Category Archives: Education

L.D.S. Tenth Ward Square

Published / by Katie Katz / Leave a Comment

Write-up by Katie Katz

Placed by: The National Register of Historic Places, Site Number N-159

GPS Coordinates: 40°45’ 38’’ N 111°52’ 6’’ W

Historical Marker Text: 

L.D.S. Tenth Ward Square. As a result of the organization of the original nineteen wards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) in Salt Lake City on February 22, 1849, ward squares or blocks were created on which the public buildings for each ward were constructed. Of the original squares, only the Tenth Ward Square retains the building which served the settlers’ spiritual, economic, cultural and educational needs. Still standing are the 1873 meetinghouse, the first building used exclusively for religious purposes; the third school house, built in 1887 and one of the earliest known designs of Richard K.A. Kletting, prominent architect and German immigrant of 1883; the late gothic revival church constructed in 1909; and the Tenth Ward store in 1880. The store is connected to a house which was built in 1890’s by Adam Speirs, bishop and proprietor of the store. Originally the Tenth Ward was bounded by Sixth East on the west, the foothills on the east, Third South on the north and Sixth South on the south. The first bishopric of the Tenth Ward consisted of: David Pettegrew, bishop, with Daniel Tyler, first counselor and Sanford Porter, second counselor. All three of these men were members of the Mormon Battalion.

1909 chapel (left) and 1873 building (right)

Extended Research:

The Tenth Ward building has a long heritage in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; the ward’s history dates back as far as February 22, 1849.[1]At that time, the Salt Lake Stake (a geographically based religious unit in the LDS tradition) divided land in the Salt Lake Valley into nineteen wards with nine blocks for each ward.[2]Members of the Tenth Ward constructed various buildings over the years for religious and educational purposes, not all of which survive to the present. First in 1849, the members built a one-story structure for their religious meetings and school, but by 1853 the building was modified to make way for a two-story building for religious meetings, school, and a theater.[3]This building was demolished in 1898 and the stone lintel was used for the entryway of the chapel that was built in 1909.[4]In 1873, ward members built a brick meetinghouse, in the Greek Revival style of architecture, that was strictly used for religious purposes.[5]The Greek Revival style was used because of its rising popularity in the 1800s. This building is still standing today. It is the oldest of all the buildings currently on the Tenth Ward square.[6]In addition, this ward meetinghouse is the oldest meetinghouse still in use today in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Inside of 1873 meetinghouse

Ward members next added a schoolhouse to the three-part building currently standing on the Tenth Ward square. Erected in 1887, the schoolhouse is located on the corner of 800 East and 400 South. This building is said to be one of the first structures that the famous Utah architect Richard Kletting designed. This building is significant because it was the original District Schoolhouse for Salt Lake City until 1890.[7]

In 1909, the congregation constructed the final addition to their historic building, its worship space, even though it was not dedicated until February 13, 1916.[8]President Joseph F. Smith, then leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints delivered the dedicatory sermon and prayer.[9]Right before his sermon, Smith commended the ward for staying out of debt and submitting their building collection fund in a timely manner.[10]Ironically, leaders of the Tenth Ward seemed to have collected the funds in just the nick of time. Only a week before the dedication service, a meeting note from Tenth Ward leaders stated “it is urgently requested that the collection for the building fund [be] collected… so that we may be able to pay off all indebtedness” before the dedication.[11]

1909 chapel (Stained-glass windows visible on the right side)

This last addition became the new chapel for the Tenth Ward to house its religious meetings. This section of the building is well-known and loved by many, but especially the members of the Tenth Ward. The chapel, a Gothic Revival style designed by Ashton Brothers architects, includes stained-glass windows, a steeple pointed roof, and a custom organ to accompany the choir. The organ stands out to all who visit the church both because of its beauty and because the sound it produces is wonderful to hear. The stained-glass images used in this building have symbolism rooted within the teachings of the Church. An example of this is the image of a beehive above a couple of windows. Beehives are an image the LDS Church uses often to symbolize its members working together, like bees within a hive. Another example is an image of a book with the Greek symbols alpha and omega on the pages. This is a representation of a scriptural passage in the Bible’s Book of Revelations, where it talks of Christ being the “Alpha and Omega,” or “the beginning and the ending.”[12]The most beloved stained-glass window, however, is located above the balcony, where natural light illuminates a picture of Christ knocking on a door, waiting to be let in.

Stained-glass window above balcony (left) and stained-glass “Alpha and Omega” (right)

As The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had done with other old meetinghouses, in the late 1990s it considered demolishing the building and erecting a new meetinghouse in its place. This news created considerable opposition from many people within the Tenth Ward, even though they understood the logic behind it because restoring the building would cost so much money. Gordon B. Hinckley, then President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had a personal connection to the Tenth Ward building and as a result also came to oppose its destruction. In 1983, Hinckley had shared in the Ensign magazine, an LDS publication, that it was in the balcony of the Tenth Ward building, during an opening song, “Praise to the Man,” that he gained his own personal faith in the gospel and the church he would one day lead.[13]

Hinckley thus decided that he would not let the building that meant so much to him be torn down. The LDS Church therefore, changed its plans for the Tenth Ward building from demolishing it to restoring it and updating it to meet modern building codes. The renovations of the building took two and a half years and cost three million dollars to complete.[14]The project aimed to keep the building’s interior as close to the original as possible. For instance, in the chapel the workers only changed the carpet and gave more spacing between the pews but kept everything else the same. 

On January 2, 2000, the Tenth Ward building was rededicated as a place of worship. Members of the Tenth Ward still use it for this purpose today.[15]Ultimately, with the help of modern renovations, the Tenth Ward building stands as the oldest church building still in use in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solidifying the building’s place as a Utah historical landmark. Recognizing this fact, the National Register of Historical Places submitted a nomination for the Tenth Ward Building to become a Utah Historical Site on April 4, 1977.[16]

[1]Julia A. Dockstader, “Chapel’s Heritage Lives On,” Church News, 25 January 2001, https://www.thechurchnews.com/archives/2001-01-27/chapels-heritage-lives-on-115947.

[2]Dockstader, “Chapel’s Heritage.”

[3]Lisa Thompson, “Renovation Transforms SLC’s 10th Ward from a Maze to Amazing,” The Utah Heritage Foundation Newsletter, January 2000, 1.

[4]Thompson, “Renovation Transforms,” 1.

[5]Thompson, “Renovation Transforms,” 1.

[6]Thompson, “Renovation Transforms,” 1.

[7]Thompson, “Renovation Transforms,” 1.

[8]“Passing Events,” Improvement Era19, no. 6 (1916): 570.

[9]“Passing Events,” Improvement Era19, no. 6 (1916): 570.

[10]“Passing Events,” 570.

