Category Archives: Historical Structures

The Eagle Gate Monument

Published / by Brooklynn Jensen / 1 Comment on The Eagle Gate Monument

Write-up by Brooklynn Jensen

Photograph by Brooklynn Jensen, 2022.

Placed by: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, carved by Rolfe Ramsay in 1859. 

GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 40.769577 Longitude: -111.888311

Historical Marker Text/Transcript (1):

Eagle Gate 1859

Truman O. Angell       Architect

Hiram B. Clawson      Designer

Rolfe Ramsay O William Bell  Carver

            1891

J. Don Carlos Young  Architect

            1963

Geo. Cannon Young P.A.I.A Architect

George S. Nelson                    Engineer         

Grant R. Fairbanks                  Sculptor

            Erected in Co-Operation With

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

David O. McKay, President, & Utah State Department of Highways

 O. Taylor Burton, Director

Photograph by Brooklynn Jensen, 2022.

Historical Marker Text/Transcript (2):

“The Eagle Gate marked the entrance to the homestead of Brigham Young. During the Early Settlement of the valley, Brigham Young was allotted the land lying athwart the mouth of city creek canyon. His New England heritage prompted him to desire the privacy given by a high wall around the property as well as for the protection it afforded.

Erected in 1859, the gate has through the years become the symbol of the man who built it. The original eagle and the supporting beehive were carved from five laminated wooden blocks and rested upon curved wooden arches, having their anchor on the cobble-stone wall surrounding the estate. Large wooden gates closed the twenty-two foot opening at the night, securing behind them the Beehive House, the Lion House, and the private offices between them, the beautiful flower gardens, the private school, and the barns, sheds, granaries, silkworm cocooneries, orchards, and vegetable gardens.

In 1891 the gates were removed and the entrance widened into a street. At that time the eagle was sent east, electroplated with copper, and raised on new supports resting on cut stone pillars. In 1960, when the street was again widened, the wood under the copper plating had deteriorated, and the eagle could not be remounted.

This Bronze gateway, its eagle a scale enlargement of the original, has been erected as a tribute to the pioneers who founded this commonwealth.”

Extended Research:

Under the direction of Latter-day Saint President Brigham Young, the Eagle Gate was erected in 1859 in Salt Lake City. It was designed by Hiram B. Clawson and Truman O. Angell and carved by Ralph Ramsey. Originally, the eagle was made from wood, but later was reimagined and replaced with a sturdy bronze eagle in 1963. The original purpose of the Eagle Gate was to serve as a gate that kept out strangers and Native Americans from Brigham Young’s property and family.[1] It was accompanied by large wooden doors and quite literally was a gate, looking much different then than it does today.

“Eagle Gate” [4] This image shows a horse drawn wagon approaching the Eagle Gate.

The original build of the Eagle Gate was connected to 8 foot high cobblestone walls and were originally only wide enough to allow for horse-drawn carriages and wagons. With time, the Eagle Gate underwent renovations for the sake of its preservation. It has gone through at least four alterations since its original creation.[2] Notably in 1891, improvements had to be made to allow for the Eagle Gate landmark to remain in the midst of the growing city. The eagle got a new perch with the iconic four piers and it also received a copper plating. Further adjustments were made for street cars and automobiles.[3]

Eagle Gate, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1900.[5]

The Eagle Gate has been the center of discussions and debates since its erection, especially in the 20th century when Brigham Young and his posterity were not in a place of jurisdiction to answer questions or assume responsibilities. For example, an article from 1941 covers the debate over who the Eagle Gate belonged to. Did it belong to the LDS church or did it belong to the City?[6] One sure thing was that public opinion expressed that the Eagle Gate was and remains important and holds a great amount of significance for people, especially to Utahns who have roots to the pioneers who placed the monument. From 1936 before the monument underwent modifications, one woman said, “to change the gate would be to destroy the spirit of the monument.”[7]

Photograph by Brooklynn Jensen, 2022.

 The renovations made to Eagle Gate were sufficient until 1963, when the monument again had to be recreated to allow for a wider Main Street. This is when the eagle was fully replaced with its larger and bronze replica which is what we see atop the monument today. From 1859 at 22 feet in width to now 76 feet in width, the Eagle Gate has undergone changes and reformations in order to remain as an iconic landmark in downtown Salt Lake City.

Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dedicated the current Eagle Gate monument as a symbolic reminder of the pioneer past. President David O. McKay, leader of the Latter-day Saints at the time, dedicated the monument on November 1, 1963, with these words: “May the new Eagle, with outspread wings perched on its new beehive, the old wall in its new trench, and every part of the new steel structure receive Thy divine approval and future protection.”[8] Today, Latter-day Saints look at the monument with reverie and remembrance of their pioneer ancestors and with inspiration towards the future.

Photograph by Brooklynn Jensen, 2022.

The original Eagle resides with the Daughters of Utah Pioneers in their museum.


[1] Irene M. Chen, “Historic S.L. Eagle grows and adapts to changing times,” Deseret News, February 26, 1970, https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6ns6kxr/1637701.

[2] Marc. Haddock, “Historic Eagle Gate a prominent Salt Lake Landmark,” Deseret News, September 18, 2015, https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6ns6kxr.

[3]  “New Avenue Proposed to Save Eagle Gate,” Salt Lake Telegram, September 21, 1936.

[4] “Eagle Gate” https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6rr2c07

[5] William Henry Jackson. Eagle Gate, Salt Lake City, Utah. n.d. Images, Overall, Primary Support: 6 3/4 x 9 1/16 in. (17.2 x 23 cm); Image: 6 3/4 x 9 1/16 in. (17.2 x 23 cm). Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona;Gift of Terry Etherton. https://jstor.org/stable/community.17451366.

[6] “Who owns the Eagle Gate Monument? City Asks in Decorating Case,” Salt Lake Telegram, July 15, 1941.

[7] “New Avenue Proposed to Save Eagle Gate,” Salt Lake Telegram, September 21, 1936.

[8] Marc. Haddock, “Historic Eagle Gate a prominent Salt Lake Landmark,” Deseret News, September 18, 2015, https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6ns6kxr.

For Further Reference:

Sources

“Brigham Young’s Burial,” n.d., 1. https://jstor.org/stable/community.31325810.

“Eagle gate, Bransford Apartments, Eagle Gate Apartments and Louise Apartments,” November 11, 1914. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s61j9nxq 

University of Arizona; Gift of Terry Etherton. https://jstor.org/stable/community.17451366

“New Avenue Proposed to Save Eagle Gate,” Salt Lake Telegram, September 21, 1936.

“Who owns the Eagle Gate Monument? City Asks in Decorating Case,” Salt Lake Telegram, July 15, 1941.

William Henry Jackson. Eagle Gate, Salt Lake City, Utah. Images, n.d.

Irene M. Chen, “Historic S.L. Eagle grows and adapts to changing times,” Deseret News, February 26, 1970.

Marc. Haddock, “Historic Eagle Gate a prominent Salt Lake Landmark,” Deseret News, September 18, 2015.

“Eagle Gate has seen many changes,” Deseret News, January 9, 2002.

Eagle Gate,” This is the Place, Heritage Village.

Eagle Gate Monument,” MormonWiki.com.


Suicide Rock and Reservoir Historical Marker

Published / by Sam Scott / 2 Comments on Suicide Rock and Reservoir Historical Marker

Suicide Rock and Reservoir Historical Marker

Write up by Samuel Scott

Placed by: Sons of Utah Pioneers Holladay Chapter, No. 79, dedicated 1996

Location of the Historical Marker near  Suicide Rock

Latitude 40°42’34.67″N

Longitude 111°47’49.57″W

Historical Marker Text:

SUICIDE ROCK & THE RESERVOIR

“One of the foremost sights that met the eye of the early travelers when they reached the mouth of Parley’s Canyon before entering into the valley of the Great Salt Lake, was a huge mass of red rock which stood in the middle of the mouth of the canyon. It consisted mainly of red sandstone and had stood as a sentinel for centuries.

For hundreds of years, it stood as a watchtower for the Indians until, as the story goes, an Indian maiden upon learning of the death of her brave, leaped from the top, to her death on the rocks below, giving it the name of Suicide Rock. Now, it is a billboard for the youth who dare to climb its heights with a paint brush or spray can.

In the settlement of the valley with a constant increase in population, the water from the various canyon streams of the Wasatch Range provided irrigation as well as culinary water for the people. In order to free up more of the canyon water for culinary use, a canal was built from Jordan Narrows conveying Jordan River water to the east bench of the Salt Lake valley. The Jordan and Salt Lake City Canal was begun in 1879, and completed in 1882, and has remained in constant use since. The canyon streams were thereafter enhanced with reservoirs to catch and retain the spring runoff, for use in the drier seasons.

