Tag Archives: Pioneers

Jewish Community Of Clarion To Be Memorialized In Gunnison, Utah


Linda Petersen

Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area


Email: linda@bpmedia.com


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. –

2 –

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. –

3 –

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.

Manti City Celebrates LDS Tabernacle Restoration with Open House





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.

— 2 –

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.”

— 3 —

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.

The Most Beautiful, Charming Small Towns In Utah for 2015

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.


Bryce Canyon National Park, The Wonder of the “Hoodoos”

Bryce Canyon is another great National Park that has beauty beyond description, come experience the wonder during National Park Week.

Bryce Canyon Natural Bridge Photo Courtesy of Pam Burt and Utah.com
Bryce Canyon Natural Bridge Photo Courtesy of Pam Burt and Utah.com

Ebenezer Bryce, a Mormon pioneer assisted in the settlement of southwestern Utah and northern Arizona.  He came to the area in 1875 to harvest timber and live.  He settled behind what is now Bryce Canyon National Park, located in the southwestern part of the state of Utah.  His neighbors would call the canyon behind his home “Bryce’s Canyon.”  In 1928 it was given the designation of a state park. Bryce Canyon National Park is a small park, 56 square miles, by the standards of the National Parks.Bryce Canyon in the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area

What is famous about Bryce Canyon?

Bryce Canyon, with its acclaimed geology, countless colors of varying hues, and amphitheaters shaped as horseshoes, cut out the eastern edge of  the Paunsaugunt Plateau in southern Utah.    With the power of nature the rainwater and the frost moisture dissolved to shape and affect the color of the limestone to create various shapes of “hoodoos,” slot canyons, windows, spires, and fins.  The miraculous natural tinting of the stones and a power that is unexplanable, has colored and arranged capriciously the rocks to have created a wonderland landscape of mazes.  Those that have taken a walk along this wonderland have experienced a memorable and exciting memory.

Bryce Canyon National Park Photo Courtesy of Kreig Rasmussen Photograpy
Bryce Canyon National Park Photo Courtesy of Kreig Rasmussen Photograpy

With the meadows located in the high elevations of the plateau, the foliage is abundant  and the wildlife flourishes.  The plateau has also been deemed as one of the world’s best air quality.  The rim affords a panoramic view of approximately 200 miles in a three state radius.  It is also known as one of the best stargazing locations due to a very small light sources.

Bryce Canyon Forest Photo Courtesy of Pam Burt and Utah.com
Bryce Canyon Forest Photo Courtesy of Pam Burt and Utah.com

The marvel of the “hoodoos” were described by the Paiutes as the “Legend People” that were turned to stone by Coyote.  The geological term for “hoodoo” is a pillar of rock, usually fantastic shape, left by erosion.  It is also known that “hoodoo” means to cast a spell.

Fairyland Point Photo Courtesy of Pam Burt and Utah.com
Fairyland Point Photo Courtesy of Pam Burt and Utah.com

Within the Bryce Canyon National Park, erosion has been created with the fun, whimsical  “hoodoos.”  Geologists have an answer, they state that millions of years ago whatever forces were present on Mother Earth, moved these cute enormous objects that were named Aquarius and Paunsaugunt Plateaus.  Today, the rock layers of the Aquarius now reach 2,000 feet above the Paunsaugunt’s same layers.

Aquarius Plateau in Bryce Canyon National Park Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service
Aquarius Plateau in Bryce Canyon National Park Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service

The ancient rivers’ flow took to carving out the tops and formed the edges of the large rocks.  Layers were removed and this brought about the chiseling and sculpted forms.  This brought about the creation of the Paria Valley and then later caused the widening of the plateaus.

Thor's Hammer Photo Courtesy of Pam Burt and Utah.com
Thor’s Hammer Photo Courtesy of Pam Burt and Utah.com

No matter what the cause, these wondrous shapes have certainly cast their spell for all that have ever visited, and those that wish to visit.

Hiking trail to Mossy Cave Photo Courtesy of Pam Burt and Utah.com
Hiking trail to Mossy Cave Photo Courtesy of Pam Burt and Utah.com

Come experience the beauty and wonder of this magnificent landscape that only exists in Bryce Canyon National Park.

Share your favorite story and photos, upload your photos on your social media #findyourpark #findyourstory.