[11]Tenth Ward General Minutes, 1849-1977; Volume 3, 1914-1916, Church History Library, 133, https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets?id=f14718d4-ef32-4dc7-b338-1f25eee93591&crate=0&index=132.

[12]Rev. 1:8 (King James Version).

[13]Gordon B. Hinckley, “Praise to the Man,” Ensign, August 1983, 1.

[14]Thompson, “Renovation Transforms,” 1.

[15]Dockstader, “Chapel’s Heritage.”

[16]United States Department of the Interior, National Register of Historic Places Inventory – Nomination Form,Salt Lake City, UT: National Park Service, 1977, https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/NRHP/77001314_text.

For Further Reference:

Primary Source:

Tenth Ward General Minutes, 1849-1977; Volume 3, 1914-1916,133. Church History Library, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets?id=f14718d4-ef32-4dc7-b338-1f25eee93591&crate=0&index=132.

Utah. United States Department of the Interior. National Register of Historic Places Inventory – Nomination Form. Salt Lake City, UT: National Park Service, 1977. https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/NRHP/77001314_text.

Secondary Sources:

Dockstader, Julie A. “Chapel’s Heritage Lives On.” Church News, 25 January 2001. Accessed January 29, 2020. https://www.thechurchnews.com/archives/2001-01-27/chapels-heritage-lives-on-115947.

EMC,Tenth Ward History, document in glass case, 1909, Salt Lake Tenth Ward building, Salt Lake City, UT.

Hinckley, Gordon B. “Praise to the Man.” Ensign, August 1983.

“Passing Events.” Improvement Era 19, no. 6 (1916): 570.

Thompson, Lisa. “Renovation Transforms SLC’s 10th Ward from a Maze to Amazing.”The Utah Heritage Foundation Newsletter 34, No. 1 (January 2000): 1,3.


American Fork Presbyterian Church

Published / by Courtney Worthen / Leave a Comment

Write-up by Courtney Worthen

Placed by: National Register Division of State History, No. 306

GPS Coordinates: 40.37815, -111.796178

75 N 100 E, American Fork, UT 84003

Historical Marker Text: “The First Presbyterian Church of American Fork: In 1877 Reverend George R. Bird arrived to begin activities of the Presbyterian Church in American Fork. Work on this modified Gothic revival church began in 1878. The cornerstone for the completed building was laid in September 1881 by Reverend Thomas F. Day. This building was used as both a church and a school until the school was closed in 1909. It has served as a Presbyterian church continuously since its construction. It was listed on the national register of Historic Places May 23, 1980.”

Extended Research:

On September 7, 1877, Reverend George R. Bird arrived in American Fork to establish the Presbyterian faith in the area.[1] The history of the American Fork Presbyterian Church is part of a wider history of the Presbyterian mission in Utah Territory. Presbyterianism was among the first protestant faiths to enter Utah amongst an overwhelmingly dominant Mormon population. This broader history adds context to the church’s activities in American Fork.  

Presbyterian influence first came to Utah through a Presbyterian clergyman named John Anderson in 1862. As a California volunteer who helped establish Fort Douglas, which overlooked the Salt Lake Valley during the Civil War, Anderson was in Utah on military assignment. While in Salt Lake City, Anderson held Presbyterian services in a tent he brought with him from California. Evangelizing in portable tents was a common practice in territories where Presbyterian churches were not yet established. This was especially true in Farron, a city in Emery County, where it is argued that Presbyterianism was first organized in Utah.[2] Other historians argue that the first Presbyterian churches in Utah Territory were organized in predominantly “Gentile,”or non-Mormon communites such as the railroad town of Corinne, or the mining community in Alta. In 1871, Reverend Norman McLeod officially organized a congregation in Salt Lake City. [3]

The Presbyterian mission in Utah had both religious and educational purposes. Before 1890, Utah did not have a free public school system. When Presbyterian missionaires realized their proselyting efforts were not very successful among Mormon adults they decided youth education might be an effecitve means to bring Christianity and American values to Utah. By 1880 the Presbyterian mission had twenty four schools ranging across Utah and by 1890 they reported thirty three schools and four academies. In American Fork, Ida Kingsbury and other teachers offered a Presbyterian education to children in their community. Kingsbury opened American Fork’s day school in 1879 with eleven students enrolled. In 1890, the Utah legislature passed laws to begin a public school system in the state; as a result, the Presbyterian educational mission began to decline. American Fork’s day school continued to operate until 1909.[4]

The relationship between the Presbyterian mission and the Mormons in Utah was hostile for many years. However, one historian claims that the relationship between Presbyterians and Mormons “varied due to time frame, geographical setting, and the interactions of different personalities.”[5] For example, in 1871, Brigham Young invited Presbyterian Henry Kendall to speak in the Salt Lake City Tabernacle to a large Mormon audience. The audience was respectful and attentive and Young later encouraged members to allow “every reputable person” who wished to preach “the privilage of doing so” no matter what their religion.[6] Alternatively, in 1872, Reverend Norman McLeod’s anti-Mormon speeches created so much anger amongst Salt Lake City’s Mormon population that he fled East after receiving harrasment and death threats.[7] During the nineteenth century, Presbyterians and Mormons struggled to understand each other, and they frequently perceived each other harshly. Prebyterian day schools, anti-Mormon publications, along with polygamy and other Mormon doctrines exacerbated unkind feelings between the faiths.   

The Mormons were well aware of the Presbyterian’s “Christianizing” agenda in providing education to Utah’s youth. In order to raise funds for day schools, Presbyterians published newspapers and pamphlets such as The Kinsman, which accused Mormons of being un-American, attacked polygamy as barbaric, and highlighed other doctrines Presbyterians perceived to be heretical. Presbyterians raised money in the East on the grounds that their mission efforts might rescue Mormon youth from their parents’ religion. They especially concentrated their efforts on Mormon girls.[8] Knowing of the Presbyterian’s mission to reach Mormon children, and finding their anti-Mormon publications to be offensive, Mormon authorities discourgaged their members from allowing their children to participate in Presbyterian schools.

Presbyterians, in turn, reported harrasment from Mormons. In an 1880 letter, the Presbytery of Utah complained to Mormon leaders that in Logan, American Fork, Springville, and Payson Presbyterian meetings were “frequently disturbed by hooting through the windows, cursing against the teachers, and by boisterous singing and shouting round the doors.” Presbyterians further claimed that buildings had been “defiled in unmentionable ways, our property injured by stoning, and our books cut to pieces and scattered under the seats by those attending our services.”[9] According to one historian, Mormon apologists were equally fierce in their condemnation of Presbyterians as Presbyterians were of Mormons. Charles W. Penrose, then editor of the Deseret News, called Presbyterian ministers “snuffling, collection-taking hypocrites” who Satan himself would not be seen with.[10] During these years Presbyterians felt ostracized as religious minorites and their claims of harrasment were often dismissed by Mormon leadrship.[11] As Utah gained statehood and assimilated into the United States, Presbyterian periodicals reduced their coverage of Mormons and fortunately, both denominations learned to coexist as friends as they strove to build good relationships.

