Browsing articles tagged with "Church History Locations Archives - BYU Virtual Tours"
Pony Express Marker

The Pony Express Station

Oct 30, 2010   //   by BYU Journeys   //   Salt Lake City  //  No Comments

The pony express was created in an effort to find a faster method of communication across America. The first journey began on April 3, 1860, with riders starting in St. Joseph, Missouri, and relaying through to San Francisco, California. This 1,966-mile journey reduced the time of getting news across the country from twenty one to ten days. Approximately one hundred relay stations were established. Only a year and a half later, shortly after the introduction of the transcontinental telegraph line on October 24, 1861, the Pony Express was gone. But the romantic image of hard-riding young men outrunning wild Indians through all kinds of weather lives on in the history of the American West.

The first station in Salt Lake City was located on the east side of Main Street a block south of Temple Square. Nine miles to the south was the next station called “Traveler’s Rest.” To the east, the next station above Salt Lake City was Mountain Dell between Little and Big Mountains.

Plaques on the monument on Main Street (set in the public sidewalk in front of where the old station stood) shows likenesses of the three founders and shows a small relief map of the Pony Express trail from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California.

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An engraving on the Pony Express Station marker shows a hard riding Pony Express man. Although short-lived because of the telegraph’s invention, this exciting mail delivery system has become an icon of the Old West in the minds of millions. Ray L. Huntington

Today a marker notes the Pony Express drop-off spot on the east side of Main Street in Salt Lake City just south of Temple Square. Kathie and W. Jeffrey Marsh.

This was a gathering of former Pony Express riders. Utah State Historical Society.

A plaque designates this as the Pony Express Station site. Robert C. Hall.

Wall Street

Oct 12, 2010   //   by BYU Journeys   //   Salt Lake City  //  No Comments

Wall Street received its name from a tall “mud” or primitive concrete wall that was once located in this area. Initially, the pioneers planned to construct a protective wall completely encircling Salt Lake City. A model of the city showing the pioneer wall can be seen in the Museum of Church History and Art. Although the wall no longer exists, it and similar pioneer walls have been memorialized by a monument placed on the northwest corner of the University of Utah campus.

While protection was the motivational force behind the construction of the hardened mud wall, Church leaders were also seeking a project that would provide employment for the citizens of Salt Lake. President Brigham Young strongly emphasized the importance of putting people to work: “My policy is to keep every man, woman, and child busily employed, that they may have no idle time for hatching mischief in the night, and for making plans to accomplish their own ruin.”

The property of Heber C. Kimball was located on the block northeast of Main Street (shown in this photograph) and North Temple. The wall around the north side of Salt Lake City, for which Wall Street is named, can be seen as a dark line above the Heber C. Kimball property and below the mountains. Daughters of Utah Pioneers

Gradually the wall eroded away. David A. Smith, son of President Joseph F. Smith and counselor in the Presiding Bishopric from 1907 to 1938, recorded his feelings at watching a similar rock wall around the Church tithing office being torn down:

Wall Street near the Capitol Building in Salt Lake City is not a financial district like its counterpart in New York City. Rather, it is a peaceful residential area on the hill above the downtown area. David M. Whitchurch

Soon after I entered upon my ministry as one of the Presiding Bishopric, I was requested to tear down a monument erected by the first pioneers. It did not appear to many of us, at that time, that that work being destroyed was a monument. Many of you, no doubt, remember the rock wall that surrounded part of the block east of us. I played around it as a boy and grew up under its shadows; but the full significance of it did not come to me until the task of tearing it down was assigned to me.

As I witnessed the heavy sledge hammers break out the stones from the mortar, and saw the rock wall crumble, there came to me a picture of conditions that caused it to be erected. I saw groups of men unemployed other than the employment provided to keep them active and to help them feel they were doing their part to build a city. In this day we would call it work relief. I saw in my mind men gathering stones from the face of the earth, some burning rock for lime, others hauling sand, mixing mortar, and laying the rock and mortar into the wall.


  • Twelve feet high, six feet thick on the bottom, two and a half feet thick on the rounded top, this wall was built of mud, mixed with straw or hay and gravel.

A great way to spend Conference weekend….

Oct 2, 2010   //   by BYU Journeys   //   Salt Lake City  //  No Comments
Be sure to explore BYU Virtual Tours this weekend (when you’re not watching Conference of course!)

Social Hall Site and Museum

Sep 8, 2010   //   by BYU Journeys   //   Blog, Salt Lake City  //  No Comments

For seventy years, pioneers gathered here to shake off the hardships of frontier life with music, dancing, parties, theatricals (President Brigham Young had starred as the high priest in the production of Pizarro back in Nauvoo Read more >>

City Creek Park

Aug 18, 2010   //   by BYU Journeys   //   Blog, Salt Lake City  //  1 Comment
This landscaped acre in downtown Salt Lake City sat north of Brigham Young’s farm. In the 1990s, City Creek Park was developed by Church and city leaders to honor the nineteenth-century pioneer settlers of the Salt Lake Valley. It was also designed to complement the Brigham Young Historic Park across the street. “We’re happy to be participating with Salt Lake City in this undertaking [and develop it into] what will be a beautiful facility and a great attraction for this community,” President Gordon B. Hinckley said at the ground-breaking ceremony held on June 12, 1995.

City Creek Park

President Hinckley noted that the park projects were undertaken as Utah approached its centennial in 1996 and preparatory for the sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) celebrations of the pioneers in 1997.
City Creek bridge

A beautiful bridge spans City Creek as it passes through the park area. David M. Whitchurch

City Creek is significant to the history of the city and the Church. The advance party entering the Salt Lake Valley dammed up City Creek and flooded the area to the south to water the ground for the potatoes that had been planted. The water was channeled to the area of Second South and State Street, where it was used to irrigate the first crops of potatoes, beans, corn, buckwheat, and turnips. More than twenty thousand acres were under cultivation within six months of the pioneers’ arrival.