Spring City’s Annual Heritage Day May 28 – Press Release 5/15/2005

ATE 05/15/2005 7:15 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Spring City’s Annual Heritage Day May 28

This year Spring City’s Annual Heritage Day will be held on Saturday, May 28 and include a tour of historic homes and an art and antiques show.The entire town of Spring City is designated as a National Register Historic District due to its large concentration of historic houses, barns, log cabins and outbuildings built by English and Scandinavian pioneers.

Fifteen homes and buildings are included in this year’s tour. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for children and are available at the Old Spring City School.

The art and antiques show will include paintings of current Spring City artists including Osral Allred, Lee Bennion, Kathy Peterson, Linda Budd, Susan Gallacher, M’Lisa Paulsen, and Cassandria Parsons. In addition, this year’s show will feature “Art Squared,” a wall of one foot square paintings by these and other artists and nationally known Utah artists, including Michael Workman and Brian Kershinik, that will be auctioned during the day.

Breakfast and lunch will also be available at the City Bowery on Center Street.

Proceeds from Heritage Day go to support ongoing efforts to save and restore the Old Spring City School, a 100-year-old Victorian structure that has stood proudly in downtown Spring City for more than 100 years. It is featured on city council letterhead and is prominently displayed on the city’s logo.

Built in 1899, the school has eight classrooms, four on each level, as well as a large attic space, complete with windows. At one time, it housed all the grades, and was even used as a middle school and high school. A “new” elementary school was built next to the Historical Old School in 1920 and uses for the old school began to diminish. Eventually, the old schoolhouse became a make-shift storage facility for the school district. It hasn’t been used as a school since the 1950s.

Several years ago, friends of Historic Spring City started raising money to save the building, including adding the historic home tour and art sale to Heritage Day events to help raise money. The group also received a grant from the National Parks Service (Save America’s Treasures program). Plans call for using the building as a community center.

For more information on Spring City Heritage Days, contact Kay Watson at (435) 462-2211.

For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

Scandinavian Festival a Celebration of History, Heritage – Press Release 5/14/2005

DATE 05/14/2005 7:15 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Scandinavian Festival a Celebration of History, Heritage

The 200th birthday of storyteller Hans Christian Anderson will be celebrated at this year’s Scandinavian Heritage Festival and Conference May 26 to 28 in Ephraim.The popular annual event, which combines food, fun and heritage, attracts thousands of people to Sanpete County every year, many of whom travel along U.S. Highway 89, the Heritage Highway.

The conference celebrates Mormon pioneers from Scandinavia who colonized Central Utah in the 1800s and the estimated 600,000 Utahans who can trace their ancestry to Scandinavian immigrants.

Sanpete County’s culture has been greatly influenced by settlers who arrived first in the Salt Lake Valley from the Scandinavian countries and then were assigned to colonize central Utah. Many were farmers, carpenters, stone masons, cabinetmakers and furniture builders. The architecture of their farm buildings, cabins and houses were influenced by construction techniques and building forms from back home, uniqueness that is still present today.

Many local residents dress in Scandinavian costume for the annual festival, which provides an opportunity for people to learn about the influence of Scandinavians in Utah; connect with their Scandinavian roots; experience art and culture; and taste great food.

Events include a parade, golf tournament, a 5K run, softball tournament, storytelling, bread making and activities such as rock climbing and pony rides. There will also be live music, an art show, street dance, and other attractions. The festival begins with an afternoon golf tournament on Thursday.

Events will be held from noon until 11:30 p.m. on Friday, May 27, and from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 28. Display and food booths will line College Avenue between 100 and 300 East from noon until dark on Friday and from 9 a.m. until dark on Saturday. There will also be numerous opportunities to sample heritage cooking, including a “Little Denmark Supper” and a barbeque turkey dinner.

The festival also includes a special Scandinavian history conference at Snow College from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday and Friday headed by Brigham Young University professor Lynn Henrickson. The purpose is to give participants an understanding of the Scandinavian influence in the development of the West. The conference includes keynote speakers and workshops. It is held on the campus of Snow College in the historic Noyes Building’s Founders Hall. For more information or to register, contact Kim Cragun, (435) 283-4747.

For more information on the Scandinavian Festival and a complete schedule of events, visit the website, www.ScandinavianHeritageFestival.com .

For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502
Skip to content

On this website we use first or third-party tools that store small files (cookie) on your device. Cookies are normally used to allow the site to run properly (technical cookies), to generate navigation usage reports (statistics cookies) and to suitable advertise our services/products (profiling cookies). We can directly use technical cookies, but you have the right to choose whether or not to enable statistical and profiling cookies. Enabling these cookies, you help us to offer you a better experience.