Tag Archives: Sevier County

CCC/POW Camp Restoration in Salina Tells Incredible Story, Needs Public Support


For more information: Monte Bona Director, Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area 801-699-5065 Email: montebona@hotmail.com


Thanks to dedicated volunteers, a former Citizens Conservation Corps/Prisoner of War camp near Salina in northern Sevier County, the site of what is known as the Midnight Massacre, is being restored to near-original condition.

The impetus for the project came from Salina Mayor Dustin Deaton, who had the dream of turning the buildings (which were being used to store city property) into a museum.

“It’s an important part of our history and it shouldn’t be forgotten,” Deaton said.

Built to house CCC employees during the Great Depression, the camp gained notoriety during World War II when it was being used to as a POW camp for 250 German prisoners.

(At that point, all but three of the original CCC buildings had been moved to the Japanese internment camp at Topaz, near Delta.)

On July 8, 1945, two months after the war ended in Europe, Private Clarence Bertucci, a guard stationed at the camp, opened fire with a .30-caliber machine gun on 43 tents where the POWs were sleeping.

In 15 seconds Bertucci peppered the barracks with 250 rounds because, he later said, he “just didn’t like Germans.” He killed six POWs and injured 23, three of whom later died at the Salina hospital. Bertucci was later was declared insane by a military panel and sent to a New York mental hospital.

Deaton dismisses criticism from people who consider the incident a stain on the history of Salina and say the camp shouldn’t be restored.

“The individual who created the problem wasn’t from our area; he was just stationed here. What needs to be remembered about that night is that the citizens of Salina pulled together and carried the injured prisoners seven blocks to the hospital and cared for them there,” he said.

Deaton approached Dee Olson, a retired engineer and someone with a reputation for getting a job done right, to spearhead the project.

So far, Olson and his trusty band, including his daughter Tami Clark who has a degree in interior design and has studied historical preservation and restoration, are exceeding all expectations.

Over the past several months, the group has transformed the buildings from glorified storage sheds to near-original condition. Their goal is to have the project finished by July, but it all depends on the donations that come in.

The first building to be restored was the commander’s quarters and office, which included a kitchen, shower, bedroom, dining area and office space. It will be staged like it was originally. A display honoring the POWs who were shot during the July 1945 incident will be placed in the kitchen.

The second building, originally a bunk house for CCC crews and later a barracks for guards at the POW camp, will contain a model of what the camp looked when it housed the POWs as well as an area to show a movie about the camp’s history.

Work is just beginning on the third building, which was a motor pool and repair shop. The group has already restored an original WWII Jeep and Army truck to be displayed there.

Of the $103,000 needed for the project, the team has received about $70,000 in donations from groups and individuals, including $25,000 from the Snow College Foundation and Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area (MPNHA). Salina is located in the heritage area.

“Energetic Great Depression-era young men from crowded cities across America came West in response to President Roosevelt’s call to conserve America’s great natural resources,” MPNHA Director Monte Bona says. “They ate, slept, laughed, worked and played in these important buildings, which are being restored to help tell their story.

“Those young men, many of whom served in WWII, would have never imagined that this place of memories would become a POW camp, a place where enemies of war would wait out the great conflict. History and our heritage are full of irony.”

As a small rural city, Salina hasn’t been in a position to donate funds, Mayor Deaton said, but instead has donated labor in the form of crews who have worked on the project many times.

Donations have come from unexpected places including a recent $10,000 check from the family of Bert and Doris Olsen, formerly of Axtell, a town just north of Salina.

If local volunteers get the remaining funding in time, they can probably get the job done by their target date, Tami Clark said. It’s just that the team’s focus and skills are on restoration, not on fundraising. The volunteers do have a Facebook page, and the city is accepting donations at city hall.

As the group prepares to bring the museum to life, they need of items from the period, including office furniture and equipment, WWII uniforms and items related to the war, tools and other items for the motor pool building, and anything related to the CCC.

At present, the only thing the group has representing the CCC era is a hat with a CCC logo, local historian Norm Rollingson said.

Once it’s finished, the museum will be open for tours by appointment and on city holidays, Deacon said.

“There’s a lot of history in these small towns to participate in and learn about,” he said. “It’s a great family event to be able to go see theses historic buildings and teach the children about what happened there.”