Crossing Creeks and Ditches

Several ditches diverted water from City Creek. Elder James E. Talmage (1862–1933), a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, had an interesting incident while serving as president of the University of Utah in the 1890s. He had obtained a bicycle, which was then the new wave in transportation.

James acquired one of the new machines, not as a hobby or physical conditioner but as a practical means of transportation. . . .

Some time after James had achieved reasonable proficiency in handling his machine on standard roads, he showed up at the front door one evening a full hour late for dinner and scarcely recognizable.

May [his wife] nearly went into shock, for her husband was a frightening sight. Battered, bruised, and bleeding profusely, clothes torn in a dozen places and covered with dust and mud, James looked as though he had been caught in a riot, or at least a fight of unusual violence. Neither, it developed, had been the case.

James E. Talmage

A photograph of the young James E. Talmage. Daughters of Utah Pioneers

Half a block from the Talmage home a single-plank footbridge crossed the ditch of running water that separated the street from the footpath. Until now, Jamesnhad dismounted when he reached this point in a homeward journey, and crossed the narrow bridge on foot. Today, he had decided that he had reached the point in his development as a cyclist where he should no longer resort to this prudent maneuver, but rather ride over the bridge in the manner of an accomplished veteran of the two-wheeler.

Having so decided, James approached the bridge resolutely, confident that he would negotiate the tricky passage in a manner to be proud of and to impress neighbors, if any should chance to be watching, with his skill and casual daring. He turned sharply from the road toward the bridge with scarcely any diminution of speed. The result was spectacular and observers, if any there were, must indeed have been impressed, but in a very different way from that intended. The professor’s bicycle went onto the plank at an oblique angle and quickly slid off the side, throwing its rider heavily into the ditch bank.

Dazed, bruised, bleeding and humiliated, Dr. Talmage was not convinced that the difficult maneuver was beyond his skill. Rather, he was stubbornly determined to prove that he could and would master the difficulty. For the next hour, the president of the University of Utah might have been observed trundling his bicycle fifty yards or so down the road from the bridge, mounting and riding furiously toward the plank crossing, turning onto it with grim-lipped determination— and plunging off it in a spectacular and bone-shaking crash into the rough ditchbank. Uncounted times this startling performance was repeated, but in the end mind triumphed over matter, will power over faltering reflexes, and the crossing was successfully made. Not just once, but enough times in succession to convince James that he was capable of performing the feat without mishap at any time he might desire to do so. From then on, he never again dismounted to cross the bridge, albeit he never made the crossing without experiencing deep-seated qualms which he kept carefully concealed from any who might be watching.

This stone commemorates the 1995 groundbreaking for City Creek Park designed to complement the Brigham Young Park immediately across the street to the south. David M. Whitchurch

In this historic view from the mid-1800s, looking southwest toward Temple Square, City Creek flows past walled Whitney properties (center right) toward Brigham Young’s properties (upper center left). The dome of the Tabernacle and walls of the unfinished Salt Lake Temple are seen in the upper center right.C. R. Savage courtesy of Richard K. Winters

City Creek Park serves as a gathering place where local citizens may eat their lunch and relax. David M. Whitchurch

Beautiful trees and flowers have been planted in and around City Creek Park to make it cool and inviting. Kathie and W. Jeffrey Marsh

Ottinger Hall, located in City Creek Canyon, was named after George M. Ottinger, who worked as an artist with pioneer photographer Charles R. Savage. Many of Savage’s prints were hand-tinted by Ottinger. Ottinger later played a prominent role in Salt Lake City’s first fire department. Kathie and W. Jeffrey Marsh

Crismon Mill Site and Veteran Volunteer Fireman’s Hall

Crimson Mill

The waterwheel of Crismon Mill was powered by water from City Creek. Courtesy of Richard K. Winters

One block north of City Creek Park, following Canyon Road, is a monument honoring the site of the Crismon Mill, the first gristmill built in the territory of Utah. The mill was built by Charles Crismon in the fall of 1847, just months after the pioneers entered the valley. This mill ground the wheat brought across the plains by the pioneers. Brigham Young’s sawmill originally stood nearby. Much timber came from a toll, or assessment, of those using City Creek Canyon to harvest timber. The tollhouse was located on the west side of City Creek.

Another block north on Canyon Road is Ottinger Hall. This social hall for firemen formerly housed the first manually operated fire pump in the West (the pump is now at This Is the Place Heritage Park), and was named after Salt Lake City’s first full-time fire chief, George M. Ottinger.


  • President George Albert Smith was baptized in City Creek.
  • The settlement of the valley began here at City Creek, and today the Church’s satellite system is situated near the top of City Creek Canyon, making it possible for general conference addresses to be transmitted in over sixty languages simultaneously around the globe.

Memory Grove

Just north of the Ottinger’s Hall is a secluded grove of trees planted in 1920 to honor war veterans. It was here that City Creek was diverted through the downtown area for irrigation purposes. Memory Grove is a beautifully landscaped park lying in City Creek Canyon containing a number of monuments dedicated to Utah’s soldiers who lost their lives in America’s wars.

The tree-lined road up the canyon above Memory Grove is popular with bicyclists, joggers, and hikers. A tornado which touched down in Salt Lake City on August 11, 1999, severely damaged many of the trees in this area, and efforts to repair the damage are still evident. Occasionally, moose and deer are spotted in the park. Located in the park is a full-scale replica of the Liberty Bell, one of only one hundred casts by the original maker. Read more about Memory Grove at :