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David O. McKay Diaries – “Nauvoo”

Below you will find diary entries on the topic of “Nauvoo.” You can view other subjects here.

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Tues., 19 Aug., 1952:

“8 a.m.–Brother Wilford Wood, called at the office by appointment at his request and reported the removal of the Relief Society monument from the Reorganized Church grounds on the Nauvoo Temple Block property owned by the Church.

He presented a letter from Sister Mary Paul of the Benedictine Sisters (Catholic Church) in Nauvoo, offering to sell the Church property owned by them near the temple lot property, consisting of three pieces: one of four city blocks, (2) a piece 3/4 of a city block, and (3) a separate lot, all for one million dollars.  The buildings on the properties would be included in the sale.

This matter was later taken up with my counselors in the meeting of the First Presidency, and we felt that we had no need of the property and therefore did not favor the purchase, even though the Catholics might erect on their property a building or buildings that would obstruct the view of the river from the temple lot.”

“5:35 p.m.  Left for home

Film on Nauvoo

6:30 p.m. – In company with sister McKay attended the General Authorities semi-annual banquet and social held in the Relief Society Building.

At this social a film of Nauvoo which has been prepared under the auspices of KSl Radio Station, Dr. LeRoy Kimball, and others was shown to the General Authorities.  It is reported that President Richard C. Stratford of the Northern States Mission, Pres. Junius M. Jackson of the New England Mission, and others are interested in having the film shown in Nauvoo and the missions.

I have some reservations as to the value of the picture from a propaganda or missionary standpoint.  In the picture emphasis is given to the liberality of the Nauvoo Charter, favorable mention is made of the Nauvoo Legion, but not much is said as to why the Legion was required to lay down it arms, and the inference to any stranger might be that they were guilty of something serious; that the impression is given that Nauvoo is a ghost town, the houses are still there, the saints were driven out, but not enough emphasis is given to the fact that the Prophet and Patriarch were martyrs.  I feel that the history of Nauvoo and our banishment therefrom is given in a way that does not reflect as favorably as it should upon the Church or our Prophets who were martyrs.

Thursday, July 10, 1958.

Items discussed with President McKay by Elders Richards L. Evans and Mark E. Petersen:

Nauvoo Film

The next matter presented was the Nauvoo film, which had been taken by KSL.  President McKay approved putting a revised sound track on the film, some features of which were previously objected to, but which have been corrected by KSL.  He felt it would be agreeable to distribute the film through the facilities of the Deseret Book Company for a moderate fee anticipating that it will eventually pay for itself, but with the understanding that it would have to be subsidized in the meantime.  President McKay expressed the desire to see the film again as soon as the revised version is completed.

Thurs., 1 Dec. 1960:

“9 to 10 a.m.

Was engaged in taking care of First Presidency’s matters.  President Clark confined to his home – President Moyle in Europe.  I fear President Clark has given up — it has been months now since he has been at the office.  (see notes of important matters taken up at this meeting below)*

*Contract of Sale and Purchase of Temple Lot in Nauvoo

I read over the contract of sale and purchase of the temple lot in Nauvoo – purchase 

price $100,000.  The contract was prepared in triplicate for the signature of the Presiding Bishopric.  I shall confer with Bishop Joseph L. Wirthlin about this.

Thurs., 4 May 1961:

Thursday, May 4, 1961

Minutes of the Meeting of the First Presidency

Held Thursday, May 4, 1961 at 8:30 A.M.

Present:  President David O. McKay, President Henry D. Moyle

Excused:  President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

Elder David L. McKay, Dr. LeRoy Kimball by appointment came into the meeting.

Nauvoo, Illinois Historic Property

Dr. Kimball explained that he had made some purchases of old homes and historic property in Nauvoo, Illinois beyond what he should do, including the Heber C. Kimball home which he has restored, the Wilford Woodruff home and some adjoining property to protect these.  He said he bought the Orson Spencer home for $1200 and the Church bought it from him.  In addition he said the Church owns the John Taylor home, the Erastus Snow home, the Times and Seasons Building and the Temple Block.  He recommended that the Church purchase the Brigham Young home, the Jonathon Browning home, the Prophet’s mother’s home (Lucy Mack property), the John Smith, first patriarch, home (He was the Prophet’s uncle) and some adjoining property to protect these.  He named also the Mix property, (he estimated this can be purchased for $1,000.  Upon it is a stone bearing the date 1845.) and the James Mulholland home (the Prophet’s secretary).  He suggested that these also be bought.  He said that the owners of the Brigham Young home are holding out for more money but that he thinks the property can be purchased for less now than it will cost in the future as developments proceed.  He said the Lorin Farr home was purchased at his suggestion by Hyrum Summerhays of the Summerhays Music Company who was willing that the Church shall have it.

He reviewed the historic properties in the same general area in Illinois; New Salem 100 miles away; the Lincoln Home in Springfield; and in Missouri the Mark Twain home in Hannibal, 75 miles up the Mississippi, which is connected by a beautiful drive along the river, partly in Illinois and partly in Missouri, and Carthage Jail, 25 miles to the south.

He said that the artist, Lane Newberry, estimates that 125,000 people now go through Nauvoo and that with development of the new Illinois State Park of 127 acres, which is across the street from the Wilford Woodruff property and the historic restoration of Nauvoo, the true story of the Mormon people can be told to thousands of people more than now receive it.  He said that the city officials and the people of Nauvoo are taking increased interest in making Nauvoo attractive to tourists.  He said that Mr. Budd, the builder of railroad cars, and Charles G. Dawes at one time were interested in restoring Nauvoo but they could not get the cooperation of the Reorganized Church and they came out here but something caused them to give up the project.

He explained that the blocks upon which these homes are built are four acres.  He exhibited a map of the city of Nauvoo and also several photographs of the various homes.  Among the photographs he exhibited one of the Agnew home, of the man who is reported to have set fire to the temple.

President McKay asked if the place is known where the Saints crossed the Mississippi River. 

Dr. Kimball said that at the place where he was told the crossing was made to Montrose some old pilings are still in evidence where there was evidently a landing.

President McKay said, ‘It is an historic spot.  They turned their backs on their homes and crossed the river on the ice and came to the Iowa side.  This is one of the great stories of the world.’

Dr. Kimball briefly outlined a suggestion for building a bureau of information on the temple block from which guided parties of visitors could be taken to the homes of the original residents of old Nauvoo and be told the true Mormon story.  He said he thought it could be developed with a pageant to be a second Williamsburg.  He said that guided parties now are provided by the Burlington Railroad and by the Santa Fe and it would not take much greatly to increase the number of visitors who could be brought to Nauvoo.  President McKay expressed interest in setting up the project to be self-supporting and Dr. Kimball said it could be organized to be controlled and directed by a ‘Foundation’ and a plan made for recovering ultimately the costs of restoration.  He stessed the nearness of Nauvoo to great centers of population as a potential source from which visitors can be attracted.

President Moyle said that the ultimate justification for such a development would be to build a temple for the members of the Church in the Middle West on the Nauvoo Temple site and this despite the fact that the Catholic Church has cut off the view to the river.  Dr. Kimball asked if the Church has the plans of the Nauvoo Temple and was informed that it is believed the Church does have them.

President McKay said, ‘Why not call Dr. Kimball on a mission to pick up some of these homes for the Church?’

President Moyle said, ‘I am agreeable.’

President McKay said, ‘He can do it rather than have the people become aroused, thinking that the church is doing it.’

Dr. Kimball said that Preston Kimball in Nauvoo, a lawyer and a Catholic, is very helpful.  His grandfather was a cousin of Heber C. Kimball and came from the East and stayed at Nauvoo.

Dr. Kimball said that he had learned in Nauvoo that when the Saints came West many people stayed and reverted, joining other churches.  There are Ellisons and Stephensons; some belong to the Catholic Church and some to other churches but they are all friendly.  He found no opposition in Nauvoo.  He said that the city people are interested in the development of the historic interests of Nauvoo and the former mayor, now deceased, named Horton was, the present mayor is, now interested.  At the dedication of the Heber C. Kimball home the city officers attended as also did two congressmen.  President Moyle said that looking forward to the ultimate restoration, he was willing to buy anything President McKay would like.  He said that Dr. Kimball could acquire what he thinks the Church should have; that he has these in mind better than anybody else.

President McKay asked what Dr. Kimball would recommend the Church purchase and what the estimate of the cost would be.

Dr. Kimball said he would recommend purchasing the Brigham Young home, which might cost $25,000; the Jonathon Browning home, which possibly could be bought for $5,000 to $6,000; the Mix property, which could be purchased for $1,000; and the John Smith, the patriarch’s property; the Prophet’s mother’s home; the James Mulholland home.  The Brigham Young home, he said, is the key to the remaining property which should be acquired.  President McKay said, ‘I think we should decide this morning to purchase these houses.’

Dr. Kimball mentioned Mr. Harold Fabian, who had advised in buying such property and that surrounding land be bought to control and protect the historic land from becoming commercialized.

President Moyle said Harold Fabian is the best man available on restorations.  He has been studying this for the past twenty years.  He is well acquainted with the restoration of Williamsburg and recently brought to Salt Lake City the architect, Mr. Ed Kendrow, who is responsible for the restorations at Williamsburg.  Mr. Fabian took Mr. Kendrow to St. George to see the Brigham Young winter home, which the State Park Commission is restoring.

President McKay said, ‘This is another thing.  This is a project in itself.  We own sufficient property in Nauvoo now to justify our getting the rest of these houses and then we can take the next step.  The first thing is to get this before the price goes up.’

At President McKay’s request Dr. Kimball reviewed the properties to be acquired as follows:  The Brigham Young home, the Jonathon Browning home, the Prophet’s mother’s home, the John Smith, the Prophet’s uncle’s home, the James Mulholland home, the Mix property.

President Moyle added, ‘And some adjoining property to protect what you buy.’

President McKay said, ‘Will you take the responsibility of securing this before they know anything about the interest of the Church?’

Dr. Kimball said, ‘I would certainly be glad to.’

President McKay said, ‘And come back and report.  The first thing is to get these homes or an option on them anyway.’

President McKay said, ‘I will call Harold Fabian and ask him to get in touch with Dr. Kimball.’

Dr. Kimball withdrew from the meeting.

Thurs., 25 May 1961:

“Minutes of the Meeting of the First Presidency Held Thursday, May 25, 1961 at 8:30 A.M.

Present:  President David O. McKay, President Henry D. Moyle

Excused:  President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

Dr. Kimball and Mr. Fabian Report on Nauvoo

By appointment Dr. J. LeRoy Kimball and Mr. Harold P. Fabian met with the First Presidency and reported their visit to Nauvoo, Illinois, to look over historic places and to consider restoration of places of Church History interest.

Mr. Fabian reviewed his experience and interest in the restoration of historic places in the United States and read from documents available to the Advisory Committee of the National Park Service, of which he is a member, relating to the major Westward movements in the United States, including the Mormon migration from Nauvoo.  He emphasized the place of Nauvoo with the restoration of other historic places such as Philadelphia, Williamsburg and St. Louis.  He also described Nauvoo and exhibited a sketch map given to him by Mr. Newberry with a booklet published by the city of Nauvoo, which featured the Mormon homes.  Mr. Fabian dealt especially with the Mississippi River Valley and its great importance in the Westward movement in America and the importance of Nauvoo as one of the major historic sites.  Its relationship to the land of Lincoln and Mark Twain and its place as the starting point of the Mormon migrations were especially emphasized.  ‘It is definitely my conclusion that Nauvoo is entitled to her place in the sun.  I think it should be restored as a town and as a monument to what the pioneers did there.’  He estimated that restoration would bring thousands of people to Nauvoo and that it can take its place with all the other major centers of attraction for tourists who seek the historical areas of the country.

The sketch map of Nauvoo was reviewed and the prominent buildings of the pioneer times were located.  Mr. Fabian emphasized the importance of deciding first on the area to be included and second, on the acquisition of the properties within the ‘perimeter’ of our area.  He described the Mormon homes still standing as excellent examples of beautiful architecture and as a tribute to the cultural standards of the people who built them.

He commented upon the possibility of some research and excavation being made which would uncover foundations of other homes erected by the Mormons in Nauvoo.  An area within a mile of the temple site was described by Dr. Kimball as being on an elevation from which a beautiful view of the Mississippi River can be seen and which the owner is hopeful of selling off building lots, but has not yet sold a lot.  This property he regarded as especially appropriate for the building of a motel and visitors’ accommodations for tourists who come to Nauvoo.  He said it should be a commercial development to provide accommodations needed in connection with such attractions.  In response to President McKay’s question, ‘Do you think it is worth while considering?’  Mr. Fabian said, ‘No, I think it is worthwhile doing.  I think it is a great opportunity.’

After Mr. Fabian withdrew from the meeting Dr. Kimball remained to talk about the purchase of the corner of the Temple Block now occupied by the Catholic School.

The Catholic School Property in Nauvoo

President Moyle reviewed briefly the status of the negotiations for the purchase of the corner of the Temple Block now occupied by the Catholic School.  He said the contract for the purcahse had received the approval of the attorneys representing the Church and had been signed by Bishop Wirthlin, but it was returned from the office of the Catholic bishop of Peoria with the proposal for certain changes and with an uncertain arrangement for the continued occupancy desired by the school and with no satisfactory proposal for paying for the money or paying rent while the school remained in possession.  It also included a request for some action or for the termination of negotiations.  This resulted in the decision to terminate negotiations.

In response to President McKay’s question as to the effect upon the ultimate acquisition of the property if the Catholics are obliged to proceed to remodel the present buildings, Dr. Kimball explained that the city has condemned the present buildings and requires the school to proceed with repairs and remodeling or to vacate and that if the remodeling is done, the school will remain on the site for several years.  Nauvoo representatives of the Catholic Church are ready, he said, to proceed to build upon other properties as soon as they have a sale for the property in question.  The confused state of the history of negotiations of this property were briefly reviewed by President Moyle.

A. Hamer Reiser”

Thurs., 24 Aug. 1961:

“8:00 a.m.

Dr. J. LeRoy Kimball called on the First Presidency in accordance with a previous appointment and reported having purchased the Brigham Young home in Nauvoo for $20,000.  Dr. Kimball considered this a very good buy at that price.  He said it is one of the most valuable homes in Nauvoo and covers an acre and a quarter of ground.   There is a well on it built by Brigham Young, which they say is one of the finest wells in Nauvoo.  The old hitching post in front of the home is still there, and is essentially in its original state in good general condition.  Some things have been torn down, the dutch oven, for instance, but there would be no difficulty in restoring them.  He said it is a well built home and there is tremendous interest in it.  Dr. Kimball said that he was sure we would be able to get the old Browning home.  This is the home of Jonathan Browning, the father of the Browning Brothers in Ogden, gun manufacturers.  The home is full of antiques, and the present owner does not want anyone to clean it but himself.  He is 79 years of age and his wife is 85.  Dr. Kimball said he was sure there is no competition in the matter of securing the home.  The doctor said we now have eight of the fine homes in Nauvoo, and that there are five or six more good homes that he thought we should get:  the John Smith home, the Mulholland home, the Lucy Mack home, and the Orson Hyde home.  Then there is the Bishop Hunter home, which happens to be within some of the Catholic property, and on a side hill.  Preston Kimball assured Dr. Kimball that the Catholic Church would not stand in the way of our obtaining it.

Dr. Kimball also mentioned that he felt certain that we could pick up the three acres immediately south of the temple, which is owned by the Catholic sisters.  Several of these homes that we have heretofore purchased, the John Taylor home, the Wilford Woodruff home, the Brigham Young home, are opposite the State park of 127 acres.  Dr. Kimball said that he was willing to turn over to the Church the Heber C. Kimball home which property he owns and which he has restored.  He mentioned also that immediately across from the park we already have 12 acres in one piece, and we have three fine homes which if they were fully restored would be tremendous.  He mentioned that in one day 250 people visited the Heber C. Kimball home, and that it is actually the one restored home we have in Nauvoo.  He thought that we could pick up about 80% of the block which is across from the State park.  He mentioned also that he had in mind and it was the thought of Mr. Fabian, too, that we should secure a total of about 100 acres in that area, that we already have 40, and there are 60 acres left in the 100, which it is hoped can be picked up.  This would give us 14 good homes, at least 8 of which are fine homes, the original homes.  It might take considerable time, however, to get these properties.

I asked Dr. Kimball how much it would cost to pick up the balance of the 100 acres.  Dr. Kimball said that he had expended about $85,000 now including the Brigham Young home, that if we figured $500 an acre it would be $30,000 and that we might need $60,000 to get the rest of it, perhaps more.  He thought that what he had spent and what the Church had spent has cost us perhaps $110 an acre of $120,000 and if we picked up the rest of the land at $60 an acre or $70,000 the total cost would probably be $200,000.  Then on top of that would be the cost of restoration.

I said the first thing to do is to get possession of these properties and the sooner the better.  It was suggested that Dr. Kimball go back with the idea of purchasing as much as he can and as it becomes available, and that he do it in an orderly way rather than wholesale.  It was also suggested that Brother Dunn of the Building Committee go back to Nauvoo and bring us a report as to which buildings should be taken care of that we now have and the extent and cost of such restoration.  I told Dr. Kimball that we were prepared to compensate him for the Brigham Young home and such other purchases he had made and for his expenses in connection therewith, (except the Heber C. Kimball home) and we want him to go back and secure this other property.  I then asked him to speak to Brother Rulon H. Tingey in regard to his expenditures, that he would take care of the reimbursement.

After the departure of Dr. Kimball we met in the regular meeting of the First Presidency.  President Brown reported on matters pertaining to the Genealogical Association — adjustments of salaries, etc.  (see First Presidency’s Minutes of this day for further details.)

Tues., 21 Nov. 1961:

I overslept this morning — it was 7:30 a.m. before I awakened.  I can’t remember when I slept so late in the morning.  I arrived at the office at 8:30 just in time to meet my counselors and Dr. LeRoy Kimball and Mr. Harold P. Fabian.

Nauvoo Property and Restoration

Dr. Kimball explained that he had talked with Mr. Fabian about Nauvoo as a restoration project, and that they had come to the conclusion that the acquiring of property as a piecemeal project has gone about as far as it can.  He proposed that a local committee in Nauvoo, with his cousin, Preston Kimball, as Chairman, be asked to obtain the property desired.  They think it is advisable to have a Citizen’s Committee arrange for offering to the Church for development as a Historic attraction the property which would be included.

The following Nauvoo homes and property — approximately 40 acres — had been acquired:  The Brigham Young home – Wilford Woodruff home – Heber C. Kimball home – Lorin Farr home – the Snow home, – the Orson Spencer home – the Mulholland home – Times and Seasons building, and most of the temple block.  Dr. Kimball said that the Catholic schools will this year vacate the property purchased by us from the Catholic Church because interest is being paid on the money advanced for the purchase.

These men recommended the purchase of approximately 100 acres of land in a good location overlooking the Mississippi River with a view of providing facilities for the accommodation of visitors.

Mr. Fabian said that he was pleased to have Dr. Kimball call him about this project.  He expressed his interest in the restoration of Nauvoo on the banks of the Mississippi because of the national interest in the historical events which transpired there.  Five necessary steps were outlined:  First, the acquisition of the property; second, its restoration; third, interpretation of the significance of the place; fourth, providing facilities for housing and accommodation of visitors; and fifth, publicity.  He confirmed the advisability of encouraging a local committee to get the property together and offer it to the Church for development.  He reviewed briefly the means by which the local people acquired land for the Wasatch Mountain State Park and offered it to the State Park Commission.  He gave this as an illustration as to how this project should proceed in Nauvoo.

In response to my question, Dr. Kimball estimated that a budget of $250 to $300,000 would be sufficient for the acquisition of the property now needed.  It was decided that Dr. Kimball and Mr. Fabian propose a local committee headed by Preston Kimball of Nauvoo to get the property together and offer it to the Church.  Mr. Fabian said that he would write to Mr. Ed Kendrow, executive vice president and chief architect of Colonial Williamsburg, and ask for his suggestions on restoration of Nauvoo as a historic attraction.  Mr. Fabian offered his time and services, but said that he would need to have his expenses paid.

Mr. Fabian said the project must proceed on a long range basis and the work of restoration must be done well.  Dr. Kimball said that he could go back and have Preston Kimball form the local committee in Nauvoo and get the property together and offer it to him and Mr. Fabian.  Mr. Fabian said that Preston Kimball should be paid for the services he renders.  President Moyle suggested that the committee (Dr. Kimball and Mr. Fabian) should have the power to employ and compensate.  He said, ‘The fact that we own the temple grounds is the basis for taking the next step.’

Dr. Kimball said, ‘I feel that it is the cornerstone.’

I said that without it we could not go on.  Now that we have started, we should go forward.  Let us go ahead.

We decided that A. Hamer Reiser could work with these men so far as the paper work is concerned.”

Thurs., 4 Jan., 1962:

“8 a.m. First Presidency’s Meeting. By appointment Mr. Harold P. Fabian came into the meeting to report findings and recommendations on he restoration of Nauvoo, Illinois. Mr. Fabian explained that the archaeologist of the University of Illinois had been retained at the suggestion of Professor Jennings of the University of Utah, that the archaeologist made partial excavations which uncovered the base of the pilasters of the Nauvoo Temple on the temple block, which is now owned by the Church. He said that the temple basement did not have a hard or clay floor, but a floor of sand, over which was a foot of black soil presumably the remains of the charred timbers of the burning of the temple. As the excavation proceeded, the equipment struck a large stone about five feet square which proved to be one of the fittings of the big pilasters. One corner pilaster was found; it was on the north part of the temple block, not in the center of the block.

Mr. Fabian also said that after he and Dr. Kimball left the excavation

continued and that Preston Kimball reported by letter that a skeleton was uncovered.

Mr. Fabian talked with a small committee of local people that has been formed, and told them that they have a great historic opportunity and recommended that they revise the history of Nauvoo; the purpose being to obtain a reasonable portion of the property to make possible the restoration. He told them that they should give Dr. Kimball and him the property in a package within the next six months. He also told them, “I think we calf buy it from you, but you must give it to us in a package and at a reasonable price. “

In response to ray statement that the Church owns the temple block, Mr. Fabian said all but one small lot on the southwest corner which is owned by the Reorganized Church. He expressed the opinion that the representative of the Reorganized Church of Nauvoo is friendly with bile men of the town committee, and that perhaps something can be done through him. Mr. Fabian described the location of the temple

site as being the northwest portion of the block. The temple faces west overlooking the river .

Mr. Fabian said that the small lot on the temple block owned by the Reorganized Church is important to the development.

In response to inquiry as to whether or not Preston Kimball is the man to do the negotiating for the purchase of the other property, Mr. Fabian said the committee know the men in charge of the Reorganized Church property and they say that they are friendly. Preston Kimball is a Catholic, Mr. Armstrong is a Mormon. Mr. Fabian does not know what the others are, but most of them have nothing to do with any religion. They just want to see this thing go. Mr. Fabian said: “I am hopeful that in some way or other they (Reorganized Church) can be persuaded that this thing is going to be, because it was their temple too. It is a building that the Prophet, their Prophet built. This building is something that is part of their history too. “

We then further considered the purchase of the remaining lot and the cost of this remaining piece of the temple blocks

Mr. Fabian reported that Dr. Kimball recommends that Professor David Miller of the University of Utah be asked to do the necessary historical research. He is a capable man and is very much interested in this whole history. He has imagination to project the history and make it come to life. Mr. Fabian stated that Professor Miller was born and raised a member of the Church, and that he has done a very good job of historical research in interpreting history to his classes, and especially the history of the westward movement. Mr. Fabian said that historical research work is necessary as it is the foundation on which the archaeologist will work when he uncovers the remainder of the temple area.

He commented on then site of Nauvoo when the population was 15,000 to 20,000 people, and emphasized the importance of restoring the most important buildings which will show how the people lived; this would also include some of the residences. He said that when some buildings are restored, the rest are treated by exposing the foundations in some way or other, to give the basis for the imagination of the visitor to build in his own mind a picture of the town as it looked froan the top of the hill with the beautiful expanse of the Mississippi River beyond it. He commented on the restoration of Jamestown where this general method has been used which enables visitors to imagine what the town was like when it was occupied by the original settlers .

Mr. Fabian suggested that a visitors entertainment center should be

located on a convenient place east of the highway commanding a panoramic view of the whole town so the people can see it as the Mormons left it. It should be equipped with modern interpretive devices, audio visual equipment, museum sites, and ample room for the comfort of the visitors. It should be so planned that it can be enlarged as demand warrants. “I believe the demand will be terrific, and the beginning of the development should be soon as Nauvoo at present has very limited accommodations for visitors,” said Mr. Fabian.

He suggested that at least a portion of the visitors facilities should be under the control of the Church on a concession basis by a capable operator, and recommended that Bill Marriott of the Hot Shoppes be that operator .

In answer to my inquiry as to transportation to Nauvoo, Mr. Fabian said, “I do not think we would have any trouble with transportation, because the roads are excellent and there are plenty of bus lines to take care of the people. He also added that the National Parks Service is planning a great river road coming up the Mississippi which will go right through Nauvoo.

After accepting my thanks for his interest and suggestions, Mr. Fabian withdrew from the meeting.

The First Presidency then considered the advisability of this restoration. I said that the first decision to make before this project is undertaken is the location of a temple in the east, whether or not there should be a temple in Nauvoo and also one in Washington.

