The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area Restoration projects have been plentiful over the last decade. You may not be aware of the various projects that have been completed inside the boundaries of the MPNHA. While a majority of the work has been on restoring and preserving the history of early Mormon pioneer settlers of the area, there has also been significant effort given to telling the stories of the people who shaped the unique landscapes of the MPNHA.
Over the past 12 years, the MPNHA has assisted 26 communities and seen the revitalization of 45 historic buildings/areas throughout the corridor in the telling of the Mormon pioneer story.
To date, more than 130 different MPNHA grants have facilitated the restoration of historic buildings across the heritage area, breathed new life into towns as part of main street revitalization efforts, and provided educational opportunities, including the MPHNA’s own TV show “Discovery Road” and the book “Legends, Lore & True Tales in Mormon Country,” for members of local communities and visitors to experience the lives of those early pioneers.
The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area restoration projects were accompanied by educational programs, and historic sites, the MPNHA has contributed in the development of an agritourism/equestrian center, 3 veterans memorials (in Gunnison, Loa and Salina), trails and biking paths, three museums, commemorative kiosks and pavilions, a railroad village, and interpretive visitors centers, including the Hole-in-the-Rock Interpretive Center in Escalante.
Several of the projects have been recipients of heritage restoration and other awards, while the MPNHA itself was named “Best of State in Heritage Tourism” in 2017.
The MPNHA is committed to continuing its efforts, which have borne tremendous fruit in the communities it covers and greatly enhanced the telling of the tale of the magnificent Mormon colonization of much of the West, long into the future.
We know that you have some amazing photos, and now it’s time to share them! The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area is hosting a photo contest. It’s time to dust off the camera, phone, whichever you use to capture special moments and share some great pictures. You probably have some on your hard drive somewhere too!
To enter, users must upload their images to the MPNHA Facebook Page and submit a form (below) for each image that they enter into the contest.
- All photos must be be property of the entrant and an original work. If you are submitting for someone else, permission must be obtained before uploading the image.
- All photos must be taken inside the boundaries of the MPNHA.
- Photo enhancements are allowed.
- The entry can be used on the MPNHA’s social media channels, website, etc. and will be credited to the entrant.
- If people are included in the image, a release is required for entry.
- All entrants must submit a short entry form in addition to uploading the image onto the MPNHA Facebook page.
- The final date to enter is July 21, 2017 at midnight, mountain time.
- The winner of the contest and $25 gift card to a retailer of their choice will be selected by the number of likes on their image. Ask your friends to vote for your image! In the event of a tie, the images with the same number of likes (loves, etc.) will be assigned a random number and then picked at random. The winner will be chosen and contacted on July 31, 2017.
- There is no age limit to participants (under 13 years of age must have parental permission) or limit to the number of images that are allowed, as long as every image has been submitted into the form below.
- Voting starts when you upload your image, so enter earlier for your best chance.
- Those who work for the MPNHA are not eligible to enter/win.
- Have fun.
The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad is being resurrected in an unusual way in the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area. Partners David Grow and George Jones of Environetics have built a caboose and railroad village at Big Rock Candy Mountain, north of Marysvale in Piute County. In February they received a 50-year lease of the old Denver and Rio Grande Depot from the city of Mt. Pleasant to build a similar resort there.
Jones, a retired railroad union executive with an interest in historic railroading, began collecting cabooses several years ago. About six years ago he approached Grow with the idea of turning them into a unique resort.
After several years of planning, last year the pair opened the Track 89 Caboose Village Resort at Big Rock Candy Mountain with three railroad cars. This year they have seven and next year they hope to have 10. The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area recently awarded the project a $25,000 grant for landscaping and parking.
Grow said it is unlikely the Mt. Pleasant facility will be open this season since major work needs to be done to prepare the site and move the railroad cars into place. He is very excited about the location, however.
“We’ve always loved that old depot and looked into moving it further down Highway 89 but found it was too expensive,” Grow said.
In 1977 the building was rescued from demolition by a group of local citizens who wanted to preserve it and had it moved to its present location from 500 West and Main.
The new location is ideal, Grow said. “It has great visibility, right on Highway 89. We will make sure that no lodging will block the beautiful view of the terrific old depot.” Grow said the Mt Pleasant site could eventually have as many as 15 rail cars.
