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Alta Club Map and Parking Instructions

The 62nd Annual Utah State History Conference Publishing Awards will be held at the Alta Club on Wednesday, September 24th, 2014, from 5:30pm – 7:30pm.

Alta Club
100 E. South Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

The Alta Club parking lot is located at 151 E. South Temple. It is an outdoor lot with a ramp indicating its entrance.  The lot is located one quarter block Northeast, and across the street from the club.


62nd Annual Conference Tours

Register now for tours for the 62nd Annual Utah State History conference. You must be registered in order to attend a tour.

July 17, 2014

Back to the Board of State History
Download the agenda as a word doc



Thursday, July 17, 2014
12:00 Noon – 4:00pm

Rio Grande Depot, Board Room, 300 South Rio Grande Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84101

Noon Working Lunch for Board members, hosted by State History
1:00 p.m. Board Meeting Begins
Welcome – Michael Homer
Introduction Kevin Fayles, Assistant Director

1. Approval of the April 17, 2014 Minutes – Michael Homer

2. John William James Family Charitable Bequest Policy
– Doug Misner

3. National Register Nominations – Cory Jensen
a) George & Mabel Anderson House
b) The Princess Recreation Hall/Lynndyl LDS Meetinghouse
c) Ezra & Abigail Shomaker House
d) Murray Hillside Historic District

4. Co-Publishing and Waiving of Fees with the University of Utah – Doug Misner
Publications Policy

5. Administrative Rules – Alycia Aldrich
a) Procedures for Emergency Meetings
b) Procedures for Electronic Meetings

6. Cemetery Grants Program Revision – Amy Oliver

7. Awards Policy Revision – Fellows – Brad Westwood

8. 2014 Fellow Nominations – Jedediah Rogers

9. 2014 Outstanding Contribution and Achievement Awards Nominations – Lisa Buckmiller

10. 2014 Utah State Historical Society Publication Awards Nominations – Holly George


1. Reexamining the Acquisition Process – Doug Misner, Brad Westwood

2. State History Quarterly Program Accomplishments – Brad Westwood

3. 62nd Annual Utah State History Conference, Sept. 25-27th – Brad Westwood, Alycia Aldrich
- Sessions Schedule
- Session Chairs

4. Board Appointments – Mike Homer

5. Location for October 16, 2014 Retreat – Alycia Aldrich

4:00pm ADJOURN
NEXT MEETING Retreat: October 16, 2014, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

UHQ Summer 2014 Web Extras


Since 1928, Utah Historical Quarterly has collected and preserved the state’s history. Until now, UHQ content has only been published in print form. The content presented here is our inaugural effort to introduce the journal—and our state’s rich and colorful history—to an online audience. In the digital medium, we are able to do more than can be done in print: reproduce UHQ articles and essays accompanied with expanded photos, maps, and bibliographies; publish photo galleries, primary sources, oral histories, video documentaries, and other special features suitable for the web; and create an interactive forum for readers to discuss, debate, and wrestle over all things Utah history. We also hope to become a “go-to” resource for Utah Studies teachers and students on the secondary school level. We have big plans for this online venture, culminating in the January 1, 2015, launch of a brand new Utah Historical Quarterly web site. Members of the Utah State Historical Society receive printed copies of UHQ. Click here for information on how to become a member. UHQ back issues are available online through a searchable database.

Previous UHQ Cover Designs The quarterly has had differing designs over the years. Compare our latest cover design to those from previous years.

The Making and Unmaking of UtahSkeleton Map By Jared Farmer An extended version of Farmer’s keynote address at the 2013 Utah State History conference, published in the Summer 2014 UHQ. Using over fifty images as a visual tour de force, he explores place creation and landscape loss in Utah, reminding us that “the past—as inscribed in our present landscape—is a record of tragedy, hope, and considerable irony.”

March 28, 1923. Library of Congress.Race with the Sun By Carl Kuntze The story of Air Force Lt. Russell Lowell Maughan’s ground-breaking dawn-to-dusk transcontinental flight. Precisely ninety years ago this summer, this Logan, Utah, native covered 2,670 miles in just under 22 hours, helping to inspire the new possibilities of air travel in the modern age.

