Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial
The obelisk in May 2009
LocationWhite River Valley, Sharon,
Vermont, United States
Coordinates43°49′26″N 72°28′21″W / 43.823783°N 72.47252°W / 43.823783; -72.47252Coordinates: 43°49′26″N 72°28′21″W / 43.823783°N 72.47252°W / 43.823783; -72.47252
DedicationDecember 23, 1905
Governing bodyThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial is a granite obelisk on a hill in the White River Valley near Sharon and South Royalton in the U.S. state of Vermont. It marks the spot where Joseph Smith was born on December 23, 1805.[1] The monument was erected by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), which recognizes Smith as its first president and founding prophet. The LDS Church continues to own and operate the site as a tourist attraction.


The "monument and the memorial cottage" depicted in 1907.[2]
The "monument and the memorial cottage" depicted in 1907.[2]

In 1884, LDS Church leader Junius F. Wells visited Smith's birthplace and conceived a plan to build a monument to the Mormon prophet.[3] Under the direction of church president Joseph F. Smith, Wells oversaw the construction of the monument and cottage house in 1905. The Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial was dedicated by Joseph F. Smith on the 100th anniversary of Joseph Smith's birth, on December 23, 1905.[2]

By 1907, Wells reported that there had been between seven and eight thousand visitors.[2]


The monument stands 50 feet (15 m) tall and weighs approximately 100 short tons (91 t). The 40-short-ton (36 t) shaft of the obelisk is 38.5 feet (11.7 m) long: one for each year of Smith's life. The obelisk was quarried in Barre, Vermont, and it has been cited as a "remarkable engineering feat"[4] and "one of the largest polished shafts in the world".[5]

A visitors' center and an LDS Church meetinghouse sit on the same property as the memorial. Admission to the visitors' center and tours of the memorial site are free.


  1. ^ The monument itself lies just within the corporate boundaries of Royalton, Vermont. However, the foundations of the cabin that it is believed Smith was born in lie just over the boundary line in Sharon, Vermont.
  2. ^ a b c Junius F. Wells (December 1907). "The Prophet's Birthplace". Improvement Era. 11 (2): 133–37. Retrieved 2015-04-04.
  3. ^ Susa Young Gates, "Memorial Monument Dedication", Improvement Era, February 1906.
  4. ^ See, e.g., Keith A. Erekson, "The Joseph Smith Memorial Monument and Royalton’s 'Mormon Affair': Religion, Community, Memory, and Politics in Progressive Vermont", Vermont History 73:117–51 (2005) at p. 118.
  5. ^ See, e.g., Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial,


Further reading