In about 1891 a reservoir was built on the east side of Suicide Rock to help contain the spring run-off from washing out the farms west of the canyon mouth, as well as to help provide a way of getting water from the stream to where it was needed. From this reservoir, and ditches from the canyon stream above the reservoir, culinary along with irrigation water was conveyed to the various farms below as well as up to the plateaus on the north and south sides of the hollow which were located above the canal. This reservoir served for many years until an extremely wet spring one year washed out part of the reservoir and some of the railroad tracks and roadway in the canyon. Culinary water supplies had been further enhanced by this time and a direct connection was made to use Parley’s Canyon water, so the reservoir was never replaced.

Of the stream, the roadway, and the railroad line that ran in the narrow spaces between the rock and canyon sidewalls, only the stream remains.”

Site No. 79                  Holladay Chapter, Sons of Utah Pioneers          Dedicated 1996

Suicide Rock on February 9, 2022.

Extended Research:

Suicide Rock is located at the mouth of Parleys Canyon, a canyon named after the Mormon pioneer Parley P. Pratt who had scouted the canyon in 1848.[1] The sandstone rock formation that is known today as Suicide Rock was also known as Sentinel Rock, because it is thought that it was used as a lookout point for American Indians long before the arrival of Mormon settlers. The name Suicide Rock became more popular after a story circulated about an American Indian maiden who threw herself off of the rock out of the grief of losing her brave lover. A similar story is told about “Squaw Peak” in Utah county of “one squaw killing herself falling from a precipice” following a military skirmish, and Suicide Rock in Idyllwild, California bears a legend of an American Indian princess and her lover committing suicide rather than being separated. The popularity of this trope over a wide variety of areas makes it unlikely to be factual, and it possibly emerged as a response to Helen Hunt Jackson’s novel Ramona, published in 1884, which popularized the tale. Various locations across the country picked up on the theme and used it in order to promote tourism.[2]

In 1892 Salt Lake City officials built a reservoir adjacent to the rock in order to supply culinary water from Parleys Creek to the valley. It was Utah’s first municipal culinary water storage reservoir.[3] The construction of the reservoir would have negative consequences for a community named Mountain Dell. The water provided by the reservoir during this time was unfiltered, which meant that contamination could easily lead to widespread illness. Since the community of Mountain Dell lived upstream from the reservoir they suddenly posed a threat of contaminating Salt Lake City’s drinking water with their animals and waste. This was confirmed in 1903 when a typhoid outbreak afflicted hundreds in Salt Lake City. The source of the epidemic was traced back to water from Parleys Creek, and a local farm situated upstream.[4] According to historian Cullen Battle, “In Mountain Dell, the city began buying up properties with animal lots and outhouses next to the creeks. The small landowners were the first to go, and the village quickly de-populated. Soon, the post office closed, and the school district and ward dissolved. By about 1907, most residents had given up their homes and farms, and Mountain Dell became—and remains today—an area devoted to watershed protection.” Nevertheless, the process of buying out and removing landowners on Mountain Dell lasted until 1920, and a case involving Seymour B. Young went as far as the Utah Supreme Court in 1915, ultimately ruling in favor of Salt Lake City officials.[5]

The reservoir eventually fell out of use after it experienced flooding, and advancements in technology along with the construction of Little Dell Reservoir led to its demise. Since then, Suicide Rock has become a popular recreation spot for young adults. Many of Utah’s high school and collegiate students continue the tradition of spray-painting, or “tagging,” the rock each year, rendering it into an ever-changing illustration of the times. In addition to this, one might also discover the not-so-well kept secret pastime of “shooting the tube” within walking distance of Suicide Rock. A rite of passage for some, anyone looking to cool off can temporarily dam up the entrance of a tunnel carrying Parley’s Creek water under the freeway. When the makeshift dam is pulled, the sudden rush of water propels thrill seekers through on a ride to the other side! A link to a video of the activity is included below. [6]

Utahns preparing to “shoot the tube.”[7]

Waterworks at mouth of Parleys Canyon, circa 1900. Salt Lake City built this reservoir seven miles downstream of Mountain Dell in the early 1890s to supply drinking water to city residents. C. R. Savage Photo.” [8]

Image shows Suicide Rock at the base of what was once Parley’s Canyon Reservoir.” [9]

Water flows over a remnant of the wall of the old Parley’s Canyon reservoir.” [10]

Aerial view of Parley’s Canyon Reservoir[11]

“Parley’s Creek – Suicide Rock, Flood Damage” Ca. 1910 [12]

Spray paint decorates the entirety of Suicide Rock

Photo by Joe Penacoli[13]

For Further Reference

Secondary Sources

Battle, Cullen, “Ghosts of Mountain Dell: Transportation and Technological Change in the Wasatch Mountains,” Utah Historical Quarterly 86, No. 1 (2018).

Farmer, Jared. On Zion’s Mount : Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008.

First Ascent of the Nose, Suicide Rock,” semi-rad.com, (accessed April 8, 2022).

Pugh, Jeremy. “A Unique Utah Summer Tradition: ‘Shooting the Tube,’” Salt Lake Magazine, July 27, 2018.

Summit Signature: 27J Suicide Rock,” Hundred Peaks Section, Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club, accessed 03/29/2020.

Primary Sources

 “Parley’s Creek – Suicide Rock, Flood Damage,” University of Utah, J Willard Marriot Digital Library. Last modified May 6, 2021.

Korn, J. Roderic, “The Golden Pass Road,” Utah Historical Quarterly, vol. 19 (1951).

Parley’s Canyon Reservoir P.13,” University of Utah, J. Willard Marriot Digital Library, Last modified May 6, 2021.


[1] J. Roderic Korn, “The Golden Pass Road,” Utah Historical Quarterly, vol. 19 (1951), 229-236.

[2]Summit Signature: 27J Suicide Rock,” Hundred Peaks Section, Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club, accessed 03/29/2020.

Jared Farmer, On Zion’s Mount : Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape, (Harvard University Press, 2008), 274-275.

[3] Cullen Battle, “Ghosts of Mountain Dell: Transportation and Technological Change in the Wasatch Mountains,” Utah Historical Quarterly, volume 86, no. 1 (2018).

[4] Cullen Battle, “Ghosts of Mountain Dell: Transportation and Technological Change in the Wasatch Mountains,” Utah Historical Quarterly, volume 86, no. 1 (2018)

[5] Cullen Battle, “Ghosts of Mountain Dell: Transportation and Technological Change in the Wasatch Mountains,” Utah Historical Quarterly, volume 86, no. 1 (2018)

[6]  Jeremy Pugh, “A Unique Utah Summer Tradition: ‘Shooting the Tube,’” Salt Lake Magazine, July 27, 2018.

[7] Jeremy Pugh, “A Unique Utah Summer Tradition: ‘Shooting the Tube,’” Salt Lake Magazine, July 27, 2018.

[8] Cullen Battle, “Ghosts of Mountain Dell: Transportation and Technological Change in the Wasatch Mountains,” Utah Historical Quarterly, volume 86, no. 1 (2018).

[9]Reservoir at Parley’s Canyon, Inspecting Conduit,” J. Willard Marriot Digital Library, The University of Utah, Last modified May 6, 2021.

[10]Parley’s Reservoir,” J. Willard Marriot Digital Library, The University of Utah, Last modified May 6, 2021.

[11]Parley’s Canyon Reservoir P.13,” J. Willard Marriot Digital Library, University of Utah, Last modified May 6, 2021.

[12]Parley’s Creek – Suicide Rock, Flood Damage,” J. Willard Marriot Digital Library, University of Utah, Last modified May 6, 2021.

[13]First Ascent of the Nose, Suicide Rock,” semi-rad.com, (accessed April 8, 2022).

Liberty Park

Published / by Pablo Gonzalez / Leave a Comment

Write up by – Pablo Gonzalez 

Placed by: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, No. 130 

GPS Coordinates: 40.746445, -111.874916 

Historical Marker Text: 

Historical Marker Number 130

The original five acre plot, located in the Big Field Survey, was assigned to Isaac Chase, a pioneer of 1847. A spring of clear water made it a verdant spot. Later he purchased three other tracts and planted seeds of locust trees around his home and mill. 

In 1860, it became the property of Brigham Young who added varieties of Mulberry, Cottonwood, and other trees. In Pioneer Days, it was known as the Mill Farm, Forest Park, and Locust Patch. 

In 1881, Salt Lake City purchased the land from the Young Estate. On June 17, 1882, it was formally opened as a recreational area and officially named Liberty Park. 

Extended Research: 

Liberty Park is an 80-acre lot located in the heart of Salt Lake City. Today the park is a recreational area where many memories have been created with all of the activities that this place offers. People go to Liberty Park to be active, learn history, relax, and to simply hang out with friends and family. The park itself is a great historical marker because it has history dating back to 1847 and has seen major changes throughout time.  