Mother and children at Topaz camp Memoirs: An Annotated Bibliography Compiled by Caitlin Shirts An annotated compilation of memoirs, all previously published in the UHQ, providing delightful and often surprising recollections of Utah from an earlier time, many recalled from childhood or adolescence.

62nd Annual Utah State History Conference
“Utah Technology Through Time”

Register for the conference. It's free and open to the public.

September 25th – September 27th, 2014

Salt Lake City, Utah @ The City Library and The Leonardo

O'Mara click here to read more

Technology has helped people live and thrive in Utah for over 12,000 years. In order to understand and remember the development of technology in Utah, this year’s Utah State History conference will focus on Utah Technology through Time. Download the conference Save the Date notice.

The conference will be tentatively organized into four tracks:
• The emergence of Utah’s high tech industry, 1950s – present
• Utah industry, technology, and enterprise in the 19th and 20th centuries
• Prehistoric technology in the region of Utah
• Utah history

Tentative Conference Schedule
9-24-2014 5:30pm – 7:30pm Board of State History Chairman’s
Private Reception and USHS Awards
Programs, Alta Club (by invitation only)
9-25-2014 7:00pm – 9:00pm Awards Program & Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Margaret O’Mara, University of
Washington, “Place Matters: The Alchemy
of Innovation in Utah and Beyond,”
The City Library
9-26-2014 8:00am – 5:00pm Opening plenary session with 4
concurrent sessions, The Leonardo
See the Schedule Now
9-27-2014 All day and half
day tours
Utah history of technology tours–
Tours may have an associated fee.
Register for tours now


< back to Web Extras

This Was the Place:

The Making and Unmaking of Utah

Jared Farmer

Four Corners historicHow many Utahns have driven out of their way to get to a place that’s really no place, the intersection of imaginary lines: Four Corners, the only spot where the boundaries of four U.S. states converge. Here, at the surveyor’s monument, tourists play geographic Twister, placing one foot and one hand in each quadrant.

In 2009, the Deseret News raised a minor ruckus by announcing that the marker at Four Corners was 2.5 miles off. Geocachers with GPS devices had supposedly discovered a screw-up of nineteenth-century surveyors. The implication: no four-legged tourist had ever truly straddled the state boundaries. A television news anchor in Denver called it “the geographic shot heard around the West.”

In fact, the joke was on the Deseret News. After receiving a pointed rebuttal from the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, the newspaper printed a retraction with this unintentionally amusing headline: “Four Corners Monument Is Indeed Off Mark—But Not by Distance Reported Earlier and in Opposite Direction.”

Four Corners marker
The confusion stemmed from the fact that geocachers had anachronistically used the Greenwich Meridian as their longitudinal reference, though the U.S. did not adopt the Greenwich standard until 1912.

The mapmaker in 1875 who first determined the location of Four Corners actually got it right; he was only “off mark” by the subsequent standard of satellite technology. More to the point, surveyors after him validated his work and made the boundary concrete with an official marker. As America’s chief surveyor explained to reporters, “Once a boundary monument has been set and accepted, it generally does define the forever, even if later found to be not located where originally intended.”

Navajo signs comboThe issue here was not just academic or journalistic. It had economic ramifications.

Tourists won’t come to Four Corners unless they have faith in the rightness of imaginary lines. This matters to Navajo jewelers, hoteliers, and gas station owners. The land where Utah meets three other states belongs to the sovereign Navajo Nation. To refute the Deseret News, the tribe fired off a press release: “Four Corners Monument Still the Legally Recognized Landmark Despite Reports.”

This little story of place-making has a big moral: U.S. states such as Utah are examples of the make-believe made real.

And like all imagined things, they have histories.

“Landscape is history made visible,” wrote the discerning critic J. B. Jackson. What did he mean by that? Think about discoverers, conquerors, invaders, colonists, settlers, migrants, pioneers, and other people on the move: all throughout the past, in all four corners of the world, people have encountered unfamiliar spaces and then transformed them, familiarized them, into places. People give meaning to landforms and thereby make landmarks. They place names on mental maps and tell stories about those named and mapped places. They burn, cultivate, build, and otherwise remodel the terrain: they turn land into landscape.