He said they plan to incorporate several historic elements into the resort, but they have not yet determined if that will be in the setting of a small museum or as enhancements to the railroad cars themselves.
While some have suggested that the pair open a similar resort in Thistle in Utah County, Grow said that the Utah County planning department is not open to the idea.
“It would be like trying to push a river upstream,” he said.
MPNHA Director Monte Bona sees these two resorts as a first step to bringing about a railroad museum and interpretive center in the area, one of the goals of the MPNHA’s management plan.
“The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area reached the high threshold for national designation by articulating the thesis that Mormon colonization played a major role in the development of the West. The coming of the railroad era had a signifi cant impact that needs to be interpreted, displayed and conveyed as a crucial part of the Mormon country story,” he said.
The railroad first came to the Sevier Valley in 1893 when the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad expanded its line from Chester to Manti , connecting it with its Valley Line at Thistle Junction via Mt. Pleasant and from Manti to Marysvale.
At its peak, the line ferried passengers to Richfield where tour companies would meet the train at Marysvale and take tourists to Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. For several decades it spurred economic growth in the area, especially in the livestock trade.
However, as automobiles grew in popularity, the railroad began to wane. In 1949, D&RGW dropped passenger service in the area. From then until the Thistle mudslide of 1982 shut down the line completely, the line primarily carried freight. Aft er the mudslide the D&RGW determined it would not be cost-effective to restore the line, which had been operating at a loss for decades.
Now, with the Environetics projects, railroad buff s and families will have a unique opportunity to experience a taste of the rich railroading history of the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area.
For more information, contact or MPNHA Director Monte Bona at 801-699-5065 or David Grow at 801-375-9090.
The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area includes 400 miles of glorious scenic byways, a vast array of wildlife, the best of western living, cattle and sheep ranches, and colorful mountain vistas, all within a trip on Utah Heritage Highway 89
For more information: Monte Bona Director, Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area
801-699-5065 Email: email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 3, 2016
The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area is making significant strides. During the recently completed annual reporting period, the MPNHA granted $235,000 for 30 projects, including the restoration of the Casino Star Theatre in Gunnison ($25,000); the first phase of restoration of a Civilian Conservation Corp. and World War II POW camp in Salina ($25,000); rehabilitation work on Miss Mary’s Historic School in Salina ($10,000); and restoration of Pierce Hall at Wasatch Academy ($15,000).
During the year, the MPNHA worked with partners from both the public and private sectors including the Utah Division of State History, the Casino Star Theatre Foundation, the Miss Mary’s Museum Committee, Salina City and Wasatch Academy supporters.
Along with these projects, the MPNHA published “Legends, Lore and True Tales in Mormon Country,” a collection of stories about the lives and experiences of people who settled Sanpete County. The volume has been placed in libraries and book stores both in the heritage area and along the Wasatch Front.
Work continued on MPNHA’s “Discovery Road” TV series with release of new episodes titled, “Wales and Outlaw Ways” and “Snow College Story.”
In 2016, the MPNHA will help fund restoration of the historic Mt. Pleasant City Hall and Armory ($5,000) along with providing continued funds ($10,000) for the restoration of the historic administration building on the Wasatch Academy campus.
It will also provide funding for architectural work for the third phase of the Escalante Hole-in-the-Rock Heritage Center ($5,000), for phase four of the Mt. Pleasant Equestrian Center ($5,000) and to help develop a biking trail at the Jacob Hamblin Park in Kanab ($5,000).
Additionally, work is already in progress on an episode of “Discovery Road” to celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary. The MPNHA annual 2015 report can be found at
### The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area includes 400 miles of glorious scenic byways, a vast array of wildlife, the best of western living, cattle and sheep ranches, and colorful mountain vistas, all within a trip on Utah Heritage Highway 89.
These 13 Towns in Utah Have the Best Main Streets You’ve Gotta Visit
There’s just something about the Main Street in any town. It’s often part of the town’s historic district, and typically features some of the oldest buildings in the area. The best Main Streets are bustling, vibrant places where members of the community, along with visitors, shop, eat and mingle. Here are a few of Utah’s best Main Streets; maybe you’ve visited some of them recently!