This area originally belonged to Isaac Chase, who was among the second group of Latter-day Saints to arrive in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Isaac Chase who was a successful miller in New York state, started building a mill on this property and it was finished being built in 1852.1 In 1854 Brigham Young, being his son in law, also became Isaac Chase’s business partner. In 1859, Isaac Chase gave this land to Brigham Young in exchange for a cabin in Centerville. Before Brigham Young’s death in 1877, he stated that he wished that the land on which the mill stood would be sold to the city for the lowest possible price.2 

On April 20th, 1881 Salt Lake City bought 100 acres of land from Brigham Young’s estate for $27,500.3 This land that originally belonged to Isaac Chase still contained his grist mill. This mill is also currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also the only remaining mill in Salt Lake City that is still in its original location. When Salt Lake City bought this land, their primary intention was to create the farm area into a park for the city. This is because parks during this time “were seen as important factors in civilizing America’s increasingly industrialized cities and improving the moral character of their inhabitants.”4 This is the reason why the following year after the land was bought, they started improving the park under the control of a Swiss man named Arnold Schultes.5 In 1882, the land was officially opened as a recreational area and was formally named Liberty Park. 

Liberty Park

When the Park first opened up, it had a road that went right through the middle of the park dividing it in half.6 The city eventually closed that road to traffic. Liberty Park was viewed as a great addition to the city but it had some controversy over clean air. People believed that smelter smoke was damaging the park and the neighboring residential areas. In 1908, Salt Lake Mayor John Bransford said that smoke reduction was the city’s most urgent need.7 This project was a success and the air quality around Liberty Park got significantly better.

The first playground opened in Liberty Park by 1912, and it remained Salt Lake City’s largest park until Sugar House Park opened in the early 1950s.8 The park, and many of the features that are still present within it, were well established by 1920. The park was a popular attraction for Salt Lake City residents.

In 1911, Liberty Park opened up a zoo by adding monkeys and deer to the park and by 1916 they added their first elephant.10 The zoo stayed operational until 1931 when the zoo moved to what we know today as Hogle Zoo in Emigration Canyon.11 A 1931 report on parks and recreation centers describes the park this way: “Broad driveways bordered by colonnades of shade trees; lawns, flowers, lakes, playgrounds, tennis courts, concerts, and the municipal zoo have long been the outstanding attraction of this extensive park.”9

In the 1930s Tracy Aviary was added to the park when Russel Tracy donated a large collection of birds and equipment.12 This was a huge success since it brought a lot of attention to the park. By the 1980s, Liberty Park added new playgrounds, a carousel, and the road that split liberty park was no longer there. In fact, the road is how we know it today as having a one-way loop around the entire park.13 More recently, changes to Liberty Park include restrooms, a concession building, Wilson Pavilion, and several monuments. Activity areas recently constructed include: the Seven Canyons water feature, playgrounds, and bocce ball courts, lighting, fencing, signage, street furniture, mechanical boxes, and new sidewalks.14

 Today Liberty Park is still what it was intended to be when it first opened up in 1882. It is a large area meant for recreational activities. The park itself is a very spacious place where people can do a variety of activities like walking/running, swimming, play tennis, be on paddle boats, go to the children’s amusement park, playgrounds, picnic facilities, and they have plenty of room for recreation or relaxation.15 The park itself also hosts many events for the general public like a firework show during Pioneer Day.  

For Further Reference: 

Primary Sources: 

Liberty Park, Site Planning Workshop Report, Aviary & Concession Areas. Final report, June 2014. http://www.slcdocs.com/parks/Liberty/140702-Liberty%20Park%20Report.pdf  

Bailey, Tom. Liberty Park, S.L.C. P.45. Print Photograph. Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah. 01/16/2009.  

Secondary Sources: 

Chase Barfuss, Brigham Young University. “Isaac Chase Mill.” Intermountain Histories. Accessed February 3, 2022. https://www.intermountainhistories.org/items/show/386

“Liberty Park Has Been an Oasis in City since 1881.” Deseret News. Deseret News, October 18, 2010. https://www.deseret.com/2010/10/18/20147492/liberty-park-has-been-an-oasis-in-city-since-1881#interior-of-the-historic-chase-mill-is-now-cluttered-with-old-equipment.  

“A Look Back: Liberty Park (and Its Kangaroos), 1935-51.” The Salt Lake Tribune, June 10, 2011. Accessed February 3, 2022. https://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=51939982&itype=CMSID

Donner-Reed Memorial Museum and Early Bldgs.

Published / by Alex Mower / Leave a Comment

Write-Up by Alex Mower

Placed By: Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association (Now overseen by the Sons of Utah Pioneers)

GPS Coordinates: (40.6019445, -112.4738719)

Historical Marker Text:

This property was within the walls of the Willow Creek Fort, (Grantsville), which was built shortly after the first white settlers arrived. The main building was erected in 1852. J. Reuben Clark II purchased the property in later years and restored the building. The site was eventually donated to Grantsville City for use as a museum. The log cabin and blacksmith shop were placed here in later years.

            This museum is named for the Donner-Reed Party. In 1846 they stopped at nearby Twenty Wells to let their animals rest and gain strength before continuing their ill fated trip. While crossing the Salt Desert they lost many wagons and other belongings on the mud flats east of Pilot Mountain. The hardships suffered in Utah delayed their journey. Winter overtook them in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, resulting in their well known catastrophe. Some of the articles left by the Donner-Reed Party are displayed in the museum, along with other pioneer and Indian relics.

            This monument contains cornerstones and markers from early Grantsville buildings. Refurbishment of the area began July 1975 and was completed July 1976. Funds were from Utah American Revolution Bicentennial Commission and Grantsville City Corporation.

Extended Research:

            The highly publicized story of the ill-fated Donner-Reed Party is one of America’s truly great cautionary tales. Having left the midwest en route to California in the spring of 1846 for greater economic opportunity, the group of pioneers officially set out on the dangerous journey many other Americans would attempt both before and after them.[1] Taking direction from Lansford Hastings’ The Emigrants’ Guide to Oregon and California, a guide written more based on theory than experience, the group set off for the west, utilizing a “shortcut” through Utah and the Salt Desert. After delays forced them to winter high atop the Sierra Nevada mountains, the group was compelled to resort to cannibalism to survive.

Donner-Reed Party Artifacts

While no one in the group participated in cannibalism while they traveled across Utah, many of the delays the party incurred were the direct result of the group’s decision to blaze the “shortcut” through the Salt Lake Valley and forge their way through the muddy trenches of the Salt Desert.[2] Over ten days in 1846, the Donner-Reed Party created and navigated a road through Emigration Canyon that Mormon pioneers traveled through and enhanced the next year when they entered the valley for the first time.[3] After navigating the canyons, the group endured more delays in the Salt Desert, setting them even further behind on their journey west. On the salt flats, the Donner-Reed Party left behind material goods like wagon parts, animal equipment, and gun fragments. These artifacts now reside at the Donner-Reed Memorial Museum.

The “Old Adobe Schoolhouse”

            The building housing the artifacts has served many different purposes over the years. Known locally as the “Old Adobe Schoolhouse ” it was, unsurprisingly, originally built as a school. It was later adapted to function as a meetinghouse for religious services before eventually serving as the town’s city hall and jail from 1894 to 1917.[4] The building was then sold by Emma Burmester to J. Reuben Clark, Jr. in 1941, who gifted the building for use for meetings by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers.[5] In 1969 the building came under the ownership of Grantsville City. It then began its life as a museum, and the home of many pioneer artifacts, including but not limited to those of the famed Donner-Reed Party.[6] The building has become a landmark for the community, and was added to the National Register as a Utah Historic Site in 1995.

Museum Contents

            Inside the museum, patrons can view a wide array of Donner-Reed and other pioneer relics. From guns to wagon remnants, artifacts in the museum tell a story of cost and loss for the Donner-Reed Party as they traveled across the salt flats, and it was possibly the most costly leg of the journey before the group would make it to the Sierra Nevada mountains, as the group experienced many delays in the Salt Desert. Not only was the desert larger than they had anticipated, it also proved more difficult to traverse than expected. On the Salt Desert, with water and grass all but impossible to acquire, the group was forced to abandon several wagons and lost an estimated 36 oxen.[7] Because of the Salt Desert’s “mud that never dries,” the Donner’s “Pioneer Palace Car” embedded itself and its wheels deep in the desert floor, and was left behind; it was one of many wagons that would reach the same demise in the desert.[8]

            The delays in both the Salt Lake Valley as well as the Salt Desert would contribute directly to the group’s late arrival to the Sierra Nevada mountain passes, which would ultimately lead to so many of their unfortunate and untimely deaths. The artifacts found in the museum help to ground one of the nation’s most hazardous tales to its connection to the state of Utah, and highlights the role played by the environment of the state in the tale of the Donner-Reed Party.