Beginning his ministry in American Fork, Reverend George R. Bird was more fortunate than many of his collegues. Upon arriving, Bird rented a social hall, in the upstairs of “Chipman’s Store,” and held American Fork’s first Presbyterian service two days later on September 9, 1877. [12] According to a history written by Ruth Teuscher, Bird had thirty Sunday School students in attendance by September 30. On November 27, Bird was able to offically establish a congregation with five members. The Board of National Missions of the Presbyterian Church helped Bird purchase a log house near Main Street in American Fork to use as a temporary chapel.[13] Bird’s growing congregation was made up of, “mostly Scots, some English, and a few Scandinavians and Americans.”[14] Reverend Bird ministered to his congregants in American Fork for three years before Reverend Thomas F. Day replaced him in 1880. Before leaving American Fork, Bird appointed Ida Kingsbury, from Indiana, to oversee the day school. Reverend Day later married Kingsbury.

Westminster College. The Presbytery of Utah at American Fork. August 1894. Photograph. American Fork, Utah. Special Collections. J. Willard Marriot Library.

The Presbyterian mission enjoyed the height of its membership in nineteenth century Utah during the 1880s before experiencing a decline. The subsequent decline in membership mirrored the decline in the number of day schools. Mining in American Fork Canyon sustained church membership in American Fork better than other missions in the state, however, the church experienced a lull in membership when the mines closed. The outbreak of World War II witnessed a revival, especially when Geneva Steele brought more Protestants to the area. Church membership in American Fork peaked in the mid 1960s with about 135 members.[15]

Architect  Peter Van Houghton is thought to have designed the Presbyterian church in American Fork in a “modified Gothic Revival style”.[16] In 2020, the exterior of the church resembles its original state even though the building has experienced a variety of modifications over the years. In the mid 1940s a kitchen was added to the back of the building. The original building had clear glass which was replaced by stained glass in 1976. On July 12, 1952, the bell tower was struck by lightning which caused fire damage to the exterior of the belfry. The damage remained for 44 years, until 1997, when the American Fork Legacy Committee helped restore the belfry as part of Utah’s sesquicentennial celebration. Minor interior renovations occurred in 1975 reversing classroom separations which were added in the 1940s.[17] The church has also been featured in two Hollywood films: Footloose and The Butter Cream Gang.[18] In 1940, Reverend Elias Jones changed the name of the church from The First Presbyterian Church to its current name: Community Presbyterian Church.


Notes:

[1] American Fork Presbyterian Church, Papers, Utah Historic Building Records, Marriot Library, Utah. 55. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=1495212

[2] George K. Davies, “A History of the Presbyterian Church in Utah ,”Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society (1943-1961) 25, no. 1 (1947): 46-67, Accessed February 22, 2020. www.jstor.org/stable/23324258.

[3] Douglas R. Brackenridge, “Hostile Mormons and Persecuted Presbyterians in Utah, 1870-1900: A Reappraisal,” Journal of Mormon History 37, no. 3 (2011): 162-228, Accessed February 23, 2020. www.jstor.org/stable/23292727.

[4] Utah Historic Building Records, 74.

[5] Brackenridge, “Hostile Mormons and Persecuted Presbyterians in Utah,” 167.

[6] Brackenridge, “Hostile Mormons and Persecuted Presbyterians in Utah,” 169.

[7] Brackenridge, “Hostile Mormons and Persecuted Presbyterians in Utah,” 170.

[8] Jana K. Riess, “Heathen in Our Fair Land’: Presbyterian Women Missionaries in Utah, 1870-90.” Journal of Mormon History 26, no. 1 (2000): 165-95, Accessed February 23, 2020. www.jstor.org/stable/23288593.

[9] Brackenridge, “Hostile Mormons and Persecuted Presbyterians in Utah,” 213-214.

[10] Brackenridge, “Hostile Mormons and Persecuted Presbyterians in Utah,” 176.

[11] Brackenridge, “Hostile Mormons and Persecuted Presbyterians in Utah,” 166.

[12] Utah Historic Building Records, 74.

[13] Utah Historic Building Records, 55.

[14] Theodore D. and Marian E. Martin, “Presbyterian Work in Utah, 1869-1969,” (SLC, Wheelwright Lithography Co, 1971): 3-4, Quoted in American Fork Presbyterian Church. Papers. Utah Historic Building Records, Utah. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=1495212

[15] Utah Historic Building Records, 65.

[16] Utah Historic Building Records, 5.

[17] Utah Historic Building Records, 5.

[18] Utah Historic Building Records, 63.

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

Westminster College. The Presbytery of Utah at American Fork. August 1894. Photograph. American Fork, Utah. Special Collections. J. Willard Marriot Library. University of Utah. Salt Lake City Utah.  https://utah-primoprod.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=digcoll_uuu_11wc_pc%2F1094197&context=L&vid=UTAH&lang=en_US&search_scope=EVERYTHING&adaptor=Local%20Search%20Engine&tab=everything&query=any,contains,american%20fork%20Presbyterian%20church&offset=0

American Fork Presbyterian Church. Papers. Utah Historic Building Records. Utah Division of State History. Salt Lake City, Utah. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=1495212

Secondary Sources:

Brackenridge, R. Douglas. “Hostile Mormons and Persecuted Presbyterians in Utah, 1870-1900: A Reappraisal.” Journal of Mormon History 37, no. 3 (2011): 162-228. Accessed February 23, 2020. www.jstor.org/stable/23292727.

Brackenridge, R. Douglas. “Presbyterians and Latter-day Saints in Utah: A Century of Conflict and Compromise, 1830—1930.” The Journal of Presbyterian History (1997-) 80, no. 4 (2002): 205-24. Accessed February 23, 2020. www.jstor.org/stable/23336401.

Davies, George K. “A History of the Presbyterian Church in Utah (Continued).” Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society (1943-1961) 24, no. 3 (1946): 147-81. Accessed February 23, 2020. www.jstor.org/stable/23324121.

Davies, George K. “A History of the Presbyterian Church in Utah (Concluded).”Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society (1943-1961) 25, no. 1 (1947): 46-67. Accessed February 22, 2020. www.jstor.org/stable/23324258.

Molascon, Allen R. “The Presbyterian Mission in American Fork, 1887-1896.” 1968. Special Collections. J. Willard Marriot Library. University of Utah. Salt Lake City Utah. 

