At the time the Nauvoo Charter was passed, a new state capitol building was being used for state business even though it had not been completed. Seen here is a reconstruction of the Old State Capitol, the fifth statehouse in Illinois and first in Springfield. It served as the seat of Illinois state government from 1839 to 1876.

The Nauvoo Charter was, in essence, authorization to franchise the city of Nauvoo, as had been done with several other cities in the state. It was introduced to Illinois legislators on Nov. 27, 1840.

Because the new capitol was not yet completed, only the State Senate was meeting in the building. The state House of Representatives was assembled nearby in a local church. After being passed and signed by the governor, the Nauvoo Charter became law in February 1841.

Adjacent to the old capitol is the Tinsley building in which a courtroom was located. The Prophet Joseph Smith went to trial and was acquitted there in early 1843.