President Moyle stated the only justification for spending the money necessary to restore any part of Nauvoo would be to restore the temple there .

I said the restoration of the temple is the whole question before us, and transportation to the temple is another.

President Moyle expressed the view that more Church membership will be found near Nauvoo than would with Washington as the center. It was decided that facts about Church membership to which Nauvoo would be accessible be obtained, and also the facts about Church membership on the eastern seaboard.

President Moyle said we are going to be in difficulty if we let this citizens committee go to work and bring us this package the way they have asked for it, and then not go through with it.

I said that we must be prepared to make a center, but from Mr. Fabian’s information at present, it does not seem to be an accessible and advisable center for a temple for our people.

President Moyle gave information about the missionary conference in the Northern States Mission which he had attended in Nauvoo when 220 missionaries assembled. He said the accommodations were provided for missionaries in the high school. In the little hotel he had a room which was not very satisfactory.

I then asked: “From your knowledge then can we go ahead with the restoration and ignore the Reorganized people?”

President Moyle: “If we get this one lot, we own the temple block. “

“Well, we would have nothing to do with the mansion house,” I said.

President Moyle: “No, this work that Roy Kimball proposes can all be done and justified if we restore the temple. “

President Brown: “They have gone quite a long ways, Dr. Kimball and Harold. We will have to call them off or give them the green light. “

“What is the relationship of this temple to Jackson County?” I asked.

President Moyle: Where is no relationship between this and the temple to be built in Jackson County. “

President Brown: “Independence is where that will have to be. “

“It does mean something to build a temple in Jackson County and Nauvoo” I added.

President Moyle: “It is far enough away. Near Nauvoo would be St. Louis with a big airport, and Indianapolis with a big airport.  My thought is to restore this temple as far as the outside is concerned.  It will, therefore, be a small temple.

I said that I thought it should be restored as near to what it was as can be.

President Moyle responded: “That’s my feeling. This temple would not be a big temple. It would not be the size of the temple that I envision in Independence when the whole Church headquarters moves back there.

President Brown suggested that the restoration would be a great tourist attraction, and I agreed that Mr. Fabian has the right vision, but added that before we start we must know where we are going.

It was decided that we should have someone like Dr. Miller of the University of Utah make the historical study before any decisions are made as to the restoration of Nauvoo.

Wed., 7 Feb., 1962:

[First Presidency Meeting]  Nauvoo Temple Block Property 

Discussed the purchasing from the Reorganized Church of lots owned by them on the Temple block in Nauvoo. The Reorganized Church has indicated that they do not wish to sell the property, but will trade it for ground in Independence. It was agreed that the matter might properly wait until there is some further development.

Purchase of Properties in Nauvoo

The First Presidency approved the request of Dr. J. LeRoy Kimball for purchase of the Wilford Woodruff property, as well as that of the Brigham Young property.

(See minutes of the First Presidency for details. )

Tues., 27 Feb., 1962:

“At 11:45 a. m., Mr. Harold Fabian and Dr. LeRoy Kimball came into the meeting to report their progress in Nauvoo. I said to these two men, “You created quite a stir in Nauvoo when you took that shovel in and unearthed that rock. “

Mr. Fabian replied: “It was a dramatic moment. It was snowing and there was sleet. It was a dramatic moment when we hit that pilaster. ” And Dr. Kimball added: “It was the first thing we hit. “

I asked if they are sure it is the temple foundation, and Mr. Fabian replied that there is no question about it.

It was suggested that a Dr. Anderson, a member of the Church and head of the Archeological Department of the University of Southern Illinois,

be asked to do the work of excavating. Dr. Kimball said that the work is scheduled to begin on June 15th.

The following, in part, is the conversation which ensued:

Mr. Fabian: “In connection with this same matter when the archeology is done, there is a proposal of Dr. Kimball that I concur with thoroughly. That lot of the Reorganized Church is the key, we have got to get that some way. Somebody when we were back there made a statement, I do not recall who it was, but if this temple would be restored to the old foundations we could open it up for public inspection, and they would sell the lot to us. Dr. Kimball has suggested that when you get that foundation excavated we keep it as an excavated illustration of what was there, landscape it and so forth. That is a technique that is being used in historical restorations. In other words, you have the foundation, you have the story, and you have the picture of the temple, and there it is, the remains as an historical foundation of the temple, and the people can come and see it and build in their own minds what was over it . The temple to be constructed can be in the Center of the lot back of these foundations. I think the advantage is two-fold: In the first place, I think you will have a better historic restoration for a greater number of people to see than if you use the foundation and build a temple over it.  As soon as you build a temple over it the story is gone.”

Dr. Kimball: “And the well is there too.”

Mr. Fabian: “I suggested that you have a much better historical


President Moyle: “We don’t need that lot for the building of the temple on the center of the block? What use would we have for the Reorganized lot?”

Dr. Kimball: “We can get along without it if we have to, if they don’t want to consent to their part being excavated. “

Mr. Fabian: “I think you would want that whole lot.”

President Moyle: “‘I agree with you as to the desirability, but I am talking about what we can do if we can’t get it. “

Mr. Fabian: “You may have trouble with the excavation of the southwest corner, but I think it springs from the remark of someone. From their point of view, and you must always think of the other fellow’s point of view, that temple is part of their religion too. If it is opened to the public as an exhibit of historical restoration, it is not completely lost to them, and they are letting us have that lot, it is not like taking what they have as a part of the project. They have to show what they have also.  That temple foundation is still there. “

President McKay: “From their standpoint that old foundation will always be a fact that they have to explain why they don’t have temple work.”

Dr . Kimball: “That is true. “

President Moyle: “They do not accept baptism for the dead. “

President McKay: “They will have to face that. “

(We then discussed the possibility of Mr. Fabian and Dr. Kimball going to Independence, that they make the contacts they wish both there and in Nauvoo, according to their own incentive. )

President Moyle: “If you follow this suggestion, which appeals to me very strongly to leave this excavation open so that people can see it, their people can see it as well as others. “

President McKay: “I think it is an excellent suggestion and the connotation included in the presentation of the excavation, it is historical, and if you build a temple on it you close the doors. Everything you do adds to the interest. And the well is there. If you find any relics or the oxen, the whole story is there.”

We then continued to discuss the costs of this project, the acquiring of additional historical property, and the help of men who are professionals in their fields and who could greatly aid in the restoration of Nauvoo.

At this point, Mr. Fabian asked me if I planned to go to Nauvoo with them to look things over in May. I replied: “Blessed are they who expect nothing, for they shall nut be disappointed.”

We also discussed the acquiring of certain homes in that area, and their maintainance.

(For complete details of this entire meeting with Mr. Fabian and Dr. Kimball, see Minutes of the First Presidency for this day.)

At 1:00 p. m. these men left the meeting, and the First Presidency adjourned for the day.”

Thurs., 22 Mar., 1962:

“8:30 a.m.

The First Presidency met with Dr. LeRoy Kimball regarding the exchange of property at Independence, Missouri for property in Nauvoo, Illinois.

Dr. Kimball explained that Mr. Harold Fabian had asked him to meet with the First Presidency today and report on meetings with the officers of the Reorganized Church in Independence about the Church’s acquiring the property owned by the Reorganized Church on the temple block in Nauvoo. Mr. Fabian, Dr. Kimball, Preston Kimball, the attorney, who had driven from Nauvoo, met Presiding Bishop Leslie DeLapp of the Reorganized Church in Independence at 9:00 a.m. on March 15, 1962. Bishop DeLapp warmed up to the matter quickly and said forthrightly that our Church has property in Independence which they need, and that the Reorganized Church has property in Nauvoo which our Church wants. He agreed to an exchange of properties and also suggested that an independent appraiser set the values involved.  Bishop DeLapp’s counselors, Livingston and Johnson, were also present.

Dr. Kimball explained that the Reorganized Church needs three lots in Independence, indicated on the plat, to carry out plans for the beautification and landscaping of their adjoining property. He described the properties owned by the Church as being scattered and isolated by themselves, serving no permanent interest to the Church so far as he could see; that they are evidently of no planning value to the Church, but they are a “thorn,” in the side of the Reorganized Church, and are needed for their long range planning and beautification of other properties and that they will be valuable to them.

Dr. Kimball said that though the Bishop at first said he had only a few minutes before a conference, he spent three hours with Mr. Fabian,

Dr. Kimball, and Preston Kimball, showing them the improved beautified auditorium of the Reorganized Church which has been decorated and improved and made attractive, and which they are landscaping. Bishop DeLapp introduced the group to President Wallace Smith of the Reorganized Church who said that Bishop DeLapp has authority so far as the president is concerned to deal with the group and to arrive at some agreeable arrangement. President Smith said “I can’t see why we can’t get along better than we do.”

I stated: “They know why. We don’t know they exist. It is all on their side.”

Dr. Kimball said they put it the other way. Bishop DeLapp spoke to Mr. Fabian and Preston and said not being members of the Church, you can understand the emotion that underlies this. He said, “We are not asking for that big acreage. We know we won’t get it anyway, but we know what you want in Nauvoo. We tried to get some of the temple lot,” (they wanted to erect; a monument of the Prophet Joseph Smith on it) “but you kind of upset us in Nauvoo. ” He further said: “We have use for these three lots (in Independence). We need them for our beautification. We would deal on the simple basis of having an appraiser come

in, whomever you want, to appraise the property here and in Nauvoo. I said, that that is fair and would be all right.

Dr. Kimball said that he felt that Bishop DeLapp is an honest man, that Mr. Fabian had said that if he were to pick out a man in Salt Lake to compare with Bishop DeLapp, it would be Ernest L. Wilkinson. Dr. Kimball said that they had felt that the representatives of the Reorganized Church with whom they met were friendly and that they were honest; that Mr. Fabian had also said that he thought if we were to offer Bishop DeLapp the presidency of the Zions First National Bank in Salt Lake City he would come to Salt Lake.

Dr. Kimball said he talked with President Carlos Smith of the Central States Mission. He asked if Bishop DeLapp told us that we own some land there. Dr. Kimball said that he told President Smith that Bishop DeLapp had told him that. Dr. Kimball also said that if he owned the land in Independence which they wish, he would give it to them (in trade) as he cannot see where we would lose. If there were a chance of our gaining four, five or six lots around the present lots, it would be different, but the Reorganized Church already owns the contiguous property around the lots in which they are interested.

Bishop DeLapp had said that some day the Church may want to build a temple in Independence; that the Hedrikites have the temple lot in Independence, and they are friendly to the Reorganized Church.

Dr. Kimball indicated on the plat of the property in Independence where the desired lobs are situated and explained that they are single lots and scattered in three places; that the Reorganized Church owns the contiguous lots. They are anxious to obtain these lots as a part of their plan for landscaping and beautification and for parking near the old church. They own the land surrounding the individual lots.

I said that in consideration of everything Dr. Kimball had presented to us that there would be no hesitancy, but we would do as he suggests, and let the lots in Independence be appraised and exchanged on a fair basis for the Nauvoo lot.

Dr. Kimball compared our owning of the individual lots surrounded by the Reorganized Church’s property to the situation of Sears Roebuck Company when the big parking lot surrounded the small dwelling, the owner of which held out against the company when it was trying to develop the property on South Main Street. Our property is a similar thorn to the development of the property owned by the Reorganized Church.

Dr. Kimball asked in whose name certain of the lots was held, and Bishop DeLapp had pointed to one and said it was held in the name of Heber J. Grant. It was suggested that the Legal Department will be able to identify the lots and verify the titles and the names in which they are held.

I said: “All right, you consummate this. We shall give you the responsibility for making that trade.”

Dr. Kimball said that they had specified that we should get a neutral appraiser.

I said that we should leave it in Dr. Kimball’s hands to consummate the trade, and said to him: “You are the man to do it. It is in your hands. We shall make a record of it.”

Nauvoo Appointment 

Dr. Kimball then referred to Mr. Ed Kendrew’s letter written to Mr. Fabian relating to the appointment to meet the committee and the First Presidency in Nauvoo on the 4th or 5th of May. He said that April 29th would be better for him, that he would leave Williamsburg on Friday, May 4th. Dr. Kimball said that they would like some assurance that the First Presidency can be there. Brother Marriott said that he would be there, and he asked if Mr. Conrad Wirth of the National Parks Service will be present. Dr. Kimball explained that Mr. Wirth is head of the United States National Park System. Mr. Kendrew’s letter expressed his interest in the Nauvoo project, and said that it reminded him of the beginning of the Willlamsburg project 25 years ago.

I said: “I think we had better set it to get there on Friday and spend Saturday, May 4th and 5th. One or two of us will be there. “

Dr. Kimball then withdrew from the meeting.”

Fri., 13 Apr. 1962:

“8:35 a.m.

Went into the meeting of the First Presidency.  Among many items discussed were the following:

1) Independence, Missouri – Exchange of Lots for Lot in Nauvoo

Maps, sketches and papers in the file on Independence, Missouri, were briefly reviewed to show the extent of the original temple lot acquired by Edward Partridge, Presiding Bishop of the Church, and later acquired by others for delinquent taxes after the Mormons were driven out of Missouri and into Illinois.  The area is at present built up with the exception of 23 acres now owned by the Church.  This is also indicated on the sketch maps in the file.  A memorandum of a meeting of officials of the city of Independence with the First Presidency, July 1950, on the subject of the need of the city for a site for a high school and their desire to obtain property owned by the Church was also briefly reviewed.  The memorandum included a statement of the decision of the First Presidency not to sell the property to the city, but to make a contribution to the city toward the building of a high school in another location.

The three separate isolated lots surrounded by property owned by the Reorganized Church, which they desire now to trade for the lot owned by them on the temple lot in Nauvoo, were indicated.

I said that the question is whether we want to dispose of these lots at an independently appraised value for exchange for the lot in Nauvoo.  We have given our word for it.  The tabernacle of the Reorganized Church is built upon dedicated land, as is also the Church of Christ Chapel (Hendrikites).  I stated that I hope we can get their land when they make a change, but I do not see any purpose in keeping these three lots.  Presidents Moyle and Brown were in agreement, and said that they were in favor of acting on the proposal, that it is the right thing to do.

I asked, ‘Is there anything else to do in honor?’

President Brown said, ‘I think it’s the right thing to do.’

I stated:  ‘I am glad this came up because I now have a better view of it.  I think our possessing the old temple lot in Nauvoo will be more pleasing to the Lord than our keeping these three lots.  By getting that we have clear title to the lot on which the temple was in reality.

President Moyle agreed and said:  ‘Especially since these Reorganized lots include part of the foundation of the temple.

I said: ‘I think we are all united on that.’

Wed., 25 Apr. 1962:

“9:30 – 10:00 a.m.

We held our regular meeting of the First Presidency.  Discussed among other matters the following:

1) Nauvoo Historic Property

We read a letter from Dr. J. LeRoy Kimball dated April 23, 1962, which submitted a report of individual properties purchased or under option.  The letter included a brief statement of the plan for the First Presidency to be in Nauvoo Friday and Saturday, May 4th and 5th, and reported that Mr. Harold Fabian, Mr. Ed Kendrew (Vice President of Historic Williamsburgh), will be in Nauvoo on Thursday, May 3rd, and Friday, May 4th, and that Mr. Conrad Wirth of the National Park Service will meet them there Friday, May 4th.  Brother Willard Marriott will be in Salt Lake City during that week and desires to travel to Nauvoo with the First Presidency.

I said, ‘We shall leave Friday morning, May 4th, early in the morning and will get to Chicago by 10:00 a.m.  We shall accept Bishop Brown’s invitation and go by plane to Nauvoo.  Bishop Brown has available a seven-passenger plane.  They will take us to Nauvoo, and then take us back to Chicago Saturday evening.  We shall stay there that night and dedicate the meetinghouse Sunday.  I said that President Moyle and President Brown could meet the missionaries at the same time, that President Maycock had asked that they do that, and that they could do both.  I said, ‘You will have to hold a missionary meeting while we are dedicating the chapel.’  We shall then take the plane back immediately after the afternoon session and arrive home Sunday night.

It was agreed that President Moyle and President Brown will meet the missionaries.

I then said, ‘I think this is a very important thing.  We shall have to decide whether this is central enough for a temple, and if we build a temple, it will bring back life to Nauvoo, a cursed spot.’

President Moyle said, ‘I have felt all the way along that the only justification for doing anything in Nauvoo is to rebuild the temple there.  If we felt now that we are not going to do that, I cannot justify this work independent of that.  I think it would be tremendously important if we are going to do that.’

I said, ‘We are going there to see about the unearthing of the foundation.’

President Moyle said that he feels that we should take out the basement of the temple in any event, that the question will be how much property we should buy there.  ‘I have, ‘ he said, ‘no objection to buying and restoring the homes of some of these brethren.’

I stated, ‘Some of them we don’t need to buy.’

Tues., 1 May 1962:

“8:30 a.m.

The First Presidency’s meeting was held.  I reported to my counselors that I had been talking with Bishop Victor L. Brown regarding the First Presidency’s proposed trip to Chicago and Nauvoo leaving here Friday morning by United Airlines, arriving at Chicago at 11:20 a.m.  I said that it seemed to me that the best plan would be to make connections in Chicago with the Ozark Air Lines for Burlington the same day and return from Burlington Saturday afternoon at 5:18 to Chicago, arriving there at 6:40 p.m. on a DC-3 twenty-eight passenger plane.

In discussing the matter, my counselors suggested that they thought it unnecessary for me to make the trip to Nauvoo, that they, Presidents Moyle and Brown, could make arrangements to visit Nauvoo, and come back and report to me later, that in that event I could leave here by plane Sunday morning, take care of the dedication of the new chapel in Chicago, and return home the same evening, Sunday.  I agreed with the Brethren that this would be the wiser thing to do, that I had not felt altogether satisfied regarding making this trip to Nauvoo.  Accordingly, Bishop Victor L. Brown came into the meeting at our invitation, and we explained to him our desires in regard to this matter.  The question of just what the transportation should be for President Moyle and President Brown will be decided upon later, with the understanding, however, that they will return from Chicago with me Sunday evening.”

Thurs., 3 May 1962:

“9:00 – 9:15 a.m.

Brother O. Preston Robinson, General Manager of the Deseret News, and Brother Henry Smith of the Church Section, met with the First Presidency and inquired as to what they might publish regarding the proposed trip by the First Presidency to Nauvoo and the purchase of property by the Church in Nauvoo.  They said that they wanted to print only that which the Brethren wanted them to print on the subject.  They called attention to an article in the Nauvoo paper stating that the Church was going to reconstruct the Nauvoo Temple.  I told these brethren not to mention any such thing as a reconstruction of the temple, and said that this work was really under the direction of the State Chairman of Parks and Historic places, Harold Fabian, who has also just been elected chairman of the United States Landmarks and Sites Commission, and that Nauvoo is a part of the over-all scheme.

It was mentioned that Mr. Ed Kendrew, who is head of Williamsburg, will meet Presidents Moyle and Brown at Nauvoo, as will Mr. Conrad Wirth, Director of the National Parks Service in Washington.  It was suggested to Brothers Robinson and Smith that they get their information in a statement from Harold Fabian rather than from the First Presidency.  I stated that the Deseret News could cover the meeting of the missionaries in Chicago on Sunday while President Moyle is there, and that I would leave Salt Lake City for the dedication of the new chapel in Chicago on Sunday.  I mentioned that I would not go to Nauvoo, that we would like the State and Dr. LeRoy Kimball to carry the responsibility, and that President Moyle and President Brown were going there merely as their guests.  I further said that President Moyle will return to Salt Lake Saturday evening, and that President Moyle would stay over in Chicago to attend a missionary meeting.

Tues., 15 May 1962:

“At 8:10 a.m., arrived at the office, at which time my counselors and I held a meeting with Dr. J. LeRoy Kimball and Mr. Harold P. Fabian, who gave a report of their recent visit to Nauvoo when Presidents Moyle and Brown, and Elder A. Hamer Reiser accompanied them.

Mr. Fabian said that Mr. Conrad Wirth, Director of the National Parks Service, Washington, D.C. met with them in Nauvoo on May 4th and 5th, and said that the National Parks Service can help in the historic and archaeological research about Nauvoo.  He is most enthusiastic about the whole project.

Then followed a long discussion regarding how we are to go about restoring the old homes in Nauvoo, the obtaining of property, the uncovering of the foundations of the old Nauvoo temple, the manner in which the whole project is to be handled, by whom, budget, etc.

We decided to form a corporation known as the Nauvoo Restorations, Inc., with Dr. J. Leroy Kimball as President, Willard Marriott, Vice President, and A. Hamer Reiser, secretary and treasurer, with Mr. Harold Fabian and Mr. David Kennedy as directors.  The working capital to be set aside for this corporation was also discussed.  (see minutes of the First Presidency of this day for details)

In making a report of this meeting at the Council Meeting in the Salt Lake Temple held on Thursday, May 17, 1962, I said that I thought the Brethren would be pleased with what will be done there (in Nauvoo) without any extravagance.  I mentioned the article which came out in the local Nauvoo papers several weeks ago, stating that the temple was going to be rebuilt, which created quite a stir in Nauvoo circles, that, however, an effort was made by the brethren who visited Nauvoo not to give an impression that the Church was going back there to rebuild Nauvoo and restore the temple, but that whatever is done there the Nauvoo people should lead out in it, and that the Church will help.  I said that thus far the Church will confine itself to the purchasing and remodelling where necessary of some of the old homes; also that we plan on a renovation and remodeling of the Carthage Jail, placing a bureau of information just outside the jail; also to make an exit from the back of the jail for the accommodation of visitors so that they can go through the jail and come out at the rear.

Fri., 8 June 1962:

After the departure of the Presiding Bishopric, we continued with our regular meeting.

President Moyle reported that Harold Fabian has now produced the Articles of Corporation which he recommends for the Nauvoo Restoration, Incorporated, in which he suggests as officers:  Dr. J. LeRoy Kimball, president; Harold Fabian, vice-president; A. Hamer Reiser, secretary and treasurer; and Willard Marriott, director.

President Moyle said that it would be their desire to ultimately have Carl Reinhart, president of the Nauvoo Bank, on this Board representing the local community; that Mr. Reinhart is not aligned himself with any one of the different factions in Nauvoo, and is respected by all.

Mr. Fabian also recommended that we obtain in connection with this restoration project the services of Roy Hafen, who is an outstanding historian at the Brigham Young University, to work out all the historical data possible concerning Nauvoo.

The Articles of Incorporation of this company were read, indicating the purpose of the organization, which would be exclusively charitable, educational, historic and scientific; and the acquiring, restoring, protecting and preserving for education and the benefit of its members and the public all or a part of the old city of Nauvoo, Illinois, and the surrounding area; also to maintain, develop, manage, and operate such properties and reinvest such income as may be received form the properties for purposes of the incorporation.

Wed., 27 June 1962:

At this time Brother Mendenhall withdrew from the meeting, and we continued with the regular meeting of the First Presidency.  We considered first the completing of Documents for Corporation of Nauvoo Restoration, Incorporated.

President Moyle reported that documents for the completion of the corporation, ‘Nauvoo Restorations’ are ready for signing, and asked if arrangements may be made for this to be done Thursday morning.  I set 8:00 a.m. as the time, and instructions were given to notify the photographer of the Deseret News.

I emphasized the importance of keeping the people of Nauvoo informed of their responsibility for the restoration, and that the church will restore only the homes at present existing and suitable for restoration.  The rebuilding of the temple is not included.

Thurs., 28 June 1962:

“8:30 a.m.

Went into the First Presidency’s room where my counselors and I met, by appointment, the following members of the Board of Trustees of the Nauvoo Restoration, Incorporated:  Dr. J. LeRoy Kimball, Mr. Harold P. Fabian, Willard Marriott, and A. Hamer Reiser.

Dr. Kimball reviewed purchases made to date at Nauvoo in furtherance of the restoration including 300 acres on the ‘point.’

He asked if arrangements may be made for the finances of the corporation so that the options pending can be exercised and other purchases of land and payments for maintenance can be made in the name of the corporation.  He stated that future purchases were to be made on the authority of the Board.  He stated that options in the amount of $100,000.00 have been taken.  He said that when the properties are restored to the extent intended, it is hoped that some of them may become self-supporting.  He said several thousands of dollars will be needed to complete the purchases of the properties properly within the project.

I asked what would be done with the 200 acres of the high level land.  Dr. Kimball said that this is something which will have to be worked out in more detail.  He described it as beautiful land.  It is not now plowed farm land, but meadow.  At present, the farm will need very little upkeep.  There are wells providing water for cattle; there is no need for irrigation water.  Acreage purchased recently is in the townsite of Nauvoo, but the additional acreage adjoining is outside the city.  Still other property nearby recently purchased, especially the Newberry property, will have livable homes upon them.

Dr. Kimball explained that $250,000.00 had been spoken of for the operating account including cleaning up the properties and maintaining them.  Much of this work will be done under the direction of the Building Committee to put the present properties under roof and to repair them.  In answer to my question as to whether or not the Building Committee would be able to do this, Dr. Kimball explained that it is to be done under the direction of architect Harold Burton.  The Orson Spencer home, the Ashby-Snow home will need to be put under cover, and the windows repaired.