Riess, Jana Kathryn. “”Heathen in Our Fair Land”: Presbyterian Women Missionaries in Utah, 1870-90.” Journal of Mormon History 26, no. 1 (2000): 165-95. Accessed February 23, 2020. www.jstor.org/stable/23288593.

Old Meeting House – Draper Fort

Published / by Aaron Ika / Leave a Comment

Write Up by Aaron Ika

Placed by: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, No. 56, January 1940

GPS Coordinates: 40° 31′21′′ N, 111° 51′56′′ W

Photo Credit: Rendering of the Old Draper Fort in Pioneer Times (1850’s) – Draper Historical Society

Historical Marker Text:

ERECTED JANUARY 1940

“OLD MEETING HOUSE” DRAPER FORT

            THE NORTH WALL OF THE “OLD MEETING HOUSE’ STOOD NEAR THIS MONUMENT. HERE (1861-1869) DR. JOHN R. PARK BEGAN HIS CAREER AS AN EDUCATOR IN UTAH. THIS SCHOOL PRODUCED MANY OF THE STATES LEADERS AND LEFT AN INDENIBLE LOVE FOR THE EDUCATION IN DRAPER.

THE GRANITE BLOCK IN THIS MONUMENT WAS THE SOUTH STEP OF THE OLD CHURCH. THIS SPOT WAS WITHIN THE ENCLOSURE OF THE OLD ADOBE FORT 184 YDS. X 113 YDS. THE WALL WAS 14 FT. HIGH AND 3 FT. THICK.

EBENEZER BROWN CAMP

Historical Marker View in Draper Historical Park
Photo Credit: Draper Historical Park (1990)JacobBarlow.com
Draper Historical Park (2020) – Home of the Old Meeting House – Draper Fort Marker

Extended Research:

The marker for the Old Meeting House Draper Fort commemorates two important pieces of history in Utah and the city of Draper: the Draper Fort and the Old Meetinghouse that sat inside the fort. The marker is located on the north side of Draper Historic Park.

Settlers moved to the south east end of the Salt Lake Valley into an area called South Willow Creek in 1850. The area grew rapidly and by the end of 1852, 20 families called South Willow Creek home.[1] In 1854, the establishment of the first post office brought a name change to the town. The area came to be known as Draperville, in honor of William Draper JR, who was a prominent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). In 1877, the town shortened the name to Draper.[2]

On 10 April 1854, Brigham Young addressed the followers of his church: “from hence forth, let one and all go forth with one accord and build their forts, wall in their cities and villages, herd and guard their cattle and other property and keep their guns and ammunition in good order and convenience, ready for instant use.”[3] Skirmishes erupted from Sanpete to Salt Lake Counties between Native Americans under Ute Chief Walkara and settlers. Walkara had become upset by Mormon efforts to stifle Indian slave trading and by the increased intrusion of settlers into traditional Native American hunting grounds.[4] This broader violence shaped the first Mormon settlement in the area that became Draper.

Ebenezer Brown and his family were the first settlers to arrive in “South Willow Creek” in 1849. Ebenezer’s homestead was 160 acres. Because of the Native threat, and at Brigham Young’s directive, Ebenezer donated 5 acres of his property to build a fort where members of the community could gather and feel safe. In late 1854, the fort construction began for protection to those pioneers homesteading in the area. It took two years to build walls of adobe brick and clay around the fort that measured 23 rods east to west and 35 rods north to south. A Rod is an old English measure of distance equal to 16.5 feet (5.029 meters). The walls were eight feet high and one foot wide with look-out slots every fourteen feet. All homes faced the center of the fort.[5]

Photo Credit: Ebenezer Brown – Courtesy of the Draper Historical Society

The Draper Historical Society has researched the fort extensively and created a map of houses and shop locations inside the fort.

The entrance to the fort was a dirt road through a wide opening in the northwest corner of the fort and in front of Lauritz Smith’s blacksmith shop. A garden area was at the southwest end of the fort. It included a small orchard of apple and peach trees, planted by William Terry with seeds he carried across the plains from Rhode Island. John Fitzgerald’s home was built on the northeast corner of the fort. John’s mother, Ann, had a candy store attached to the home. The first house built was Ebenezer’s, and then running west along the south wall were three other small homes. Perry Fitzgerald’s two-story home was built on the east wall and to the west was the LDS Church tithing office and granary and the Relief Society Hall. Ebenezer’s son, Norman Brown, built an adobe brick house. This house also served as Draper’s first schoolhouse. From its beginning, Draper showed a special interest in education. Schooling began right away with Betsy Draper, wife of William Draper, as Draper's first teacher. Town leaders were always on the lookout for qualified teachers and paid them out of their own pockets. By the year 1855 the population of the community had grown to 222 people. Up until then church, school and public meetings were held in homes. More space was needed, so in 1860 the vestry was built across from the Norman Brown home. In 1863 the main hall was added to the vestry, and from that time the building was known as "The Old White Meetinghouse".[6]

The fort was an essential part of the community and provided the settlers with a sense of security and comfort during the early history of Draper.[7] Due to the increased tensions with the Native Americans and the settlers, many people tended to things outside the fort during the day such as their own homes, cows, sheep and other livestock. At night they returned to the fort to be safe from home raids. The temporary homes inside the fort were for sleeping only. They were very small with some being just one room. Some were no larger than a wagon box. Difficulties with Native American tribes lessened by the late 1850’s. The fort was never attacked, and families began returning to their homes. Ebenezer Brown deeded the “center area” of the fort to the community.[8] The fort was disbanded around 1864 and the fort walls were gradually dismantled. The Old White Meetinghouse and some of the original homes remained and in 1892 the Draper First Ward Church was built on the property.[9]

Draper Fort as researched by Draper Historical Society

The Draper Fort housed one of the town’s most essential buildings, the schoolhouse. Settlers of Draper built the first schoolhouse in 1852 on the north wall of the Draper Fort.[10] The schoolhouse became home to early educator, John Rocky Park. The schoolhouse also served as a public and spiritual gathering place for nearly twenty years after construction.[11] Park was an integral figure in education in not just Utah but in the expansion of the western territories of the United States. Park was at one time, president of the University of Deseret, that was later renamed the University of Utah. In 1895, Park was elected as Utah Superintendent of Education.[12]

Photo Credit: Old White Meetinghouse – Courtesy of the Draper Historical Society

Draper became known as the “Cradle of Education” in the West.[13] The Draper curriculum of John Rocky Park became known for its excellence at all grade levels. Park gained notoriety for his school and what was being taught inside its walls. With Trustee funding, Dr. Park, provided blackboards, maps and charts.[14] Brigham Young even wanted to build the University in Draper but disputes over land caused the site to move locations.[15] A student of those days reminisced: “The [school’s] walls were soon covered with maps and charts illustrative of all departments of knowledge. Models and globes rested on the broad window seats. A tellurion, a miniature illustration of the planetary system, was provided . . .”[16] Author Ralph Chamberlain found evidence of the renowned success of John R. Park’s school in Draper: “From a little country village, with a population of about 300, secluded in a corner of the Salt Lake Valley, in a brief period of five years that still stands out as its golden age, went forth a surprising number of men who later achieved high success; and in that village developed a spirit and movement that in time spread beyond it and inaugurated in Utah an educational regeneration. Never was the potential power of the good teacher more strikingly demonstrated.”[17]