Which Main Streets did I miss? Share your favorite in the comments.
she selected 8 of the rivers that flow within or have an impact on the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area. If you have not visited the Heritage Area in Utah, you are missing on some spectacular scenery. Come along on Utah Heritage Highway 89 for a visit. There sis something for everyone!
For a desert state, Utah has a surprisingly large number of rivers! This is by no means a comprehensive list; I’ve tried to include a sampling of rivers from all parts of the state.
Did I miss your favorite Utah river?
The Soul of the Native American Artist” to share Native American Perspectives, Heritage
MORMON PIONEER NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA (MPNHA)
“The Soul of the Native American Artist” to share Native American perspectives, heritage
Linda Petersen Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 16, 2015
RICHFIELD—The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area (MPNHA) will showcase Native Indian artist David K. John in a special two-day event, “The Soul of the Native American Artisan,” at the Richfield City Building, 75 East Center, on Friday, Oct 23 and Saturday, Oct 24.
This free event is open to the public from noon to 5 p.m. on Oct 23 and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 24.
John, a member of the Navajo tribe, is a 1982 Richfield High School graduate who has maintained many ties to the Richfield area. Through his art, John will share with participants the culture and heritage of American Indians, in particular the Navajo tribe.
With this program, the MPNHA seeks to share with the public John’s unique perspectives regarding the natural environment, the earth, cosmos, animal life, aquatic life, dwelling structures and his connection to a deeply holistic spiritual life.
Throughout the event, interactive discussions with the public will be led by project director Emery Polelonema, John and locally known archeologist Craig Harmon, who will give scientific and historical context to John’s native art impressions.
Along with the exhibit and discussions, from noon to 3 on Saturday, Oct. 24, Navajo students from Richfield will share an artistic display of dance.
“We want to educate the public about who we are as Native Artwork in this press release are some examples of the art that will be at the event.
Americans and what we can contribute to the arts and humanities,” said Polelonema, a Native American and an official with the Six County Association of Governments.
“In popular culture, there is a misconception of the Native American artist as a ‘blanket Indian,’ one who returns to the reservation, who cannot stay out in the mainstream,” he said. “That is a complete misnomer.”
Richfield Mayor David Ogden will speak at the opening of the event at noon on Oct. 23. “We are really excited about David K. John coming back to the Sevier Valley,” Ogden said. “He has some amazing talents which he has put to use and has created beautiful pictures of the world and of Native Americans.”
“We feel so fortunate to have him come back and share it with us here in Richfield. We encourage everyone in the area to come enjoy his artwork and success.”
Organizers hope that this exhibit/showcase will supplement and enhance existing Utah pioneer history with Native American historical information and promote an understanding and appreciation for the rich Native American heritage of the area.
“The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area’s Management Plan places great emphasis on the rich heritage of Native Americans. Their deep appreciation of our mountains, streams and landscape constitutes the essence of what we stand for as a heritage area,” MPNHA Director Monte Bona said.
“We are especially pleased that our partners at the Utah Humanities Council are participating in this important program.”
This project is sponsored by the Utah Humanities Council and the MPNHA. For more information, contact project director Emery Polelonema at 435-201-9603 or MPNHA director Monte Bona at 801-699-5065.
About the MPNHA: The Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area is a federally designated area of central and southern Utah running along the beautiful and historic U.S. Highway 89 — including the All-American Road Utah State Route 12, and Capitol Reef Scenic Byway Utah State Route 24, which both intersect with U.S. 89 and together form the MPNHA’s Boulder Loop. The area includes the counties of Sanpete, Sevier, Piute, Wayne, Garfield and Kane.
About the Utah Humanities Council: The works to empower Utahns to improve their communities through active engagement in the humanities. To accomplish this, through its programs and grants it partners with individuals and groups across the state who want to put humanities ideas into actions that have a positive impact on their communities.
Bryon C. Andreason author of Looking For Lincoln in Illinois series has a new addition to his collection with his newly published book, Looking For Lincoln In Illinois; Lincoln And Mormon Country . This new book introduces the rich history of the early Mormon leaders and Abraham Lincoln. This edition contains over thirty amazing stories that connect President Lincoln with the Mormon community and members.