Dr. Kimball said that Dr. Miller will be released by Dr. Olpin for one year from the University of Utah to undertake the historical research.  Mr. Fabian explained that Mr. Willard Marriott will confer with Mr. Conrad Wirth in Washington, D.C., in the hope of clarifying and establishing with him the conditions upon which the National Parks Service will participate in the historical research since the Parks Service usually requires as a condition that the research proceed in accordance with plans and conditions of the department, whereas the corporation, Nauvoo Restoration, cannot submit to that control of the historian for reasons peculiar to ourselves.  We would want to do it our way and to plan it in a way so that the historian, and not the National Parks Service will want to plan it.  Mr. Fabian explained that either the National Parks Service give the corporation a grant for the historian or the Park Service make a contract with the historian subject to the conditions they have to require, and that we would have a copy of the historian’s work.  Mr. Fabian said that if they have any conditions which would put the project beyond the control of the corporation, he would advise against accepting the money; it would be too high a price to pay.

President Moyle said that when the subject was considered, it was not expected that we would give the government any control over our records.  If they pay for it, they would have rights that we do not want them to have.  He said that he came to the conclusion that if this is done ourselves, independently of the government, and we have control of it, the expense will be nominal. 

Mr. Fabian estimated that the cost would be $25,000.00.  Dr. Miller will have leave from the University.  Mr. Fabian stated, ‘You can’t start to restore a single building until you know exactly how it was.  This restoration must be correct because it is something for the whole United States, as well as for ourselves.  This historian’s job is the foundation of all of it.  We must take him at the salary he is now getting.  He will have to have some assistance.  He will have to have some travel expense, and I think you would want to figure on a cost of $25,000.00’  Dr. Kimball added, ‘And we will need a place to work.’

President Brown asked if Dr. Miller is being hired for two years.  Mr. Fabian explained that it is for one year only.  Dr. Olpin is willing to give him a leave of absence of one year.  Mr. Fabian has asked at Williamsburg if they will let him come there and give him (Dr. Miller) an outline of how they did the historic research on Williamsburg, and they have said that they will do it and will be glad to help.

President Brown asked if an agreement with the government can be made to protect us.  Mr. Fabian said that if it cannot be so made he would not agree to its being done.  President Brown said that if it comes to our terms and they want to contribute $25,000.00, it would be good as long as it is done under our control.

Mr. Fabian said, ‘I would like to get their money and also I would like to have the prestige of the Parks Service associated with it.’  President Brown said that it appealed to him for it to be a project with them and under our control.  Mr. Fabian said that Mr. Wirth wants to do it, and Dr. Kimball added that he had asked him (Mr. Wirth) particularly, and he said that there will be no strings attached to it.  Mr. Fabian said that it is a bureaucratic habit when you get a dollar from them, you do it by subordinating the project to their control.  He thought it would be too expensive if it involved that.

I said that that would be a matter we would have to leave to Brother Marriott in dealing with them.  Brother Marriott said that he would make that clear when he talked with them.

Mr. Fabian said that we ought to start Professor Miller in any case; Dr. Kimball said that Dr. Miller is ready to start in July, and added, ‘We are anxious to get him busy on these homes.’  Dr. Kimball said that they would notify Dr. Miller.

Mr. Fabian suggested that Brother Resier and Dr. Kimball be authorized to check on money deposited to their credit, so they would use it direct instead of coming to the First Presidency.

I said that I do not understand how much more land they want to purchase.

Dr. Kimball said on the ‘flat’ there are 300 acres.  We have purchased 100 of them.  There are a number of homes on the ‘flat’ to get rid of in order to make a complete restoration, which, if we do, will run into several hundred thousand dollars in addition.  We are buying houses to get rid of them.  President Brown added that they are an eyesore.  Brother Marriott said that they are not historic houses, but are modern houses; and President Moyle said that some of them are shacks.

Dr. Kimball explained that the Lyon store building is one of the historic houses, and that it is now occupied by a railroad man as a part of his home.  To purchase this home it will be necessary to pay enough to enable him to get a comparable home.

I asked if the remainder of the property will cost about $100,000.00.  Dr. Kimball said that already $200,000.00 had been invested on the ‘flat’ and it could run into more.  The plan is to get the land right to the river in order to keep out any type of commercial or industrial construction so that when it is completed 300 acres in addition to the present buildings and property would be involved.

I said that we will set up $250,000.00 for the operating budget, and then have then send in for individual purchases as they have before.

The ownership of the land would be the same, whether it was by the corporation or by the Church.

Dr. Kimball said they are trying to clear this 300 acres as fast as they can.  That is the money they need in addition to the budget in order to make the purchases.

We then discussed the cost and financing of this project, and I said to Dr. Kimball, ‘We authorize you as president of the board today to carry out the transactions without any further presentation to the First Presidency.

As we concluded our discussion, I said, ‘All right, there is nothing to do now but to work.’

Thursday, June 28, 1962


By Henry A. Smith

Deseret News’ Church Editor

Creation of a non-profit corporation to direct the restoration of historic Nauvoo, took place Thursday morning in the office of The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Officiating at the organization meeting were President David O. McKay and his counselors, President Henry D. Moyle and President Hugh B. Brown.

Heading the new unit, Nauvoo Restoration Incorporated, as president is Dr. J. LeRoy Kimball, Salt Lake physician, who has taken an active leadership in purchasing property in Nauvoo during the past several years.  Harold P. Fabian, of Salt Lake City recently elected chairman of the Citizens Advisory Board on National Parks, Historic Sites, Buildings and Monuments of the U.S. Department of Interior is vice-president and trustee.  A. Hamer Reiser, who recently succeeded Mr. Fabian as chairman of the Utah Park and Recreation commission and who is a secretary of the First Presidency, is secretary-treasurer and trustee.  J. Willard Marriott, Washington, D.C. owner of the Hot Shoppes Restaurants and Marriott Motels and David M. Kennedy, Chicago banker, are trustees.

Mr. Marriott is a former president of the Washington Stake and Mr. Kennedy is presently a counselor in the Chicago Stake Presidency.

President McKay explained Thursday morning that the new corporation is formed for the purpose of restoring the residences in historic Nauvoo as they were left when the Mormons evacuated the city in 1846.  The purpose of restoring Nauvoo, he added, is to ‘perpetuate in history the part played by the Mormon Pioneers in the building of the West.’

The new corporation will proceed in the program of restoration under authorization of The First Presidency.  Many of the residences have been purchased, and option is obtained on about three-quarters of a mile of beautiful Mississippi River front property, according to Dr. Kimball.  Among the important homes which have been more recently purchased in Nauvoo are those of Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, Orson Spencer, Orson Hude, Lorin Farr, and David Yeardsley.  Essentially all of the site of the Nauvoo Temple has been purchased.  Properties owned for several years include the Snow home, the John Taylor home, the Times and Seasons Building, and the Heber C. Kimball home.  The last named was purchased and restored by Dr. Kimball on behalf of the Kimball family.

Dr. Kimball explained that an intensive historical study of Nauvoo is to be undertaken during the next year, and that restoration of the homes will begin next spring.  He plans to spend a month this summer in Nauvoo launching the project.

Deseret News – Thursday, June 28, 1962″

Fri., 20 July 1962:

Miller, Rowena

I inquired about Sister Rowena Miller’s relationship to the work of the Nauvoo Restoration, Incorporated, and as to whether or not she would be employed there.  Explanation was made that her work there would be as office secretary, and to assist the historian, if it is decided that she join the staff of the Nauvoo Restoration.  Brother Joseph Anderson’s interest in keeping Sister Miller for important work in the office of the First Presidency was also explained, and the importance of this work to the office and its functions was considered.

I said that further consideration of the subject would be given when the outcome of the Nauvoo Restoration application for a grant from the National Parks Service is known.  The possibility of obtaining a grant from the National Parks Service for historical research had been mentioned.  Explanation was made that this subject will be reported at the meeting of the Board of Trustees in Chicago, July 27, 1962, when Brother Marriott will report upon his conference with Mr. Conrad Wirth of the National Parks Service.”

Fri., 12 Oct., 1962:

8:15 – 10:30 a. m. 

Nauvoo Restoration Trustees – Report

My counselors and I held a long meeting with the trustees of the Nauvoo Restoration, Incorporated –Dr. J. LeRoy Kimball, Mr. Harold B. Fabian, Elders J. Willard Marriott, David M. Kennedy, and A. Hamer Reiser, and architect George Cannon Young, and with Bishop John H. Vandenberg and Victor L. Brown of the Presiding Bishopric.

For the trustees, Dr. Kimball, president of Nauvoo Restoration, incorporated, said that the organization functioned for a short time before it was incorporated and since its organization the trustees have met three times and desire now to make a report of progress to the First Presidency.

He said that before the incorporation land in Nauvoo had been acquired to the value of $189,300. In reply to my question, Dr. Kimball explained that this included homes, except the Heber C. Kimball home, which is not included in this figure, but which he is planning to give later on. Since incorporation properties have been purchased to the value of $328,750, a total of $518,050. Other properties are now under option and these will take up the estimated total of $1,000,000. He reviewed the authorization to purchase 300 acres on the north hill, which have been purchased or are under option, and 200 acres on the “flat” of which about 100 acres have been purchased.

In response to President Brown’s inquiry as to the purchase of the acreage on the hill, Willard Marriott exhibited a map prepared by architect George Cannon Young’s office showing graphically the present status of the purchase on the hill and on the “flat”.

Dr. Kimball explained, as he indicated on the map, the north area, the portion which comprises part of the old Nauvoo city, and the beautifully located area about which President Brown inquired. He said that these were beautiful rolling hills and about a mile of river frontage over all this beautiful land. All of this is purchased or under option. One owner did not want all of his money until next year because of taxes. The entire 300 acres will be acquired. It is farm land.

They gave us further descriptions of land and homes which we should acquire.

I asked, “After you get all these old homes, how are you going to take care of them?”

Dr. Kimball said that when they are restored, a fee can be charged for admission to them, and that with income from facilities they can be maintained outside of the capital investment. He said many people are coming to Nauvoo now. Within two years, it is estimated the homes can be shown to a thousand people per day. There are more than 500 a day now, and within four or five years, it is estimated there will be 2,000 a day; or 400,000 coming within the area in a season.

One-hundred-thousand are coming through the area now with very little to show them. He said that more than a million a year are going to the Abraham Lincoln home in Springfield and 180,000 to the Mark Twain home at Hannibal, Missouri, down the river.

At Nauvoo, nearly 100,000 people are shown through the Heber C. Kimball [home], and that without any advertising. Fifteen thousand registered this past summer, and on one day there were 450. The number of tourists traveling through is rapidly increasing. Nauvoo is in the center of the tourist interest at the present time. He expressed the option [opinion?] that in two or three years, using Nauvoo as a missionary center, the Mormon story can be told to a thousand people a day.

J. Willard Marriott suggested that the First Presidency be told about the new river road.

Dr. Kimball indicated on the map prepared by architect George Cannon Young where it is thought the new river road may come on the east border of the city of Nauvoo. He explained that the chairman of the Illinois State River Road Commission, who met the trustees, President Moyle, Brother Brown, Mr. Conrad Wirth, Mr. Kendrew in May invited us to show where we want the road to come and it would be respectfully considered. In a general way it has been projected to the east of Nauvoo. It will be a four-lane highway from New Orleans along the Mississippi River to Saskatchewan and into Canada to connect with the Alcan Highway into Alaska. It will greatly increase travel. Dr. Kimball estimated that the road now projected east of Nauvoo is not more than 3/4 of a mile.

President Brown: You are asking for an additional $500,000 to what has already been appropriated?

Dr. Kimball: As we move along and buy this property it is becoming harder to buy.

David Kennedy: Eventually it will be very high. That is why it will be advisable to buy as quickly as possible. 

President Brown: It is your committee’s recommendation that we buy this additional land?

Dr. Kimball: The whole committee has approved the recommendation that we buy the additional land. We want to protect it now.

David Kennedy commented that there might be an eyesore that would separate the whole project.

Dr. Kimball reported that there are two elevators erected near the river now and that the river channel comes close to the shore near that point.

Brother Kennedy said when the group met with the Williamsburg people they emphasized time and again the importance of having the area compact and controllable, and that these outstanding areas can cause much trouble.

Mr. Fabian recommended that the “B” areas around the temple block and at the bottom of the map should be obtained.

Dr. Kimball referred to the map and indicated the properties owned by the Catholic Church and where the school is being built now. He pointed to a property surrounding the temple block now owned by the Catholic Church, and pointed to one area which the Catholic Church is willing to lease for 50 years for parking. He said the committee feels we should obtain as much as possible of the land around the temple block as a protection. President Brown said he thought it would take

another $100,000 to get this additional area, and that $400,000 would acquire 400 acres, and that another $100,000 might be needed.

David Kennedy said that the band around the temple block would keep out some junk that we would not want.

Mr. Fabian said it is very important, as Ed Kendrew emphasized, that the temple square needs protection of the perimeter around it from hostile uses.

Dr. Kimball indicated on the map the pieces of property around the temple block which are now owned by the Church or which can be acquired. He indicated where the bank is situated and the small park. He said most of it can be acquired to protect the temple block a perimeter .

In reply to my inquiry as to the condition of the temple block now, Dr. Kimball explained that the University of Southern Illinois excavated the foundation of the temple this summer, but was unable to complete the excavation where the lines led into the property of the Reorganized Church which is involved in the transfer for property in Independence because the transfer had not been completed at the time the University was ready to excavate that corner. With this exception the whole temple foundation has been uncovered and the old pillars upon which the corners stood are in sight and the brick work of the interior partitions are in sight. The wall is uncovered to the corner and the drain of the well has been exposed and there is great interest in the findings.

One of the important points of interest in the future will be these temple foundations when the excavation has been completed. The University of Southern Illinois has done a fairly good job. There is still some work to be done. They took 1500 sacks of artifacts to the University for study and classification, and to be included in the report. A piece of one of the wooden oxen supporting the baptismal font was found. All of this material has been taken to the University and information about it will be included in the report. I asked if the

University has taken the artifacts to the University, and Dr. Kimball said that they have but that they belong to us; that they will sort them out and identify them and they will remain the property of the Church.

I asked if the excavation is exposed to the public, and Dr. Kimball explained that there is a fence around it, and the University will protect the site. They are now in the process of covering it with plastic. It is necessary to cover it in order to protect the foundation and the walls, the well and the drainage channel. They found an old cement drain which emptied the font, and it was about seven feet long and at the bottom of the font.

I inquired where the waste water went and Dr. Kimball said that evidently it went into the sand. The drainage channel has not been run to the end; it went out of the temple lot. The title [tile?] or cement was not cemented together.

I said, “When the University is through with its excavation, what will be the state of the excavation within the exposed temple site?”

Dr. Kimball said: “They assume that they are through. It simply leaves these walls and the floor exposed. One project we want is to protect the excavation with a covering in such a way as to show what was there. I don’t know whether there can be a cupola over it so that tourists can see it so the people can walk in and see what was there.”

In reply to President Brown’s question, Dr. Kimball said that there is a marked tourist interest in the excavation now. Many things have been found. The excavation in some places is five feet, and in others about ten feet. It is covered now with straw and plastic. It will have to have a roof covering of some sort if it is to be used as a tourist attraction. There is work to be done on it next year though the University has completed its work.

Dr. Kimball asked Mr. Fabian to present his view of the project.

The following is a report of his conversation:

Mr. Fabian said he would like to preface his remark by saying that he had been asked to become interested in this a little over a year ago — I do not believe there is a member of the whole Church who is more inspired by the story of Nauvoo than I am. I think it is a great vista of the development of the western part of America and its history. The story of Nauvoo and its people, its tragedy its migration and what it has built in the intermountain area, is a marvelously wonderful thing and a tremendous tribute to the leadership and to the faith of its people and the Church that has made it all possible. To me, the heart of all of this is the ruin of that old temple, just as the ruins of the old church at Jamestown is the heart of that, and the pilgrims have landed at Plymouth. The first thought they had was to build a Church. To me, the ruins of this temple is the agony and the anguish of the people that had been driven and persecuted and yet they built for themselves a beautiful city here and through misfortune and suffering had been driven from it. They dedicated a temple, built it and dedicated it, and then went off and left it to the wolves and migrated across the deserts to the Rocky Mountains and established the empire out here in Salt Lake valley. Sheakespearees tragedies and the tragedies of the great operas are built around the suffering of people, out of which grows strength of character and in this case an

entire civilization has grown and flourished and become strong as a part of our great American country. I told you this before, President McKay, and since I said that we have seen this recognized by two great national organizations — the National Parks Service, and they are greatly interested in the story of Nauvoo and the trek across the deserts and the coming down Emigration Canyon and “This is the Place Monument” and what we have told in the Salt Lake valley and the State of Utah to the extent that they are contributing now the funds necessary for the historical work. They have made that contribution and they have recognized it with a designation of Nauvoo as a national historical site and they have contributed funds to its development. The second is Colonial Williamsburg. I happen to be in a position where I could bring it to their attention and I did and their interest is not because of me but their interest is because of their recognition of what it means to the national story and the story of our people. These two recognitions to me are just tremendous proof of the potential of Nauvoo and the story of its people and the story of their courage and character they built as typified by the homes they left and the temple they built and the fact that they went off and left it — that temple completed. They tell the story of one man who repaired a broken piece of floor before he left so that when he went away and others came that they would say these people did everything right. That’s terrific. The more you look at this and study the wisdom about it the more inspiring one has to become about it. That same inspiration has been picked up in Williamsburg when Dr. Kimball and Hamer Reiser and I were there they devoted everything they had to us. Their staffs met with us. They had a schedule from early morning until late in the evening with occasional rest periods that never materialized and they took us around and showed us every plan of the development of Williamsburg. They took us around the buildings and told us what they had done and then they took us into the details of how they had done it. They told us the mistakes they made. I happen to know something about that because I have been with the organization ever since. They started in 1926 and they took us over the architectural department and we met the architectural staff. They took us through the archaeological department and their staff explained everything to us. They took us to the historical and research department. We met with their staff. They took us through the construction and maintenance departments, a very important department, their accomodations for their visitors, their inns and hotels and motel and so forth. They started us off with a very splendid motion picture, “The Making of a Patriot,” a motion picture which they have made at great expense. They had the Paramount people do it for them. It is in a theatre much like the one Cannon Young is building for you over here, a double theatre, and I think that all of us came out with our eyes a little moist. It was a tremendous inspiration and gave us the feeling and the atmosphere of what Colonial Williamsburg is designed to interpret of American history, and that is what we must have with Nauvoo. I think there is all of the same drama, and the same inspiration that there is in that picture at Williamsburg. It is a story, true. It is not in the American history picture in the same way, but it is as great, and I think it can stir the people to see this restoration of Nauvoo with the same inspiration. When I stand on that hill by that temple square and think what has happened there and what has grown out of there, I think one of the thrills of my life was when Roy (Dr. J. LeRoy Kimball) and I stood there last December with the snow blowing across the temple block and the machines scraped up a big rock of one of these pedestals. It was an electric shock. That wonderful story!

To come back to Williamsburg, President, Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Marriott joined us on the last day. President Carl Humelsine gave us a dinner in one of the historic houses. It was a beautiful affair and among other things in the morning at the inn entrance they had drawn up two of those old carriages of colored footmen and took us to the palace. They rolled out the red carpet and with everything they had. A large part of their very extensive advice to us in the business conference in the course of which Mr. Kendrew, executive vice-president and the chief architect who has designed all of Williamsburg, and who is responsible for the creation of Williamsburg, was given to us by him. We told him that we were considering asking Cannon Young to be our architect. He knows Cannon Young. In fact Cannon Young has talked with him about Williamsburg and what he is doing in the temple square, and he knows every detail. We asked Mr. Kendrew if he would act as advisor for us in planning and carrying out the plans of restoration of Nauvoo because he has had wide experience. I think he is recognized as top man in the United States in restoration. Isn’t that so, Cannon?

Cannon Young: That is right.

Mr. Fabian: He said, I cannot tell you that now. I will have to talk with President Humelsine and our board and see if they would permit me to do it. I said we would like to know. The day after I got home I got a letter from him. It was very short. It said, ‘Dear Harold, Carl approves of my serving as architectural advisor on Nauvoo Restoration on a basis of time involved with my Williamsburg responsibilities and no responsibility for administrative work!’

That is all we ask of him. That is correlation of his time. We cannot intrude upon his time. He is delighted. We had told him that we want Cannon Young to be the architect in charge. With this answer from him, I think that puts us in a good position because the planning and the architect are the heart of it all. It puts us in a position to do a marvelous job with this whole restoration.

They gave us three pieces of advice, both Kendrew and Carl Humelsine, and members of the staff, and that they stressed over and over again.

One, get all the property you are going to get and get it now. Now is the time because it will increase in value and become more difficult to get. You create the market and you create your own scarcity of supply and you will be making problems for yourself all the time. With some land Mr. Rockefeller gave them they are really trying to protect their perimeter and get property they were not farsighted enough to get. In the same way our attempts to protect the temple square with the perimeter around it is the same problem. Their stressing this is our reason for coming to you with the request for this enlarged restoration authorization.

Two, the other thing they stressed was do not be in too big a hurry. Make over-all plans and get that ready to your satisfaction before you put hammers and saws to work. If you do not, you will make mistakes. Ed told me there were two or three buildings they completely restored and then they tore them down and did it over again.

Three, you have got to prepare to take care of a great many visitors. Your area will attract many more visitors than you have any conception of. They said if you don’t make preparation now and take care of these visitors with housing and eating and interpretive provisions, your competition will come in because that demand will grow and you will find yourself surrounded by competition all over that area taking away business that you ought to have. That is the practical business phase of it. They have done it. They are expanding greatly and rapidly and they are putting in facilities, not equalled by the surrounding areas, but all around the fringe. They have all sorts of competition which they have started not taking care of their responsibility to begin with. That will entail undoubtedly to begin with a losing business operation for a year or two and of course you have to build this slowly.

There are three things they stressed: one, get your property; two, know your plan before you start with hammers and saws; and three, another thing they did stress we already know, Cannon and I know, because of restoration of the Brigham Young home in St. George, and incidentally he did a marvelous job, they say you cannot make the historical restoration at the cost you can build a new building. You have to tear down and you have to rebuild. You have to go into it carefully.

You cannot make specifications for restoration that you can hand to a contractor and say bid on this, because you do not know. You tear down this piece of plaster and find something more to be done. Do not be disappointed in the restoration of these magnificent old homes that you are spending more money than to build new.

I think that’s a summary of what they had to say to us. I know that their advice is awfully good. Thank you.

Dr. Kimball: He showed them a film of Nauvoo, a thirty minute film made by KSL two years ago and they made the statement ‘we wish we had Nauvoo. ‘

Mr. Fabian: There is packed into these six years and into one year a drama that is just as heart stirring as the one at Williamsburg. It has to be dramatized. You just cannot tell it coldly. It needs artistic dramatization and someone who knows how to do it, just as they did the one at Williamsburg.

(end of report)

I then said, “What are your recommendations this morning?”

Dr. Kimball: Brother Cannon Young has a placard which illustrates some of the ideas he has.

Cannon Young exhibited a sketch map of a long-range plan for the development of Nauvoo and said, “They asked me to do something which I hesitated to do. They want a master plan to drive a first stake and have something to talk around, so we have developed here what may be the restored city of Nauvoo. The lighter dots are what are known as old homes. The red dots are called their craft houses. There are craft houses in this space here.

Dr. Kimball: These are the interesting things. 

Willard Marriott: We also want to see Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts which is a completely restored village of every kind of craft house they had in the 1600’s. These craft houses really are interesting. The real interest the people have is seeing how they lived and how they built their carriages and what they did in their blacksmith shops and the carriage shops. That is the thing that gives it real interest.

David M. Kennedy: In fairness we will have to say it will take historical research.

Cannon Young: This is a long-time development. The properties here are contained in this area. This is the heart of restored Nauvoo, the restoration.

A further discussion was held with regard to acquisition of property, archaeological work needed in restoring of the old homes, preserving of excavations and protection of the temple block, funds needed, etc.

I then said: “Do you want all of this archaeological work and the restoration of these buildings to be the responsibility of the Church or of this committee?”

Mr. Fabian said: I think it ought to be the responsibility of this Nauvoo Restoration Incorporated which has been set up now.”

I said: “It will be your responsibility to do the investigation, and the responsibility of the Church is to give you the money to do it.”

It was agreed that the additional money they need to acquire land be given to them.

We then discussed Dr. Kimball’s letter of September 20, 1962, addressed to the First Presidency, relating to the recommendation and request for permission to employ Sister Rowena Miller as one of the secretaries. I said this would mean a complete separation from the First Presidency, and the taking of her into your employment and it would mean that when you get through with her she is out of employment.

Explanation was made that this is understood but that the need for her employment will continue a long time if Nauvoo Restoration Incorporated works out its full program.

I sald, “All right, if you want her you may take her.”

Dr. Kimball’s letter asked permission to employ Sister Miller and also asked authorization of the Finance and Accounting department to charge the employer’s share of the insurance and retirement benefits to Nauvoo Restoration Incorporated. President McKay expressed doubt as to the way this could be worked out. Brother Kennedy explained that it could be done. In his bank as between the corporations affiliated this arrangement is made. I indicated that a letter would be sent to Brother Jarvis on the subject.

At this time the trustees of Nauvoo Restoration Incorporated withdrew from the meeting.”

Fri., 18 Jan. 1963:

“8:30 a.m.