Photo Credit: Dr John R Park – Courtesy of the Draper Historical Society

In January 1940, the Ebenezer Brown Camp of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers erected a monument on the original site of the old meetinghouse. The granite block in the monument was the south step of the old church.[18]

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

James Herman Tegan, “Pioneer Personal History” Survey, The Works Progress Administration (Utah Section) Biographical Sketches, 1939, https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6pv8qj7

John Hamilton Morgan, “Scans of miscellaneous papers related to John Hamilton Morgan”, Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, 1951-1952, https:/collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6dn4xjn

John R. Park papers, MS 0242, Box [ ]. Special Collections and Archives. University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott. Salt Lake City, Utah.

Elisabeth Boulter Enniss, Journal 1874 – 1879, Draper Historical Society Museum, Draper, Utah

Secondary Sources:

PETERSON, CHARLES S. “A New Community: Mormon Teachers and the Separation of Church and State in Utah’s Territorial Schools.” Utah Historical Quarterly 48, no. 3 (Summer 1980): 293-312.

Willey, Darrell S. “Utah’s Frontier Architect of Social Destiny: John R. Park.” Peabody Journal of Education 38, no. 2 (1960): 100-06.

Noel Ennis, True to the Faith: The Life of W.B. Enniss 1857-1947, (Pioneer Books, 2004)

Draper Historical Society, “The History of Draper, Utah, vol. 2: Sivogah to Draper City 1849-1977”, (Agreka Books 2001)

Draper Historic Preservation Commission, “Draper History,” Draper Utah’s Historic Buildings, May 19, 2017, accessed April 2, 2020

Draper Historic Preservation Commission, “Draper Park School,” Places that Matter – Draper, Utah, May 2014, accessed April 2, 2020

University of Utah, and Ralph V. Chamberlin. 1949. Memories of John Rockey Park

Footnotes:

[1] Draper Historical Society, “The History of Draper, Utah, vol. 2: Sivogah to Draper City 1849-1977”, (Agreka Books 2001)

[2] Noel Ennis, True to the Faith: The Life of W.B. Enniss 1857-1947, (Pioneer Books, 2004)

[3] Draper Historic Preservation Commission, “Draper History,” Draper Utah’s Historic Buildings, May 19, 2017, accessed April 2, 2020

[4] University of Utah, and Ralph V. Chamberlin. 1949. Memories of John Rockey Park

[5] Draper Historic Preservation Commission, “Draper History,” Draper Utah’s Historic Buildings, May 19, 2017, accessed April 2, 2020

[6] Draper Historic Preservation Commission, “Draper History,” Draper Utah’s Historic Buildings, May 19, 2017, accessed April 2, 2020

[7] Draper Historic Preservation Commission, “Draper Park School,” Places that Matter – Draper, Utah, May 2014, accessed April 2, 2020

[8] Draper Historic Preservation Commission, “Draper History,” Draper Utah’s Historic Buildings, May 19, 2017, accessed April 2, 2020

[9] Draper Historical Society, “The History of Draper, Utah, vol. 2: Sivogah to Draper City 1849-1977”, (Agreka Books 2001)

[10] John R. Park papers, MS 0242, Box [ ]. Special Collections and Archives. University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott. Salt Lake City, Utah.

[11] John R. Park papers, MS 0242, Box [ ]. Special Collections and Archives. University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott. Salt Lake City, Utah.

[12] University of Utah, and Ralph V. Chamberlin. 1949. Memories of John Rockey Park

[13] University of Utah, and Ralph V. Chamberlin. 1949. Memories of John Rockey Park

[14] PETERSON, CHARLES S. “A New Community: Mormon Teachers and the Separation of Church and State in Utah’s Territorial Schools.” Utah Historical Quarterly 48, no. 3 (Summer 1980): 293-312.

[15] Draper Historic Preservation Commission, “Draper Park School,” Places that Matter – Draper, Utah, May 2014, accessed April 2, 2020

[16] Elisabeth Boulter Enniss, Journal 1874 – 1879, Draper Historical Society Museum, Draper, Utah

[17] University of Utah, and Ralph V. Chamberlin. 1949. Memories of John Rockey Park

[18] Draper Historic Preservation Commission, “Draper History,” Draper Utah’s Historic Buildings, May 19, 2017, accessed April 2, 2020

James E. Talmage Building

Published / by Courtney Edwards / Leave a Comment

Write up by Courtney Taylor

James E. Talmage Building

Placed by: The University of Utah Alumni Association

GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 40º 45’  51.702” N Longitude 111º 50’ 58.59” W

Historical Marker Text

James E. Talmage-scholar, scientist, educator, author, and church leader-was born in England and came to Utah when he was ten years old. He earned the A.B degree at Lehigh University. and the Ph.D at Illinois Wesleyan University. For his work in chemistry and geology he was elected to membership in the Royal Society of Edinbirgh. He gave vigorous leadership to the University as Professor of metallurgy and biology, as Deseret professor of geology and as the University’s second president from 1894 to 1897. His major educational concern was to build a sound system of teaching for the people of Utah who, in the 1880’s were still somewhat remote from the established centers of learning, and to incorporate into the University curriculum the expanding body of scientific knowledge.

The land on which this building stands was deeded to the University during President Talmage’s administration. Construction of the building, to be known as the Museum, was begun in 1900, but so many new buildings were going up in Salt Lake City that skilled laborers and quality brick and stone were in short supply. The building was not completed until late in 1902.

The Museum building contained classrooms, offices and laboratories for biology, geology and mineralogy; geological and biological museums; an assembly room and gymnasium. About 1920, geology classes were relocated and the Museum become known as the Biology Building until, on June, 1976 in ceremonies sponsored by the Alumni Association, it was officially named the James E. Talmage building.

Extended Research:

James E. Talmage was a respected member of the academic community as well as a leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Talmage was the fourth president of The University of Utah from 1894-1897 but it was not until 1976 that the building was named the James E. Talmage building.

Talmage had a life full of educational and academic success. He grew up in Provo, Utah and worked at Brigham Young Academy (now Brigham Young University). He had a love of knowledge and pursued degrees in chemistry and geology. He studied at Leigh University and Johns Hopkins University. He became one of the first Mormons to receive a PhD.1 After his time as president of the University of Utah he was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While he was an apostle he also published a book well known in the Church called Jesus the Christ. 