Tours for media outlets may be arranged by contacting Linda Petersen at (801) 554-7513. For more information, contact Tami Clark at 817-903-1710 or MPNHA Director Monte Bona at (801) 699-5065.

To donate or lend items for the museum, you can contact Norm Rollingson at (307) 413-6498.

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.

Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area Assists 30 Projects in the Past Year


For more information: Monte Bona Director, Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area

801-699-5065 Email: montebona@hotmail.com


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.

The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area Has 4 Best Main Streets

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.

Perfect Ideas for Christmas Gift-Giving for History Buffs Straight From Santa

Do you have someone on your Christmas List for whom it is difficult to find the proper gift?  Santa Claus himself has partnered with the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area to give stumped shoppers some ideas.

Legends, Lore and True Tales in Mormon Country is a compilation of stories of strength of the pioneers in Central and Southern Utah – many of which are not very well-known.  Deseret News Review

Press Release – Legends, Lore and True Tales in Mormon Country

Sanpete Messenger article about Legends, Lore and True Tales in Mormon Country (Page A5)

Journal article from the Utah Historical Quarterly about Legends, Lore and True Tales in Mormon Country

Purchase from Acadia Publishing ($21.00)

Purchase from Eborn Books (also watch for signing events)

For the best prices, visit Amazon ($14.72 paperback or $9.99 Kindle) with free shipping for orders over $35 or Walmart with free shipping over $50

Events – Past (Bookmark for upcoming events)

Book Signing at Kings English Bookshop

Meet the Authors – Eborn Books

Follow Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area’s board – Legends, Lore and True Tales in Mormon Country on Pinterest.

DVD Cover Blackhawk War

Explore The Blackhawk War, with an informative and entertaining DVD, available for purchase from the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area for $10, please contact the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Information at 801-699-5065 for more information about and to order this hour-long documentary by Discovery Road.

Press Release – Blackhawk War DVD

For those looking for more, Lincoln and Mormon Country, from the Looking for Lincoln in Illinois book series, in a partnership with Looking for Lincoln, a National Heritage Area in Illinois, is a unique gift.

Purchase from Amazon ($19.99 paperback and Kindle) with free shipping for orders over $35

There’s Something Incredible About These 8 Rivers in the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area

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?


In an article posted in Utah October 17, 2015 by  entitled 

These 12 Awesome Diners in Utah Will Make You Feel Right at Home,

The Little Wonder Cafe was listed as one of the twelve 

There’s just something about diner food, especially when the temperature starts to cool and comfort meals like meatloaf, mac ‘n cheese and pot roast really hit the spot. Here are just a few of the awesome diners you’ll find in Utah.

As I was compiling this list, I noticed that 8 of the 12 diners are located on their town’s Main Streets! Diners really are the heart of their communities. What’s your favorite diner?

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.


Six Public Meetings Scheduled For The Central Utah Area Wildfire Protection Plan


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.

Six Public Meetings Scheduled For The Central Utah Area
Wildfire Protection Plan

Salt Lake City, UTAH …
Six public meetings have been scheduled for the Central Utah area Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). The regional plan, which encompasses Juab, Millard, Piute, Sanpete, Sevier, and Wayne counties, will provide an overview of the wildfire risk in Central Utah and the framework for future county and local planning efforts to protect human life and reduce property loss due to wildfire. The goal of the meetings is to offer an opportunity for the public to review the draft risk assessment and identify those places and natural areas that are of special value to the community.

“The meetings provide an opportunity for the public to learn about wildfire risks and to help us identify which areas need additional planning efforts,” said Fred Johnson, Central Utah area fire management officer, “Identifying the focus of public concern will help us prioritize future plans.”

Meetings are scheduled in Central Utah county seats as follows: Fillmore-October 25, Nephi-October 26, Junction-November 1, Loa-November 2, Manti-November 8 and Richfield-November 9. The meetings will be held at the County Courthouse, with the exception of Richfield, which will be held at Snow College. Each meeting will begin at 6:00 P.M.

For more information on the plan, the public meeting schedule and agenda, or to fill out a comment form online, go to www.UtahFireInfo.gov

# # #

For more information Contact:

Janet Guinn
Project Coordinator
SWCA Environmental Consultants
257 East 200 South,
Suite 200 SLC, UT 84111


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