Nauvoo is one of the slower-growing cities in Illinois and could be considered idyllic and comfortable for some, but for those who live there, it’s an area filled with flaws. Its fluctuating decline and growth rates have made this place home to nearly 1,063 people as of 2022. So, with all the individuals and families residing in this city, what are some things they should have considered before moving here?
There are often many different factors that need to be considered when deciding which cities to move into. Here are 17 reasons why you should not move to Nauvoo, Illinois.
Note: The author of this post spent an extended season in Nauvoo, but didn’t actually reside there for very long. To read a current resident’s perspective, here’s an article written by someone who has lived in the area for many years.
17. Lack of Public Transportation
Public transportation is pretty much nonexistent here. Not that you particularly need it, as you can walk, bike, or drive anywhere you need to go. However, if you don’t have a car and aren’t willing to walk or ride your bike everywhere, you will be out of luck. You not even be able to find many drivers for Uber or Lyft in Nauvoo.
Nauvoo doesn’t have any places to go hiking, and nearby cities aren’t any better. That isn’t a deal breaker for some, but if my family was wanting to plant some roots somewhere and the place we were looking to move to was surrounded by nature, we’d want to find ways to make the most out of it and hike up a mountain or a hill to see it all and have some fun. You can’t do that here.
This small city is home to not only people but farm animals as well. Many people can live near farms and actually come to enjoy it and some of the perks that come with the territory. It provides jobs and fresh products for the community. However, there are plenty who might have a hard time living next to an area like this.
The animals provide a frequent and loud chorus of sounds throughout the day and into the night, and they can be smelled from nearly everywhere. This can be distracting and nose-crinkling if you are trying to relax outdoors on a nice day. I know I’m not the only one that would need to think about this before deciding on a new home in Nauvoo.
Due to this area being so close to the Mississippi river, a lot of bugs find it to be the perfect place to reside. Mosquitos can be found nearly everywhere, especially during the summer. If you don’t want to constantly be swatting at mosquitos and other pesky bugs away from you, you definitely don’t want to move to Nauvoo, Illinois.
Don’t get too excited about the fast food here in Nauvoo, because it isn’t fast and it isn’t always worth the wait. Some of it shouldn’t even qualify as food, it is that disgusting. If you are even willing to wait around until the restaurant actually opens for a couple of hours during the day, you will find that there are few food options on the menu, and once you order, it will take another while for the food to actually arrive at your table or be completed.
This can be frustrating when you’re walking around all day enjoying what the city has to offer, and realize you might have been better off driving that time to the nearest grocery store and picking up some things that you can make on-demand in your hotel room.
There were only a couple of places to eat that I could see when I visited Nauvoo, so on top of everything, you also don’t get a lot of restaurants to choose from when you are desperate enough to go out to eat.
Although the homes in the area are quite affordable, the prices are made up for by the merchandise that is sold there. Due to this city being built around the old town of Nauvoo, which was established by pioneers in the 1800s, items that get sold to visitors are mainly overpriced souvenirs that only represent the old town.
The hotels and AirBnBs that are here are also expensive, with the owners being well aware that a certain group of people will pay just about anything to visit this area.
11. Nothing for Miles
Unfortunately, my family and I stayed in Nauvoo for about a week, and in that time, we found that we couldn’t just keep eating at the same restaurant every night and needed to shop for real groceries to make food for ourselves. However, there weren’t any grocery stores in the actual city. The closest thing to a grocery store that we could find was in Carthage, which is about 16 miles away from Nauvoo. This was both frustrating and expensive because of the cost of gas.
Because there is nothing in the town for miles outside of the old town area, there aren’t a lot of things to do in Nauvoo. If you rely on the city that you live in to provide entertainment for you, you will be extremely bored while living in Nauvoo, Illinois.
I don’t know what it was about our visit, but the only nice people we were able to find were the missionaries working at the homes in the old town of Nauvoo. I’m sure the shop owners, waiters, and residents have to put up with a lot of different people throughout the year, which can be hard, but I wouldn’t consider it the best excuse for how rude they treated us during our stay.