I met with the Presiding Bishopric.  President Moyle was absent, being in the hospital preliminary to having some teeth extracted, and President Brown is in South America.  Bishop John H. Vandenberg and Bishop Victor L. Brown were present.

Among matters brought to my attention by them were:

1)  Nauvoo Temple — Bishop Vandenberg said that they had made a preliminary study of the Nauvoo Temple excavation situation and read certain items from the study that has been made, one of which pertained to artifacts recovered.  He said that no report has as yet been received from the University of Southern Illinois people who have been investigating this subject.  The question was considered as to what would be done after the foundation and basement had been completely uncovered.  It was thought that this project had cost and would cost a lot of money if it were continued.  To complete the excavation would involved the removal of trees and houses, and the department of anthropology at the University of Southern Illinois say that work must be done very carefully to preserve what can be preserved of the font and other things.  It was the recommendation of the Bishopric that the hole be filled in, that the place be landscaped with lawn and possibly a marker placed in each corner to show people the dimensions and have a monument indicating what stood there, rather than have an uncovered hole.

I said that all hopes to rebuild the temple should be discouraged as there is no intention of doing that.  I also felt that people who come there would be as much interested in seeing the surface of the ground where the temple stood as they would the excavation, if not more so, and let them imagine what happened there.  I thought it would do the Church just as much good as for them to see the excavated hole.

Wednesday, May 1, 1963

(Meeting of Nauvoo Restoration Committee with First Presidency)

The architect explained a sketch of a proposed development of the area of Nauvoo to be restored.  He explained that this sketch the First Presidency had seen at the meeting of the Executive Committee with the First Presidency held October 12, 1962.  He pointed out that it included an area reserved for a new temple and for a Nauvoo university, but that since the Executive Committee thinks these are not within the scope of the present restoration of Nauvoo they have asked him to prepare another general sketch showing a proposal for the development of Nauvoo without these two major features.

He therefore exhibited a revised sketch which shows a proposed development on the ‘hill’ and to include a reception center, an adjoining visitors accommodations, and motel and living accommodations, with a gold course; the present temple block and the residential section of old Nauvoo are represented on the second sketch as the main area to be restored.  It also theoretically places the ‘Great River Road’ and the approaches which he explained.

He exhibited an artist’s sketch of the proposed development of the present temple block with sketches giving details of the partial rebuilding of a massive corner of the temple left in ruin which is intended dramatically to represent the tragedy which fell upon Nauvoo when the Mormons were driven out; also sketches of the proposed approaches and walks and the Bureau of Information complex surrounding the temple excavation and ruin which would include a reconstruction of the baptismal font, foundation walls, basement floors and the designation of rooms in the basement, as the general outline has been exposed by the excavations done by the University of Southern Illinois.

The architect explained also that two buildings on the present site are the Icarian building built from temple stone, which building was purchased by the Church from the Catholic Church which used it as a school house, and another building used by the Catholic school as a gymnasium.  It has been proposed that these buildings be used now by Nauvoo Restoration as a museum, storage and workshop buildings, and to house needed materials and functions of the corporation and its staff, and to provide temporarily to receive the public for an exhibit of some of the artifacts recovered by the excavation done by the University of Southern Illinois now being held by the university staff.

The architect exhibited several old photographs and old architectural drawings to show that the builders of the temple had detailed plans for their construction, including the baptismal font, the circular stairways and the main towers of the building and several other features.  The drawings represent the progressive construction of the temple.

President McKay said the visitors will come to see the ruins of the temple and asked what that hole in the ground will tell.

The architect said to him it would live as I have heard all my life — my people left here and looked back to see the temple in flames.  The pictures we have of it are those in which it is in a semi-destroyed state.  I think it would give an impression, a strong impression of what this temple really meant to the people and with my imagination I would reconstruct the building itself from this much of the ruin.  There are good models of pictures and drawings of the finished temple.

He exhibited architect’s sketches of the front elevation of the temple prepared by the Nauvoo architect of the early days, William Weeks.

President McKay:  Could you not have models and sketches and drawings around which this story could be told without going to the expense of building the ruin.

The architect commented that the models, drawings and pictures could be used but that they would be reduced in scale and would not convey to the visitor the impression of the true height and size of the temple as dramatically as the partial reconstruction of the wall in ruin would give.  He said he thought the proposed reconstruction of the ruin would have an impressive dramatic appeal.  He also commented that this much of the reconstruction of the Nauvoo Temple is thought to be best in view of the surrounding present buildings of the Catholic school and church with which it would be inadvisable to attempt to compete.

Dr. Kimball commented that the temple block, in the opinion of the committee, is the heart of the restoration.  It is the great central fact around which the history of Nauvoo clings.  It would be the actual center for the restoring of Nauvoo.  It will be the greatest attraction in the center of interest.  The purpose will be to have on the temple block as many of the features as can be recovered which represent the Nauvoo Temple including the capstone and the sunstones.  President McKay advised that the reconstruction of the ruins be reconsidered.  He said it seems to be a waste of money.  You can illustrate all you have said by some such construction as will tell the story without going to the expense of reconstructing the ruin.

The architect read descriptions of the temple and of the font in the basement first made of wood and later of stone.

Nauvoo Property Acquisition

Dr. Kimball exhibited a map of old Nauvoo upon which in colors the areas which have been purchased for the ‘Restoration’ were indicated.  President McKay asked how the areas purchased are being taken care of.  Dr. Kimball explained that arrangements have been made for the owners from whom some of the homes were purchased to remain in them.  They pay rent and taxes and keep them up.  Other properties are in the care of a competent man who keeps them in good appearance and clean.  Dr. Kimball also explained that interested people are giving the ‘Restoration’ articles of furniture and other items of interest from the time of the Mormon occupancy of Nauvoo, and there is need for a suitable place to house these now.  For that reason the ‘Restoration’ asks to have permission to use the present Icarian building purchased from the Catholic Church and the adjacent building which was used as a gymnasium to store these articles and also to be used for offices, a limited museum, and a workshop in a place where the artifacts now in the possession of the University can be housed.  He said we would like to have permission to have the temple lot and buildings for this purpose.  The temple lot is now owned by the Church.  We would like to have the temple lot transferred to the corporation with permission to use the buildings for these displays, for storage, for offices and workshop purposes.

President McKay addressed President Moyle and said, do you see any objection?  President Moyle said I see none at all.  President Moyle said the Northern States Mission is now in the Icarian building.  Explanation was made that the Nauvoo Branch moved from the Times and Seasons building where it had been holding meetings and now meets in the Icarian building on the temple lot.

Dr. Kimball said the accommodations for the branch in the Times and Seasons building have not been adequate and they have asked for land for a new building.  He said he had talked with President Maycock and had suggested that as Nauvoo Restoration procures land there would be some lot which can be transferred to the mission for a modern building suitable for the needs of the Nauvoo branch.  He said that President Maycock will meet with the officers and directors of the Nauvoo Restoration in Nauvoo near the time of the holding of the annual meeting of the corporation in Nauvoo May 17th and 18th.

President McKay commented that President Maycock should be consulted.  Dr. Kimball said he has the appointment to meet him in Nauvoo and that they will report their recommendations with relation to a suitable site for the Nauvoo Branch meetinghouse.

Architect Young commented upon the question which has been presented as to a suitable place for the branch building.  President Moyle said it should be convenient to the members of the Church there.

‘Great River Road’

Mr. Fabian was asked to comment upon the ‘Great River Road’ since he has direct relationship and contact with the National Parks Service.  Mr. Fabian explained that the ‘Great River Road’ is on the planning maps now and is to run from the Gulf of Mexico along the Mississippi River and to connect with the Alcan Highway in Canada.  It is not to be a speedway type of road but a parkway type.  It is to be a beautiful road.  Its purpose is to offer opportunity for the people to enjoy historic sites along the road.  At present it is planned in pieces.  Some of it has been definitely set.  As it approaches and passes Nauvoo they have there or four different plans.  One was right along the river which would cut right through everything we want to do.  When I was in Washington six weeks ago I took it up with the National Parks Service officials and the Park Way Road Commission.  They are sending a bureau of public roads man and a National Park representative to meet us in Nauvoo on May 18th.  They are very much in accord with our purpose for the interpretation of Nauvoo and its place in history.  If we can have the ‘Great River Road’ in the most advantageous place for our project and at the same time serve a parkway purpose, it will be quite a step on the way.  They have these two men coming out to meet with us and they will locate it in a way to be most useful for the interpretation of our project when we know where we are going.

President McKay asked to be excused for a moment.

President Moyle in President McKay’s absence explained that the First Presidency will also have a meeting of the Board of Education at 10:30.  President McKay withdrew at 10:45 for a special appointment.

In the interim President McKay’s being with the special visitors, President Moyle expressed the opinion that it is imperative that something be done with the temple block and that he agrees with Mr. Fabian as to the importance of the temple block.

Mr. Fabian explained that the two main sketch plans for the use of the area are in fluid state.  In one thing we have agreed, the temple square is the heart.  ‘We have said to Cannon Young, we are trying to dramatize the temple block as the place — the heart of which the western migration started.  Cannon Young’ sketches capture that exactly.  What we need is to have the temple block and the buildings turned over to us.  We have plenty of use for them.  We should reimburse the Church out of our funds for what the Church paid out for the temple block purchases.  If you will turn them over to us we can use them for what we need them for.  We can work out something to give the mission a piece of land which will fit into the whole picture in the right place.

President Moyle inquired as to what should be done for the exposed walls and surfaces to protect them from weathering.  Cannon Young said we would have to cap them in some way.  There is a possible treatment for this with some transparent plastic material.  We also need to decide on the landscaping of the temple block and its improvement.

President McKay returned at 10:55 and said I hope you have decided what to do.  He expressed preference for the first sketch of the general plan.

Dr. Kimball said we are pushing on the temple lot for a decision one way or another.  President McKay said I would not build anything on it at the present time.  If these men want to do more excavating, let them go ahead with it.  Dr. Kimball said it is now 85% excavated.  President McKay said let them go ahead and when they are through we will tell then what to do with it.  I think you should preserve what you have and we should give you sufficient storage to have a place to put these things.  Explanation was made that the university considers its contract fulfilled and completed, but the department is interested in doing more excavation under another contract.

Mr. Fabian said President McKay, I think if the temple block is transferred to Nauvoo Restoration we can go ahead and utilize the buildings there which are essential because we need them for office space and for storage.  We can clean out the temple foundation and get it in shape and take the balance of the year to make practical plans and then we can come to you with this program.  Then we have something definite to put in front of you.

President McKay said I think that’s the thing to do.  What are the university people doing?

Mr. Fabian:  I personally think that they are not going to do any more.

Report was made that the university considers its contract completed.  President McKay said then leave them out.

To President Moyle President McKay said I think we should give it to them.  President Moyle said I think so too.  President McKay said then go ahead.  Dr. Kimball said President Maycock is coming to Nauvoo to meet with us.  President McKay said we should consult him.

Dr. Kimball commented upon the importance to the Nauvoo Restoration of President McKay seeing Nauvoo now.  ‘If you see it, it will give you a great impression.  One hundred miles away is the Lincoln home which was visited by a million and a half people last year.  Fifty miles away is the Mark Twain home where thousands go every year.  President McKay said I should visit it.

Mr. Fabian said the order you have given to turn this over to us will enable us to clean it up and to put it in presentable condition for the many visitors who are coming in increasing numbers and will enable us to come back with a plan and get your answer.  President McKay said that will be fine.

Mr. Fabian suggested that the property which the Church bought in Nauvoo before Nauvoo Restoration was incorporated should be turned over to the Restoration and the Restoration should pay the Church out of its appropriation for this.

Dr. Kimball named the John Taylor home, the Snow home, the Times and Seasons building, the Orson Spencer home and the temple block as this property acquired by the Church before Nauvoo Restoration was incorporated.

Mr. Fabian explained that the homes are on the perimeter and the temple lot is in the heart of the restoration area.

President McKay said they should be under one head.

Dr. Kimball said we are going to meet these people on May 18th and we hope to decide upon the location of the Great River Road.  We are anxious to control the land on each side of the river road through Nauvoo and to keep out any inappropriate billboards or advertising or hostile development and thus preserve the value of the whole project.  He pointed on the map to property offered by the estate of Emil Baxter, a strong friend of the Restoration and said we need authority to purchase that if we can.  President McKay said we will hold you responsible for that, to get the property you feel as a committee to be necessary to protect us.  All right, go ahead.

At this time the Nauvoo Restoration executive committee withdrew from the meeting.

Minutes by A. Hamer Reiser”

Monday, January 20, 1964

Minutes of interviews held in President McKay’s apartment in the Hotel Utah, Monday, January 20, 1964.

Nauvoo Restoration

At 9:00 President Hugh B. Brown called with Dr. J. LeRoy Kimball, Harold Fabian and A. Hamer Reiser, and discussed with the President matters pertaining to the Nauvoo Restoration.  In answer to President McKay’s inquiry as to what the goal of the Nauvoo Restoration organization is,  Mr. Fabian made the following explanation:  He said that when they first commenced this work about two years ago President McKay asked him to go back to Nauvoo and meet Dr. Kimball and report as to whether he thought the project was worth doing.  He said at that particular time he was a member of, and he is now chairman of the Secretary of Interior’s advisory board on national parks, that the National Parks Service had been working for a number of years on a comprehensive history of the United States beginning with the days of Cortez, the Spanish Main, etc., up to the present time.  In connection with that, one of their themes was the western exploration of America from the Mississippi; that in a very few years the boundaries of America were moved across half a continent from the Mississippi to the Pacific in the middle of the 18th Century, and we were a part of that movement.  Mr. Fabian said that in connection with that history with which he as familiar, they placed Nauvoo and the Mormon migration as one of the four contribution factors in the settlement of the west.  He said that when he went to Nauvoo he talked to the National Parks Service about it, also talked to people at Williamsburg about it, those who had made the Williamsburg restoration, and they were all very much interested in it, that when he came back he told President McKay that he not only thought it was worth doing but that it is practically an obligation on us to make this one of the shrines of American history.  Mr. Fabian said that all present agreed upon this and President McKay then asked if he would help do it and he said that he would.  Mr. Fabian said that before starting on that venture they needed to know where they were going and what they were going to try to do.  Mr. Fabian then read to President McKay a statement that had been drawn up setting forth their position, which statement had been drawn after consultation with the staff at Williamsburg and with the National Parks Service and the Nauvoo Restoration, and this statement, Mr. Fabian said, would answer President McKay’s question as to their position.

‘It is to restore the historically important part of the whole town of Nauvoo as it was when it flourished under Mormon leadership, as an authentic physical environment for interpreting the story of Nauvoo and the mass migration of its people to the valley of the Great Salt Lake, as one of the vibrant forces in the westward extension of America, and to give some conception of the character of those people as shown by the homes they built and the way they lived, and an understanding of the depth of their emotions and the strength of their faith that made them abandon their temple, their homes and their city and start on their long trek westward.’  Mr. Fabian said that when they started on this project, that was their objective.  He said that he had read a great deal of the literature of the time, that he had read the diaries of some of those people, and that he realized that to understand the story of Nauvoo, one must not only see the houses but must feel Nauvoo.  He said you must get the soul and the spirit of Nauvoo, and that if we are going to make a restoration of Nauvoo that is worthwhile and that will put it in its place as a shrine of American history we must do it the very best we know how and in such a way that we not only restore the physical properties in Nauvoo, the buildings, the streets, etc., but we have to give the visitor the feel of Nauvoo.  They must sense the kind of people they were, the faith they had, the triumph of the people, etc.  Among other things he said that we want to make the physical properties there so that they can be used as in interpretive medium.  He also said we want to make a moving picture of it that would be comparable to the picture of the patriot that they have at Williamsburg.

So far as the Temple Square is concerned, he said it is the heart of the Nauvoo story.  It was the center of the faith of the people.  They built the temple.  They did not wait until the walls could be high enough so that they could build a baptismal font in the basement with the dressing rooms around it.  They got the walls up that far and started to use it.  He said that the Temple Square is the heart of the whole thing; that the nation is interested in Nauvoo, Williamsburg is interested in it, their entire staff.  He said the National Parks Service had declared it a national historic site and has given us a plaque to place there.  They have made a contribution of one year’s work on the part of Dr. Miller to get the history of it together, and they have helped us with the location of the Great River Road.  Mr. Fabian further said that we must not try to make it a missionary or proselyting thing, but make it a national shrine so that when people from all over America come there they will learn the story of Nauvoo and feel the story of Nauvoo and thus it will do more for the Church than if we had a Temple Square group of missionaries.  He also said that the National Parks Service wants to mark a trail clear across the country.

President McKay asked what houses we have in mind to be restored, and the following were mentioned:  The Wilford Woodruff home, the Lorin Farr home, the Browning home, the Prophet’s mother’s home, the Brigham Young home, and the Ashby Snow home.  They also reported that they have the funds with which to make these restorations.  It was also stated that there are about six homes empty at the present time, that we now own over 30 pioneer homes and that most of them are being lived in and rented, and there are several others that we are endeavoring to secure title to.  President McKay asked how much it would cost to get possession and to restore these homes.  Mr. Fabian answered that to make this historic restoration as a shrine of America is going to take a lot of money and a long time, but it has been planned so that we can move into it a year or two or three years at a time with sections.  He said it is a program to accomplish a very great objective, and the expenditure of money will proceed only as the money is available.  They further explained that the acquisition of all of this property that is contemplated by the entire program has been authorized, the money has been appropriated, that they have the money for that purpose and have spent part of it, and that what remains to be bought can easily be bought within the money they already have so there is no additional expenditure asked for at the present time.

In answer to the question raised as to what the people of Nauvoo are doing toward this project it was explained that the total income of Nauvoo City for a year, taxes and everything else, is under $30,000, and that there are only about 1000 to 1200 people in Nauvoo and very few of them with means.  It was explained that the city officials are cooperating with us to the extent of doing such rezoning as we may desire and in certain other ways.  It was reported that in a former meeting it was decided to transfer the temple property to the Nauvoo Restoration.

Referring to the activities of the Northern States Mission, mention was made of the fact that they have only one member in Nauvoo and that they have had practically no success in proselyting, that the Bureau of Information, which is an old home in Nauvoo, is under the direction of the mission and a couple are in charge at the Bureau, that it is now proposed that the Church erect a chapel on a piece of property which is some distance from the center of Nauvoo as a branch and district headquarters.  The sentiment was expressed that all of the guide service in Nauvoo must necessarily be under one head and that it is the intention of the Nauvoo Restoration to build a satisfactory Bureau of Information and to have guides to take visitors through these old homes when they are restored and help them to get the spirit of Nauvoo, that in order to do this, as indicated, it is absolutely necessary that the Nauvoo Restoration have title to the temple lot.  It was also mentioned that the Nauvoo Restoration, from its own funds, had made purchase of the property which they were suggesting be used as a chapel site for the branch of the mission.  In connection with the guide service, Dr. Kimball said they were contemplating having Brother Charles R. Snelgrove go to Nauvoo and commence this work.  The committee said that before they can go forward with the project as contemplated they would like to have the President’s decision as to whether or not the temple lot is to be turned over to the Nauvoo Restoration.  Mr. Fabian asked President McKay the question:  ‘May we have the temple block?’  President McKay answered ‘Okay.’

Minutes by Joseph Anderson”

Mon. 26 Oct. 1964:

“8:30 a.m.

Held the regular meeting of the First Presidency in my apartment in the Hotel.  We discussed matters pertaining to the following: 

Nauvoo Restoration Incorporated

President Tanner presented a summary of a report by A. Hamer Reiser regarding the Nauvoo Restoration, Incorporated.  The trustees and officers of the Corporation are LeRoy Kimball, President and General Manager; Harold Fabian, Vice-President; A. Hamer Reiser, Secretary and Treasurer;  David M. Kennedy and Willard Marriott trustees.  Brother Thorpe B. Isaacson, at my request, will be added to the Board at the next meeting, November 7.

All the accounts of this Corporation are kept by the Church Central Accounting Department.  The Budget Committee appropriated $375,000 for 1964, with which money they have been buying land and other things.  The National Parks Service is cooperating with them to the extent that they appropriated $15,000 for historical research and dealing with the importance of the place; also that arrangements have been made for the Great River Road to pass Nauvoo precisely where the Board of Trustees have asked it to be located; the officers of Colonial Williamsburg have given without charge the consulting services of their senior Vice-President, Mr. Edwin Kendrew, and the staff has been working during 1964 on plans for the authentic restoration of the homes approved by the trustees.  There were 41,000 visitors to Nauvoo during the months of May, July, and August this year.  It was reported that the Brigham Young University motion picture production department is at work on a dramatic thirty-minute motion picture story on the rise and fall of Nauvoo.

A more detailed report and recommendations for Nauvoo may be found in the minutes of the First Presidency of this day.

Referring to the meeting of the Board in Nauvoo, President Tanner said that Dr. Kimball and Brother Reiser have invited him to attend this board meeting in Nauvoo, which would necessitate his leaving here November 5.

I said that I could see no reason for President Tanner’s attendance at this meeting.

I also expressed the feeling that we must curtail the activities and expenditures of this organization.  President Tanner raised the question as to whether we are prepared to spend around $300,000 a year on this project, and I said ‘No’.

Following the meeting of the Brethren, I decided not to attempt to do any more today.”

Fri., 13 Nov. 1964:

“10:00 a.m.

Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson gave a brief report on Nauvoo Restoration Incorporated and their annual meeting held in Nauvoo recently, and also gave a report on the San Jose Stake Building matter.  Will give a more detailed report to me when I return from Oakland.”

Wed., 9 Dec. 1964:

“Nauvoo Restoration, Inc. – Attitude of the Church Toward Continuation

The Presidency considered at some length the question as to what the attitude of the Church should be regarding continuation of the Nauvoo Restoration program.  President Tanner said that when he met with the Nauvoo Restoration Board in Nauvoo recently, he suggested that a qualified architect in that field of operation, an archaeologist, and the historian who is working with them, should make a study of the whole question, determine what the outlay will be, when it will be, and what will be accomplished.  Dr.  Kimball and his associates said that if we would give them the money and the authorization to go ahead, they could get additional help for this project from the parks, the government, and various foundations, and thus the Church would not be required to put up all the money, and that when the project is finished it would carry itself without further cost.  He reported that under authorization from the Presidency a lot of good land in Nauvoo has been purchased and put into proper condition; also a number of the old houses have been purchased.  It was mentioned that the First Presidency had appropriated a considerable sum of money for the development of Nauvoo, some of which money has not been used as of this date.  It was made available to them only as from time to time they might require it.  President Tanner suggested that another way in which the matter could be handled would be to turn the project over to the federal parks organization and let them make such reconstruction as they might desire to do, in which event we would lose control of the situation and would not be able to direct the story that is to be told there.  It was mentioned that Dr. Kimball is asking for another three or four hundred thousand dollars for the 1965 budget.

I said that we are not prepared to give them the money they are requesting.

It was decided that we would meet with Dr. Kimball, Harold Fabian, and Brother Resier Friday morning at 8:30 to listen to their report as to what has been done, obtain information as to what they propose to do, and discuss the situation in general.”

Thurs., 17 Dec. 1964:

“8:30 a.m.

Nauvoo Restoration Corporation Meeting

The First Presidency held a meeting this morning with Dr. J. Leroy Kimball, Harold Fabian, and Elder A. Hamer Reiser.  Dr. Kimball gave a report of the operations and expenditures thus far, and the proposed program for the future.

The Nauvoo Restoration people, having submitted a budget for $375,000 for 1964, were told that the matter would have to wait until the Budget Committee of the Church has made its report before a decision can be reached on the matter.

After the departure of the above-named Brethren, we held the regular meeting of the First Presidency, taking up several matters of general importance to the Church.”

Thurs., 31 Dec. 1964:

“8:30 a.m.

President Tanner and I met in my private office for the regular meeting of the First Presidency, President Brown being in California for the Holidays.

We then took up official matters, some of which were as follows:

Nauvoo Restoration

The question was discussed as to the Nauvoo Restoration budget for the year 1965.  It was reported that Dr. Kimball is suggesting that Nauvoo Restoration be given a budget of $360,000 for the year 1965.  President Tanner explained that he was not too familiar with the project; that, however, he had met with the Board of the Nauvoo Restoration in Nauvoo recently and while there spent considerable time talking to Willard Marriott, Brother Kennedy and the other men about the situation.  President Tanner said he told these brethren that if we (page missing)——————and the proceedings are televised to the people in three or four other ward buildings.   It is reported that the members like this better than when they meet in the building where the services are being held if it becomes necessary for them to be a considerable distance away from the speakers.

President Tanner said that these are matters that the committee is working on.  I told President Tanner that the first thing that would need consideration is the reorganization of the Building Committee.  President Tanner said he would like to sit down and talk with me alone about this matter before any action is taken.”

Thurs., 14 Jan. 1965:

“Nauvoo Restoration, Inc. – Descendants of early Pioneers to Restore Homes

I called attention to a letter that I had received from Thorpe B. Isaacson regarding Nauvoo Restoration, in which he suggests that the descendants of the early Pioneers who have homes in Nauvoo, which it is desired to restore, be asked to make this restoration, thus avoiding the use of Church funds for this purpose.