He took his job as University of Utah president very seriously and in correspondence with Elder John M. Whitaker he mentioned that it was “hard for me to do any lecturing outside the regular lectures at the institution”.2 He worked hard and he accomplished a lot in his academic life and took his job very seriously as president of the university. He was busy in his church life as well as home life as he was a father to eight children. Eventually he died from inflammation of the heart on 21 July 1933.3

The James E. Talmage building’s purpose changed over time. It was first erected as a museum building in 1902 but has primarily served as a science building. The building was built by architects Samuel C. Dallas and Williams S. Hedges who designed the building in a second renaissance revival style as the unique columns in the front of the building attest.4

The medical school took over use of the building from 1905-1920. In 1959 it was changed to the biology building to accommodate classrooms for a growing student population. Then in 1976 the building was renamed the James E. Talmage building in honor of the former university president. It is located in President’s Circle and the building is still used for science related studies.5

1 Bowman, Matthew Burton. The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith. New York: Random House, 2012.

2 “Correspondence between John Mills Whitaker and James E. Talmage.” James E. Talmage to John Mills Whitaker. January 25, 1894.

3 Hardy, Jeffery S. “Mormon Missionary Diaries.” https://lib.byu.edu/collections/mormon-missionary-diaries/about/diarists/james-edward-talmage/

4 1992. https://preservationutah.org/images/stories/education/uofupresidentscircle.pdf.

5 “James E. Talmage Building | History of the Health Sciences.” J. Willard Marriott Digital Library. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6p87n57

Primary Sources

1992. https://preservationutah.org/images/stories/education/uofupresidentscircle.pdf.

“Correspondence between John Mills Whitaker and James E. Talmage.” James E. Talmage to John Mills Whitaker. January 25, 1894. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=917332

Secondary Sources 

Hardy, Jeffery S. “Mormon Missionary Diaries.” https://lib.byu.edu/collections/mormon-missionary-diaries/about/diarists/james-edward-talmage/

“James E. Talmage Building | History of the Health Sciences.” J. Willard Marriott Digital Library. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6p87n57.

“James E. Talmage (1862–1933).” James E. Talmage (1862–1933). https://www.lds.org/study/ensign/2010/03/small-and-simple-things/james-e-talmage-1862-1933?lang=eng.

“James E. Talmage Building.” Digital image. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=1036000.

Dixie Academy

Published / by Isaac Gines / 2 Comments on Dixie Academy

Write-up by Isaac Gines

Placed by: St. George Historic Preservation Commission

Coordinates: 37.1068 N, -113.5836 W

Location: 86 South Main Street, St. George, UT 84770

Historical Marker Text:
“Dixie Academy was constructed to provide advanced courses of study.  The St. George Stake Academy officially began in 1888 and moved into this building in 1911.  A four-year program was recognized as two years of senior high and two years of college. The college program grew into the institution known as Dixie Jr. College and eventually Dixie College.”

Extended Research:

Built in 1911, the Dixie Academy building housed both Dixie College, the predecessor to Dixie State University, and Dixie High School.  The St. George Stake Academy, which opened in 1888, preceded Dixie Academy.[1]  The St. George Stake Academy functioned similarly to the Salt Lake Stake Academy, which ended its second academic year on June 8, 1888. They were both educational facilities built by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in an effort to provide secular and religious education to its members.[2]

Construction of the current building began in 1910 and concluded in 1911, using sandstone and basalt blocks.  George Brooks, a notable St. George mason, led the project.[3]  Basalt, being notoriously difficult to fashion, is not featured in the 2005 addition. To form adequate bricks, the basalt was hammered into rough rectangles, an extensively laborious process, which is why they were omitted from the 2005 addition. For the original building the southern Utah landscape provided materials and inspiration for prominent features during its construction. Totaling $55,000 to construct, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints earmarked $35,000 toward the project, but only if the remaining $20,000 could be raised by the local population.[4]  The funding from the LDS Church is significant, because in 1910 there were active campaigns to renovate the high school in Salt Lake City, but the funding depended upon the proposed issuance of bonds.[5] In contrast, at St. George the funding from the church enabled the population of Washington County to avoid the incurrence of debt to provide a quality facility. Along with the nearby St. George Tabernacle and St. George Temple, the Academy made St. George a gathering place and central hub for the Washington County Community.[6]

The Dixie Academy building initially housed high school juniors and seniors, as well as college freshmen and sophomores and employed 25 faculty members.  Dixie Academy was among the academies built by the LDS Church as it expanded its educational offerings in the late 19thcentury and into the early 20thcentury.  Beginning in 1925, however, the LDS Church began the process of closing many of these academies due the proliferation of secular public high schools.  In 1933, Dixie Academy was closed, which triggered a crisis in the community.  The LDS Church, financially stretched as a result of the Great Depression, made difficult decisions to best allocate the funds it had. This included the closure of several similar schools throughout Utah, although several were transferred to the state. After negotiations with the state legislature, the LDS Church authorized the transfer of Dixie Academy to the state, however the residents of Washington County were left to fund the school on their own.  Donations of money and labor funded this endeavor, keeping the academy alive through 1935. 

In that year, the State Board of Education began funding Dixie Academy, which had grown to a student body of about 400. The State Board attempted to split the high school and college, with the intention of giving responsibility for the high school to Washington County and continuing their own administration of the college. This was met with significant local resistance, for Washington County did not have the funds to construct a new high school and they also felt that the various social and academic activities the Academy had become known for necessitated a larger student body.[7]

Between 1935 and 1963, calls by the state to close the Academy increased. The locals in Washington County, recognizing the value in education and the ability of the Academy to deliver quality learning for the community, fought cleverly to preserve their institution through donations to the institution and lobbying in the State Legislature. Eventually, the Dixie Education Association raised enough money to purchase four blocks for the construction of a new campus for the Academy. They presented this land to the state, initiating the construction of the new college. The gymnasium’s completion in 1957, along with other buildings prior to 1963, triggered the departure of the college students from Dixie Academy, leaving the high school students in their original building.

Eventually, in 1966, Dixie High School relocated to a new campus.[8]  The Washington County School District stayed in the nearby Woodward Building, using it for its administrative offices, but the Dixie Academy building became vacant. Later, the city of St. George acquired Dixie Academy, which now leases the building to the St. George Children’s Museum, leaving many of the offices and classrooms intact.  The gymnasium on the top floor is now used as an event space.


[1]n.d. Dixie Academy Building. Accessed March 18, 2019.

[2]Done, Willard. 1888. “Stake Academy.” Utah Digital Newspapers. June 5. Accessed April 8, 2019.

[3]Dixie Academy Building in St. George, Utah. n.d. Accessed March 18, 2019.

