See a brickmaster demonstrate how bricks were formed, dried, and fired in Old Nauvoo. Take home a souvenir brick to remember your visit.
In Nauvoo in the 1840s, Latter-day Saint settlers first built log homes or frame homes, but they worked toward building brick homes and shops that represented beauty and permanence. Seven brickyards were kept busy supplying the high demand, but making bricks took a lot of time and patience. Clay and sand were mixed and pressed into a mold until they held their shape. Once the forms were removed, the bricks were dried by rotating them each day for one week to remove all moisture, a process known as hacking. Once dry, 40,000 bricks were stacked like dominoes in a hollow shape called a brick clamp. Firewood was inserted and brought to firing temperature so the bricks could bake for about two weeks. Once fully fired, bricks cooled for another week before they could be used. The exterior walls of the homes were built three bricks thick.