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

Hastings, Lansford Warren, Newberry Library, and Adam Matthew Digital. The Emigrants’ Guide to Oregon and California : Containing Scenes and Incidents of a Party of Oregon Emigrants; a Description of Oregon : Scenes and Incidents of a Party of California Emigrants; and a Description of California; with a Description of the Different Routes to Those Countries; and All Necessary Information Relative to the Equipment, Supplies, and the Method of Traveling. Selected Americana from Sabin’s Dictionary of Books Relating to America. Unit 170 ; Fiches 14,252-14,253. 1845.

Secondary Sources:

Hardesty, Donald L. The Archaeology Of The Donner Party. Wilbur S. Shepperson Series in History and Humanities. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1997.

Hawkins, Bruce R., and Madsen, David B. Excavation of the Donner-Reed Wagons : Historic Archaeology along the Hastings Cutoff. Paper ed. 1999.

Johnson, Kristin. 1996. Unfortunate Emigrants. Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press.

McGill, Sara Ann. Donner Party. 2009.

National Register of Historic Places Registration: Grantsville School and Meetinghouse https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/NRHP/95001432_text

Stookey, Walter M., 1869. Fatal Decision : The Tragic Story of the Donner Party. Utah: Desert Book Company, 1950, 1950.

Spedden, Rush. The Donner Trail across the Salt Lake Valley. 2008.

All photos taken by Alex Mower


[1] McGill, Sara Ann. Donner Party. 2009.

[2] Hardesty, Donald. The Archaeology Of The Donner Party. Wilbur S. Shepperson Series in History and Humanities. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1997. P. 10

[3] Spedden, Rush. The Donner Trail across the Salt Lake Valley. 2008.

[4] National Register of Historic Places Registration: Grantsville School and Meetinghouse https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/NRHP/95001432_text

[5] National Register of Historic Places Registration: Grantsville School and Meetinghouse https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/NRHP/95001432_text

[6] National Register of Historic Places Registration: Grantsville School and Meetinghouse https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/NRHP/95001432_text

[7] Hawkins, Bruce R., and Madsen, David B. Excavation of the Donner-Reed Wagons : Historic Archaeology along the Hastings Cutoff. Paper ed. 1999. And Johnson, Kristin. 1996. Unfortunate Emigrants. Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press. P. 143

[8] Stookey, Walter M., 1869. Fatal Decision : The Tragic Story of the Donner Party. Utah: Desert Book Company, 1950, 1950. P. 99 And Donald L Hardesty. The Archaeology Of The Donner Party. Wilbur S. Shepperson Series in History and Humanities. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1997. P. 5

Egyptian Theater with Sundance Film Festival on Marquee

Park City Egyptian Theater

Published / by Jesse Labastida / 1 Comment on Park City Egyptian Theater

write-up by Jesus Labastida Munguia

Placed by: Park City Centennial Commission

GPS Coordinates: 40.6425°N 111.495°

Historical Marker Text (1):  

PARK CITY

1884

The Egyptian Theater

In the early 1900’s Park City’s social and entertainment needs were served by a number of flourishing theaters and social halls. When the Dewey Theater, originally on this site, collapsed under a heavy snow load, John Rugar replaced it with the Egyptian Theater built in 1926. It was designed to seat 400 and to accommodate both movies and vaudeville. It became the first “sound movie” theater in Park City.

After being remodeled in 1963, the building opened as the Silver Wheel Theater and old fashioned “meller dramas” were performed for the next fifteen years. In 1978 the building’s architectural integrity was threatened by an attempt to change its facade to a western motif. Preservation of its distinctive Egyptian features was achieved, however, when the building became the home of Park City Performances in 1981.

The Egyptian Revival Style represents a unique period architecture which peaked in America around 1930. Egyptian theaters are rare, and this is one of only two remaining in Utah. Originally the interior contained replicas of Egyptian artifacts. This is a masonry structure with   a false front shield its hip roof. Tiles at the base of the ticket booth and pilasters in obelisk shape reinforce the Egyptian Motif.

Presented by the Park City Centennial Commission, 1984

Egyptian Theater with Sundance Marquee.

Extended Research:

The Egyptian Theater is an iconic fixture of Utah’s Park City community, standing prominently on Main Street. Its edifice is a beautiful representation of its Egyptian Revival architecture. The history of the Egyptian Theater is just as colorful as its outside design. The site where it is located has had a longstanding reputation for being the place in Park City where members of the community could congregate to enjoy entertainment provided through local theater and arts.[1]

Main Street Egyptian Theatre at Night.

The history of the Egyptian theater traces its roots all the way to “the Big Fire of 1898.” The fire tore through Park City’s now historical Main Street creating a site that two businessmen, David Keith and James Ivers, found suitable to construct the Dewey Theatre– the very first iteration of the Egyptian Theater. The Dewey Theater was known for showcasing the best professional fighters and travelling theatrical troupes of the time. The old Dewey Theater even boasted a barbershop, a candy store, and a state-of-the-art floor that could be raised and lowered to suit the needs of the theater. Sadly, the reign of the famous Dewey Theater would come to an end in 1916 after a heavy snowpack that accumulated on the roof caused it to cave-in. Fortunately, the collapse took place after closing time and no one was injured.[2]   

In 1926, a new theater was constructed at the old Dewey Site under a $50,000 contract.[3] The theater was designed in the style of Ancient Egyptian architecture and motifs, heavily influenced by a craze in Egyptology following the discovery of King Tutt’s tomb. The Egyptian theater offered picture shows as well as theatre performances for enjoyment. The erection of the theatre was heavily dependent on the growing demand for entertainment in Park City. John Ruger spearheaded the development project and maintained ownership until 1948 when he sold the theater to Russ Dodderman. Shortly after several changes in management, owners renamed the playhouse the Lu Ann Theater for a period thereafter.[4]

City Officials in Front of the Silver Wheel Theater.

Much like the rest of the nation in the 20th century, Utah saw developments of movie theaters across the state. Many theaters of the early 20th century utilized the previous playhouse and opera house buildings and revamped the theater’s edifice with attention grabbing design motifs ranging from Spanish Colonial revival to Neoclassical architecture. This sudden possibility of movie-going ushered in a new era of connection to Main Street. The Egyptian Theater in Park City is one of two remaining Egyptian Revival theaters in the state, the other is the Peery’s Egyptian Theatre in Ogden, Utah. The attention-grabbing Egyptian architecture seen at the Egyptian Theaters are reflective of the novel craze of movie-going that took place across the United States; it is loud, exciting, and demands the attention of all who walk by it.[5]

By 1959, Art Durrant purchased the playhouse and ran it for a little more than three years before he became burnt out from managing the theater. He subsequently sold the property to a theater management company named Silver Wheel Enterprises. Silver Wheel Enterprises decided to change the name of the location once more to the Silver Wheel Theater for its opening in 1963. The Silver Wheel Egyptian theater would go through many similar changes in management and changes in entertainment, eventually becoming home to the Park City Performances (PCP), a local community theatre organization.[6]

In the twenty first century the Egyptian Theater is a historical testament to Park City’s love for entertainment. The theater today is used for community performances and film viewing, as it is one of Sundance Film Festival’s most desirable venues, where highly praised filmmakers are invited to showcase their films.

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

City Officials in Front of the Silver Wheel Theater (Egyptian Theater), Park City, Utah (2 Views). Photograph. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Dewey Theater Changes Hands.” Salt Lake Tribune. February 20, 1910.

Egyptian-American Theaters Change Hands.” Park Record. March 11, 1948.

New Silver Wheel Enterprises Buys Lu Ann Theater in Park.” Summit County Bee and Park Record. March 4, 1963.

New Theatre Will Be On Dewey Site.” Park Record, July 2, 1926.

Silver Mill, Theater Group near Agreement on Egyptian.” Park Record. September 22, 1983. 

Secondary Sources:

“About Us.” Park City Shows. Egyptian Theatre, December 11, 2021.

 Carter, Thomas, and Peter L. Goss. “Egyptian Revival 1920-1930.” In Utah’s Historic Architecture, 1847-1940: A Guide, 135–35. Salt Lake City, UT, Utah: Center for Architectural Studies, Graduate sic School of Architecture, University of Utah, & Utah State Historical Society, 1991.

Roper, Roger. “Going to the Movies: A Photo Essay of Theaters.” Utah Historical Quarterly 67, no. 2 (1999): 111–22.


[1] Carter, Thomas, and Peter L. Goss. “Egyptian Revival 1920-1930. In Utah’s

Historic Architecture, 1847-1940: A Guide, 135–35. Salt Lake City, UT, Utah: Center for

Architectural Studies, Graduate sic School of Architecture, University of Utah, & Utah

State Historical Society, 1991.

[2] “New Silver Wheel Enterprises Buys Lu Ann Theater in Park.” Summit County Bee and Park Record. March 4, 1963.

[3] “New Theatre Will Be On Dewey Site.” Park Record, July 2, 1926.

[4] “New Theatre Will Be On Dewey Site.” Park Record, July 2, 1926.

[5] Roper, Roger. “Going to the Movies: A Photo Essay of Theaters.” Utah Historical Quarterly 67, no. 2 (1999): 111–22.

