Sunstone Capital

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints founded the town of Nauvoo, Illinois in 1839 and finished construction of their elaborate temple in 1846. Initially welcomed by the Illinois General Assembly, growing anti-Mormonism and the 1844 murder of leader Joseph Smith drove them to abandon the town less than three years after completing the temple.
This celestial limestone carving was one of thirty that adorned the grand temple at Nauvoo, which was destroyed by a fire (possibly due to arson) in 1848 and tornado-force winds in 1850.
Object Name
Date made
associated dates
Weeks, William
associated institution
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
associated person
Smith, Joseph
Weeks, William
Physical Description
limestone (overall material)
white (overall color)
overall: 48 in x 72 in x 18 in; 121.92 cm x 182.88 cm x 45.72 cm
Place Made
United States: Illinois, Nauvoo
associated place
United States: Illinois, Nauvoo
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Cultures & Communities
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Mormons. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Family & Social Life
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Religion
American Stories
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Sunstone from Morman Temple

Visitor Comments

2/20/2016 5:21:42 PM
Landes Taylor
A small "M" is carved in the upper-left corner of the stone, indicating that it was carved by someone with a surname of initial "M." This website identifies the maker of this stone as William Weeks, the architect of the building. So far as I can tell, the only person with a surname of initial "M" that is documented to have carved one of these capital stones is Benjamin T. Mitchell (12 January 1816 to 9 March 1880). See Does the Smithsonian have any additional records regarding which stonecutter likely made this stone?
3/28/2016 7:32:03 PM
Tiffany Coleman
From the website: "Benjamin Winchester and Charles Lambert carved the first sunstones." More information on the sunstones can be found here:
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