It is an honor for the Mormons and the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area to be recognized by the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition and the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area with the publication of Andreason’s latest addition to his popular series.
Andreason amply tells of the great generation of the nineteenth century pioneers and of the Latter-day Saints, in Nauvoo to the state capital of Springfield. Included in this publication are maps, historic photos, Mormon expeditions, descriptive battles, interesting events of his travels, the now famous inns in which Lincoln visited. Also included in the edition are Brigham Young and various Mormon apostles of the time.
The book also includes colorful and engaging looks at key figures such as Brigham Young, various Mormon apostles, and more. Anyone inspired by Lincoln, as well as Mormon and Illinois history enthusiasts, will appreciate this look back at a long-past, but not forgotten, landscape.
Those with any interest in the history of the nineteenth century history, Abraham Lincoln, and Mormon history will sure be pleased with his latest publication.
There is another interest that the Looking For Lincoln and the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area have in common, it is the recently published book Legends, Lore& True Tales In Mormon Country. This insightful book was edited by Monte Bona, Director of the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area.
It contains contributions from authors Christian Probasco, Steven J. Clark, Eileen Hallet Stone, James Nelson, Jack C. Billings, Ed Meyer, Jack Monnet, Jason Friedman, and Shirley Bahlmann. These gifted authors have brought to life the exciting life and times in the Mormon Country.
Interesting and beloved stories of Brigham Young, Hiram Bebee, Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, Maude Adams, Chief Walkara, Chief Black Hawk , and Zane Grey’s ghost and numerous other stories. This book is a wonderful addition to your library, our family truly enjoys learning between myth or fact in our new home.
These books are a great Christmas gift for all that have an interest in the Mormon Country, and in President Abraham Lincoln.
Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 2, 2015
Utah Education Network TV (UEN) will begin airing “Discovery Road,” a series that grew out of a desire to tell the stories of the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area and its people, on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. UEN broadcasts on Channel 9 in most parts of Utah.
Conceived in 2012, “Discovery Road” is an ongoing series of half hour shows featuring a ‘55 Pontiac affectionately named “Love Me Tender,” which hosts James Nelson and Maryda Nicole Gallo drive along U.S. Highway 89, All-American Road State Route 12 and Scenic Byway State Route 24.
Using music, storytellers and the characters in the communities along the way, the hosts present the history, scenery and culture of the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area in an entertaining and educational manner. “
The whole idea behind the show is to get people to do what they used to do on Sunday afternoons — take a drive,” said MPNHA Executive Director Monte Bona.
UEN-TV Program Manager Kyle Anderson said “Discovery Road” is a great fit for the station. “At UEN our main purpose is to reach to the statewide community,” he said. “Discovery Road is a good local resource with a lot of good stories about Utah and Utah history. It’s very well done and entertaining.”
James Nelson and M. Nicole Gallo driving “Love Me Tender”, a ‘55 Pontiac, outside Spring City on Heritage Day.
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The show’s times lot at 6 p.m. on Saturdays is great for people who are coming in from the outdoors and want to be both educated and entertained, Anderson said.
October schedule: Oct 10, 6 p.m. “Don’t Let Them Be Forgotten”
This episode tracks the Blackham family, who were barely subsisting working in the cotton mills of England’s industrial revolution in the latter 1800s, to joining the LDS church and migrating to Sanpete County. They paved the way for current-day descendents, who are farmers, att orneys, business leaders, musicians, teachers, and politi cians, including present-day mayors of two Sanpete cities.
Oct 17, 6 p.m. “Music Is the Reason”
Welsh pioneers to Zion were sent to Sanpete County to develop a “Coal Bed” (the original name of Wales Town in Sanpete County), bringing with them their native gift of music. The coal ran out, but these musical miners produced both the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Osmond Family, to name just two.
Oct 24, 6 p.m. “The Heritage Experience”
A busload of travel writers heads north from Zion’s National Park along Heritage Highway 89, visiting historic stops along the way, including Mom’s Café in Salina and Clarion, the short-lived Jewish settlement west of Centerfield.