[6] “Silver Mill, Theater Group near Agreement on Egyptian.” Park Record. September 22, 1983.

Benson Grist Mill

Published / by Dean Church / Leave a Comment

Write-up by Dean Church

Placed by: The Benson Grist Mill Restoration Volunteer Committee

GPS Coordinates: N 40° 39.033 W 112° 17.834

Historical Marker Text:

BENSON GRIST MILL In 1850 L.D.S. Church Apostle, Ezra Taft Benson, was authorized by President Brigham Young to develop a mill site at Twin Springs Creek to serve Mormon communities in Tooele County. In 1851 a sawmill commenced operating and in 1854 the Lee brothers, skilled pioneer artisans, were hired to build the mill. The mill’s large mortised timbers were hauled by team and wagon from the nearby Oquirrh Mountains. 

In 1855 the millsite community became known as “Richville” and served as the County Seat until 1861, when Tooele City was designated. 

In 1860 the “E.T. Benson Flour Mill” had one male employee and one run of millstones which produced 1,200 barrels of flour, 72,000 pounds of bran and 56,000 pounds of corn meal, together valued at $17,000. In the same year, Brigham Young acquired the mill, when E.T. Benson moved to Cache Valley. 

By 1862, the mill was referred to as “Young and Rowberry’s,” Bishop John Rowberry being an early resident of the Milltown (Richville) area. The mill that year reportedly processed 200 bushels of wheat per day under a 250 horsepower capacity. 

In 1922, J. Reuben Clark, Jr. (A U.S. Ambassador to Mexico and later an apostle in the Mormon church) purchased the mill. Earlier it’s original wooden waterwheel and millstones had been replaced by a metal turbine and imported free-standing “grain breakers.” After finally ceasing flour-milling operations in 1938, the mill was used several years for grinding animal feed. 

A volunteer committee was organized in 1983 to acquire and restore the historic mill, which was donated by Terracor Corp. to Tooele County. 

Photo Credit: J. Willard Marriott Digital Library (accessed on 3.2.22)

Extended Research:

Apostle Ezra Taft Benson, the original founder of the mill, was one of the first to arrive in Utah alongside Brigham Young’s pioneer company in 1847. After arriving in Utah, he was shortly sent back to Missouri where he helped prepare more Latter-day Saints for the trip to Utah.[1] He stayed in Missouri for two years until he eventually made his permanent move to the Salt Lake Valley in 1849. Ezra Benson would then help settle what we now call the Tooele Valley.

Cyrus Tolman is also important in this early history of the Benson Mill, as according to local history Tolman brought a load of straw and shingle timbers to Brigham Young to show the natural resources located in Tooele Valley.[2] This helped convince Brigham Young to sign off on milling and timber rights to Ezra Benson, Anson Call, Josiah Call, and Judson Tolman. In return these men promised to help develop roads to the new facilities. Due to the rich supply of timber, and grain grown by early settlers, milling operations were quickly attracted to the Tooele Valley

Benson hired brothers Cyrus and Judson Tolman, along with millwright Phineas Wright to find locations for mills and to begin construction. New Settlers to the area built their first homes around Benson’s sawmill in an area they called Settlement Canyon. These shelters were quickly abandoned, as a “Fort” was created due to hostilities with nearby Native Americans.[3] 

Latter-day Saint carpenter Thomas Lee and his brothers constructed the Benson gristmill in 1854. John Rowberry supervised construction and then maintained the mill for the owners, a group of people that included Rowberry, Ezra Benson, Benjamin Crosland, and other church leaders.[4] 

Settlers relied heavily on the Benson Mill in its early years, with reports describing workers there grinding as many as 6,000 bushels of wheat, 1,000 bushes of corn, and 228,000 pounds of flour.[5] To the right is an ad in the Deseret News written in 1857 advertising the Benson Gristmill. It mentions short notice grinding at any time of the year.[6]

Deseret News, 11 March 1857, 7.

Ownership of the Mill has changed several times throughout the decades. In 1860, Ezra Benson sold off his two-thirds share to Brigham Young. Young’s brother Lorenzo was interested in the mill and constructed an adobe home across from it. A conflicting story reports that Ezra Benson acquired sole ownership of the mill in 1866. It is thought that this was done in order to protect the ownership of the mill in behalf of the LDS church, as around this time the Church was being investigated by the federal government for polygamy.[7]

J. Reuben Clark Jr., an apostle in the LDS church, then purchased the Gristmill in 1922. Alterations were made to the mill including exchanging its original wooden waterwheel for a metal turbine, and its millstones were replaced with “imported free-standing ‘grain breakers’”. It ran all the way until the 1940’s, being used for grinding animal feed. Terracor, a land development company, then acquired the Gristmill. For roughly 40 years the mill sat abandoned until Terracor donated the building to Tooele County. 

The Benson Grist Mill Restoration Volunteer Committee created by Jack Smith, and consisting of members Wayne Shields, Boyd and Ouida Blanthorn, Ray Court, Bob and Marilyn Shields, Douglas Smith and Maxine Grimm, worked hard to return the Gristmill to its current condition. Today, the mill is used as a setting for field trips, weddings, reunions, and other social gatherings. “The site, complete with covered picnic tables, has become a virtual village as well as a roadside park. It hosts a replica miller’s house, historic cabins, a granary, a large barn and all manner of other buildings, plus several wagons.”[8]

[1] Ezra Benson, “Ezra Taft Benson, 1811-1869,” Autobiography of Ezra T. Benson (1811-1869), accessed April 8, 2022, http://boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/ETBenson.html

[2] Ouida Nuhn Blanthorn, A History of Tooele County (Salt Lake City, UT: Utah State Historical Society, 1998), 70-72.

[3] Ouida Nuhn Blanthorn, A History of Tooele County (Salt Lake City, UT: Utah State Historical Society, 1998), 70.

[4] Ouida Nuhn Blanthorn, A History of Tooele County (Salt Lake City, UT: Utah State Historical Society, 1998), 73.

[5] Ouida Nuhn Blanthorn, A History of Tooele County (Salt Lake City, UT: Utah State Historical Society, 1998), 226-227.

[6] “Grinding, Grinding,” Deseret News, 11 March 1857, 7.

[7] Ouida Nuhn Blanthorn, A History of Tooele County (Salt Lake City, UT: Utah State Historical Society, 1998), 73-74. 

[8]  Ray Boren, “The Benson Grist Mill Is a Rugged Monument to a Dynamic Pioneer Past,” Deseret News, 17 May 2012.

For Further Reference: 

Primary Sources: 

Benson, Ezra. “Ezra Taft Benson, 1811-1869.” Autobiography of Ezra T. Benson (1811-1869). Accessed April 8, 2022. http://boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/ETBenson.html

Grinding, Grinding,” Deseret News, 11 March 1857, 7.

Secondary Sources:

Blanthorn, Ouida Nuhn. A History of Tooele County. Salt Lake City, UT, Utah: Utah State Historical Society, 1998. 

Boren, Ray. “The Benson Grist Mill is a Rugged Monument to a Dynamic Pioneer Past.” Deseret News (Salt Lake City), May 17, 2012. 

Fire Station No. 8

Published / by Jordyn Gasper / Leave a Comment

Write-up by Jordyn Gasper

Placed by: Division of State History, N- 582

GPS Coordinates: N 40° 45.829 W 111° 51.228

Historical Marker 2022

Historical Marker Text:            

Fire Station No. 8, the second oldest visually intact fire station in Salt Lake City, is historically significant in documenting the expansion and development of the firefighting service in Salt Lake City. It was constructed in 1930 to serve the “outlying” east bench area, one of the fastest growing residential areas at the time. The building’s residential appearance reflects the careful attention given to ensure compatibility with surrounding houses.

Front View of Station 2022

Extended Research

The Salt Lake City Fire Department has been active for over 100 years. Prior to 1883, the department was operated by volunteer firemen only. This changed when the “Salt Lake City Council established a full-time, paid fire department, after a particularly damaging fire occurred in downtown Salt Lake City on June 21, 1883.”[1] The fire ripped through downtown Salt Lake City and created an explosion which caused nearly $100,000 in damages.[2] This massively devastating fire destroyed many city buildings and truly exposed the limited resources that Salt Lake had to help combat the fire.[3] The volunteer firemen attempted to put out the blaze, but it was obvious that there was not enough manpower to help the situation. After this extreme disaster, the Salt Lake Fire Department was created. The stations within the department had specific architectural styles to match their intended purposes for the time being. For example, the first station of the department, Fire Station no. 1, had a very particular architectural style that reflected its time period. This photo is from 1911 and shows how the station is very large.[4] It was a bigger structure because it was the only operating station at its time. The photo reveals smaller, circular garage openings to fit horse drawn fire engines. At this time, there were no motorized vehicles being used within the department, so the station did not need to expand its openings to fit larger equipment.