Whether it was impatience with our orders or the drivers not liking that we were driving smoothly to better observe the scenery, it was hard to want to do much for fear of having to deal with more unfriendliness. But it was a nice welcome whenever we got to be around the missionary helpers that gave us tours and helped us learn more about the history of the city.
If you don’t want to constantly deal with rude people, don’t move to this city.
One of the biggest concerns I had while staying in this city was the unavoidable isolation. My family and I found it to be unsettling and claustrophobic and were able to tolerate it for the first couple of days, but after a while, we felt cut off from the world. There were points where the silence was deafening, making our overall stay eerie and hard to endure.
If you own a pet that you adore, this could be a great place for you to live, but beware, everyone else here has a pet or multiple pets that they adore as well. One can almost always guarantee that a dog in the house next door to your home will start barking right as you’re trying to go to sleep, and they will continue to do so sporadically throughout the night until it’s almost time for you to get up in the morning.
There are also issues with neighboring deer and other wildlife that come down every day to leave little surprises for you to pick up in your yard. This, along with the literal hazards of their presence whenever you’re trying to drive anywhere at night, causes unnerving fear of one popping out of nowhere right in front of your car.
7. Declining Population
As of 2022, Nauvoo in the past 5 years has seen a slight decrease in residents. The population has reached 1146 with a population growth rate of -0.6% in the last year and -3.4% in the last 5 years. If you enjoy living near your friends and neighbors and don’t want to have to deal with them leaving after a few years, you will want to avoid moving to Nauvoo in the future.
6. Small Population
Different surveys have shown that economic conditions are much worse in small towns than in bigger cities. With Nauvoo’s population decreasing each year, the economic benefits aren’t as accessible as they would be in a more established area.
This can also just be frustrating for each demographic of people living here. Many people want to live in relatively busy cities that have plenty of things to do and could feel bored and annoyed with the lack of options here. The residents could also feel more frustrated that the only people coming in and out of the area are tourists instead of people looking to settle down, or families for their kids to make friends with.
It may come as a surprise, but this area can have extreme ends of the weather spectrum. My family and I went to Nauvoo near the end of fall and the beginning of winter, and it was absolutely freezing. However, we were told by the locals that it gets so hot and humid during the summer months that it is unbearable to live in Nauvoo year-round.
Depending on what entertains you and your family, there really isn’t a whole lot to do here other than learning more about the history and watching the missionaries perform. That was perfectly fine for my family and me while we were visiting, but I couldn’t imagine living there for that very reason.
There aren’t more conventional ways of having fun which can be hard to live with, especially if there are young kids involved. This area is very much for people who know what they’re getting into before they move in.
My family visited this city towards the end of the fall season and the beginning of the winter. Because of this, it was like a ghost town, with hardly anything open and not many people there. The stores and restaurants were only open for a couple of hours of the day, and once they were open, the service took so long to get anything in a timely manner and was subpar once we did get our services.
On top of that, we’d drive in to see Old Nauvoo every day, and in order to get there from the place we were staying, we had to drive down the main street, and all the buildings on either side had unsettling scarecrows littering the outsides. They were all doing all kinds of different things from working at office desks to tea parties with other scarecrows. This is a very eerie sight especially when they’re pretty much the only other ones there with you when all the people are hard to find in the wintertime.
The river nearby also causes a lot of extra freezing weather to welcome you when visiting Old Nauvoo.
2. No Variety
Though this is a well-visited area and several different kinds of people come along each year to learn more about the history and see what Nauvoo has to offer, the majority of the residents are almost always white, conservative, and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) or a branch of the LDS church that broke off years ago. There’s also a temple nearby that attracts this specific group of people as well, which contributes to these people flocking to Nauvoo.
Not that every community must have vast ranges of ethnicities, races, and sexual orientations, but it is easy to notice the lack of variety when it comes to the locals, which could be a potential dealbreaker to some.
1. Tourist Town
This is a very historic area, especially for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It’s almost always on the bucket lists of those people to visit these historic sights with their families. They will visit any and all times of the year, they don’t care about the weather, the bugs, the prices, or the locals, and they want to see where their ancestors lived and feel the spirit of what the historic figures went through back then.
Because of the regular tourism that this city draws in, it will be hard for you to make friends if you choose to move here because everyone will eventually leave.