Oct 31, 6 p.m. “Mormon Trail: Black Experience”
Returned Mormon missionary Marcus Ewell discovers his family history includes an ancestor who served in the Mormon Batt alion and another who traveled the Mormon trail. The Discovery Road crew visits Marti ns Cove, Winter Quarters and many other places on their journey to the past. As the visit to yesterday plays out along the trail, a mystery unfolds about who might have been with the Ewell family every step of the way.
Nov. 7 Mormon Trail – The Forgotten Ones
Nov. 14 Mormon Trail – The Disabled Ones
Nov. 21 Nati ve Americans and Sacred Water
Nov. 28 Filmmakers Shootout in Kane County
Dec. 5 Garfi eld County*
Dec. 12 Scandinavian Show*
Dec. 19 The Dreams I Left Behind* Merrill Osmond joins “Discovery Road” as a guest in “Music is the Reason.”
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After airing on Saturdays, each show will air again at noon the following Wednesday.
“Wherever we go while producing Discovery Road episodes people ask where they might be able to see the shows. When we tell them UEN, they nod approval and tell us that’s a place for good programming. We agree. The programming is diverse, educati onal and entertaining. We are delighted to be a part of it,” said Discovery Road Co-host Maryda Nicole Gallo.
In addition to airing on UEN, “Discovery Road” is running on several stations in central and southern Utah, including CentraCom Interactive’s Channel 10, Manti Telecommunications’ Channel 3 and KTTA in Monroe.
Interested viewers may find out how to access UEN-TV at http://www.uen.org/tv/translators/
*December programming is tentative as Discovery Road has several more episodes in production which may take the place of currently scheduled shows.
** Descriptions of these episodes may be found on the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area, www.mormonpioneerheritage.org/discovery-road-videos.
About the MPNHA:
The Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area is a federally designated area of central and southern Utah running along the beautiful and historic U.S. Highway 89 — including the All-American Road Utah State Route 12, and Capitol Reef Scenic Byway Utah State Route 24, which both intersect with U.S. 89 and together form the MPNHA’s Boulder Loop. The area includes the counties of Sanpete, Sevier, Piute, Wayne, Garfield and Kane.
About UEN: The Utah Education Network was established more than 20 years ago by the Utah State Legislature to coordinate telecommunications technology for public and higher education. UEN infrastructure serves public education, higher education, applied technology, libraries, government, and other public entities by providing networking, application and support services, serving a vital role in anticipating and meeting the educational needs of our state.
Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 11, 2015
Jewish community of Clarion to be memorialized in Gunnison
Gunnison, Utah (Sept. 11, 2015) — Residents of Gunnison Valley are pleased to memorialize an almost forgotten piece of Jewish history in Utah.
What: Clarion historic marker unveiling and program
Where: Legacy Plaza, Main & Center Streets, Gunnison
When: Friday, Sept. 25, 6 p.m.
The story of the ill-fated Jewish Agricultural and Colonial Associati on’s agricultural colony in Clarion, five miles southwest of Gunnison, will be summarized in a historic marker on Gunnison’s Legacy Plaza. The historic marker will be unveiled on Friday, Sept. 25 at 6 p.m.
“The colonization of Clarion was an important part of the history of Gunnison Valley. The Clarion Legacy Kiosk, placed in Gunnison’s Legacy Plaza, will recognize that contribution and stand as a lasting tribute to the courage and determination of the Jewish people of Clarion,” said Lori Nay, former mayor of Gunnison who helped orchestrate the project.
The ceremony will include original music from the Clarion Centennial Pageant of 2011 performed by Clive Romney of Utah Heritage Arts, remarks by dignitaries and refreshments.
Speakers will include Gunnison Mayor Bruce Blackham, Councilman Robert Anderson, Jerry Klinger (Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation), Monte Bona (Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area) and Dr. Robert A. Goldberg, (author of “Back to the Soil: The Jewish Farmers of Clarion, Utah, and Their World”).
Artist rendering of kiosks to be unveiled Sept. 25 in Gunnison. –
In 1911, Benjamin Brown and 11 other Russian Jewish immigrants arrived in Utah as part of a national movement among Jews to return to the soil. Brown and other community leaders had purchased property from the Utah State Board of Land Commissioners after being disappointed by high land prices in New Mexico and Colorado.
