transcript continues down that column and then proceeds from column to column moving from top to bottom and left to right. Two blocks contain inscriptions of buildings. The rest of the blocks contain only lot numbers, and instead of indicating each lot number individually for these blocks, the transcript presents the span of lot numbers found in each block in square brackets. The images in this transcript are oriented north-side up.

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