Navajo MountainThis endless process—simultaneously local and global—can never be harmless. Outside of Antarctica and scattered islands, there has been no true terra incognita (land unknown) or terra nullius (land unoccupied) for millennia; no uninhabited, unstoried, unmeaningful terrestrial space. Thus every act of place-making has on some level been an act of remaking, if not displacement—an act of cultural encroachment, even violence. Or, to drive the point home: the making of our Utah involved the unmaking of older Utahs.

My purpose in this essay is to get you thinking, through various examples, about place creation and landscape loss; and, along the way, to unsettle your mental geography, and adjust—ever so slightly—your inner compass.

* * *

The making of Utah was related to a larger U.S. project: the national map. And this national map was a product of the so-called Rectangular Survey.

Skeleton Map

If you take the perspective of, say, Dead Horse Point, it seems preposterous that surveyors drew straight lines over jumbled topography to create legal boundaries. Nature abhors squares. But the United States—indeed, even its precursor, the Continental Congress—fell in love with the rationality and mathematical purity of the grid: a nation composed of squares within squares. The basic cartographic building block is the section, or one square mile. Put together thirty-six sequentially numbered sections and you have a township of six miles squared.

Grid 3After the Civil War, U.S. surveyors took this quadrilateral thinking to the next level and mapped out a series of more or less rectangular territories and states adjoining one another. Today, easterners often confuse Wyoming with Colorado, and Utah with Arizona and New Mexico (much like westerners transpose Vermont and New Hampshire). From an East Coast point of view, the big western rectangles seem more or less interchangeable.

In fact, boundary lines matter. Even though they are invisible on the ground—even though they are social artifices, environmental lies—they create reality. They can engender or reinforce differences, inequalities, and conflicts. Consider the Mason-Dixon Line, the Radcliffe Line, the Berlin Wall, the DMZ, the West Bank Barrier, or the U.S.-Mexico border.

On a local scale, think about the Salt Lakers who cross over to Evanston, Wyoming, for fireworks (or now to Colorado for marijuana), or who drive the opposite direction on I-80 to West Wendover, Nevada, for gambling and other adult entertainments. Some residents of Logan travel from one part of Cache Valley to another—to the Idaho side—for lotto tickets and malt liquor. Three hundred fifty miles to the south, just over the Arizona border, members of the FLDS church still practice polygamy. Colorado City’s location was chosen in part to elude Arizona law enforcement. Because of the awesome barrier of the Grand Canyon, the state government in Phoenix historically found it difficult to enforce antibigamy laws in the Arizona Strip, a swath of land effectively in Utah.

Wendover Will
Borders are as mutable and arbitrary as they are important. Recall how the map of Europe changed in 1918 and again in 1945 and again in 1989. Look at Africa before and after decolonization. Compared to Africa, the map of North America has been quite stable for over a century. But go back to the nineteenth century, and you see the U.S. national map in a constant state of flux, as the republic gained new lands and states through purchases, wars, treaties, and referenda. Prior to the western states came the western territories. For example, the original Oregon Territory included all of present-day Washington State as well as Oregon.

Deseret Map 1
Mormon settlers, newly ensconced in their Great Basin headquarters, proposed a state called Deseret that would have stretched from the Sierra to the Rockies. Even though Congress spurned that proposal, it created a Utah Territory much larger than today’s state.

Deseret Map 2

Dividing UtahDuring the long probationary period that ended only after the LDS church promised to give up polygamy, Congress repeatedly sawed off chunks of Utah, awarding them to Nevada and later to Nebraska and Colorado; it even entertained the idea of shrinking Utah to a narrow strip or dividing Salt Lake City right down the middle. Thus the current semirectangular shape of Utah was the result of happenstance and politics as well as the grid. It had nothing to do with nature.

Borders and boundaries are not the only invisible lines that create reality. There’s also the issue of metageography, a word that refers to large-scale geographic concepts such as continents.