Fire Station No. 1 in 1911 courtesy of Salt Lake City Fire Department Photographs, accessed March 2, 2022, https://archives.utah.gov/digital/23526.htm.

As the population of the area grew, so did the number of stations within the department. In 1930, Fire Station no. 8 was constructed “to serve the east bench area” in Salt Lake City.[5] This station is historically significant because its architectural style and development reflected the expansion of the city and the fire department.[6] The architectural style of Fire Station no. 8 matches the looks of the surrounding homes within the area during the early twentieth century. Architect Albert White is praised for his work on the station because its appearance “reflects the careful attention that was given to the scale, setback and design of the building to ensure that it would be compatible with the surrounding houses in this prime residential neighborhood.”[7] The station was constructed to coexist with its surroundings and not stand out.

The design of Fire Station No. 8 is referred to as an English Cottage style building. This was the style of the majority of Salt Lake residential homes during the early twentieth century.[8] One important note about the English Cottage style was that although they appeared “deceptively small from the street, often they actually extended deep into the lot.”[9]     

Front View of Station 2022

Side View of Station 2022

As seen in the photo above, the fire station extends very deep into its lot. This was because the station needed to fit multiple fire engines and other fire equipment inside the building. Not only was the English Cottage style appealing to the eye, it was also very convenient for the purpose of a Fire Station.

However, as the city was expanding and new equipment advanced, the station could no longer function efficiently. Fire Station No. 8 was only operational until the year 1980 “because the doorways could not handle large modern firetrucks.”[10] This photo shows the crew in front of the station before it shut down.[11]

Fire Station No. 8 1980 courtesy of Salt Lake City Fire Department-Station 8, Classified Photograph Collection, Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah.

After the Salt Lake County Fire Department stopped using Fire Station No. 8, private investors purchased the building. These buyers transformed the station into a restaurant in the early 1980s called the Market Street Broiler.[12] In May of 2014, different investors bought the building and transformed it into a new restaurant called the Porcupine Pub and Grille.[13] As of 2022, Fire Station no. 8 serves as a Mexican restaurant called the Rio Grande.


[1] “Salt Lake City Fire Department Photographs, 1885-1901,” Salt Lake City Fire Department Photographs, accessed March 2, 2022, https://archives.utah.gov/digital/23526.htm.

[2] “The Big Blaze,” Salt Lake Herald-Republican, (Salt Lake City, UT), June 22, 1883, https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s60017g2/10548379.

[3] Jeffrey D. Nichols, “1883 Blaze Spurred Creation of Salt Lake City’s Professional Fire Department,” History to Go, April 29, 2016, https://historytogo.utah.gov/1883-blaze/.

[4] Salt Lake City Fire Department- Station 1, Classified Photograph Collection, Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[5] Heather L. King, “Porcupine Pub Renovates Historic Utah Fire Station No. 8,” Utah Stories, https://utahstories.com/2016/11/porcupine-pub-renovates-historic-utah-fire-station-no-8/.

[6] National Register of Historic Places, Fire Station no. 8, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, National Register #83004423.

[7] National Register of Historic Places, Fire Station no. 8, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, National Register #83004423.

[8] Thomas Carter and Peter L. Goss, Utah’s Historic Architecture, 1847-1940: A Guide. (Salt Lake City, UT: Center for Architectural Studies, Graduate School of Architecture, University of Utah, & Utah State Historical Society, 1991), 137.

[9] Thomas Carter and Peter L. Goss, Utah’s Historic Architecture, 1847-1940: A Guide. (Salt Lake City, UT: Center for Architectural Studies, Graduate School of Architecture, University of Utah, & Utah State Historical Society, 1991), 34.

[10] “Firestation No. 8 (Salt Lake City),” Wikipedia (Wikimedia Foundation, April 26, 2021), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firestation.

[11] Salt Lake City Fire Department-Station 8, Classified Photograph Collection, Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[12] Heather L. King, “Porcupine Pub Renovates Historic Utah Fire Station No. 8,” Utah Stories, https://utahstories.com/2016/11/porcupine-pub-renovates-historic-utah-fire-station-no-8/.

[13] Heather L. King, “Porcupine Pub Renovates Historic Utah Fire Station No. 8,” Utah Stories, https://utahstories.com/2016/11/porcupine-pub-renovates-historic-utah-fire-station-no-8/.


For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

Salt Lake City Fire Department-Station 1, Classified Photograph Collection, Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Salt Lake City Fire Department-Station 8, Classified Photograph Collection, Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah.

“The Big Blaze.” Salt Lake Herald-Republican. (Salt Lake City, UT). June 22, 1883. https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s60017g2/10548379.

Secondary Sources:

Carter, Thomas, and Peter L. Goss. Utah’s Historic Architecture, 1847-1940: A Guide. (Salt Lake City, UT: Center for Architectural Studies, Graduate School of Architecture, University of Utah, & Utah State Historical Society, 1991).

“Firestation No. 8 (Salt Lake City).” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, April 26, 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firestation_No._8_(Salt_Lake_City).  

King, Heather L. “Porcupine Pub Renovates Historic Utah Fire Station No. 8.” Utah Stories, November 25, 2016. https://utahstories.com/2016/11/porcupine-pub-renovates-historic-utah-fire-station-no-8/.

National Register of Historic Places. Fire Station no. 8. Salt Lake City. Salt Lake County. Utah. National Register #83004423.

“Salt Lake City Fire Department Photographs, 1885-1901.” Salt Lake City Fire Department Photographs. Accessed March 2, 2022. https://archives.utah.gov/digital/23526.htm.  

Nichols, Jeffrey D. “1883 Blaze Spurred Creation of Salt Lake City’s Professional Fire Department.” History to Go, April 29, 2016. https://historytogo.utah.gov/1883-blaze/.





Sugar House Monument

Published / by Jordan Nelson / Leave a Comment

Write-up by Jordan Nelson

South-facing Plaques

Placed by: Anderson & Young Architects, Sugarhouse Business Men’s League

GPS Coordinates: 40° 43′ 31″ N, 111° 51′ 36″ W

Historical Marker Text (1):

To the founders of a pioneer industry As a tribute
to the heroic efforts of Brigham Young, John Taylor, Philip De La Mare, Elias Morris,
Abraham O. Smoot and other who here laid the foundation of the beet sugar
industry in the west, from which event this immediate industrial and business center
derives its name, this monument is erected A.D. 1930

North-facing Plaque

Historical Marker Text (2):

Erected in recognition of the first effort made to manufacture Beet sugar in western America. With dauntless perseverance through severe hardships the machinery was brought from Liverpool, ENG. to this place, where in 1853 the sugar mill was constructed.
may the spirit of this courageous venture
continue to characterize this community.

The Old Sugar House
Home of one of the earliest efforts toward the creation of local industry in Utah.
At these crossroads in 1853-55, a structure was erected which stood for many years as a symbol
of pioneer enterprise and courage. Its site was approximately two hundred feet east of this spot.
After the sugar project was abandoned the old mill served many other useful purposes. Its life ended in 1928.

Upper North-facing Plaque

Extended Research: 

After establishing settlements in the late 1840s within the Salt Lake valley, Brigham Young was well aware that importing resources for his fledgling state was a strain on the Church’s economic reserves. Shipping sugar was especially a burden on the economics of the region, accountants within church leadership calculated that if all sugar needs were imported from outside sources it would cost $240,000 a year.1 In order to meet this demand the territory needed a reliable source of sugar from crops that could grow in the eastern Great Basin. Brigham Young corresponded with John Taylor, a church leader serving a mission in France in late 1850. Taylor contacted various engineers there who were well acquainted with the process of extracting sugar from beets. John Taylor on Brigham Young’s order established the Deseret Manufacturing Company and purchased more than a thousand pounds of French beet seeds along with the machinery to process the beets into sugar from Liverpool. It seemed that this new industry for Brigham’s kingdom was on its way to success. All of those involved would not see the troubles that lay ahead for them.1 

At almost every part of the journey from France, the company encountered problem after problem. The problems ranged from: paying surprise shipping fees in New Orleans, buying sturdier wagons to carry the machinery to Salt Lake, the cattle getting loose or dying on the trail, and finally an early winter which halted the progress of the heaviest and most crucial parts of the machine.1 The machinery was still stuck in the mountains by the end of February 1853 with Brigham Young writing to Samuel Richards, a prominent church leader on a mission in England, that some mail carriers had left parcels that they couldn’t carry in the boilers so that they would be protected through the rest of the severe winter.2 

Sugar House Mill in the 19th Century

While waiting to retrieve the parts, the Deseret Manufacturing Company established a site in Provo to experiment in refining the beet crop. Multiple failures influenced Brigham Young to relieve John Taylor as head of the DMC. The machinery was retrieved from the mountain pass after winter ended and moved to its eventual spot, current day Sugar House. But even with the move and the machine assembled the attempts to create sugar from beet juice only produced “an inedible molasses.”3 These failed attempts were due to the workers’ “complete lack of knowledge” about the sugar distillation process or even the proper construction of the building.4 The failure had reflected other setbacks in early Mormon industry but the sugar beet loss cost the Church over $100,000 in total. While this was a great setback the industrial drive of the Mormons continued on into the 1890’s when sugar from sugar beets was finally successful in Lehi. This was in part because sugar manufacturing from beets succeeded in California in 1879, which allowed for the knowhow to then trickle throughout the United States.5  

The Sugar House Monument was first suggested by Millard Malin, a sculptor, to the Sugar House Business Men’s League in 1928. During this time the city was in a period of beautification and Malin suggested that a monument in Sugar House plaza would be a good way to memorialize “early Utah industry.”6 This idea was also reflected by LDS Church leaders at the time, who viewed the failures of the Sugar House mill as only a step to the eventual establishment of the sugar industry in Utah.7 

Monument in the plaza

1 Leonard Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints, 1830–1900 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1958), 116-120. 