At the turn of the century the Jewish immigrant population in New York and Philadelphia was looking for a way out of the poverty-filled tenements. Brown and others hoped a return to the land would free Jews from the poverty of the cities and allow them to be self-reliant. The Clarion colony was one of 40 that sprang up across the U.S. around that time.
Brown and association partner Isaac Herbst had purchased a 6,000-acre parcel of land with water rights for $69,000, with 10 percent down and a 10-year balance. The 5-mile-long-by-3-mile-wide property was a half mile from the Sevier River and close to the expected route of the future Piute Canal.
They were led to believe that it was “choice, arable land,” but soon discovered that it was instead clay-based and difficult to cultivate. Still they moved forward, planting oats, corn, alfalfa and wheat.
Over the next five years, the colony, which they named Clarion, struggled to survive. More immigrants arrived, and the community grew to 200 people. But the colony was doomed from the start.
Just two of the colonists had any farming experience. The community lacked sufficient water for the crops, even when the promised Piute Canal was brought out to Clarion. When they built a cistern to store water for livestock it collapsed because it had been improperly constructed.
The first-year crops were so meager that the community could not make its loan payment, but Brown and got an extension from the state, a loan from the Gunnison Bank and $5,000 from Utah Colonization Fund bonds purchased by Salt Lake City’s Jewish population, along with $2,000 in donated lumber.
That kept the colony going, but extreme weather conditions took their toll. The colonists, who had been led to believe that the climate in Sanpete County was temperate, were surprised by heavy snowfall the first winter, subsequent heavy summer storms and runoff, and the area’s short growing season.
Neighboring Mormon farmers greeted the colonists with a welcoming dinner, and over the life of Clarion, shared harvesting and threshing chores. They shared the drought years too, but being accustomed to local conditions, the Mormons had an easier time.
At a 2011 Clarion reunion, Allen Frandsen of Centerfield speaks with former Clarion resident Lillian Brown Vogel, who was 102 at the time. Clarion was the daughter of the settlement’s founder, Benjamin Brown. Vogel lived in Clarion until she was five years old.
The challenges facing Jewish settlers who came to Clarion in the early 1900s with virtually no farming experience were many, and, to honor their perserverance, a memorial plaque will be unveiled on Friday, Sept. 25, in Gunnison. –
In November 1915, the State Land Board foreclosed on the Jewish property and most residents were forced to leave Clarion. Most returned to the East but several remained in Utah as farmers, entrepreneurs, and merchants. Benjamin Brown, for example, founded Utah Poultry Producers Coop which became Norbest and IFA, and Maurice Warshaw established the Grand Central stores in Salt Lake City.
Despite the hardships, many of the colony’s families retained positive memories of their experiences in Clarion that have been passed along to their descendants.
Utah author Eileen Hallet Stone wrote a telling and touching story about Clarion in “Legends, Lore and True Tales in Mormon Country,” published by The History Press. She concludes her chapter with this insight: “Today, Clarion is a fragment of history. Its land still lies fallow. But the memories of Jewish farmers adapting to a new world, learning a new language, taking great risks and earning a new life remain miraculously intact.”
Mormon Pioneer Nati onal Heritage Area Director Monte Bona said, “The Mormon Pioneer Nati onal Heritage Area keeps those memories alive by establishing a memorial to the brave Jewish pioneers who gave their all in the pursuit of a Utopian dream. May that dream never die in the hearts of their descendants and all people who honor the courage, faith and hope of those who dare to do great things even when failure looms. Picking up, starting over, learning and moving on to new horizons and new experiences constitute the essence of what it took to colonize the West.”
The historic marker pays tribute to all the colonists, to their courage, strength and determination, and to their lasting impact on Gunnison Valley and Utah.
For more information, contact MPNHA Director Monte Bona at 801-699-50657 or Project Director Lori Nay.
The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area includes 400 miles of glorious scenic byways, a vast array of wildlife, the best of western living cattle and sheep ranches, and colorful mountain vistas, all within a trip on Utah Heritage Highway 89.