[4]n.d. Dixie Academy Building. Accessed March 18, 2019.

[5]Civic Committee, Federation of Women’s Clubs. 1910. “Inadequacy of the Present High School.” Utah Digital Newspapers. January 23. Accessed April 8, 2019.

[6]Church, Lisa Michelle, and Lynne Clark. 2019. “St. George: Early Years of Tourism.” Utah Historical Quarterly, February 11: 48-49. Accessed April 8, 2019. 

[7]Alder, Douglas. n.d. What is Dixie State University? Accessed March 18, 2019.

[8]n.d. Dixie High School. Accessed March 18, 2019.


For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

Civic Committee, Federation of Women’s Clubs. 1910. “Inadequacy of the Present High School.” Utah Digital Newspapers.January 23. Accessed April 8, 2019.

Done, Willard. 1888. “Stake Academy.” Utah Digital Newspapers.June 5. Accessed April 8, 2019.

Secondary sources:


Alder, Douglas. n.d. What is Dixie State University?Accessed March 18, 2019.

Church, Lisa Michelle, and Lynne Clark. 2019. “St. George: Early Years of Tourism.” Utah Historical Quarterly, February 11: 48-49. Accessed April 8, 2019.

n.d. Dixie Academy Building.Accessed March 18, 2019.

Dixie Academy Building in St. George, Utah. n.d. Accessed March 18, 2019.

n.d. Dixie High School.Accessed March 18, 2019.


Old Rock School House

Published / by Brianna Siddoway / Leave a Comment

Placed by: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, No. 13

GPS coordinates: 40.9142194 degrees north, -111.3975917 degrees west

Photo taken January 29th, 2019 by Brianna Siddoway

Historical Marker Text:

First public building in Summit County, built in 1865, originally used as county building, meeting house and amusement hall, later, as school house dedicated by President Brigham Young in the fall of 1868. Summit Stake was organized in this building July 9 1877, with W.W. Cluff as President, George Snyder first and Alma Eldredge second counselors. The building had a belfry and large bell that was used for alarm and curfew. The bell was last rung on the morning that the World War Armistice was signed, November 11, 1918.”

Photo taken January 29th, 2019 by Brianna Siddoway
Photo taken January 29th, 2019 by Brianna Siddoway

Extended Research:

In its early years as a settlement, the people of Coalville used a small log cabin for a school and meeting house for religious services. From 1864 to 1865 the community banded together to build a new, larger building to accommodate their growing numbers. Settlers donated whatever labor, time, and supplies they could spare to the effort.[1] Fredrick Wilde owned land in Coalville and wanted a church to be built there. He and many others helped to build what became a regional church building for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who lived in the Summit County area, also called the Summit Stake House.[2]

Near the chosen location for the new building was a ledge of stone which the builders decided to use in constructing their new meeting house. Thus, the finished structure came to be known as the “Rock Church,” “Rock Chapel,” and “Rock School House.” Lumber, however, was not as readily available and had to be brought from Sawmill Canyon, approximately 10 miles away, up Echo Canyon. One settler, William H. Smith, donated ox teams to the effort of hauling stone to the site and to collecting logs from canyons while other settlers donated labor at the saw mill.[3]

Photographer George Beard 1855 – 1944
Photo provided by NaVee Vernon, Summit County Historian, January 2019

When the building was completed in 1865, the community began to use it as a church and school house. A small, one room structure, the Rock School House was built with a belfry, which housed the bell used to call school children to their lessons. The bell was also used as a warning sign to the community, in which cases the building was used as a refuge. The Rock Church was further used as a social and amusement hall for parties and dances. It sometimes became a government center for the county as well, where “laws and rules were formulated [to] govern the people.”[4]

In September 1869, a few years after its completion, Brigham Young, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dedicated the building. On September 24th the Deseret Evening News reported that at the time it was being built, many thought it would be too large, but after it was finished, due to population increase, the community had already outgrown its Rock Church. “It is a chaste, elegant building,” the News reported, “beautifully finished, and it is a credit to the place.” During his trip to dedicate the building, President Young counselled the Bishop of Summit and Morgan counties, W.W. Cluff, “to take steps to build a larger meeting house… and when done to use the present building for a schoolhouse.”[5]

Rock Chapel as it stands in Lagoon’s Pioneer Village. Taken June 13th, 2011; found here.

The bell was last rung on November 11, 1918, otherwise known as Armistice Day, when the bell signaled the end of World War I. The small building continued to be used as a social hall and later as a seminary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints until 1975 when it was sold to Lagoon’s Pioneer Village where it stands today with its original furniture on display.[6]

Rock Chapel Sign, on site in Lagoon’s Pioneer Village. Taken June 13th, 2011; found here.


Rock Chapel Sign Text:

The Pioneer Village Little Rock Chapel has as fascinating a history as any building in Utah. Originally located on Main Street in Coalville, it was constructed in 1863 as a fort against the Indians, and was used in more than one attack. When the Indians became friendlier, the building became a courthouse with the jail attached to it. Later as the area grew, it was turned into a schoolhouse and became the center for social activities in the Coalville area. Finally, in 1869, the chapel was dedicated by Brigham Young as an LDS church. It retained its importance as a meeting place for both social and political activities in the community. Constructed of hand-drilled, hand-cut blocks of Summit County sandstone, the chapel contains the original pews, pot-bellied stove and lectern. Paneling and pews were wood-grained to simulate hardwoods. This was commonly done through this period, when only softwood was available and the appearance of hardwood was more desirable. This church is a unique and lovely reminder of Utah pioneer heritage.


[1] Rhea M. Bagnell, “The Old Rock School House in Coalville”, Personal History. Provided by Summit County historian NaVee Vernon.

[2] Louisa Wilde Ballantyne, “Our Book of Remembrance,” A History of Fredrick George Wilde by Louisa Wilde Ballantyne. January 01, 1970. Accessed February 05, 2019.

[3] Bagnell, “The Old Rock School House in Coalville”, Personal History.

[4] Bagnell, “The Old Rock School House in Coalville”, Personal History.

[5] “Editorial Correspondence,” Deseret Evening News, (Salt Lake City, Utah), 24 September 1869, 2. Utah Digital Newspapers, accessed March 16, 2019.

[6] Walter Lee, “The Old Rock School House,” Issue brief, compiled by Mary Andersen, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. Provided by Summit County historian NaVee Vernon.


For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

Secondary Sources:

  • Lee, Walter. The Old Rock School House. Issue brief. Compiled by Mary Andersen. Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. Provided by Summit County historian NaVee Vernon.
  • Coalville School Bell and the Old Rock School House. Daughters of The Utah Pioneers. Provided by Summit County historian NaVee Vernon.