Wed., 17 Mar. 1965:

“Nauvoo Restoration

It was reported that Dr. LeRoy Kimball is asking for a meeting of the Nauvoo Restoration, Inc. in Salt Lake City April 20.  Dr. Kimball says that Mr. Kendrew, the architect from Williamsburg who is giving advice on this restoration project without charge, is prepared to step out of the picture if we do not propose to go forward with the project.  Dr. Kimball would like very much if it is possible for their group to meet with the First Presidency so that they may be told what our position is, whether we want them to go forward with the matter, and if so, to what extent.  In the event we do not want to continue, the board would like to be released.  President Tanner mentioned in connection with this matter that the Nauvoo Temple foundation has been excavated and that the hole should be covered over or something else done there.  He also said that he could not understand why we would ask men like David Kennedy and Willard Marriott, men of that caliber, to work with us on the board if it were not intended to do anything with the project.

I asked why we should go back there and restore Nauvoo.  It was agreed that the First Presidency should have a talk with Dr. Kimball, Mr. Fabian, and the Board about these matters, and that inasmuch as the Board is to meet here on April 20, the First Presidency could see them the following day.”

Wed., 21 Apr. 1965:

9:00 a.m.

Met with the Executive Committee of the Nauvoo Restoration Board.  The main purpose for their calling was to get approval for an appropriation of money to buy up land in Nauvoo.

Wednesday, April 21, 1965

Minutes of the Meeting of the First Presidency

Held Wednesday, April 21, 1965, at 8:30 A.M., in President McKay’s Apartment

Present:  Presidents David O. McKay, Hugh B. Brown and N. Eldon Tanner

Nauvoo Restoration Incorporated

Members of the board of the Nauvoo Restoration Incorporated met with the First Presidency and made a report of the present status of the Nauvoo project and outlined certain phases of the program which they felt should be adopted in order to clear the way for the ultimate accomplishment of the objectives of the project.  There were present representing the Nauvoo Restoration Incorporated Dr. J. LeRoy Kimball, Harold B. Fabian, A. Hamer Reiser, David M. Kennedy, Willard S. Marriott; also Mr. Kendrew, executive vice president of the Williamsburg project, and Mr. Hepburn, who has had considerable connection nationally with architectural restorations.  It was explained that Mr. Kendrew has been giving advice pertaining to the project because of his tremendous experience in Williamsburg, and that Mr. Kendrew is really the top architect and restoration man in the United States.

Mr. Kendrew stated that the Nauvoo project is one of the most challenging projects he had seen, and indicated that he was familiar with many, not only in this country but elsewhere; that in fact he had worked on restoration work most of his life.  In referring to the work that had been done at Williamsburg he said that they had underestimated the potentiality of it, that the achievements seem to have gone greatly beyond their expectations, that they had not anticipated that there is such a nation-wide and world-wide interest in knowing about our past, not only the buildings, the furniture and culture of the period, but the kind of people who lived there.  He felt also that Williamsburg had contributed a great deal to combat the isms and things of that kind that are creeping into our world by reminding people of freedom, self-government, and the right of citizens to vote, and all sorts of things.  Mr. Kendrew stated that he felt that we have another great opportunity to portray in Nauvoo an epic in American history which is going to be more and more important as time goes on.  He stated that not as much attention had been attracted to the culture of the Nauvoo period as has been to the Williamsburg period, but he felt that there would be a public acceptance that would rebound not only to the benefit of all Americans and America, but will reflect great credit on the Mormon Church which was largely responsible for the settlement of Nauvoo.  He felt that we would have one of the greatest restoration projects of all time in Nauvoo. 

Mr. Fabian commented that we have a population in America that has leisure time, that has fine roads, automobile and airplane transportation, and a people who are taking a great deal of interest in the culture and history of their country.  He thought the restoration of Nauvoo was so vital it would be carried on by someone in some way whether we do it or not.

Dr. Kimball asked Brother Kennedy to comment on the situation, and he said that it was his feeling that we have reached the stage now where most of the property has been purchased, that there are still parts that can be obtained and should be.  He thought that we could interest some national foundations in the project and that we could make a presentation to them on a matching basis; that is, match the Church’s contributions to the project; that we could also go to corporations that have a vital interest in the preservation of our way of life and get substantial capital assistance as well as continuing operating budget assistance year after year which would be helpful.  He said that if this were done it would make it necessary that we teach the story of Nauvoo and of Mormonism from the standpoint of what the Prophet did, what the people did in the building of that city, the story of the martyrdom, and the story of the exodus and the trek westward, but that the proselyting part would be done separately by referral to the missionary system.  He did not think we could get any foundations to come in on a completely Mormon project.  He mentioned that in the event the Ford Foundation and others were persuaded to enter into the matter they would not desire membership on the board, that their policy is not to accept positions on boards.  He said it is a very big program and that we would be working on it year after year.  Brother Kennedy said that a number of meetings had been held with the Governor of Illinois, that he has been to Nauvoo and is behind us 100%.  He thought that this fact would be helpful in their approach to the foundations.

Brother Kennedy stated also that in discussing the matter yesterday it was the feeling of the trustees that we should make some effort to secure the Catholic property which is between the temple site and the area which we are going to restore.  He thought it would be possible after some negotiations to get them to move to a place where they would have opportunity to expand, that they are hemmed in where they are now located, and that if we could get the Catholic Church to cooperate in this manner no doubt the governor of the state and others would use their influence to give their assistance.  It was not his thought that the Church should negotiate with the Catholic Church but that such negotiations should be done by the Nauvoo Restoration and the State of Illinois and other interested groups.

President McKay suggested that that is the first thing that should be done.

Mr. Fabian stated that the Nauvoo Restoration was now endeavoring to set up an over-all plan so that we would know just where we are going.

Dr. Kimball stated that the organization had reached a point where it is thought that an additional $500,000 would provide sufficient means to completely purchase the additional areas that are under contemplation.  He said that he had gone over the properties and talked with the people and was sure that we could make purchase of them at a very reasonable figure.  All were agreed as to the importance of buying up these properties now so that later we would not be required to pay an exorbitant price.  Dr. Kimball mentioned that during the year 1964 55,000 visitors registered at Nauvoo and it is anticipated there would be 75,000 this year.  In talking with the Governor of Illinois the Governor thought we were very pessimistic as to the number of people who would come there, indicating that more than one-fourth of the population of the United States live within 500 miles of Nauvoo.  It was also mentioned that students from the Utah State University and Brigham Young University who have been on missions and are studying history can serve as guides on the grounds this year, which should prove very helpful.

Referring to the attitude of the Reorganized Church, Dr. Kimball said that we are not having any difficulty with them, that they are more cooperative now than they have ever been, and he thought the feeling of enmity had been broken down in Nauvoo.

In answer to President McKay’s question as to what the next steps would be it was explained that the corporation would need money from the Church to finish the land purchases, that it would be necessary to appoint a manger who would be asked to approach the various foundations for funds, and that authorization should be given for David Kennedy to see what can be done regrading obtaining the Catholic Church’s holdings near the temple site; further that it would be necessary to prepare a master plan on which they are now working.  It was also agreed that there is no objection to contacting appropriate foundations, individuals, business institutions, and the State of Illinois relative to contributions to help carry the load.  Brother Kennedy stated that we cannot go to these foundations unprepared, that we must have documentation to show what we have done and what we propose to do for the next several years; in other words, a projection of what this will mean in the way of tourism, costs, plans and progress.  He said that he would go to work right away on the matter of the Catholic situation.

Mr. Hepburn having been requested to express his feelings on the matter stated that the Nauvoo Restoration is very fortunate in that it has acquired and will acquire lands that will be needed without waiting until the prices become extreme.  He mentioned that their common experience is that they have a limited amount of land and it is difficult to secure the necessary property for the purpose desired, such as parking facilities, accommodations for visitors, etc.  Dr. Kimball explained that they have in mind in connection with the restoration the construction of a number of crafts houses, bakeries, a museum, etc.  He said that they had in mind that perhaps the Browning house could be used as a museum inasmuch as the Brownings were pioneer gun manufacturers.  The thought was also expressed that perhaps the descendants of these Nauvoo pioneers, in some instances at least, would be willing to pay the expense involved in taking care of the properties of their pioneer fathers.

Mr. Fabian explained that what they propose to do is use some of the buildings as exhibition buildings for the public, and that the rest of them would be leased for occupancy so that people would be living in the majority of the homes.  He said that means for the maintenance of some of the homes could be derived from charging admissions to the homes, that so far as possible they should be self-sustaining.  Mr. Fabian also mentioned that the Harvey people who provide eating houses throughout the country are perfectly willing to come in and set up eating places for visitors in Nauvoo.  He thought that possibly Brother Marriott would want to have this concession.  The suggestion was also made that some of the craft houses would also produce revenue.  As to the operating costs Brother Kennedy said that this has not been determined, that it would depend largely on the extent of the operation of these craft shops and the number of houses that can be rented when they have been restored.

The meeting terminated at 9:30 a.m., following which the First Presidency discussed the project and it was agreed that the Church would appropriate the necessary $500,000 to purchase the basic properties needed to complete the project.  It was also agreed that authorization should be given to Brother Kennedy to negotiate for the property now occupied by the Catholic Church near the temple site.  In regard to appropriating the money for the purchase of the properties, it was the sentiment of the Presidency that we should arrange to make the money available for purchase of individual pieces of property as they become available rather than turning over to the Nauvoo Restoration the total amount required, namely, $500,000.  It was also the feeling of the Presidency that the company should select a manager as had been recommended to confer with the Governor of Illinois, various foundations and individuals, in an effort to secure financial help from them.” 

Mon., 11 July 1966:

Nauvoo Restoration, Inc.

Went over the report that Brother Jarvis of the Financial Committee gave me on the Nauvoo Restoration.  Dr. Leroy Kimball, the Chairman of the Committee, is asking for the appropriation of $500,000 in addition to the money set aside for the 1966 budget.  I told my secretary that something must be done to put a stop to this spending at Nauvoo; that it will never be a ‘second Williamsburg’ as they claim, and that I had put President Isaacson on the Board to hold them down in their spending.  Now that he is ill, someone else must be appointed to watch the situation for me.

Mon., 29 Aug. 1966:

“8:30 a.m.

Brother Mark Garff of the Church Building Department came in.  He reported on Utah-Idaho Sugar Company matters, and also Building Department matters.

I discussed with him my concern over the plans of the Nauvoo Restoration Corporation to restore and re-build Nauvoo.  I said that the spending of money in Nauvoo must be stopped, and that I should like Brother Garff to look into the matter.”

Mon., 31 Oct. 1966:

3:00 p.m.

Nauvoo Restoration Corporation

Mr. Harold Fabian of the Nauvoo Corporation came in.  President Brown was called and asked that I see him.  Mr. Fabian came in principally to plead for money for the Nauvoo Restoration Corporation.  I listened to him, but made no commitments to him.

Thurs., 10 Nov. 1966:

“8:00 a.m.

Nauvoo Restoration, Incorporated

Elder Delbert L. Stapley came in regarding the Church’s appropriating money for the Nauvoo Restoration, Inc.  He urged that the project there at Nauvoo must go forward; that we cannot stop now.  He said that they had many visitors last year, and that they are making many converts.”

Fri., 14 Apr. 1967:

“11:00 – 11:45 a.m.

By appointment met Brother Alvin R. Dyer, and discussed the following matters with him:

3)  Nauvoo, Illinois – Costs of financing projects of Nauvoo Restoration Committee.  The building up of Nauvoo helps the Reorganized Church more than it does us.  (See following minutes prepared by Alvin R. Dyer, which I have read and approved.)”

Fri., 14 Apr. 1967:

Friday, April 14, 1967

Minutes of Meeting with President David O. McKay, Friday, April 14, 1967, by Elder Alvin R. Dyer, Assistant to the Twelve.

At about 10:45 a.m. on April 14, 1967, I met with President David O. McKay by appointment.  Clare Middlemiss, his personal secretary, was present.

Several matters were discussed with him as follows:

1)  On March 23, 1967, in the meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve with the First Presidency, the proposed project of the erection of a Bureau of Information on Church ‘Temple Land’ property at Independence, Missouri, which had previously been approved by President McKay on March 10, 1967, in the presence of Alvin R. Dyer, Mark B. Garff, and Emil Fetzer, at which time three reasons were discussed as for the need of such bureau:

a)  To lessen the chance of possible condemnation of the property

b)  To establish a better image of the Church to the RLDS and the world by signifying Church interest in this, the revealed, consecrated, and inheritance land.

c)  To be in a position, with radio facilities having been obtained in Kansas City, to tell of the message of the Church from that point, the center place of Zion.

Following the meeting, I was advised by Elder Mark E. Petersen that the Quorum and the First Presidency were concerned about condemnation procedures and had therefore authorized Wilford W. Kirton, Jr., legal counsel for the Church, to pursue the matter.  This he did in collaboration with Kenneth L. Midgley, a Kansas City attorney who is on the High Council of the Kansas City Stake.

Their report, sent by letter and memo to Mark E. Petersen, copies of which Elder Petersen sent to me with his letter dated April 10, 1967, confirmed the fact that the property could be condemned under certain circumstances, which if such were to be invoked at all by those in position to do so, would more likely happen if the property was not improved.  (See second paragraph, Kirton memo, and second paragraph of Midgley letter.)

Upon receiving copies of this report, and the signification in Elder Petersen’s letter that ‘we will have to wait further instructions from the First Presidency’, I prepared an analysis of the attorney’s report, and took the same to Elder Petersen and discussed the matter with him (a copy of that analysis is attached to these minutes), this was on April 11, 1967.  I stated to Elder Petersen that I knew that improvements placed upon vacant property would not always prevent condemnation of the same, but that under normal circumstances would tend to prevent it.  That, in the case of our ‘Temple Land’ property, only a confined project such as a school or civic building would ever be considered as a cause to condemn and that a half-million dollar bureau, together with the land value, would be a determining factor to those who would condemn since such parties would have to absorb costs.  I also referred to the two other reasons for the bureau, which seemed to escape the discussions of the brethren.  

I then pointed out to Brother Petersen that by appointment of the President, it was my obligation to pursue the matter and, therefore, what was the next step to be taken.  He then said that if a letter could be obtained from President McKay, he would include the costs of the project in his budget request, which he would have to prepare before April 28, 1967, since thereafter he would be gone for six weeks, which extended beyond the deadline of May 31, 1967, for budget submittal for 1967-68.

I asked Brother Petersen how he personally felt about a bureau at Independence.  He said he felt all right about it, but felt that for now he was more concerned about getting needed funds for the Temple bureaus at Hawaii and Mesa.  I said why could not the funds be obtained for all three.  His answer was that it was a matter of money, and he didn’t know whether money would be available for all three bureaus.  I mentioned that if funds could be diverted from Nauvoo, it could be done.  His answer was quite emphatic, ‘I would unquestionably rather see the money spent at Independence, than at Nauvoo.’

I then asked Elder Petersen if he thought I ought to talk to Brother Tanner about the matter of the bureau at Independence.  He said perhaps so, with President McKay present.  My answer to this was, as we thought about the matter together, that President McKay had asked me personally to pursue the matter and that to keep faith with the President I should go directly to him and report the matter and ask for the letter which Elder Petersen stated he would need to ask for the funds.  Elder Petersen then said perhaps that would be best.

This background of the visit with President McKay is given so as to make these minutes coherent.

President McKay listened to my report, read the letters and memos involved, and stated that it would not be necessary to discuss the matter with President Tanner, that he completely approved the project and authorized that the letter requested by Brother Petersen be prepared for his signature.  (This was done and placed into his hands the following Monday, April 17, 1967.)

2)  Clare Middlemiss, Retirement of.  President McKay some time ago requested that I have prepared by legal counsel a statement to the Church Retirement Committee in behalf of Clare Middlemiss, his long-time secretary, that upon the occasion of his death that the option of retirement be granted her and that her retirement pay to be in the full amount of her present salary with certain other medical and drug benefits.

This document was prepared in triplicate by Robert Dyer, attorney, and was given to the President upon this occasion.  He stated that this was the way he wanted it, and signed all three copies in my presence.

3)  Nauvoo Restoration, Purchase of Motel

While I was with the President and with his permission, remained to discuss with him a letter which had been prepared for the purchase of a motel at Nauvoo, Illinois, for $60,000, which letter to LeRoy Kimball had already been signed by Presidents Tanner and Smith.

The President seemed reticent about signing the letter.  He said to me, ‘What are we doing in Nauvoo anyway?’  I told him that I did not see why the Church should be obligated to finance and maintain the Nauvoo Restoration project, that according to my understanding the costs were mounting higher and higher and the Church was footing the bill.  I remarked to the President that the restoration of certain homes at Nauvoo by family descendants of the early owners was understandable, providing they would arrange for the bulk of the money, but that the project was getting too big and costing too much for the possible advantage that would accrue to the Church, that I objected to it for several reasons.

a)  That the project of a mammoth bureau of information at Nauvoo and the money involved could not be compared with bureaus at other places, where funds were needed now, such as Independence, Hawaii, Mesa, Far West, Anadarko, and later Adam-ondi-Ahman.

b)  That the restoration of Nauvoo will help the RLDS Church more than ours.  They own the Mansion House, the burial ground of Joseph, Hyrum, and Emma Smith, and much of what we might say at this place would be off-set by the facts stated above.

c)  The revelations and statements of the Prophets Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and others signify no future of the church at that place, such as at Independence, Far West, Adam-ondi-Ahman, and even Kirtland.

d)  That the time had come to finalize what is being done there and stop the outflow of Church funds to further expand it.

At this point I asked the President if he would excuse me as I had an appointment to fill at our Institute of Religion on the Weber College campus to meet with 800 Institute students.  The President asked me to convey his love and best wishes to these young people.  Sister Dyer was with me when 45 minutes later we met with this inspiring congregation of Weber College youth during the noon hour.  They were very pleased and happy to receive the President’s greetings.

Minutes prepared by Alvin R. Dyer

Assistant to the Twelve.

Friday, April 14, 1967

Re:  Independence, Missouri Bureau of Information

April 11, 1967

Elder Mark E. Petersen


Dear Brother Petersen:

I have your letter of April 10, 1967, together with copies of letters and memos from Wilford W. Kirton, Jr.. and Kenneth L. Midgley concerning condemnation phases of our ‘temple land’ property in Independence, Missouri.

It has always been my understanding, according to law, that private property, whether improved or not improved, is subject to condemnation procedures by the State and Federal Government under certain conditions.  However, it has also been my understanding, that follows customary practices, that well established improved property would much less likely be considered for condemnation than completely under-improved property; such as for confined structures (schools, boys’ clubs, and so forth).  The last paragraph of the memo from Wilford W. Kirton, Jr., which states the following, seems to indicate this point:

‘Perhaps the value of improvements would not discourage

condemnation, but local authorities might still feel it

inappropriate to condemn our property if we were

making use of it.  As to the latter aspect of the case, 

I believe, that either Elder Alvin R. Dyer or others

acquainted with local attitudes in Independence would

be better able to judge.’

In the light of what has been stated by the attorneys, I desire to make the following list of comments with a recommendation that these be given serious consideration:

a.  The fact that a building would be placed on the property would inadvertently

preclude an effort to condemn, much less considerably if no building were placed

upon it.

b.  The fact that we are holding the property, legally, for no apparent purpose

in itself could more legally bring condemnation procedures.

c.  The fact that we are doing nothing with the property is distasteful to the

people in the area and does not help the image of or the work of the church

in that area.

d.  If the Church built upon the property and would still be legally vulnerable to

condemnation which would be considerably less likely, then the cost of 

condemnation would recompense to a degree, perhaps fully, for any improvement

expenditure.  This point is indicated in the letter from Kenneth E. Midgley to

Wilford W. Kirton, Jr., wherein he states:

‘A review of our condemnation statutes and court decisions does not indicate

that any legal protection against condemnation will result on improving the 

property except to increase the prospective amount of damages which must

be paid to condemn.’

Further in the same letter, this statement is made:

‘Improvements could discourage condemnation only if their fair market value

was so high that the potential condemnation award would be more than the

condemning authority would be willing to pay for the public use intended.’

The type of Bureau of Information proposed for our ‘temple land’ property at Independence would seem to me to be of sufficient value to discourage the authority who might be otherwise influenced to condemn.

In my letter to you pertaining to this matter, I mentioned two other reasons that I felt were important to the purpose of erecting a Bureau of Information upon the ‘temple land’ property at Independence.  I would again recommend that these be given full attention.

I trust that I am not out of order in submitting this secondary recommendation to you on this project.  President McKay, in the company of Mark E. Garff and Emil Fetzer, seemed quite definite that he favored the erection of the bureau.  Therefore, this second appeal is made in the spirit of being subservient to whatever is decided, but to also evidence my deep interest and concern about the overall purpose of such a project.

Sincerely yours,

Alvin R. Dyer

Friday, April 14, 1967

April 13, 1967

Elder Mark E. Petersen, Chairman

Church Information Committee


Dear Brother Petersen:

This letter is to signify my desire that we proceed at once with the necessary preparations and plans for the erection of a Bureau of Information Building on the Church Temple Land property at Independence, Missouri, in accordance with the preliminary study for such Bureau, which I requested, as presented to me by Elder Alvin R. Dyer, in company with Mark B. Garff and Emil Fetzer of the Church Building Committee, on March 10, 1967.

To secure the funds needed for this project, you are authorized to include in your budget request for 1967-68 the sum of Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000), which represents the estimate of cost provided by the Building Committee.  This is exclusive of furnishings, landscaping, and display media, the cost of which is to be arranged for later when the actual amount is known.

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay


Fri., 21 Apr. 1967:

“10:15 a.m.

Conference with Mark E. Petersen

Met with Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Council of the Twelve.  I discussed the following with him:

1)  Nauvoo Corporation

I asked him what he thought of the Motel property in Nauvoo which the Nauvoo Restoration Corporation is proposing to purchase for $60,000.  They propose to use this motel for their lodgings when holding meetings there, and for renting to tenants.  They state that the purchase of this motel will protect our property on one side and David Kennedy’s property on the other side from the liquor interests which propose to purchase the property if we do not.

Elder Petersen expressed himself as against the purchase, and I cannot feel right about the Church’s spending money in Nauvoo.  I told Brother Petersen to take the letter which I have been holding to my secretary, Clare, and tell her to hold it up.

Wed., 10 May 1967:

“9:55 a.m.

Elder Alvin R. Dyer came by appointment, and reported that on Saturday, May 13, he will speak at the Seventeenth Ward in Salt Lake City under the auspices of the BYU ‘Know Your Religion Series’, substituting for President Hugh B. Brown who will be in Nauvoo attending a meeting of the Nauvoo Restoration Corporation.  He said that President Tanner had asked him to fill this assignment.

I asked Elder Dyer to read a certain section in a book prepared by Harold Glen Clark titled ‘The Art of Governing Zion’, particularly Chapters 13 and 14, which deal with the High Priests, referring to the Presidency, and to report to me his opinion of what has been written.

I also asked Elder Dyer what he thought of a proposal to restore the old Pioneer fort that once stood on the ground now known as Pioneer Park in Salt Lake City.  A letter had been prepared for the Presidency which I had held up.  Elder Dyer said that he had heard of the plan and read the brochure, and his only fear in supporting it is that it might run counter to what they are doing on Temple Square.  However, if the money is available, he would rather see it spent on the restoration of the old Fort rather than at Nauvoo.  I asked him why, and Elder Dyer gave me several reasons for his feelings about restoring Nauvoo.

I said that I am opposed to the development of Nauvoo and that the cost for the same is being placed upon the Church.  I said, ‘What are we doing in Nauvoo?  Why are we there?  Why is the Church spending money for its expansion?’  Elder Dyer said he felt that we should not be building up Nauvoo for the reasons he had given.  (For further details see minutes following prepared by Elder Dyer at my request.)

Wednesday, May 10, 1967

Meeting of Alvin R. Dyer with President David O. McKay

Wednesday, May 10, 1967

At 9:45 a.m. on this day I was called by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary to President McKay, and asked to go to the President’s apartment at the Hotel Utah as quickly as possible.  I left my office soon thereafter, arriving at the apartment about 9:55 a.m.  I was greeted by Sister Middlemiss at the door, and was asked to go into President McKay’s office.  He seemed genuinely pleased to see me.  After greetings I sat close to him.  The nurse brought me a breakfast health drink, which had already been served to the President and Sister Middlemiss, which we drank together.

I told the President I was pleased to see him and that it was an honor, as always, to be in his presence.  He expressed delight in seeing me again.  I told him of my two imminent assignments.  One for Saturday, May 13th, to speak at the 17th Ward, Salt Lake City, Utah, under the auspices of the B.Y.U. ‘Know Your Religion Series’, substituting for President Brown whom it was reported will be in Nauvoo.  President Tanner had asked me to fill the assignment.  The other was to represent the General Authorities in attending the Lamanite Temple Excursion Conference at Mesa, Arizona.

I was with the President and his secretary until about 10:45 a.m., at which time I asked to be excused to attend our scheduled Home Teaching Committee meeting in Marion Romney’s office.

While I was with the President the following matters were discussed:

1.  The President asked me to read a certain section of a book prepared by Harold Glen Clark titled The Art of Governing Zion, particularly chapters XIII and XIV dealing with the Presiding High Priests referring to the Presidency.  This I agreed to do and to submit to him my appraisal of the material.