2 Young, Brigham. Letter to Samuel W Richards. 27 February 1853. L. Tom Perry Special Collections.

3 Woodger, Mary Jane, “Bitter Sweet: John Taylor’s Introduction of the Sugar Beet Industry in Deseret” Utah Historical Quarterly 69:3, 2001. 

4 Matthew C Godfrey. Religion, Politics, and Sugar: The Mormon Church, the Federal Government, and the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company, 1907 to 1921. Logan: Utah State University Press, 2007.  

5 Mary Jane Woodger, “Bitter Sweet,” 262. 

6 United States Department of the Interior & National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places Continuation Sheet. OMB No. 1024-0018. July 11, 2003. 

7 Mary Jane Woodger, “Bitter Sweet,” 263. 

For Further Reference: 

Primary Sources 

Young, Brigham. Letter to Samuel W Richards. 27 February 1853. L. Tom Perry Special Collections. 

Secondary Sources 

Leonard Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints 1830–1900, (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1958), 116-120. 

Woodger, Mary Jane, “Bitter Sweet: John Taylor’s Introduction of the Sugar Beet Industry in Deseret” Utah Historical Quarterly 69:3, 2001. 

United States Department of the Interior & National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places Continuation Sheet. OMB No. 1024-0018. July 11, 2003. 

Matthew C Godfrey. Religion, Politics, and Sugar: The Mormon Church, the Federal Government, and the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company, 1907 to 1921. Logan: Utah State University Press, 2007.  

Historic Photo Source: https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=444014&facet_format_t=%22image%2Fjpeg%22&q=sugar+house&facet_setname_s=dha_%2A

Kearns~St. Ann’s Orphanage

Published / by Pauline Simonson / 2 Comments on Kearns~St. Ann’s Orphanage

Write up by Pauline Simonson 

Placed By: Utah State Historical Society in 1992 

GPS Coordinates: 40°43’32” N 111°52’43” W 

Primary Historical Marker Text:  

Utah Historic Site. Kearns~St. Ann’s Orphanage.  

Kearns~St.Ann’s Historic Site maker Photo credit: Pauline Simonson

This eclectic Chateauesque style building was constructed in 1899 by the Roman Catholic church. It was designed by Carl M. Neuhausen, architect of the Thomas Kearns Mansion and the Cathedral of the Madeleine, both located on South Temple Street. Bishop Lawrence Scanlan of the newly formed Salt Lake Diocese began acquiring land for the orphanage but encountered financial problems. Jennie Judge Kearns, wife of mining magnate and U.S. Senator Thomas Kearns, donated $55,000 to purchase the land and cover the entire cost of construction.  

The Kearns~St. Ann’s Orphanage, operated by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, served the social, religious and educational needs of many children for over fifty years. The children shared responsibility in the total operation of the facility, with the expectation of accounts and records. The orphanage was converted to a parochial school in 1954, officially known as St. Anns’s School, and had an initial enrollment of 240 students from kindergarten to fourth grade. The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word assumed leadership of the school at the time. Each year thereafter an additional grade was added until all eight grades were included in the school. In anticipation of the school’s restoration in the 1900s and to symbolize its link with the past, it was renamed Kearns~St. Ann School.  

Marker placed in 1992 

Other Markers on the Kearns~St. Ann’s Building 

(Text 1) 

With deep gratitude and in loving memory of Jane Finn McCarthey, whose devotion to children, to Catholic education, and to Kearns~St. Ann School was the embodiment of Christian Service and Love. 2001 

Jane Finn McCarthey marker Photo credit: Pauline Simonson

(Text 2) 

1953 1997 

To the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word whose devotion to Kearns~St. Ann School instilled in children lasting Christian values.  

Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word Photo credit: Pauline Simonson

(Text 3)  

To the Sisters of The Holy Cross whose devotion to St. Ann’s inspired in little children the one and only hope. 

A M D G 

Placed here by the descendants of the late Senator and Mrs. Thomas Kearns 

Sisters of The Holy Cross marker Photo credit: Pauline Simonson

(Text 4)  

Kearns 

St. Anns Orphanage  

Erected 1899 

Kearns marker Photo credit: Pauline Simonson

Statue of Lady of Beauraing Belgium Marker Text: 

Our Lady of Beauraing Belgium appeared 33 times from November 29, 1932 to January 3, 1933. In this statue is a piece of the tree she touched.  

Kneel and Pray.  

Our Lady of Beauraing Belgium marker Photo credit: Pauline Simonson
Our Lady of Beauraing Belgium statue Photo credit: Pauline Simonson

Extended Research: 

In 1891, Bishop Lawrence Scanlan established the St. Ann’s Orphanage. This original orphanage was extremely small and did not successfully meet the needs of the Sisters of the Holy Cross running the orphanage. In 1895, land became available for Bishop Scanlan to purchase for a new orphanage to be built; however, he did not have sufficient funds so an annual fair was held to raise funds. Bishop Scanlan reached out to many people for help and Mrs. Thomas Kearns, the wife of Park City mining millionaire Thomas Kearns, answered and donated $55,000 for the building of a new orphanage.1 

Bishop Scanlan selected Carl M. Neuhausen to design the new St. Ann’s Orphanage. Carl M. Neuhausen was born in Germany. Carl M. Neuhausen was a well-known architect in Utah. He included a unique chateâuesque renaissance style in his buildings. He primarily designed his buildings for the Catholic Church of Utah. His designs include the Kearns St. Ann’s Orphanage, the Cathedral of the Madeleine, the Kearns Mansion and the Carl M. Neuhausen House.2 

In 1899, workers laid the cornerstone of St. Ann’s Orphanage and they completed the building the following year. The St. Ann’s Orphanage was renamed Kearns~St. Ann’s Orphanage in honor and recognition of the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Kearns. Once the orphanage was complete, it was put under the supervision of The Sisters of The Holy Cross. The orphanage housed upwards of 92 children ranging from five to fourteen years old. The orphanage soon became a functioning school for the children run by The Sisters of The Holy Cross. In 1918, Kearns~St. Ann’s Orphanage also became a day school for children who did not specifically live at the orphanage.3 

At least some of the children who lived at the Kearns~St. Ann’s Orphanage recalled their time there as a positive experience and believe they received a quality education. In 1951 David Handrahan was an orphan at the Kearns~St. Ann’s. In a news article in Intermountain Catholic, David Handrahan looked back on his time at the orphanage fondly and thought it normal to grow up with so many “siblings” and considered himself lucky to have such caring nuns who gave him and other boarders unconditional love and who acted as parental figures.4 Other borders at the Kearns~St. Ann’s Orphanage recalled that outings to parks, Fort Douglass, theaters, and other schools were a common occurrence. The Sisters of The Holy Cross running the orphanage showed the children love that they would not have received otherwise and provided the children with an education that helped them to excel. 

In 1953, due to the state’s expansion of the foster care system, Sisters of The Holy Cross stopped serving at the orphanage. One year later the orphanage closed and the transition from an orphanage to school began. The school was renamed St. Ann’s School. In September of 1955, the St. Ann’s School opened with 240 enrolled, which included students ranging from kindergarten to 4th grade. Each year a new grade was added until 8th grade was reached.5 

In 1999 Catholic leaders oversaw a renovation of the school and renamed it back to Kearns~St. Ann’s School in honor of its history and in recognizing, again, the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Kearns. Through the years, several plaques were added to the exterior of the building commemorating the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, the Sisters of the Holy Cross, and Jane Finn McCarthey. The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word’s plaque states that it was placed for their devotion to Kearns~St. Ann School and instilling in children lasting Christian values. The Sisters of the Holy Cross’s plaque was placed in honor of their devotion to St. Ann’s and inspiring “in little children the one and only hope.” Jane Finn McCarthey’s plaque is a memoriam plaque placed to remember and forever thank her for her work at Kearns~St. Ann’s school. Jane Finn McCarthey was an educator who cared deeply for the children she taught and prioritized both education of the mind and spirit.  