Other sites you may be interested in visiting:


 

1853 Holladay Fort

Published / by Ben Hopes / Leave a Comment

By Ben Hopes, Masters of Education Graduate Student

GPS Coordinates: 40˚ 37’ 4.84” N, 111˚ 49’ 36.21”

Holladay Historical Marker

Extended Research About Holladay:

In July of 1847, Holladay became the first village established independent of Salt Lake City. At the time, Latter Day Saints Prophet Brigham Young sent out members of his congregation to colonize different parts of Utah, particularly areas rich in natural resources. Led by John Brown, the pioneers of the Mississippi Company founded the village, flourishing with an abundance of natural resources. A free flowing stream fed through the Holladay area, and provided the rich and fertile lands for farming and planting[1]. The area was known as Cottonwood or the Mississippi Ward, but would be named Holladay after a particularly influential bishop, John D. Holladay. The settlement would grow to include schools, churches, and the creation of a fort in 1853, intended as protection against Native American raids but instead became a place for the settlers to gather.

Marker at Approximate Location of Southeast Corner of Holladay Fort

The Mississippi Company itself had known hardship; they had existed in the Southern States Mission, where they were often met with vitriol and physical harm[2]. They had moved west nearly a full year before the Mormon exodus of 1847, wintering at Pueblo, Colorado. Many of its members volunteered to join the Mormon Battalion, formed to aid the United States’ incursion into Mexico: The men and their families knew sacrifice. The struggles that they encountered in trying to fulfill their Prophet’s, and ultimately their God’s, vision created in them a firm belief that they were truly a chosen people destined for eternal greatness. According to various accounts, the Saints of this era met each challenge with the strength of their convictions and the willingness to work together, united in their goals[3]. Pioneers saw obstacles, such as hunger or physical hardship on the trail, as trials to be conquered with the aid of an almighty God. The Mississippi Company acted admirably in much the same way.

The Mormon colonization efforts were remarkable. Because of their strong, central leadership and the complete cooperation of their congregations, a community infrastructure could be quickly established that led to economically competent planning, ensuring a town’s immediate survival. One can see the precision of the Mormon colonization machine in the fact that Holladay was founded only a month after the Brigham Young’s famous incursion into the Salt Lake Valley. The tenacity of their efforts would further be reflected in the founding of the San Bernadino Mission in California (1851) by some of the members of the Mississippi Company.

Six years after the Mormon migration of 1847, Chief Walker of the Ute tribe declared war on the Mormons in the valley, in immediate retaliation for the death of a Ute Indian in a small conflict in Utah Valley, and for the larger reason that the Mormon people had encroached on his tribe’s lands and did not seem to have any intention of letting up in their colonization efforts. While this is called the Walker War, there was not much conflict: it was mainly a series of Indian raids and small Mormon reprisals. There were no great battles and a peace would be declared in May of 1854, with few conciliatory negotiations to resolve the ideological conflicts between the two groups.[4]

About the Holladay Fort:

However, the fear of Indian attacks led to the creation of the Holladay Fort in 1853 (it is very likely that it was never completely finished). Built from adobe mud and straw, it provided some protection but the Indian threat (the attacks were focused mainly in central Utah) was not enough to convince Holladay’s 161 inhabitants to move in. A house within its walls would serve as the meeting place for school and church functions in the area, until a new school/church would be built on the fort grounds in 1861.

In 1873, a new church, separate from the school, was built on the grounds. This church would serve LDS needs until 1972. In 1876, a new school was constructed on the fort site, accommodating school children until 1893, when another school was constructed just south. This 2-story, 4-room school would become a gymnasium for the 3-story, newly renamed Irving Junior High School, created in 1905. Irving Junior High was built to the west of the 1893 building (the gymnasium) and would be renamed Olympus Junior High in 1943.

Approximate Location of the 1853 Holladay Fort (Now a Field for Olympus Junior High)

Olympus Junior High would be torn down in 2002 to make way for a new school, moved slightly to the west of the original site. Today the grounds of the fort roughly encompass the entirety of the field used by the school, in addition to a small business and the LDS seminary building that Olympus Junior students regularly attend. Despite resistance to the westward move[5], the new building has become a community landmark and important facet of family life in Holladay itself.

The creation of the Holladay Fort in 1853, while not initially significant, set aside an area that would become culturally and socially important to the community for nearly the next 100 years. Out of regional fears, the fort was designed to keep raiding Utes out and yet it proved to be a joyful place where the community gathered to celebrate their own culture and to continually devote themselves to their religion. By housing the educational and spiritual centers of Holladay, the fort provided the means for Mormon culture to survive and grow, fed by Spring Creek in the shadow of Mount Olympus.

Marker Placed by: The City of Holladay, Jay M. Todd (constructed in July 1996), surveyed by Kate Wacker (Utah State Historical Society)

 Secondary Sources:

  • Arrington, Leonard J. “The Mississippi Mormons.” Ensign June 1977: N.p. Web. 29 Mar. 2017
  • Bigler, David L., and Bagley, Will.Army of Israel: Mormon Battalion Narratives. 2000. Print. Kingdom in the West ; v. 4.
  • Christy, Howard A.The Walker War: Defense and Conciliation as Strategy.  Print.
  • Parrish, William E. “The Mississippi Saints.”Historian 4 (1988): 489-506.
  • Van Leer, Twila. “School Construction Gets F From Residents.” Deseret News, 23 Aug. 2002. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.
  • “City of Holladay.” City of Holladay. N.p., 2016. Web. 29 Mar. 2017. http://cityofholladay.com/community/about/history/

Primary Sources:

  • Bullock, Thomas.The Pioneer Camp of the Saints: The 1846 and 1847 Mormon Trail Journals of Thomas Bullock. Vol. 1. Arthur H Clark, 1997. Print.
  • Olsen, Alice M., Olsen, R. L, and Lewis, Ira Allen. Mount Olympus & Holladay, Early Years (1920-30) : Featuring the Photographic Art Taken 1920-1930+ by Ira Allen Lewis (b. 1877 Holladay, Utah-d. 1948 Holladay, Utah), Some of the Old Homes of Holladay, Mount Olympus, Cottonwood Creek & Holladay (photographed from 1940-2010 by Alice McDonald Olsen). Print.

[1] “City of Holladay.” City of Holladay. N.p., 2016. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.

[2] Arrington, Leonard J. “The Mississippi Mormons.” Ensign June 1977: N.p. Web. 29 Mar. 2017

[3] Bullock, Thomas. The Pioneer Camp of the Saints: The 1846 and 1847 Mormon Trail Journals of Thomas Bullock. Vol. 1. Arthur H Clark, 1997.

[4] Christy, Howard A. The Walker War : Defense and Conciliation as Strategy. 1979. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.

[5] Van Leer, Twila. “School Construction Gets F From Residents.” Deseret News, 23 Aug. 2002. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.