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Working Summers for Nauvoo Restoration, Inc. with the Best Bunch of Friends Ever!

Nauvoo Restoration 1971

Working for Nauvoo Restoration, Inc. was one of the very best experiences of my life. That’s me in 1971 in the front row, just to the right of my friend Terry Walker (striped shirt) wearing my trademark white Levis… for some inexplicable reason. Certainly my Grandma deserves all the credit in the world for getting the dirt out of them every week. That was frankly, another restoration that in retrospect, was nothing short of a miracle. Thanks Grandma!

1971 picture of Nauvoo Restoration archeology crew

The Nauvoo Restoration Backstory

Our family home is Nauvoo, Illinois. I was born there and I grew up watching the temple lot change from a big vacant field where the kids played softball to the home of the beautifully restored Nauvoo Temple.

I started working for Nauvoo Restoration, Inc. (NRI) when I was 14 years old in 1964 and continued that summer job well into my college years.

That summer in ’64 I rode by bike out to Restoration President Byron Ravsten’s farm and asked him for a summer job. He kind of sized me up and then he asked me a question I never thought any adult would ever ask me at 14. “Do you know how to drive?”

“Think quickly Jon, this might be the greatest summer of your life!” Well I knew in theory how to drive as my dad started giving us driving lessons as soon as we could reach the pedals.

“Yes, sir!”, I said will all the sincerity a 14-year old kid with a breaking voice could muster.

“Good,” he said as he tossed me the keys to the white, ford Restoration pickup truck. “Now drive down and pick up David Egar (my best friend) and you two boys drive around to the sites where the men are clearing brush and haul it off to the dump.”

Okay, well this is about as close to heaven as I could imagine and that was the start of my NRI summer career.

Fast forward to my 21st year of life. That summer we were finishing up digging out the temple foundation. I stood there at the end of that Summer and looked at what we young men had accomplished over the past eight years.

I was born in and spent every summer in this historic little town. I thought about all the history that had unfolded here and it occurred to me that I was actually part of that history now. A blessing and a privilege for which I will always be thankful.

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