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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Church President Gordon B. Hinckley has dedicated Historic Kirtland, a restoration of a number of buildings at the Ohio site where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was headquartered from 1831 to 1838.
A wood-frame schoolhouse, a pioneer home, a stocked store, an operating ashery (for making potash), an inn and a water-powered sawmill have all been meticulously restored as part of Historic Kirtland.
"As I sat in this beautiful chapel, in this place sanctified by sacrifice by those who stopped here for a season, I thought of the miracle that came to pass," Hinckley said at the dedication on Sunday, the day before the site's official opening for free public tours. "Those who walked these roads could not have dreamed of the marvelous expansion of this great work."
The ceremony was attended by about 1,500 people, the church said.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, "This is a time of spiritual celebration. A stunning theology was introduced. Things so transcending they are almost incomprehensible."
Ohio Lt. Governor Jeanette Bradley, who attended the dedication, said Historic Kirtland "will attract a lot of people. It won't be limited to members of the Church. Although it has great religious value to members of the Church, it has great historic value to Ohio."
As a part of the state's bicentennial celebration, Bradley presented Hinckley with a historical marker for the restored Kirtland village. It is one of 342 historic markers being presented throughout the state this year.
The Historic Kirtland village as to will officially open for free public tours beginning Monday, 19 May 2003.
Kirtland also is the site for the first temple built by followers of Joseph Smith. The follows later split into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- the Mormons -- and the Community of Christ, which formerly was known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The COC, based in Independence, Mo., owns and operates the temple.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)