2.  Reference was made to a letter from Nicholos Morgan and Edward O. Andersen, architect, together with a prepared brochure outlining and portraying by drawing, a proposal to restore the old pioneer fort that once stood on the ground now known as Pioneer Park here in Salt Lake City.

A letter had been prepared for the presidency which already bore the signature of President Tanner and Joseph Fielding Smith.  The letter was an answer to the parties named that the Church could not participate in the project.  I was asked how I felt about it.  I advised the President that I had heard of the plan and had seen the ‘brochure’ — that my only fear in supporting it was that it might run counter to what had already been established and what was in process on Temple Square.  That perhaps two major bureaus of the Church in the city was too much.  However, if the money was available, I would rather see it spent here than in Nauvoo.  The President then asked me why.

3.  My reply concerning Nauvoo and its extensive restoration concerned the fact that whatever we did there would react greatly to the benefit of the R.L.D.S. for the following reasons:

a.  The R.L.D.S. owns the Mansion House where the Prophet and his family lived.  This would accrue to their advantage with visitors.

b.  The R.L.D.S. also own the cemetery where the Prophet, his brother Hyrum

and Emma are buried.  This also could put us in a shadow so far as explaining

to tourists.

c.  The Masonic Lodge still stands in Nauvoo, this was built by the Church, and

according to the frequently used story by them, it was built with funds that should

have been used on the temple structure.  This, they claim, caused the Church to

be rejected.  (See Section 124 of the D&C)


In the discussion with the President of the restoring and development of Nauvoo, he seemed very much opposed to its expanded development and the cost burden of the same being placed upon the Church.  Several times he asked, ‘What are we doing in Nauvoo?  Why are we there?  Why is the Church spending money for its expansion?’  I have heard the President say upon several occasions at Huntsville and here in Salt Lake City that he would not approve the expenditure of funds for any further development at Nauvoo, that he was opposed to it.  His expressions can mean only one thing since money continues to be appropriated, he is being pressured into it.”

Fri., 6 Oct., 1967:

“Did not hold a meeting of the First Presidency today. They held a meeting with the Presiding Bishopric at 9:00 a.m.

Alvin R. Dyer – Appointments to Conferences 

The subject of Elder Dyer’s held [help?] and assistance to me was discussed. Upon learning that he has been appointed to go to Germany and other countries in Europe during all of the month of November, I called President Joseph Fielding Smith and asked him to come over to my office. I then suggested that he not give Elder Dyer assignments to Stake Conferences with the exception of nearby Stakes when I have not given him special assignments.

President Smith answered, “Anything you want, President McKay; I am with you.”

I then called Elder Dyer and asked him to come over to the office to join in our discussion about his appointments.

He arrived about 12:15 p.m. I asked him if he had received an assignment to attend Stake Conferences in Europe, and he told me that he had and was worried about the matter since I had asked him to be present at all First Presidency’s meetings.

I told Elder Dyer that I have asked President Smith not to send him on any appointment which will take him from the office for any length of time so that he will be on call at all times.

Nauvoo Restoration

We next discussed the Nauvoo Restoration, and the large expenditures of the Church’s money on the projects that are going on. President Smith expressed himself, saying, “I want to make myself clear concerning the Nauvoo Restoration; I am not in favor of it. We were driven out of there by the forces of evil — so let the devil have it.”

I assigned President Smith and Elder Dyer to look into the matter of Nauvoo Restoration — what the Church is doing; the cost, etc., and then to make a report to me.

(See following minutes of this meeting by Elder Dyer.)


FRIDAY, October 6, 1967

The discussion next led to the Nauvoo Restoration, and the large amounts of money being spent by the Church; whereas originally funds also were to come from other sources.

I again commented that whatever we did there would greatly benefit the R. L. D. S. movement since they owned the Mansion House, the home of the Prophet, and also the burial place of Joseph, Emma and Hyrum, and would use this as a leverage against whatever story we would tell there.

President Smith then said, “I want to make myself clear concerning the Nauvoo Restoration; I am not in favor of it. We were driven out of there by the forces of evil — so let the devil have it.

President McKay then asked that we conjointly look into the matter of where the Church was going there and what it was costing the Church. Here again I understood that I was to do the checking and to work with President Smith in preparing a report for President McKay.

President Smith and I left together. President McKay was smiling when we left and seemed happy.

Thur., 2 Nov., 1967:

Private Consultation With Elder Alvin R. Dyer

As the Counselors left the office, I motioned to Elder to remain.

Brother Dyer talked further to me of the importance of the Independence project, and I heartily agreed, stating that this project was of first importance, and that I want Elder Dyer to come back tomorrow morning and bring me up to date on everything pertaining to it.

Nauvoo Corporation – Report of Investigations 

Elder Dyer reported on his activities regarding the Nauvoo Restoration, to which I had assigned him. His report included the discussions he had with Elder Delbert L. Stapley and Dr. LeRoy Kimball. He referred to a tentative arrangement that he had with them for a visit to Nauvoo. My instant reply to this was that it would not be good for him to go there with these men; that he should go, but that I should like him to go alone and get an unbiased opinion, and report back to me.

(See following complete report on Nauvoo by Elder Dyer.)

Note by Alvin R. Dyer: 

As I left the President informed the nurse of his wishes to see me the following morning, and that I should clear the appointment through his secretary, Clare Middlemiss, for Elder Petersen and me to come at 9:30 a.m.

“(Report on Investigation of Nauvoo Restoration by Elder Alvin R. Dyer)

Nauvoo — Investigation of – Consultation – Discussion with Dr. LeRoy Kimball

On this day I visited briefly with Dr. LeRoy Kimball, the president of the Nauvoo Restoration Board of Directors. He apparently had an appointment with LeGrand Richards whose office is next to mine. I met him waiting in the hall, and since Brother Richards was occupied I invited him into my office. He said rather surreptitiously, “You’re the man who is supporting the Nauvoo project.” I replied that I was certainly not opposed to it if it were kept in bounds. During the conversation that followed, mostly in answer to my questions, I was informed that property purchases had been completed and that they were now engaged in restoring six houses. He did not say which, but obviously former res;dences of Church leaders. We spoke of the temple site; I expressed an opinion that no attempt ought to be made to restore any part or all of it — that the site could more suitably be landscaped with a proper marker or perhaps a small “visitors center”. Brother Kimball stated there was no intention to restore the temple in any degree. (Yet a certain publication — Improvement Era July 1967 -refers to a suggestion that the tower corner be restored to allow visitors to climb to an elevation to view the countryside and to get an idea of the grandeur of the temple.)

I expressed my feelings concerning the Nauvoo Restoration, which I feel primarily will preserve the image to some extent of that episode in our history, and can be made an important visitors center. However I have had misgivings for two reasons: (1) The manner in which four pieces of “Temple Land” property in Independence, Missouri, a consecrated land, which was never sold or traded by the Church previously, were given to the R. L. D. S. for a small piece of the Nauvoo site; that President McKay told me that in giving his approval those who arranged the trade had assured him that the land in Independence which was surrendered was not “Temple Land”. (2) That due to the fact that the R. L. D. S. hold some very key property in Nauvoo, the Mansion House, the Nauvoo House, and the small piece of land where Joseph, Hyrum and Emma are buried, our effort there might well accrue to a greater advantage to them than to us for various reasons.

My Feelings About Nauvoo

In answer to these two conditions Brother Kimball simply stated that he knew of the property trade and that the President must have misunderstood. Concerning the R. L. D. S. and their activity at Nauvoo, he felt that even though they owned the places referred to they could not hurt us, and that they were more or less behind the times and not energetic enough to do us any harm. (Of course, as to this we will have to wait and see. Knowing President Wallace Smith as I do, I feel certain they will make an effort to capitalize on what we have done and are doing to attract visitors, by pointing out their assumed place, since the home of Joseph Smith the founder is owned by them — falling into their hands by family succession etc.)

Tentative Plans For Nauvoo Visit

Brother Kimball said he wished I could go to Nauvoo so that he could show me what is being done. I told him that in the assignment given to me by President McKay concerning Nauvoo, that I felt the need of visiting the place, and perhaps in about two weeks this might be possible. Some tentative thought was given to this by both of us. Delbert Stapley learning of this felt that he also might accompany us. The planned visit however was not completely firmed up. (This visit with these brethren was later cancelled.)”

Tues., 7 Nov., 1967:

Meeting with Elder Alin R. Dyer 

Elder Dyer and I had a pleasant visit. I clasped his hand as he talked to me. He said that he is going back to Nauvoo the following morning on the assignment I had given him, and would return to Salt Lake Thursday.

I told him that I am glad he is going, and would await a report on his impressions of what the Nauvoo Corporation is doing there.

Elder Dyer jokingly asked if I had noted President Brown’s statement this morning concerning the matters coming before me from him -“as it were from left field.” I smiled as I said, yes, that I had noticed it but that he is not to let it bother him.

Elder Dyer and I then talked about matters of mutual concern.

Church Administration – Inter-Administrative Groups and Bureaus Being Created 

Elder Dyer discussed with me the rising number of inter-administrative groups or bureaus that are being created in the Church, with great increases in employment. (This did not refer to Priesthood Correlation.) He named the following:

(a) Real Estate committee — 30 employees 

(b) Advanced Planning — 105 employees

(c) Buildings and Facilities Security Guards — 63 employees 

(d) Zions Securities Corporation 

(e) PersonnelDepartment.

He said that these committees, or groups, may be needed fully or in part, but as to why they are needed and the extent of the need, and under whose supervision they function, should be surveyed and analyzed. If they are found to be worthwhile in any degree, then systematic checks shuld be placed upon them, so as to watch interadministrative expansion when the same is not needed.

We discussed this matter back and forth, and I told Elder Dyer that he has my approval to a survey and study; and that he should prepare the necessary directive correspondence to the different departments to make this information available to me.

Brother Dyer reported the conversation he had had with Elder LeGrand Richards at a dinner table. Brother Richards, in a side conversation, told Elder Dyer of a meeting held in President Tanner’s office, wherein the hiring of a 63-man security force to protect Church property was discussed. Elder Richards did not seem to favor the idea. Brother Dyer said that he and Elder Richards discussed freely the rising number of church employees at the administrative head; namely, the number in the different departments, and wondered if the Church was not being loaded down with bureaus. Brother Richards said that President Tanner seemed to favor this sort of thing. He also wondered if the President knew about and favored these developments.

Elder Richards stated that the President must have had a reason for calling him (Elder Dyer). Elder Richards then said in a serious tone, “Sometimes I am glad that I am old. When I see how things are going in the Church, I’ll be out of it and won’t have to face what we’re up against.”

I said to Elder Dyer that these things had not really disturbed me to the point that I felt forlorn, but that I was hurt over the remarks made to the Council last Thursday by one of the Counselors that I am growing weaker, and was not alert, etc.

Elder Dyer spoke of Elder Mark E. Petersen’s statement last Friday after they had met with me — of the many solid and thoughtful questions I had asked for reassurance of the rightness of the Independence project on the “Temple Land”; Elder Dyer said that Elder Petersen is very loyal and supports me in everything. Brother Petersen is quite anxious to see how quickly the letter I had sent to the Counselors regarding the Independence Project would be followed through.”

Wed., 15 Nov., 1967:

“9:00 a.m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency in my office in the Hotel Utah apartment.  Present were: Presidents Brown, Tanner, Smith and Elder Alvin R. Dyer.

9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Report on Nauvoo

Elder Alvin R. Dyer remained at my request, at which time he reported the following matters on Nauvoo:

We first read together Elder Dyer’s report and analysis of the project of the Nauvoo Restoration, Inc. (See following detail report by Elder Dyer.)

After reading the report, I said that either Elder Dyer or both of us should meet later with Elder Delbert L. Stapley and Dr. LeRoy Kimball to discuss the five phases of the report.

Report of Meeting with Elder Stapley and Dr. Kimball 

Elder Dyer later reported that on Sunday, November 19, 1967, in accordance with my desire, he had met with Elder Stapley and Dr. Kimball of the Nauvoo Restoration, Inc. He said he read the contents of his report to them, and that many of the items they concurred in wholeheartedly, excepting (1) The location of the proposed “Visitors Center”, and (2) the feeling as to the Reorganized Church — that their holding the key sites in Nauvoo is a definite factor to be regarded by us. Both Brother Stapley and Dr. Kimball felt that there is not too much to be concerned about regarding this matter.

Elder Dyer said their visit was pleasant, with a good feeling present. He said he stressed the need of Nauvoo becoming a part of the vast historical image of the Restored Church; but not the sole image. He mentioned to them the fact that Nauvoo had a historical image; whereas Missouri, in addition to such an image, is a place of the future; 56 of the reveations testifying as to this. Whereas none speak of Nauvoo as a place of Church destiny. He told them that virtually every President of the Church has spoken of the redemption of Zion and return to Jackson County, but none, to his knowledge, had spoken thusly of Nauvoo. He said that President John Taylor said that the Nauvoo property would come back to the people who once lived there, but there is no event of destiny so far as the Church is concerned connected vith Nauvoo.

Nauvoo — Report Continued 

Elder Dyer then continued to tell me of his visit to Nauvoo, stating that his visit there brought forcibly once again to his mind the great sadness and tragedy of the condition of the descendants of the Prophet Joseph Smith; of the culmination of his valiant earth life struggle in the completion of the divine work committed unto him by the Lord. He had loved Nauvoo; the days spent there with Emma and his family were most dear to him. It was from Nauvoo that he went to his martyrdom at Carthage with his brother Hyrum. Yet, unfortunately, Emma nor his mother, or children, went West with Brigham Young, but remained to become part of the Reorganized movement years later. Tears could not help welling up in our eyes as we talked about it.



WEDNESDAY, November 8, 1967

I left my car in the Church parking terrace and took the limousine at the Hotel Utah for the Airport. At 7:00 A.M. I left Salt Lake City by Frontier Airlines jet for St. Louis, Missouri, with intermediate stops at Grand Junction and Denver. At St. Louis I boarded an Ozark plane (turbo-jet) for Burlington.

Arriving at Burlington, I called the Ravstens at Nauvoo. (I had called them several times from the St. Louis Airport without success.) I reached Sister Ravsten who arranged for my transportation to Nauvoo –which proved to be Brother Thorup, a brother of Levi Thorup, a friend who presided over the Danish Mission. His brother was at Nauvoo with his wife serving as a missionary couple. I learned that there there two other couples there as well as the Ravstens.

During the afternoon hours until early evening, with Brother Ravsten as my guide, I was shown a wide spectrum of Nauvoo. This included some 1000 acres of land, many Pioneer Homes, the most prominent of which are those once occupied by Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, Heber C. Kirnball and many others which are in various stages of restoration.

The Heber C. Kimball home has been expertly restored. The old Tirnes and Seasons Building and the Masonic Hall, where the Relief Society was organized on March 17, 1842, were among other places visited which now belong to the Church.

(Visit at The R. L. D. S. Visitors Center)

With Brother Ravsten, I visited the R. L. D. S. Visitors Center. I met Gerald Sutter who is in charge of the R. L. D. S. Historic Properties and Visitors Center. The Center is in a reconstructed stone building, with main and base ment floors- -a lecture room included on the main floor. Brother Sutter informed us that they had had 47,000 visitors so far this year. This is about 15% above last year. Fifteen percent or about 7,000 were L. D. S. We met Floyd Fears of their church who appears to be in charge of their grounds, buildings, and upkeep.

Many of the prominent sites and buildings associated with Nauvoo history belong to the R.L.D.S., including the foundation of the Joseph Smith store — in the upper part of which many important meetings were held; the Homestead, which was the first home that the Prophet Joseph Srnith and his family lived in; the Mansion House, which the Prophet moved into; the Nauvoo House Property, and the small cemetery where Joseph, Emma, and Hyrurn were finally buried. I told these two brethren of the R.L.D.S., who were very courteous and affable, of my acquaintance with Israel Smith and Wallace Smith, the past and present presidents of that church.

I ventured the thought with them that knowing Wallace Smith as I did, he would soon be seeking to up grade their historic places there. Gerald Sutter informed us that President Smith had already appointed a committee to do just this. This could possibly mean the restoration of the Joseph Smith store and the completion of the Nauvoo House to provide overnight stopping of tourists; also the Visitors Center will no doubt be enlarged and improved.

(Visit To The Mansion House)

At my request, since I had never actually been inside the “Mansion House” upon visiting at Nauvoo, Brother Sutter opened up this residence which still has a grace and beauty. We were shown the second floor which is normally closed to visitors. A number of pieces of furniture were claimed to have been owned and used by the Prophet and his family — including two upright desks, one a real antique made of 20 different kinds of wood — which they reported Eleanor Roosevelt once tried to buy from the R. L. D. S.; also a large chest with a secret compartment in the bottom that were used by Emma and the fireplace andirons.

I appreciated seeing the Mansion House which in its present state does not have the rear wing which formerly provided 10 or 12 additional rooms. The secret door in the closet of an upstairs bedroom, with a concealed ladder to the attic for hiding and escape from another section of the House, was of interest.

In the presence of Brother Ravsten, I suggested an interchange of tourist information; that it was our desire to be friendly and on good terms, since so much of the historic information there overlapped and was interrelated in the properties and sites that each church owned. They seemed very favorable to the idea. It was at this point that Brother Sutter gave us the number of visitors they have had thus far this year.

I determined to send Brother Sutter a letter thanking him for the courtesies shown us.

Following dinner at the Icarians Restaurant with the Ravstens and Thorpes, I was shown the 16 mm colored films on Nauvoo at the Visitors Center. Both are good films, the most recent being updated. The reference in the latter that “many” Mormons at Nauvoo were Masons I believe should be changed to “some” or simply left out.

Spent the night at the motel the Church recently purchased for $60,000. The room I had was very clean and modern with a television. There was a large window to the west, on the second floor, which overlooked the immediate slope to the Mississippi River, including a good view of the River at that point. It is a very beautiful spot.

THURSDAY, November 9, 1967

Early in the morning as I was writing, Brother Hess, our motel operator, brought some toast and juice. It was nice of Brother and Sister Hess to do this.

They have been there two months and seem to be enjoying their position.

A little later Brother Ravsten came to drive me to Burlington where I planned to take an Ozark flight to Chicago at 7:52 A.M. Upon arriving there I was advised the flight had been cancelled due to airplane mechanical difficulties, so my flight schedule returning to Salt Lake had to be re-set. In doing so, Brother Ravsten drove me to the Moline-Davenport Airport some 75 or 80 miles away, where I was able to catch an Ozark Flight to Chicago.

(Visitors At Nauvoo This Year)

While enroute to Moline, Brother Ravsten reported that 102,000 visitors had been registered at Nauvoo this year and that about 60% were non-members.

I returned to Salt Lake on a U.A.L. re-scheduled flight which placed me back home about three hours later than originally planned.

(Thoughts Concerning Nauvoo)

As I stood at the area of embarkation on the Nauvoo side of the river, where the Saints were forced to cross over, leaving earlier in the year than expected at a time when it was bleak and cold, the words of Brigham Young came to my mind: 

“Our only means of avoiding a rupture was by starting in mid-winter. Our homes, gardens, orchards, farms, streets, bridges, mills, public halls, magnificent Temple, and other public improvements we leave as a monument of our patriotism, industry, economy, uprightness of purpose and integrity of heart; and as a living testimony of the falsehood and wickedness of those who charge us with disloyalty to the Constitution of our country, idleness and dishonesty.”

(DHC Vol. 7, pp. 602-3.)

And as to the Temple when first it caught fire, but later to be destroyed completely by an indendiary and tornado, Brigham Young said this:

“I saw the flames from a distance, but it was out of my power to get there in time to do any good towards putting out the fire, and I said if it is the will of the Lord that the Temple be burned, instead of being defiled by the gentiles, Amen to it.”

(Ibid p. 582.)

As I walked and traveled on the roads of Nauvoo, I thought of that fateful day when Joseph and Hyrum left Nauvoo, on one of these roads, on horseback, never to return alive; they were on their way to Carthage to surrender themselves into confinement — for unjust reasons, but nevertheless they went to save a slaughter of the Saints.


There can be no question that Nauvoo is important to the historical background of the Church, and can take an important part in building the true image of the Restoration and the people who participated in it. It is to be remembered, however that the Cnurch did not start at Nauvoo, nor will it end there. Such renowned places as Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, Fayette, New York, Harmony, Pennsylvania, Kirtland, Ohio, Jackson County, Missouri — the Center place of Zion — Liberty in Clay County, Far West in Caldwell County, and Adam-ondi-Ahman in Daviess County, are all of great significance — particularly Jackson County, and the redemption of Zion, concerning which 56 revelations were given unto the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Nauvoo is therefore an episode which becomes prominent now, not only for its religious aspects but also as a part of American History:

(a) The exodus of Brighsm Young to the West and its resultant colonizations.

(b) Orson Hyde and the blessings upon Jerusalem.

(c) Jonathan Browning and his gun products.

(d) Others whose hornes restored at Nauvoo provide a separate saga of our history.

But Nauvoo, to be effective in the overall destiny of God’s work, need not be made more prominent than that which can be taken from her — in becoming part of that “great image” we must yet place before mankind.

I have concluded this recommendation concerning The Nauvoo Restoration which I shall state in outline form only which is contained in five basic suggestions:

(1) Consolidate that which we now have under way with regard to the restoration ot dwelling places of prominent early-day leaders. In the consolidation of the Church’s present holdings at Nauvoo, it is suggested that the following residences be restored, as significant to the image of the former Nauvoo:

a. Orson Hyde Residence

b. Brigham Young Residence

c. Wilford Woodruff Residence

And also The Times and Seasons Building. 

It is further suggested, because of the great expense to the Church, that other residences and buildings be restored or rebuilt by invitation to various family organizations at their expense, yet with the restored units being a part of The Nauvoo Restoration as a whole. Such family organizations as the Brownings, Claytons, and Farrs may welcome this opportunity to contribute something to the history and memory of their ancestors. Perhaps the Seventies of the Church by small individual contributions might consider raising the money for the rebuilding of the Seventies Hall etc.

(2) Erect a Visitors Center, with display media, theater etc., to adequately present the image of this part of our history; with the provision that such story there shall be built-up not as a beginning or an end but as an example of the characteristics of the people who respond to the “Message of the Restoration.” It is my hope that the Visitors Center should be erected on the Temple Block; that the Icarion Building be torn down so as not to confuse issues or to be confronted with the need of explaining why it is there in the first place. With this building out of the way, that whole

square could be used for the “Center”, and here on the Temple property the story of the Nauvoo Temple could be told by 16 mm colored projection, with song and the spoken word.

I do not feel that the Temple should be restored and used as a Visitors Center; this would lessen the image of these sacred edifices all over the world. Also, across the street is found the St. Mary’s Priory. Such a nearby structure would be less offensive if we had a Visitors Center and not a restored Temple structure . The Masonic Hall and the participation of our people in this activity should, I believe, neither be “played up” or “played down”. We should simply make little or no reference to it. It was also a public center; this could be spoken of.

(3) Every effort should be made to foster a spirit of cooperation and reasonable understanding with the R.L.D.S. Our people who visit there should be encouraged to be gracious and appreciative of the privilege of seeing the properties of the Joseph Smith family which they control. There should be, I believe, an interchange of Tourist Information.

(4) It is my feeling that the building of a Marina and hotel accommodations should be pushed. By this I mean to encourage others to undertake such projects — land to be acquired from the Church on a lease basis only.

It appears to me that the success of our costly venture there can be more fully realized only if visitors remain overnight. This will require facility.

It is my understanding that the State of Illinois is interested in the Marina, and that other people such as Fred Harvey are interested in motel construction. A strong effort should be made through responsible and important friends of the Church to sponsor, with outside capital, these two proposed projects.

(5) That arrangements should be entered into as soon as it can be done to lift to a great extent the operational budget of The Nauvoo Restoration Inc. from Church budgeting. And secondly under this suggestion, that no more open land be obtained unless it be for practical reasons to secure what we now have.”


Following the meeting with The First Presidency, which was short, I met with President McKay privately, at which time the following matters were reported and discussed:

(A) We read together my report and analysis of the project of the Nauvoo Restoration Inc. (See Journal Record for November 8-9, 1967. ) It was determined that either myself or both of us would meet later with Elder Stapley and LeRoy Kimball to discuss the five phases of the report.

My visit to Nauvoo brought forcibly once again to my mind the great sadness and tragedy of the condition of the descendants of the Prophet Joseph Smith; of the culmination of his valiant earth life struggle in the completion of the divine work committed unto him by the Lord. He had loved Nauvoo; the days spent there with Emma and his family were most dear to him. It was from Nauvoo that he went to his martyrdom at Carthage with his brother Hyrum. Yet, unfortunately, Emma nor his mother, or children went west with Brigham Young, but remained to become part of the Reorganized movement. Tears could not be held back.”

Fri., 17 Nov., 1967:

“Minutes of the Meeting of the First Presidency

Held Friday, November 17, 1967, at 9:30 A. M., in President McKay’s Apartment

Present: Presidents David O. McKay, Hugh B. Brown, N. Eldon Tanner, and Joseph Fielding Smith; also Elder Alvin R. Dyer. President Thorpe B. Isaacson absent on account of illness.

Nauvoo Restoration

The following members of the Board of Directors of the Nauvoo Restoration met with the First Presidency, namely, Elders Delbert L. Stapley, Dr. J. LeRoy Kimball, Lawrence McKay, A. Hamer Reiser and Mr. Harold Fabian. Elder Mark E. Petersen was also present.

