KIRTLAND, Ohio — Tim Powell remembers when the "Utah Mormons" first came to town with their plans in the early 1990s.They wanted to recreate a historic village that would explain the role this city played as the Mormon church's headquarters in the 1830s and celebrate the fact that the faith's first temple is here."Kirtland is one of our best kept secrets, and we wanted to remove that cloak of secrecy and remind people of the importance it played in our history," said Karl Anderson, 72, who helped push the church's $15 million effort to renovate or rebuild 10 buildings or sites in and around Kirtland.Mr. Powell, who has lived in Kirtland all his life and been on the City Council for 14 years, and some others did not like the idea. He had read how Mormons had swept into two other towns that played significant roles in the church's founding — Palmyra, N.Y., and Nauvoo, Ill. — resulting in conflicts with non-Mormons."In other places you could see the Mormons were taking over those towns," said Mr. Powell, 55.Mr. Powell fought the church's project every step of the way, worried, he said, about allowing such a relatively large tourist development in the middle of town.But now, eight years after it was completed, Mr. Powell concedes that he was wrong. "I was a skeptic," he said. "But now that the dust has settled, I think people are pretty happy with it."
NYTimes: Paying tribute to Mormon church's Ohio roots
By Deseret News
Sean D. Hamill