PIONEER NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA (MPNHA)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WHAT: Manti City celebrates LDS Tabernacle Restoration with Open House
WHEN: Sept. 12-13, 2015
CONTACT: Monte Bona 435-462-9002
WRITTEN BY: Linda Petersen
Manti celebrates LDS Tabernacle Restoration with Open House
A prime example of Mormon pioneer architecture has been restored in Manti. The historic Manti Tabernacle, which was dedicated in 1903 by Joseph F. Smith, has just undergone a 15-month renovation and will be open for the public to tour two days next week. The tabernacle will be rededicated Sept. 13 at 12:30 p.m.
The tabernacle, which is listed on the national historic register, is one of only three 19th-century LDS Church houses still in use as a meeting house. “The tabernacle stands as a glowing example of the tenacity, grit and skill of the Mormon pioneers who played an important role in the colonization of the West,” said Mormon Pioneer Nati onal Heritage Area Director Monte Bona.
“The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area greatly appreciates the commitment that has been made to maintain the character and significance of this magnificent edifice that exemplifies what we hope to preserve as a national heritage area.”
“In our modern age, when its sometimes more expedient to remove old structures and replace them with economical new ones, this act represents a major commitment by the LDS Church to honor the faith of its founding membership,” he said.
The open house, where the public can tour the restored tabernacle, will be held Friday, Sept. 11 and Saturday, Sept. 12 from 3 to 7 p.m. The building will be rededicated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Area Seventy Elder Michael Jensen on Sunday, Manti Tabernacle Sept. 2015, after renovations are completed, Sept. 13 at 12:30 p.m.
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The tabernacle has a rich pioneer history. In 1860, the impoverished Manti LDS church members laid its foundation, but delayed organizing a tabernacle construction committee for 17 years.
Work was ongoing on the Manti Temple, which was constructed from 1875-1888, during the same time period and most of the pioneers’ limited resources were used for that endeavor. It was finally completed in 1903.
“We are pleased to see this magnificent historic tabernacle rehabilitated with such care and skill,” said Don Hartley, Utah Division of State History historical architect.
“It was constructed in the late 1870s and has signifiance not just for Manti and Sanpete County, but churchwide as a symbol of faith and courage. For the Mormon pioneers in Manti to build both a temple and tabernacle possessing such architectural signifiance, and at such great material sacrifice and cost when even their own survival wasn’t a sure thing, reflects their devotion.
For the setters who worked on this building and maybe didn’t write letters or keep journals, this is their testimony, rendered in stone, still speaking to us across the generations.”
“It’s really significant that the church decided to do this restoration,” said Matthew Christensen, manager for the LDS church’s Manti, Utah facilities group, said. “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints places great value on these historic structures which stand as a testimony to the skill, craftsmanship and the many sacrifies made by the early saints.”
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The tabernacle, which was designed by William H. Folsom, the architect for the temple, had two additions to the main structure in 1927 and 1958.
When the structure was built, the early Manti church members did not have the funds to include decorative fascias and soffits on the building. However, in anticipation of a time when they could add them, they left nailer strips embedded near the top of the north and south exterior walls and on the east and west gables.
“They didn’t know how long it would be before they would be able to have the money for them so the strips were left exposed for decades after completion,” Christensen said.
While renovating the exterior, the project team and the church historical department decided to leave the nailer strips exposed to help tell the story about how the building was constructed, Christensen said.
The original structure and the later additions have all been reroofed and the attic has been insulated to modern standards. To complete the exterior upgrade, new landscaping and site irrigation have been installed.
Inside, particular attention has been paid to restoring the chapel. The original fir timber columns of the 1920’s balcony were cored out and steel beams were inserted into the columns to maintain their historic integrity while stabilizing the structure.
Cracked walls in the chapel have been replaced, and the historic Christ at the Well mural and wall finishes have been restored.
Period finishes such as a 1900’s-style chandelier, carpets, paint, pew fabrics and wood and plaster finishes have been installed throughout the tabernacle.
For more information, contact MPNHA Director Monte Bona at 801-699-5065 or Matthew Christensen, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Manti, Utah facilities group manager, at 435-835-8887.
The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area includes 400 miles of glorious scenic byways, a vast array of wildlife, the best of western living, cattle and sheep ranches, and colorful mountain vistas, all within a trip on Utah Heritage Highway 89.
MT. PLEASANT—Monte Bona, who has been a member of the Mt. Pleasant City Council for over 20 years, has had many opportunities to pat himself on the back over the years for his many accomplishments.