Dr. Kimball reported much progress in the development of the Nauvoo Restoration program. He mentioned three separate projects in which they have been involves: (l) Buying property, which project they have essentially completed, having purchased most of the properties that they had hoped to buy. He said among them the Farr home, the Heber C. Kimball home and others. Dr. Kimball said that the one home they want to obtain which they have not yet secured is the Johnathan Browning home, but they expect to be able to get it within the next three or four months, and he also felt that the Browning people would be willing to restore it to its former condition. Dr. Kimball said that the Nauvoo Restoration has purshased most of the properties at a reasonable price, although there have been a few scattered pieces that were not so reasonable. (2) The second project has been the restoration program. He said that some of these homes have been restored, such as the Farr home, the Kimball home, and the Wilford Woodruff home. He said they are now engaged in restoring the Brigham Young home. Dr. Kimball said that he has been told by people of the Reorganized Church that more people ask about the Brigham Young home than any other home. Referring to the restoration of these homes Dr. Kimball said that one of the important phases of the work is the archaeological work and that currently most of this work that has been done has been done under the direction of Mr. Harrington, one of the best qualified men for this work in the United States. He mentioned that Byron Ravsten is in charge of the work in Nauvoo and that he is doing an excellent job. During the summer months a number of BYU students and others have assisted in the work there. Dr. Kimball also mentioned the fine work that is being done there by Edwin Kendrew, who has had more experience than anyone else in matters of this kind. He is a nonmember of the Church and is the one who managed the restoration of Williamsburg. Dr. Kimball said that during this past year they registered about 110,000 visitors and that of this number 80% are nonmembers. He said they have all seen the film which depicts Nauvoo and the westward trek and they also have seen the homes.

Dr. Kimball said that Byron Ravsten, who is in charge of the work at Nauvoo, is a very fine man and that he has done nothing that has not had the approval of the board. At the request of Dr. Kirnball, Mr. Harold Fabian made comments regarding the work at Nauvoo. Mr. Fabian explained that he was born and reared in Salt Lake City, that he is not a member of the Church but that members of the Church are among his best friends and he considered President McKay one of them, and that he has been for many years. He said he first went to Nauvoo at President McKay’s request, that at that time he knew nothing about the story of Nauvoo from a Church or religious point of view, although he did know quite a bit about it from a historical point of view inasmuch as he was a member of the Secretary of Interior’s advisory board on National Parks, Historical Buildings, and Monuments. He said that board had been instructed by Congress to have a survey made of sites in the United States of extraordinary importance, and in carrying out that assignment they had a large staff of the most able historians they could get to review the entire history of America from the days of the Spaniards and Columbus up to the present time. He said the result of their historic investigations was to classify Nauvoo as one of the bases for the proper interpretation of one of the great western migrations from the Missouri River westward, and the establishment of the intermountain empire, and that it was officially so classified. Mr. Fabian said he had looked at the problem of restoring Nauvoo from an American history standpoint. He said that he told President McKay what it meant to him, namely, the suffering that these people went through, the faith that they had shown in their leadership and their destiny and in their religion in making this trek and establishing this intermountain empire. He said it was something the American people ought to know and he felt that we owe it to the Church as well as to the people of America generally to restore Nauvoo. He said this story he had given to the government and as a result the advisory board has now officially classified Nauvoo as a base exceptionally fitted for interpreting one of the great migrations of American history into the west, and this has been made a matter of record. Mr. Fabian said he told President McKay that if he would restore Nauvoo not as a religious restoration or as a proselyting medium but as a contribution to American history, we would do a great thing for America and for the Mormon people because we would place before the people of America, the way they want to understand it, the story of what our people have done and the character that the Church has developed in them and their faith in their destiny. He said that with that classification we have surmounted one of the hurdles of the restoration project, which is to get moral and financial recognition and help from the American people. He said that last year another piece of legislation was enacted by Congress called the Historic Preservation Act which recognizes not only the national important sites of American history but also provides for financial donations in the way of grants up to 50% of the cost of making the restorations, and in order to qualify for that help the project has to be classified as a historic restoration justifying it. Mr. Fabian further said that he took this matter up with colonial Williamsburg and its officers, that he had worked with them since 1926, and they are very enthusiastic in helping us with the restoration of Nauvoo, that they have given us without cost the services of the architect for the entire restoration of colonial Williamsburg. He mentioned that Mr. Kendrew, a member of the Nauvoo Restoration board, has given valuable help. Mr. Fabian said that George Herzog’s association with the National Parks Service, both as a former director and a present director, has been very valuable to us because he has had intimate contact with what we are doing and his organization is helping us all they can because that is what they want to do. He mentioned that Mr. Herzog has been with the board in their meetings in Nauvoo on two occasions.

Referring to the properties we have acquired, Mr. Fabian said that there are two small pieces we would like to have which we do not have to have, and that Dr. Kimball has done a wonderful job in acquiring properties and has done it by himself. He mentioned a sixty acre tract of the Mulch property that spreads between the old town of Nauvoo and the river. He said that if some real estate subdividers had been smart enough to buy that property it would have been serious, but through the efforts of Dr. Kimball we now own that land. He said it was wise to move slowly in the acquisition of these properties, otherwise the prices would have gone up very greatly. He said that a historic restoration is simply the medium of interpreting the history for present and future generations to relive the tragedies, the triumphs, the failures and the successes of the people who built our country and who have given us the life we are now living. He said just to build some houses is not enough, that people come to look at a building and it interests them, but it doesn’t mean very much unless we interpret the situation to them and put life into it, that you have to tell the story about the things they are looking at. Mr. Fabian said that thousands of people are going to come to Nauvoo and they have to be taken care of when they come there, that there isn’t any place there to accommodate people, so he felt that in addition to the physical restoration of these homes in Nauvoo we have to have a place where these things will be interpreted to them and that we have to have accommodations where they can stay.

Elder Stapley asked Mr. Fabian regarding the cooperation of the State of Illinois. Mr. Fabian said that he knew very little about this, that Nauvoo Restoration is an Illinois corporation and the State of Illinois under the Historic State Restoration Act is required to make an over-all plan for the development of historic sites in that state and that plan must be submitted to the National Parks Service. He said they know about our work in Nauvoo and are very much in favor of what we are trying to do. He said that they want to help us with the establishment of the Marina there and he felt that with their cooperation we could get a good deal of assistance. He said the three essentials are the actual physical restoration, the visitors center and accommodations.

He said regarding the visitors center he felt it should be located in such a place that the visitors can see the general area and the general restoration if possible, and that the visitors accommodations should be accessible and close to the restoration area although not an actual part of it, that we would have to have a hotel or motel with parking area, dining rooms, etc. to accommodate the people who come there, that at present there is no place for them to even eat comfortably. He mentioned that there is a tremendous population of people to draw from in the vicinity of Nauvoo. He said that the Marina on the Mississippi River will be quite an addition and that Fred Harvey had said that they would be glad to build that and operate it if we want them to do so.

Elder Petersen asked in regard to the motel, if there is some chain company that would be willing to build and operate it.

Mr. Fabian said that Willard Marriott is a member of the board and a staunch member of the Church but he did not know whether or not he would be interested in something of this kind.  If he would it would be an excellent thing.

Dr. Kimball said he had talked to Mr. Harvey about the Marina and its facilities and he had said that he would come there without the Nauvoo Restoration, that, however, there is a tremendous possibility there. Mr. Harvey said that he would be glad to operate the facilities there. Mr. Fabian said in regard to the building facilities he thought it was something that we should control.  President Tanner said it is something we must control. Dr. Kimball felt that we could have 300,000 or 400,000 people visiting Nauvoo by 1972. He said they have done no advertising and he felt sure if we started to advertise we could have a tremendous crowd and that, therefore, we must take proper steps to accommodate them when they come.

Mr. Fabian, referring to the visitors’ accommodations, said that if we do it now we will have no competition, but that if we postpone it others may come in and provide such accommodations over which we would have no control.

Mention was made of the Great River Road which will run along both sides of the Mississippi River from the Gulf up into Canada. This is planned to be built by the states through which it runs. It will take some time before it becomes a reality, however, although it is well planned now and the road will pass Nauvoo.

Mr. Fabian said that they have no money for either the visitors center or the visitors accommodations. Elder Stapley commented that he thought what we ought to do is to develop the restoration center now and take a look at the visitors accommodations, ascertain what it would cost and see if we could line up someone who would take over the operation.

President Tanner asked Mr. Fabian if he felt that we have reached the point where something has to be done, and Mr. Fabian said we are losing momentum now.

Lawrence McKay asked if we had a proposed site for this center, and Dr. Kimball said that they had studied the matter for two or three years, that they have been professionally advised on it and that they do have a choice site where the accommodations could be placed. He said some have mentioned the temple block but he said there would not be proper accommodations on the temple block for 400,000 people. He said me have to have a place where people can park their cars. It was felt that the matter of details could be left to the board for their consideration.

Dr. Kimball said the primary reason for their visit today was to get the necessary backing to start a visitors center. He said that as to the cost he had had in mind a figure in the neighborhood of $500,000 to set up a center with films and all the things that would be needed.

Elder Petersen said that if we were going to need half a million dollars to set up a center that would be satisfactory now we ought to build something that would satisfy the situation at least five or ten years from now, that he thought half a million dollars would be the minimum. He did not know whether or not that would include the furnishings or just the building.

Dr. Kimball said that this would be one unit which would take care of the needs for the present and they could extend the unit. Mr. Fabian said that he had had experience in these things and that he found that we usually build too small. He did not think $400,000 or $500,000 would be sufficient, that it would require several times that amount when this thing is built.

Elder Petersen suggested that a further study be made, that perhaps his committee should visit Williamsburg and study the situation there, also study our Church facilities and needs, and bring the plans and estimates of what it is felt we should have for the consideration of the Presidency. He felt that we should decide today regarding the principle and then authorize the group to bring in some specific plans. Dr. Kimball said that their architect has started on the plans, that he is waiting for a go ahead signal, and that they would be glad to bring definite plans in two or three months. He said that Elder Petersen’s idea was their idea.

In referring to the number of visitors at Nauvoo, Dr. Kimball stated that for the first ten months of this year there were 106,000, which is an increase of 11,000 over 1966.

Elder Dyer said that he was in Nauvoo last week for the greater part of a day and that he would certainly endorse the erection of a visitors center as soon as it can be arranged. He said that the tourists go to the Icarian Building now, which he thought should be torn down, and that about 15 minutes is spent by the guides telling them about the Icarians. He also mentioned the development that is being made by the Reorganized Church, that they own some of the choicest property in Nauvoo. He said that Mr. Suter, the Reorganized Church’s foreman there, had said that Wallace Smith, the president, has already appointed a restoration committee and they have in mind the completion of the Nauvoo House as a hotel. They are also contemplating the restoration of the Joseph Smith store in which many of the important meetings of the Church were held in the early days. He said that they too are considering building a church visitors center. Elder Dyer said that he was in accord with the suggestion that we arrange for the erection of a hotel there.

Elder Petersen said that he thought this would become one of the best visitors centers in the Church from the standpoint of our contact with the numbers of people, and he thought this would be of marvelous value to us.

Elder Dyer further commented that he thought a very careful study should be made regarding the place where the visitors center should be built. He said he thought that the Marina is perhaps the greatest possibility for tourists there, that this is gathering force like wild fire and that we ought to get into this Marina venture.

Elder Stapley moved that we approve in principle the matters that had been discussed in relation to the Nauvoo Restoration and that the committee be authorized to go forward and get schematic drawings, costs, and location of the proposed reception center, as well as accommodations for visitors who come to visit Nauvoo. Motion seconded by President Brown. The motion was also seconded by Elder Petersen and was unanimously approved.

* * * * * * * * *

Minutes by Joseph Anderson”

Wed., 3 Jan., 1968:

“Decided not to hold a meeting of the First Presidency this morning. President Smith is ill at home with the flu.

10:00 a. m.

Brother Alvin R. Dyer came over and consulted with me regarding the letter addressed to me by W. Wallace Smith, President of the Reorganized Church, who expressed his concern over plans of the City of Nauvoo to build a sewage treatment plant which would prove damaging to historic and sacred places in Nauvoo, including the burial plot of the Prophet Joseph, his wife Emma, and Hyrum Smith. Evidently the Nauvoo Restoration Corporation of which Dr. LeRoy Kimball is President knew of this sewage plant and went along with the city.

Brother Dyer suggested that a committee be appointed to look into the matter and report back to me.

Brother Dyer said that a Mr. Don Benton, attorney for the Reorganized Church, is in the city to talk with me about this matter. I arranged that Brother Dyer bring Mr. Benton to the apartment, at which time the matter will be discussed with him.

10:15 a. m. 

Elder Dyer brought Mr. Benton to the apartment, and after introductions and greetings, Mr. Benton handed me the personal letter which President Wallace Smith had addressed to me. I read the letter carefully, and after a discussion regarding this matter, said that I would have this matter looked into and send President Smith an answer to his letter.

Mr. Benton was very cordial and said that if we could work together on this matter, it would be a good thing for both churches and would bring about a better understanding. Mr. Benton spoke of President Smith’s high regard for Elder Dyer, and of his appreciation for what he is doing to bring about a better understanding between the two churches.

I told Mr. Benton that I was most grateful for his visit and hoped that something could be worked out to have the sewage plant placed where it could not be damaging to the historic sites in which we are all interested.

(See following letters from President Smith and my answer thereto; also Elder Dyer’s minutes.)

(See also diary of January 9, 1968.)”

“January 3, 1968

Mr. David O. McKay, President,

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Temple Square

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear President McKay:

I feel sure that you share with me a deep concern over plans of the City of Nauvoo to build a sweage treatment plant in the vicinity of the grave of Joseph Smith Jr.  While this is my grandfather’s grave, it is much more than a personal matter.  Erecting such a plant on the presently proposed site would be a grievous error felt in the years ahead by members of your church as well as mine.

Engineering studies show that the treatment and disposal plant could be moved some 1,000 feet to the west and that such a move would be feasible and desirable.  We urge you to join with us now in an effort to effect such a change in the City’s plans.  There is a matter of urgency since bids are to be opened on the project on January 16.  Our church did not learn of the city’s plans until September.  Our officers have had some degree of success in getting the city officials to consider a modified plan which eliminates a pumping station in the vicinity of the grave, but the matter of the location of the disposal plant has not been altered.

As you will recall, the graves of Joseph, Hyrum and Emma Smith had to be moved in 1928 to accommodate a power dam on the Mississippi River.  It is my opinion that moving these graves once in a century should be sufficient.  The decision on where the disposal plant should be erected in Nauvoo should be one of historical considration and not merely an engineering consideration.  This would not be true of most cities, but you and I can surely agree that this would be true in historic Nauvoo.

I urge you to join with us in an effort to protect the sacred tradition and significance of the grave of the founder of the Restoration Movememb.  We would appreciate your assistance in working toward a solution to this problem.  We feel we share a mutual concern here and urge you and your officials to work with us to see this matter brought to a mutually satisfactory conclusion.

I extend my best personal wishes to you and your family at this season of the beginning of a New Year.

Very sincerely yours,

W. Wallace Smith


Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”

“January 8, 1968

President Wallace Smith 

Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 

The Auditorium 

Independence, Missouri

Dear President Smith:

The subject of your letter of recent date, relating to your interest in the relocation of the City of Nauvoo proposed sewage treatment plant, has been considered by our representatives interested in the historic properties in Nauvoo. The visit of Mr. Donald E. Benton of your legal department gave opportunity to review the subject in detail with him, and we believe there would be no objection to the plant being placed farther up the river beyond the small cemetery that is just north of the area mentioned by him.

Our committee is agreed that the proper procedure would be for you to make your request for the change you desire to the Nauvoo City Council, and if the Council is agreeable and an alternate site involving property owned by Nauvoo Restoration, Incorporated, is desired, our people could be brought into the discussion.

We are interested with you in preserving important historic sites. Our desire also is to cooperate in every appropriate way with vou and with the City of Nauvoo in the furtherance of all our mutual interests. We believe ways can be found to allay your apprehensions and to avoid detriment to anyone.

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay


“January 15, 1968

President David O. McKay

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Salt Lake City, Utah  84111

Dear President McKay:

We apprreciate your letter dated January 8th, received in our office today, pledging your cooperation in helping to resolve the problem which has arisen in Nauvoo, Illinois, in relation to the sewage treatment plant location contemplated by that municipality.

Our representatives are in Nauvoo today to meet with the City Council, and we are hopeful that they will give favorable consideration to relocating the treatment plant farther west and north to remove any possible objectionable odors.

Pending the outcome of the Nauvoo City Council’s consideration of this request for relocation, it may be necessary to get in touch with the Nauvoo Restoration, Incorporated to request a grant of land for the site of the treatment plant.

We appreciate your willingness to cooperate in our earnest desire to preserve the integrity of the graves of my grandfather and his brother, Hyrum.



By W. Wallace Smith”

“[Alvin R. Dyer minutes]

(Meeting of President David O. McKay with Elder Alvin R. Dyer Re: Contents of a Letter from President Wallace Smith of the R. L. D. S. to President McKay which was to be presented to the President later in the morning by Don Benton of the R. L. D. S. Legal Department.)

Clare Middlemiss arranged for me to see the President at 10:00 A.M.

Anticipating the contents of the letter from President Wallace Smith to President McKay, I spent 15 minutes giving the President a briefing on the Nauvoo Sewage Disposal Plant which President Smith felt created a hazard that would prove detrimental to their historic and sacred places in Nauvoo, including the burial plot of Joseph, Emma and Hyrum Smith.

I suggested to the President, that if in harmony with his wishes, that he receive the letter and respond to the idea that he would have a committee look into the matter and report back to him; that he could then answer President Smith’s letter. This he felt was the wise thing to do.

(Meeting of President David O. McKay with Elder Alvin R. Dyer and Don Benton of the R. L. D. S. Legal Department.)

At 10:l5 A. M. Don Benton arrived at the President’ s Apartment. The President received him most graciously, and after an interchange of greetings, Brother Benton, who himself was very courteous and respectful of President McKay, handed him the personal letter which President Smith had dispatched.

President McKay read it very carefully and ponderously. Finally, he promised Brother Benton that the matter would be looked into carefully, in accordance with President Smith’s wishes, and that an answer would be sent by him to President Smith.

Brother Benton commented that a unity of feeling in this matter would be a good thing for both churches, and would be a step toward a better understanding. President McKay agreed that it would. Brother Benton also spoke of President Smith’s high regard for me, and of his personal appreciation for the effort I was making contributing to a better understanding between the two churches.

The interview was most satisfying to Brother Benton, and President McKay was most wonderful as he always is upon such occasions. I believe that he was pleased that President Smith felt to appeal to him directly for a better understanding in the matter.”

Tues., 16 Jan., 1968:

“8:30 a. m. 

Held a meeting with Presidents Tanner, Smith and Elder Dyer. President Brown has left for Palm Springs, California for a rest. President Smith is just back from a siege of the “flu”, and he seems to be better.

I felt well, but had difficulty with my hearing until I called the nurse to put a new battery in my hearing aid, after which I could hear perfectly and was able to participate in the discussions.

Nauvoo Corporation – Sewage Disposal Plant 

Elder Dyer reported that he had received a telephone call last evening from Don Benton, the attorney for the Reorganized Church, who said that they had succeeded in getting a delay of the opening of the bids on the sewage disposal plant in Nauvoo. He mentioned that he had previously talked with President Wallace Smith of the Reorganized Church, and that he was very happy and pleased with the spirit of cooperation on this project.

Elder Dyer further stated that he was informed that President Wallace Smith preached a sermon in Independence last Sunday evening, and mentioned the spirit of cooperation that had been manifest in this particular case by this “Utah Church”.

Elder Dyer said that they have found a new location for the sewage plant which will cost less money than the one they had been considering, and that it is in a more desirable location.

(See diary of January 3, 1968, for visit of Don Benton to President McKay.)

Sat., 24 Feb., 1968:

“Spent the day at home.

Nauvoo Corporation 

Elder Alvin R. Dyer met with Mr. Don Benton, Attorney for the Reorganized Church, and Mr. C. I. Myers, a Kansas City River Engineer. They discussed matters pertaining to the Nauvoo Corporation and the proposed Nauvoo City sewage disposal plant in Nauvoo.

(For detail, see following minutes by Brother Dyer.)”

SATURDAY, February 24, 1968

(Nauvoo City Sewage Disposal Meeting)

I had received telephone calls the previous day from both Don Benton and Nauvoo Restoration, stating that Don Benton of the R.L.D.S and C. I. Myers, a Kansas City River Engineer engaged by them, would be in Salt Lake City on this day to attend a meeting at the offices of Nauvoo Restoration at 8:30 A.M.

I met with Don Benton and Mr. Myers in my office prior to this meeting where we discussed in brief the report that Mr. Myers would make on the matter. This report, in the form of a letter, is the same that was submitted by the R. L. D. S. to the Nauvoo City Officials on Wednesday evening February 21, 1968, and is made part of this Journal Record.

The meeting at 8:30 was attended by LeRoy Kimball, A. Hamer Reiser, T. Edgar Lyon, Stephen Baird, Don Benton, C. I. Myers, and myself.

Mr. Myers submitted the report, as referred to, and in the course of the discussion that ensued, it developed that Nauvoo Restoration were unwilling to agree to support any of the alternate sites proposed. Dr. Kimball said that they wanted to study the whole matter further.

I called the attention of everyone present to the fact that the R.L.D.S. had gone to considerable expense in developing data for the proposals, and that Nauvoo Restoration could go on indefinitely rejecting proposal after proposal, which meant that virtually no solution would be reached with such procedure; that since Nauvoo Restoration would be the approval agency (because proposed relocation of the treatment plans would be on their land), that they should satisfy themselves as to an agreeable location to them, and then submit it, that the matter could be settled. This Brother Kirnball agreed to do.

I endeavored to make the matter clear that the original site was not acceptable to President McKay; because of its closeness to the graves of Joseph, Ernma and Hyrum Smith, the Joseph Srnith store site, Nauvoo Mansion, and other historically sacred sites, while owned by the R.L.D.S. were nevertheless sacred to our people. All seemed in agreement on this.

(The Problems That Continue)

(1) A meeting of the Nauvoo City Officials is scheduled for March 5th or 6th, and if an agreeable relocated site is is not established, they may attempt to push the placing of the plant on the original site. This we do not want.

(2) The costs to the R.L.D.S. of a relocated site are still a factor; for whatever they may be required to pay extra because of a relocated site, even with offset savings, (See Report) would be in addition to Legal, Engineering, and other that have been and are being incurred in connection with the injunction they caused to be placed to forestall the original project site.

(3) It now becomes Nauvoo Restoration’s responsibility to satisfy the City Officials in order that problem #1 will not be invoked.

(4) The letter which President McKay sent to President Wallace Smith of the R.L.D.S. included this wording: “There would be no objection to the plant being placed farther up the river beyond the small cemetary.” (Date: January 8, 1968.)

The R.L.D.S. have endeavored to work to the end of moving the plant beyond the small cemetery, but Nauvoo Restoration have objected to the sites which their engineer recommends could be considered. Cost data to the R.L.D.S. over and above original contract bids has been based upon these proposals that have been submitted by the R.L.D.S., which sites are feasible.

It follows that should Nauvoo Restoration now suggest a site that would increase the cost of the feasible sites north of the cemetery, that the Nauvoo Restoration should assume this additional cost.

(See SUNDAY February 25, 1968, for Continuation of This Matter.)

SUNDAY, February 25, 1968

(Telephone Conversation With C. I. Myers) 

On Sunday morning I received a phone call from Mr. Myers who was staying at the Hotel Utah. The main points of his talk with me concerned the following four points:

(1) That Nauvoo Restoration in some way assure the City Officials that a suitable site is being worked out.

(2) That impression, for all around goodwill, be given that the two churches are working together to solve the problem. This would help to restore a better feeling in the Nauvoo area for the R.L.D.S. who are hated because of the injunction etc.

(3) That the Nauvoo Restoration assume costs over and above that incurred in proposed relocation sites — which had been determined, as the R.L.D.S. thought, in harmony with President McKay’s letter.

(4) That the treatment tanks could be placed at proposal site #2, and then later moved when the shoreline scenic highway was built.. This would serve to get the project in operation without delay.


Brother Kimball promised me personally that he would call the Nauvoo City Officials to forestall any action on the original sites and to assure them that a suitable site would be found.”

Tues., 27 Feb.:

[Alvin R. Dyer Journal]

(Telephone Call to Dr. LeRoy Kimball. )

During the day I talked to LeRoy Kimball to remind him of the importance of his contacting the Nauvoo City Officials to assure them that an alternate site would be worked out for the Sewage Disposal Plant, so that they would not attempt to “jam” the project through on the original site; for President McKay had given his word to President Wallace Smith we would cooperate to avoid this. He promised me that he would do this right away.”

Fri., 12 Apr., 1968:

“The meeting of the First Presidency which had been scheduled for 9 o’clock this morning by Lawrence McKay for the Nauvoo Corporation was cancelled because they did not have all the information they needed to discuss necessary matters with the First Presidency.

President Joseph Fielding Smith and Elder Alvin R. Dyer, not knowing that the Nauvoo Corporation meeting had been cancelled, came over to my office at the appointed hour. I heard the nurse telling them the meeting had been cancelled, and called to her to tell the brethren to come in — that I wanted to see them.