Standing in front of Kearns~St. Ann’s is a beautiful white statue of Our Lady of Beauraing Belgium. Our Lady of Beauraing Belgium is an apparition of the Incarnate Virgin Mary, who in the Catholic Church is the mother of Jesus, the son of God. Our Lady of Beauraing Belgium appeared 33 times to 5 children in Belgium from November 29, 1932 to January 3, 1933. Each time she appeared, the children reported being drawn to a kneeling position in front of Our Lady of Beauraing Belgium. She told the children to, “Always be good” and to, “pray, pray, pray.” There was much skepticism if Our Lady of Beauraing Belgium appeared to the children but on July 2, 1949, the Bishop of Namur approved the apparitions. Our Lady of Beauraing Belgium stands in front of Kearns~St. Ann’s with the plaque stating to “Kneel and pray.” To make the spot one of worthiness to pray to Our Lady of Beauraing Belgium, a piece of wood that she reportedly touched was placed at Our Lady of Beauraing Belgium’s feet. Our Lady of Beauraing Belgium is a beautiful reminder to the children at Kearns~St. Ann’s to continue to pray and be good, along with a reminder to educators and adults to trust the innocence and truth of children.6 

Today the Kearns~St. Ann’s School is still operating and fulfilling its mission to educate children. St. Ann’s Church was built next to the school and serves as the parish and church for the school. The continuation of the church and school signifies its importance to the community.  

St. Ann’s School Photo Credit: Kearns~St. Ann’s School accessed 3/2/2022
Early orphans at the Kearns~St. Ann’s Orphanage Photo Credit: Kearns~St. Ann’s School accessed 3/2/2022 
Present-day Kearns~St. Ann’s School Photo credit: Pauline Simonson

1. Kathryn Callahanby and Nicole L. Thompson, “Sisters of the Holy Cross and Kearns-St. Ann’s Orphanage,” Utah Historical Quarterly vol. 78 no. 3, (Summer 2010).

2.  “Carl M. Neuhausen,” Living Places, accessed April 4, 2022. 

3.  Kathryn Callahanby and Nicole L. Thompson, “Sisters of the Holy Cross and Kearns-St. Ann’s Orphanage,” Utah Historical Quarterly vol. 78 no. 3, (Summer 2010).

4.  “Kearns-Saint Ann Orphanage Border Visits His Childhood Home During Historical Presentation,” Intermountain Catholic, June 27, 2014. 

5. Kathryn Callahanby and Nicole L. Thompson, “Sisters of the Holy Cross and Kearns-St. Ann’s Orphanage,” Utah Historical Quarterly vol. 78 no. 3, (Summer 2010).

6. Patti Maguire Armstrong, “The ‘Golden Heart’ Appreciation of Our Lady of Beauraing Belgium,” National Catholic Register, August 10, 2016.  

For Further Reference: 

Secondary Sources: 

Kathryn Callahanby and Nicole L. Thompson, “Sisters of the Holy Cross and Kearns~St. Ann’s Orphanage,” Utah Historical Quarterly vol. 78 number 3, 2010.   

Carl M. NeuhausenLiving Places, Accessed April 4, 2022.   

Armstrong, Patti Maguire, “The ‘Golden Heart’ Appreciation of Our Lady of Beauraing Belgium,” National Catholic Register, August 10, 2016.   

Primary Source: 

Kearns-Saint Ann Orphanage Border Visits His Childhood Home During Historical Presentation,” Intermountain Catholic, June 27, 2014.   

Primary Photo Source:  

Kearns St. Ann’s School, “A Photo History of Kearns St. Ann’s,” Accessed Feb. 2, 2022.  

Devereaux House

Published / by Kenny Son / 6 Comments on Devereaux House

By: Kenny Son 

Place by: Salt Lake City Triad Center

Utah Coordinates: Latitude: 40.769949, Longitude: -111.901035

Historical Marker Text:

          “Devereaux House was Salt Lake City’s earliest mansion and in its day, the most elegant. As a unique mansion in an isolated frontier city, the Devereaux was the setting of many social gatherings that included prominent local citizens and important national and international visitors. Portions of the house date from 1855, only eight years after the first arrival of the Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley. Extensively added to and remodeled in the 1870’s, the Devereaux House estate featured the mansion, extensive ornamental gardens, a kitchen garden, hothouses, vineyards, orchards, stables, and a carriage house. Owner William Jennings was a patron of the arts and furnished the interior with items collected during trips throughout the United States and abroad. The coming of the railroad later turned this part of Salt Lake City into a commercial and industrial area, and for many years the mansion stood as a forlorn shell of its former glory. On March 1, 1971 the Devereaux House was listed on the National Register of Historic places and, in 1978, the Utah State Legislature purchased the property for future renovation. Three years later, the State and Triad Center entered into an agreement whereby Triad would maintain and manage the area once the buildings and grounds were restored.  With Federal, State, Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency, and private funds, the Devereaux house, Carriage House, and gardens have been reconstructed for the benefit of present and future Utahns.”

Extended Research: 

The Devereaux Mansion, located on 334 West South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah, was built for Utah Resident William Staines in the year 1857. The home is significant because it was the first mansion built in Utah Territory. It was the center of social gatherings in the valley for much of the nineteenth century.[1]

Architect William Paul’s first project in Salt Lake City was the Devereaux House, a Victorian style mansion with unique features. The outside of the home consisted of a masonry cement plaster wall reaching two stories high. The interior included many beautiful kinds of wood, such as mahogany. The home is two stories tall with a west wing intersecting north to south. Long time resident William Jennings added new features to the house, such as a sizeable east wing and several outbuildings. Decorations surrounding the home included floral gardens, orchards, and a greenhouse.[6] Gates were added around the perimeter of the house to make it private.[7]

Eventually, the house would go through several different owners. In 1865 Staines sold the home to Joseph A. Young who was the son of Brigham Young. Later, Young sold the house to William Jennings, a prominent businessman and future mayor of Salt Lake City.[4] Jennings is responsible for giving the home the name “Devereaux Mansion” in remembrance of his childhood home in England.

Jennings was born in Birmingham, England, and spent 26 years there before moving to the United States. He earned his education primarily in England. He first moved to New York, and later to Missouri where he entered the cattle business. He arrived in Utah in 1852, and established a textile mill. After spending time in the mill business, he slowly transitioned to banking. Specifically, he became a stockholder and later director of the Deseret National Bank. He later became vice-president and director, and then was influential in establishing the co-operative mercantile business recognized as Zion’s Co-operative Mercantile Institution.[2] Jennings was known in Utah as a pioneer industrial leader, Salt Lake mayor, and allegedly Utah’s first millionaire.[3] 

Jennings practiced polygamy and had two wives who both moved into the Devereaux home in 1867 to live with him. His wives Jane Walker and Pricilla Paul, both occupied the home at the same time until Pricilla passed away in 1871. Jane then took care of both her and Pricilla’s combined fifteen children.

Jennings was known to have many significant people stay in his home, such as William Seward, who was the U.S. Secretary of State. President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia Boggs Grant visited the house for several hours during their visit to Utah. Also, President Rutherford B. Hayes, with general William T. Sherman visited the home. After Jennings died in 1886, his family sold the house after living there for several years.[5]

During the great depression, the J. J. Coan family resided in the mansion for some time but it was eventually abandoned and fell into disrepair. Decades later, a group of civic and preservation minded organizations formed a committee in hopes of restoring the dilapidated mansion. The committee consisted of Junior League of Salt Lake City, the Utah Heritage Foundation, Salt Lake City Historic Buildings Advisory Committee, Women’s Architectural League, the Utah American Institute of Architects, the Board of State History, and the Utah State Historical Society.[8] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints purchased the home in 2005 and uses it on occasion for receptions and other functions.

References

Primary Source: 

  1. “Deveraux House,” Utah National Register Collection, (March 1971), https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6894vj4
  2. “In Memorium, William Jennings,” Multimedia Archives, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, accessed April 4, 2020, https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s62z1vt8.

Secondary Source: 

  1. Roberts, Allen D.  More of Utah’s Unknown Pioneer Architects: Their Lives and Works (Sunstone Magazine, 1976), 53, https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/003-42-56.pdf.

[1] “Deveraux House,” Utah National Register Collection, (March 1971): 2, https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6894vj4

[2] “In Memorium, William Jennings,” Multimedia Archives, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, accessed April 4, 2020, https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s62z1vt8.

[3] Allen D. Roberts, More of Utah’s Unknown Pioneer Architects: Their Lives and Works (Sunstone Magazine, 1976), 53, https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/003-42-56.pdf.

[4] Devereaux House, Utah National, 2.

[5] Deveraux House, Utah National3. 

[6] Robert’s, More of Utah’s, 53.

[7] Devereaux House, Utah National, 2.

[8] Devereaux House, Utah National, 2.