The Deseret Village
A Living Museum of the Mormons
Salt Lake City, Utah.
October 10th, 1998

   Map name   Every town in America has its reason for existing. For many it was economic fortunes, such as the gold mining towns like Virginia City, Nevada, or the timber towns such as Forks, Washington, or the sea ports such as Port Townsend, Washington. There are many that were simply the crossroads of two dissecting roads. Salt Lake City may be unique in its creation. Born out of one man’s dream and a people’s pursuit of religious freedom. It was created in    Salt Lake City 325   1847 with the arrival of the first wagon train of Mormon pioneers, after their epic trip from Nauvoo, Illinois. Here, was created a city by a people bound by religious belief. The basis of those beliefs and the insight of its religious leader,  Brigham Young, shaped not only the history of the city but its very layout and design. From its oversized wide streets to the impressive city center at Temple Square. At the mouth of emigration canyon, some two and a half miles from the center of town is the “This is the Place” monument. Built in 1947 to commemorate the    salt lake city C2   arrival of the first Mormons, it pays tribute to all those of every race and creed who contributed to the creation of early Utah.  Across the parking lot is the Old Deseret Village. Some 9 blocks of streets and buildings, created as a living museum, depicting the city from the arrival of the first Mormons in 1847 until the arrival of the railroad in 1869. The buildings are authentic restorations and reproductions    salt lake city 306   of specific homes and businesses from that time period, collected from around the State.    salt lake city 404   The center piece is the early farm house of Brigham Young before he moved into the Beehive Mansion near the center of town. This house was not moved. It remains where it was built and the village constructed around it. A living museum is a wonderful place to visit.  It is as close to the real thing as most of us will ever get. With a large staff of volunteers, the village comes alive with the activities and conversations of presenters who diligently play out their individual parts as would have happened a century and a half ago. As we walked down Main St. to 100 St., we met Private John Mount of the 81st Pennsylvanian volunteers, assigned out of the nearby fort to maintain the security of the village. He talked about a wife and family and the poor army chow. He would be happy when his enlistment was up and he could get back to farming. He was interrupted by a Cavalry officer who rode up to check on his position. He was soon back to military matters as he received new orders and moved off. We crossed the street and stopped at the Gardiner’s house.

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