But Bona is not that way, he prefers to work “under the radar” so to speak and “keep a low profile”.
Most recently Bona received a great honor during the Days of ’47 Pioneers of Progress Awards ceremony in the historic and creative arts category for his vision of preserving historic buildings and taking the “seed” of an idea that later turned Highway 89 into becoming a national area designation. Bona currently serves as Director of the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area (MPNHA).
As far back as 1994 the National Trust for Historic Preservation told Bona there was a story to tell about the colonization and architecture along Highway 89 which turned into the Sanpete Heritage Council and later the MPNHA which spans 400 miles within central and southern Utah.
Senator Bob Bennett sponsored the bill and with the help of Representatives Chris Cannon and Jim Matheson, the bill was passed in July 2006 and signed into law by President George W. Bush in October of that year. Others who played key roles in the designation were Wilson Martin, former director of the Utah Division of State History and Brad Shafer, a member of Bennett’s staff. The management plan was approved by the Secretary of the Interior in March 2010.
“The award was given in honor of the Mormon pioneers. There are 49 designation national heritage areas in the U.S. We are the only one named after a people. The Pioneers of Progress Awards go to individuals, not organizations. I agreed to accept the award on behalf of all of our partners in the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area,” said Bona.
Since the designation, Bona has worked with great partners including the Utah Division of State History assisting in the restoration of many historical buildings along the corridor. In Mt. Pleasant alone, because of the fundraising efforts of Wasatch Academy, there have been two buildings restored, the First Presbyterian Church, which is also used as a music conservatory for Wasatch Academy, and Liberal Hall, which was the first home of Wasatch Academy and now a museum.
Along the strip, two Carnegie libraries in Mt. Pleasant and Ephraim; Casino Star Theater, Gunnison; Peterson Dance Hall, Fairview; a historic plaza at Snow College, Ephraim; and a monument of the Quilt Walk, Panguitch; are just a few restoration and developments that have taken place.
Bona has also promoted the area with television productions, the Black Hawk War, and programs, such as Discovery Road, seen on KJZZ and UEN, and most recently a new book edited by him entitled, Legends, Lore & True Tales in Mormon Country. Local writers include Jason Friedman, Steve Clark, Jack Monnett and Shirley Bahlmann. The book is available at Amazon and locally at Skyline Pharmacy, Mt. Pleasant.
Although Bona chose to not seek re-election to the Mt. Pleasant City Council this year, he plans to remain an active participant with the many projects in continuing with the MPNHA. He is also heavily involved with the Mt. Pleasant Main Street Committee, which serves as the executive committee of the Community Development and Renewal Agency (CDRA)
In the beginning the assessed evaluation in the CDRA was $6M and is currently set at about $23M. By 2018 when the designation expires, Bona hopes the value will be in the neighborhood of $30M.
Bona has also received awards from the Utah Heritage Foundation, Utah Division of State History Outstanding Contribution and the Regional Recognition Award from Utah’s Six County Association of Governments.
Of the list, Mt. Pleasant, in Sanpete County, Kanab, in Kane County, and Monroe, in Sevier County are in the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area. Utah is a beautiful state with many charming towns, magnificent landscape, and overflowing in rich history. If you are a resident of this amazing state, might we suggest that you get to know your state, learn all there is to know, and enjoy her natural resources. If you are wanting to visit Utah we highly recommend our state as one that will delight you with all that she has to offer.
Pioneer Days is a great time to visit Utah but don’t wait, visit Utah over and over to really experience all that Utah has to offer. Experience the enchantment of small town living in this great and beautiful state all within a short distance of the larger metropolitan cities. Where small town charm and rich pioneer traditions coexist to provide an environment unlike any other.
Here Are The Most Beautiful, Charming Small Towns In Utah
Utah has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few decades; once small towns have grown to medium-sized ones (at least by Utah standards). Of course, you can still find many beautiful little towns across the state. This list isn’t meant to be a “Best Of.” It’s simply a list of a few small towns we think are great (in no particular order!). We chose towns with populations between 612 and 5,130, though many residents living in towns with populations of 10,000 or even 20,000 might enjoy that small-town atmosphere.