History of the Nauvoo Mix House

This beautiful red-brick home, locally known for generations as
‘The Mix House’, was built by Phelps and Esther Mix in 1846.


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Phelps & Ester Mix arrived in Nauvoo in 1842 during the height of the Mormon settlement of the area.  A skilled carpenter and engineer, Phelps was immediately employed in the construction of the original Nauvoo Temple.

After much hard work and the arrival of their son Thomas Phelps & Ester were able to purchase the land on Parley St. where the Mix House is today.

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In 1846 the Mix's constructed their new home on the land they owned. Both Phelps and his wife loved the tall arches that adorned the front of the newly completed Nauvoo Temple and taking their inspiration from those arches they added their own to the front of their home. 

Today, one of the remarkable features of the ​Mix House are the three beautiful arches on the front facade of the home.

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The Mix House sits on a parcel of land that was originally purchased by Ethan Kimball of Vermont, through his attorney Hirum Kimball in 1838.  It then passed to Daniel and Mary Ann Whitney in 1840.  From 1840 to 1846 the property had several owners; Heber C. and Vilate Kimball, John Downton and eventually Phelps & Ester Mix. 

Today the historic Mix House is owned and maintained by Lon & Nancy Simpson

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Esther eventually married Melancton S. Carey, a school teacher from New York State & mayor of Nauvoo. His term as mayor is significant to the history of the property in that upon marrying Esther and moving into the Mix house with her and young Thomas, he now resided outside the city limits by merely a couple of feet.  To retain his position as mayor, it was stipulated by the city that the elected official must sleep within the city limits. Accordingly, the honorable Mr. Carey had the brick addition to the home added to the west side of the house, placed a bed therein, and satisfied all requirements.

In 1860 the Mr. Carey was elected sheriff of Hancock County and the family moved to Carthage where they resided in the notorious Hancock County Carthage jail, where the Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred.

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Young Thomas Mix resided in Carthage for little more than a year before enlisting as a private with Company B, 118th Illinois Mounted Volunteer Infantry on the 7th of November, 1862.  He fought honorably with the regiment until he was killed in action on August 25th, 1864 at Redwood, Louisiana during the Vicksburg campaign.  His family had his remains transported back to Carthage in 1865 where a large funeral procession was held for his reinterrment at the Carthage cemetery.


The beautiful Mix House with its strong arches and columns has stood through the years - some years harder on the old house than others.  One such year was when the property was nearly lost as a result of the owner being slain in the Civil War and the widow having no means to satisfy the taxes.  A kindly neighbor, H.G. Ferris, paid the tax bill of .90 cents for the portion of the house setting in Nauvoo Township and the $1.98 tax for that portion of the house in Sonora Township.  To this day, the property receives two tax bills.

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In 1882 the property was purchased by Emil Baxter who came to Nauvoo as a component of the Icarian utopian experiment that existed in Nauvoo for a few years immediately following the Mormon exodus. 

Emil Baxter was the patriarch of the famous Baxter Winery just a two minute walk down Parley street from the Mix house.  The winery is the oldest operating winery in Illinois.  Emil purchased the property for the farm ground and put in his vineyards.

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The Mix house remained in the Baxter family for several generations.  Eventually Emil's granddaughter Lillian used the home for an Icarian museum and had beautiful work done to restore it.  The museum opened in 1990 and remained until her passing in 2000.  In 2011, nearly 130 years after Emil Baxter purchased the property, Lon and Nancy Simpson (the current owners) acquired the Mix House and completed another major restoration of the home.  

Lon is a master woodworker who was able to bring much needed restoration using woodworking skills that have 
been a lost art for over a century. The hard work and remarkable effort has allowed the home to be modernized in ways that make it comfortable without taking away from the history and craftsmanship of the old pioneer era.


The beautiful Nauvoo Mix House stands on Parley street in Nauvoo among quiet farms and fields.  You'll love the entire experience of Nauvoo from the historic setting of one of Nauvoo's early treasured homes

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Nauvoo Mix House

Nauvoo Mix House 2205 Parley St. Nauvoo, IL 62354 US

(217) 219-5994

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