Reorganized Church — Re: Sewage Disposal Plant in Nauvoo 

Brother Dyer reported that he had received a letter from Don Benton, attorney for the Reorganized Church, stating that the Nauvoo Corporation had not followed through with instructions to relocate the sewage disposal plant, despite the letter of assurance I had sent to President Wallace Smith that we would cooperate in providing a relocated spot for the sewage plant. It appears that unless this is done immediately, the City plans to go ahead with the plant at the original site which is 1100 feet from the graves of Joseph, Hyrum, and Emma Smith, and about half that distance from the Joseph Smith store site.

Elder Dyer then handed to me a confidential sealed letter addressed to me from President Wallace Smith. I asked Elder Dyer to open it and then I took it and read the letter to President Smith and Elder Dyer. It proved to be a second appeal to help in relocating the sewage plant, and of the advantages to all in removing this objection from this sacred historic spot. (See copies of letters following)

Elder Dyer reminded me of Wallace Smith’s first letter and of my reply; that my commi ment to President Smith had not been carried out because Nauvoo Restoration simply did not want to do it. I said “Who is Nauvoo Restoration?” I then said that this matter should be called to the attention of Elder Stapley.

Note by Alvin R. Dyer:

It was interesting to see how quickly the President was reacting and how determinate were his decisions and thinking on the matter.)

Elder Dyer asked me if I wanted Elder Stapley to come to the office, and I immediately answered “Yes”. Elder Dyer called him on the phone, and mentioned briefly why I wanted to see him. Brother Kimball was with him, and Elder Stapley asked if he could bring Brother Kimball with him. I answered, “Yes, have him come with Brother Stapley.” Elder Dyer told him this, and then Elder Stapley said, “Shouldn’t President Brown and Tanner be there?”, and Elder Dyer turned to me and asked me, and I precisely and immediately said that it was not necessary for them to come.

Elder Stapley and LeRoy Kimball reached the office in a matter of minutes; and I asked Elder Dyer to explain why they had been called over.

Elder Dyer told of the letters received the day before, and the seriousness of the situation, all because Nauvoo Restoration had not wanted to actually make available a relocation site. LeRoy Kimball said, “We have stood willing and are now willing to discuss the matter with the City if they will but ask.”

Elder Dyer said, ”Yes, I know this has been the attitude of Nauvoo Restoration, but actually you have done nothing in a positive way by saying ‘Yes, we shall provide a site’, but have said, ‘If you want a relocated site, let us know and we shall discuss the matter with you’–all of this was something of an evasion.”

It was explained that the R. L. D. S. in good faith had spent fifteen thousand dollars attempting to help find a site, but always that which they found was unsuitable or the R. L. D. S. were going about it in the wrong way.

Elder Dyer further stated that the time had come for Nauvoo Restoration to take some positive action on the matter, and give the City officials assurance of a relocated site.

I then read the letter I received this morning from President Wallace Smith, which also stated in addition to that already mentioned, that the R. L. D. S. would bear all expense connected with a relocated site. After reading the letter, I said it seemed to me a simple matter, and asked why had it not been done. I then said to Elder Stapley, “I hold you responsible to see that this is taken care of”, and I indicated that Elder Dyer is to Assist in the matter.

Nauvoo Restoration Inc. Assurance to the Nauvoo Officials to Form Basis of My Answer to Wallace Smith of the R. L. D. S. Church

LeRoy Kimball said he knew what the trouble was, and as agreed to by Elder Stapley, said the letter would be sent right away. I asked for a copy so that it could be attached to my letter of answer.

Note by Alvin R. Dyer: We shook hands with the President, and left him keenly alert and smiling. It was pleasing to see his alertness and sharp thinking.

I walked to the Office Building with Elder Stapley. We discussed the matter further. Then I said, “You see, Del, how this whole thing happened this morning. President Smith and I went there to attend a meeting, which unbeknown to us had been cancelled; but upon greeting the President, he asked us to stay as he read the personal letter from W. Wallace Smith, and from that developed the further happenings of the morning.” I further stated, “When President Brown and President Tanner hear of it they will accuse President Smith and me of going to see President McKay alone.””

“April 10, 1968

President David O. McKay

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

47 East South Temple Street

Salt Lake City, Utah 84100

Dear President McKay:

This letter is written to further follow up on our previous exchange of correspondence regarding the location of a sewer treatment plant approximately 1,100 feet from the graves of Joseph, Emma, and Hyrum in Nauvoo. The plant would be approximately half that distance from the Joseph Smith Store which is scheduled for restoration.

We continue to feel very strongly that the plant should be at a more remote site from these important historical interests. In order to achieve a relocation of the plant, it will be necessary for Nauvoo Restoration, Inc. to make land available from their holdings north and riverward from the present proposed site. We realize that there may be some sacrifice on the part of Nauvoo Restoration, Inc. in terms of the esthetics of their future plans. We feel the benefits from this relocation, however, would more than compensate for any disadvantages to Nauvoo Restoration, Inc.

We feel further that the benefits of cooperation on the part of the organizations most concerned would be an added compensation for any disadvantages to your restoration corporation.

Thank you most sincerely for your continued assistance.

Sincerely yours,


by W. Wallace Smith”

“April 10, 1968

President Alvin R. Dyer

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 

47 East South Temple 

Street Salt Lake City, Utah 84100

Dear Alvin:

I would first like to congratulate you on your ordination to the First Presidency. I am sure that we will have a continued friend in your work in the office of the First Presidency.

Your efforts to help us remove the sewer plant in Nauvoo to a more remote location from the graves is most appreciated. I believe from my conversations with Brother Donald Benton of our Legal Office it will be necessary for a very definite commitment to be made on the availability of an alternate site before the city will be willing to entertain moving the plant on a change order. Our engineer advises that the most ideal site will be just north of the little cemetery and either in a ways from the waterfront or on the waterfront.

We are willing to pay the additional costs to the city for relocating the plant in that area, and we believe that all that is necessary at this point is for a firm commitment to be made on the availability of the alternate site.

We trust you will be blessed in your new work. Thank you again for your help.

Sincerely yours,


by W. Wallace Smith”

“April 17, 1968

President W. Wallace Smith 

Office of The First Presidency 

Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 

Independence, Missouri

Dear President Smith:

Your second letter concerning the relocation of the sewer treatment plant in Nauvoo, so as not to be so close to the graves of Joseph, Emma, and Hyrum Smith, is acknowledged.

We, with you, feel that the plant should be relocated, and as you have suggested, have asked the Nauvoo Restoration committee, through its President, Dr. LeRoy Kimball, to confirm to the Nauvoo City officials their complete willingness to provide a relocation site on their property for this purpose, and to so designate this site within a matter of a few days so that the necessary steps can be taken for the relocation.

You will find enclosed a copy of the letter sent by Nauvoo Restoration Inc. to the City officials of Nauvoo.

It is hoped that this will enable you to actually effect the removal of the plant to a new location, which will satisfactorily preserve the sacredness of the graves of the founders of the restoration.

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay


“April 17, 1968

The Mayor and the City Council

City of Nauvoo

Nauvoo, Illinois  62354


This will confirm the statements made to you in Nauvoo on March 11, 1968, when Mr. Fabian and I met with you regarding the relocation of the Nauvoo City Sewer Treatment Plant.

Nauvoo Restoration Incorporated will make land available for the relocation of the plant.  We make this statement so that there will be no question in your minds of the availability of land for the purpose mentioned.  Certain considerations will require a few days’ time to designate that site.

It was a pleasure to meet with you.  We are aware of the problems facing you in this situation, but we hope that the matter can be worked out equitably for all concerned.

It is our desire to maintain a good relationship and to cooperate with the City of Nauvoo, as well as with the Reorganized Church.

Sincerely yours,

J. LeRoy Kimball, M.D.


Wed., 17 Apr., 1968:

“8:45 a.m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency. Presidents Brown, Tanner and Dyer present.

Nauvoo Restoration, Inc. — Proposed Visitors Center at Nauvoo at a Cost of Over $884, 000.

Following the taking pictures of the new Visitors Center at Independence, at a cost of $555, 000 including furnishings, landscaping, etc., a meeting was held with the members of the Board of Directors of the Nauvoo Restoration. There were present, in addition to the First Presidency, (Elder Dyer excused), Elders Delbert L. Stapley, Mark E. Petersen of the Twelve; and also Dr. LeRoy Kimball, Harold Fabian and A. Hamer Reiser.

I listened to the reports of the various members of the Committee but had nothing to say. (See following copy of minutes of the First Presidency for details.) (Also see copy of a letter to Dr. Kimball confirming decisions arrived at the meeting this morning. This letter was written at the suggestion of President Tanner.)”

“(Minutes of the Meeting of the First Presidency)


Following the taking of the pictures of this proposed center in Independence, Missouri, a meeting was held with members of the board of directors of the Nauvoo Restoration. There were present in addition to the First Presidency (Elder Dyer was not present) Elders Delbert L. Stapley and Mark E. Petersen of the Twelve, also Dr. J. LeRoy Kimball, Harold Fabian, and A. Hamer Reiser. Dr. Kimball reported that since the meeting held with the First Presidency two or three months ago some plans had been developed for a visitors center in Nauvoo; that the board of directors met about two weeks ago and these plans were presented to them. Dr. Kimball presented to the group pictures of the proposed visitors center which he said could not be ready for use until about two years hence. He also showed pictures of some of the homes that had been restored. He said that it is proposed to erect a center to which an addition can be added when needed, that they would start with sort of a shell and add to it as the traffic increased. In this center, he explained, a film will be presented telling the Nauvoo story, which film is under preparation; that the tourists would come to the center and park their cars when they arrived, that after seeing the picture and the exhibits they would be taken to the homes that had been restored and shown various sites of interest in the area where stories could be told of what had transpired in these particular places. He mentioned that the total registration last year of visitors was 110,000. He said that last year they had 30 guides and that they would have 30 guides in Nauvoo this year, perhaps 15 or 16 of whom would be there for two years. He mentioned that BYU students who have been on missions are used as guides. Elder Petersen felt that this is one of the most historical places in the State of Illinois, that great numbers of tourists go to Salem and Springfield, the Abraham Lincoln country, and that there is a great difference between the culture in those places as compared with Nauvoo, that whereas in the Abraham Lincoln country the homes were log dwellings, the homes in Nauvoo were very fine brick homes. He felt sure that there would be great numbers of people come to Nauvoo to see it from a historical standpoint, and also to hear the story of Joseph Smith and the Mormons who lived there. It was also mentioned that it is proposed to have two dioramas in the visitors center; one of life in Nauvoo and the other of the trek westward. The great emphasis, however, would be on the Nauvoo area.

Mr. Fabian commented that he was very much delighted with the over-all long range plan that has finally been agreed upon to tell the story of one of the most dramatic sagas in American history. He felt there was more drama and more light in this story than any he had heard, that these were a great people, this was a great faith, that they had great leadership, and that this building which it is proposed be erected will be the heart of the Nauvoo Restoration. He felt that more than a million people would come there yearly when the building is built, and it would be a tremendously interesting and beautiful place in the heart of the population of America. He said that the National Parks Service is helping us in every way they can. He felt that we have made very satisfactory progress in the restoration of Nauvoo because we have moved carefully, that we have not rushed into things. He thought it was essential that we not move too fast, otherwise the price of the property would have gone up and it would have been difficult to purchase the homes we now have. He felt that we are now moving into the next step in the over-all plan. Included in the master plan he said is provision for visitors accommodations but this is something that does not have to be done this year; it can be done as money becomes available….

Elder Stapley presented an idea which he thought had merit. He mentioned that we have 20 to 25 homes that should be restored and he wondered if we couldn’t invite the stakes, perhaps on a regional level, to finance the restoration of these homes. He did not favor pressuring the stakes or regions but invite them to do this. He said that he had suggested this to a few stake presidents and that they were fully in support of the proposition.

Dr. Kimball said the total cost of this proposed visitors center would be a little over $884,000. They would like to put up a shell as it were to commence with, and if it took three years to erect a building it would cost at least $200,000 a year. He asked for approval of the over-all plan with this center as a beginning, which would perhaps take two years or more to complete. An architect, Brother Steve Baird, is now preparing the drawings. He said they plan to get into the building in 1970.

President Brown said he thought we would be well advised to adopt the over-all plan, together with the suggestions made, and moved that this be the action of the First Presidency. This proposal would include the suggestion by Elder Stapled that an effort be made to get regions to contribute toward the restoration of these old buildings and that the Church provide sufficient funds that the Nauvoo Restoration can go ahead with confidence. This would also include authorization to begin the planning of visitor’s accommodations. The motion being seconded was presented to those present for vote and the vote was unanimous. President McKay indicated his approval with the others.

Minutes by Joseph Anderson”

Wed., 21 Aug., 1968:

“9:00 a. m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency in my office in the apartment at the Hotel Utah – Presidents Brown, Tanner, Smith, and Dyer were present.

Nauvoo Corporation – Sewage Plant Relocation .

Had a lengthy discussion on the question regarding incidents surrounding the relocation of the sewage plant which is located near the Mansion House and that of the graves of the Prophet Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum, and Emma Smith.

After listening to the explanations by President Tanner and President Dyer, which were rather heated, I decided that President Dyer should call Mr. Krone, one of the City Councilmen, and ascertain what can be done regarding the proposed transfer of the sewage plant to another location. President Dyer will then make further report to us. (See copies of First Presidency Minutes and Brother Dyer’s Minutes.)

Later, August 22, 1968, President Alvin R. Dyer reported that he had talked with Mr. Krone, one of the city commissioners of Nauvoo, by telephone, following the meeting of the First Presidency on August 21. Mr. Krone had told him that it is virtually impossible to do anything about moving the sewer plant at this late date; that the contracts have all been let and they have a letter from the contractors dated August 20, saying that if they did not start on the project immediately they would have to revise their budget upward because of the increased cost of steel. He said it is not a matter of money or whether we would be willing to contribute toward the cost. Accordingly, they are going ahead with the construction of the sewer plant in the original place. Mr. Krone said that they had done everything he thought they could to make sure that there would be no odors escape, and would keep the matter under control. He did say if it became objectionable the tank would be moved and placed somewhere else.

(See letter to Mr. Don Benton, Attorney for Reorganized Church)

Wed., 28 Aug., 1968:

“9:00 a.m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency. Present were Presidents Brown, Tanner, Smith and Dyer.

Some of the matters discussed were:

My secretary Clare came over for just a flew minutes. We went over the letter prepared by the Counselors addressed to all the Regional Representatives telling them to present to the people as they go around the Church that they should contribute to Nauvoo Restoration. I said, “These letters should not go out.””

Mon., 9 Sep., 1968:

“In Huntsville

During the early afternoon received a telephone call from President Alvin R. Dyer who asked if he might come up this afternoon on an important matter. I arranged for him to come at 4:00 o’clock this afternoon.

4 p.m.

President Dyer arrived at the appointed time and after a few words of greeting, he took up matters pertaining to the following:

Nauvoo Corporation — Sending of Letters to Regional Representatives Re: Donations from Membership of the Church

On August 30, 1968, my secretary, Clare Middlemiss, at my direction had given President Dyer a folder of letters addressed to the Regional Representatives of the Twelve, requesting their cooperation in publicizing and seeking financial assistance from the membership at large for the restoration work being done at Nauvoo. Accompanying the letters was a note from me stating that I did not want these letters to go out, and that President Dyer was to bring them up at the next meeting of the First Presidency.

President Dyer asked if this is my feeling, and stated that he is holding the letters which have been signed by President Brown.

I stated that that was exactly what I meant and that I do not want the letters to go out; that the members of the Church should not be asked to make donations to the work they are doing in Nauvoo. I then directed President Dyer to bring the letters to the meeting of the First Presidency when I am in Salt Lake.

Sat., 21 Sep., 1968:

“9:00 a. m.

This morning in HUNTSVILLE I met with Presidents N. Eldon Tanner and Alvin R. Dyer of the First Presidency. They were accompanied by Elder Joseph Anderson, secretary to the First Presidency.

The following are among the more pertinent matters discussed:

Nauvoo Restoration – Investigation of

President Dyer again brought up the matter of the letters that had been prepared to be sent out to the Regional Representatives of the Twelve requesting funds for the furtherance of the Nauvoo Restoration project. I reiterated my feeling that this letter should not be sent out and that an investigation should be made into the entire Nauvoo Restoration project, as brought out by Elder Lee’s report in the Temple concerning their operation independently of the Northern States Mission in the calling of their own missionaries and the operation of all of the projects as a separate entity within the Church.”

Mon., 5 May, 1969:

“No meeting of the First Presidency held today.

11:00 a. m. Clare came over. Ed Barner accompanied her and spent just a few minutes with President McKay extending his greetings. He said that he will take President McKay’s greetings wherever he goes. Said he has always done this. (He has taken President and Sister McKay to two or three plays at the Valley Music Hall and ever since he has tried to keep in close touch.)

After Brother Barner’s departure Clare took up several letters with the President–one of which was a draft of a proposed letter to be placed in a brochure to be used by Nauvoo Corporation for their coming ground breaking ceremonies for the new Nauvoo Information Center. The letter, as proposed, was prepared by Elder Delbert L. Stapley of the Board of Trustees of that organization, and he had addressed it as follows: “LeRoy M. Kimball, M. D., President of Nauvoo Corporation Inc., Dear Sir” Then it continued, “Congratulations Dr. Kimball on the ground breaking of your new center.” Clare handed the President the letter without making any comment, and as he read it he said to her, “I’ll not sign that letter–it isn’t his Center; it belongs to the Church. There is something not right going on–there is something wrong about this; they are spending too much money at that place! You have this looked into.” Clare explained that it had been approved at a First Presidency meeting, but that he, President McKay, had never been to any of the meetings where these improvements and buildings had been introduced and approved by the Board of Trustees. I said he had never felt right about the money being spent there, and had felt uneasy about the whole thing. He said: “I want President Dyer to look into all this.” President McKay was very upset and nervous about this matter. However he agreed to sign a statement congratulating the Board of Trustees provided all members of the First Presidency signed it. (This was reported later this afternoon to Elder Stapley by Clare who gave him the statement which was signed by President McKay. The rest of the signatures Elder Stapley will obtain from the counselors.

(See copy of letter under date of May 24, with other details on the ground breaking. )

Sat., 24 May, 1969:

“(Report of President Hugh B. Brown on Groundbreaking of Nauvoo Information Center)

On Monday, May 26, at the First Presidency Meeting in President McKay’s Apartment, President Hugh B. Brown reported his visit to Nauvoo, Illinois on Saturday last. He said they received a letter of commendation from the governor of the state and that George Herzog of the Department of the Interior was there and spoke. He said that Dr. LeRoy Kimball, Harold Fabian, Hamer Reiser, David M. Kennedy (Secretary of the Treasury), Willard Marriott and Edwin Kendrew (Mr. Kendrew is the head of the Williamsburg Restoration) were there, that Mr. Kendrew spoke well at the service. Elder Stapley dismissed the meeting and Harold B. Lee opened it with prayer. Secretary George Romney also spoke. President Brown said that Byron Ravsten is manager of the operations at Nauvoo and is doing a good work. Rendell Mabey took charge of the immediate work in hand and Neal Maxwell was the principal speaker. Sister Spafford was there and made a good talk regarding the place of women in the Church and the fact that the Prophet was the leader in giving women their rights. He said that there were 1660 people present at the ground breaking, that it was an excellent day, the weather was perfect. He handed the President a brochure showing pictures of homes that had been restored: the Heber C. Kimball, Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff hornes. He stated that the Browning home and surroundings are partially restored, that they are working on these. He mentioned also the printing office and the Times and Seasons building. He said everything was well organized and handled.”

“May 26, 1969

Mr. David O. McKay


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Dear Friend and Brother:

Saturday, May 24, I was in Nauvoo for the groundbreaking services for your information center. I had received an invitation, and so I arranged to attend.

It was a memorable occasion. The day was clear and bright and comfortable. The appointments were adequate. The tone was hopeful and confident.

All wished that you might be present. Many spoke of you with appreciation and support. Yet we understood that it would not have been advisable for you to attend. You were present in spirit, if not in body.

You will remember me as the one who called on you and Mrs. McKay in your apartment in Hotel Utah a little more than a year ago. That day when I left I stood by the two of you and offered a benedictory prayer.

I am writing to express my appreciation for all the meeting but for one thing in particular. This was the ministry of David M. Kennedy and George W. Romney. Both spoke. I saw both men as members of the cabinet in our United States government. I saw them, too, as conscientious and consecrated men who want to bring to our country an uplifting, uniting service. They sense the spiritual needs of our nation and they want to bring a leadership that will focus on enduring values, on spiritual uplift.

It was my good privilege to speak to both secretaries in appreciation of their messages. When George W. Romney was appointed I wrote him that I was sensing the enormity of the stewardship to which he was called and assured him of my continuing prayerful support. I said this to both men yesterday. I mean this with fullness of heart.

It was my good privilege to meet men in your administrative leadership. We met with courteous consideration and fervent friendliness. There were President Hugh Brown, Apostle Harold B. Lee, Apostle Delbert Stapley, and others.

I close my letter with benedictory greetings to you and Mrs. McKay. I see you sitting side by side on the davenport when I visited you. And you were hand in hand.  Whenever I stop over in Salt Lake City, I hope it may be possible for me to see you again.

Sincerely yours,

Roy A. Cheville

Presiding Patriarch

The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”

Wed., 27 Aug, 1969:

“I held no meeting with the First Presidency today.  However my counselors took up the following matters of importance:

Nauvoo Restoration Budget

President Dyer raised a question in regard to the Nauvoo Restoration budget and suggested that he thought they should use the budget for budget purposes and not allow money that they have on hand to remain unspent in the fund for the restoration of homes.  President Brown said he would mention this to Dr. Kimball.  (See notes and memo on Nauvoo Restoration budget by President Alvin R. Dyer which follow.)”

(Minutes and Memo by President Alvin R. Dyer Regarding Nauvoo Restoration Budget)

“I brought up the matter of the normal letter that is usually prepared for departments announcing the approval of their budget for the ensuing year, that the one prepared for the Nauvoo Restoration had not been signed by President McKay and that he had intimated that he would not sign it. I mentioned this to the Brethren, that the letter had been placed on my desk and I had brought it before the Presidency for disposal. I suggested that perhaps the President would sign it if a sentence were deleted from the letter which extended appreciation and gratification for the work done at Nauvoo.

Comment: This is a very tender area to President McKay and I know from his own words to me that he has not approved of all the things which have gone on there. Consequently, he does not feel to offer gratification and appreciation for things which he has not approved.

“In order to get the matter implemented, I suggested that the letter be changed and that, if the brethren wanted, I would then take it to the President and endeavor to get his signature on the letter.

“President Brown reacted to this by saying that the letter would not be changed and that he would take it personally to President McKay to find out why he did not want to sign it. I told him in this case then, I would give him the letter and it was in his hands to handle.

“Aside from the matter just mentioned in the Journal, I reported on the fact that budget funds assigned to the Nauvoo Restoration, Inc. were finding their way into expenditures for restoration of old homes there while a fund of more than $300,000 was kept intact. Under these conditions I raised the question as to why Nauvoo Restoration had increased their budget for the ensuing year when they, during the 1968-69 period, had not used the budget. I suggested that this matter be brought to their attention, but that it was not my place to do so. President Brown said that if I would send him a memo on the matter that he would take care of it. This was done and a copy of that memo is made a part of the Journal.”

(Memo from President Alvin R. Dyer on Nauvoo Restoration Budget)

“August 27, 1994 [? – Check date]

President Hugh B. Brown

Reference is herewith made to the minutes of the annual meeting of the members and Board of Trustees of Nauvoo Restoration, Inc., held on Friday, May 3, 1969, at Nauvoo, Illinois, from which the following is quoted:

Dr. Kimball explained that $302,155 remains in the fund for the restoration of six historic homes.  Many of the costs of restoration of homes have been paid out of the budget, and the balance has thus been conserved.

Comment:  Notwithstanding the fact that money has been taken from the budget which has been allowed Nauvoo Restoration, Inc., for the purpose of the restoration of historic homes, this means that they have not used the entire budget for budget purposes, but nevertheless have increased the budget for 1969-1970 in the amount of $40,000.

Reference is made also to the fact as reported on page 3 of the minutes, that as of May 1, 1969, with 66% of the budget year passed, that only 47% of the annual budget approved by the Church had been expended.

Comment:  In the light of this ratio of budget use, does it appear logical for the budget to be increased by 13% for 1969-70?

It would appear to me to be an irregular use of budget funds.

Alvin R. Dyer

cc:  N. Eldon Tanner”

Fri., Sept. 12, 1969:

“Meeting of the First Presidency

Today I was interested in the following notations of a meeting of my counselors in the First Presidency:

Nauvoo Restoration Contributions

President Dyer mentioned that President Golightly of the San Antonio Stake called attention to an assignment that had been given him by Elder Stapley to raise in the stake $100,000 for the Nauvoo Restoration.  He mentioned that they checked with other stakes and found that they were one of the few stakes that were being asked to make such contributions.  President Golightly had been requested to speak to Brother Stapley about the matter.  President Tanner said that as he understood it this was not intended to be an assessment but an invitation to make voluntary contributions.