Students today learn that the world has seven continents; Wikipedia agrees. But go to the library stacks (or Google Books), and you can readily find learned authorities of yesteryear presenting the plain facts that the continents number four—or five, or six. If you follow current events, you see almost daily how the metageographical informs the geopolitical and vice versa. Think about the enduring power of concepts such as “the Third World,” “the Middle East,” and “the West,” to name just three.

Physiographic ProvincesUtah, like other nations and U.S. states, can be grouped into or divided among larger metageographic regions. Textbooks divide the Beehive State into three physiographic “provinces”: the Great Basin, the Colorado Plateau, and the Rocky Mountains. Like most simplifications, this tripart division can be misleading. From a geologist’s point of view, the Uintas are the only mountains in the state that rightfully belong with the Rockies because of their shared origin in a wonderfully named tectonic event, the Laramide Orogeny.

The borders of Utah also overlap with areas of cultural metageography. For instance, many German tourists come to Monument Valley on the Navajo Nation to experience the “Indian Country” of the Southwest, of which Utah’s largest county, San Juan, is one small part. Other tourists come to Salt Lake City to see something that seems equally exotic: “Mormon Country.” Geographers call it the Mormon Culture Region, which, for them, includes southeastern Idaho, southwestern Wyoming, southeastern Nevada, and the valley of the Little Colorado in Arizona.

Indian Mormon combo

When contemporary Utahns appeal to a supraregional identity, they tend to speak of the Intermountain West, the Mountain West, or the Rocky Mountain Region. The locution “Intermountain West” originated around 1900. A coalition of boosters, LDS and non-Mormon alike, promoted Salt Lake City—the “Mormon Metropolis”—as a regional capital. Given that Las Vegas was barely a cow town, and Boise not much more, these hopeful Salt Lakers had a point. In the same era, Spokane, Washington, billed itself as the hub of a rival “Inland Empire.” With the coming of freeways and airports, these geographic inventions (based on railroad networks) became passé. Today, the best-known Inland Empire (or “I.E.”) is in Southern California. The preferred metageographical container for Utah has become Rocky Mountain.

Utah PalestineThe current regional identification with mountains—our high country bias—replaced an earlier hydrological emphasis. In the nineteenth century, Mormon settlers in Great Salt Lake City (as it was called) emphasized that they were a Great Basin people. Outsiders agreed. Tourists flocked to “America’s Dead Sea”—a national attraction, a natural curiosity, and a sublime landscape worthy of towering artists such as Thomas Moran.

Now, by contrast, hydrography hardly matters to outsider or insider conceptions of Utah. Except when the Great Salt Lake threatens the capital with flooding—as it did after the 1982–83 El Niño—modern residents of the Wasatch Front evince little awareness that they live on the edge of a vast interior drainage basin.

Thomas Moran

Birds eye SLC

During the 2002 Olympics, the global media reinforced the symbolic connection between Utahns and mountains. The standard blimp’s-eye-view showed downtown buildings, including the LDS temple, backed by snowy peaks. On NBC, Utah looked much like any other Winter Olympics venue: a generic Alpine or Nordic landscape. For their part, city officials did nothing to turn the camera’s gaze from east to west, from the mountains to the lake. Once a font of curiosity, the city’s namesake had become a reservoir of indifference.

Wasatch view combo
Salt Lakers are Wasatch people, but it wasn’t always so. The term Wasatch Front arose from the glossaries of geologists, and it took time to catch on. It didn’t become the standard descriptor for the state’s main population corridor until the last quarter of the twentieth century, when I-15 tied together instant communities even as it disrupted historic community centers. Before the interstate, one had to travel US-89 (that is, State Street) through every small downtown. As recently as the 1970s, it took a long time to get from Salt Lake City to Provo, and Point of the Mountain felt like a true divide. The state prison, surrounded by horse pastures, seemed oddly rural, even remote.

Aerial Salt Lake Valley

Today, of course, subdivisions line the freeway from Santaquin to Brigham City, two towns once known for their fruit orchards. The Wasatch Front has become Utah’s equivalent to Colorado’s Front Range, where development along I-25 is creating a suburban megalopolis. Someday Tooele and Cedar valleys—maybe even Cache Valley—may merit inclusion in the greater metropolitan area. Residents of the Wasatch Front are united primarily by dependence on I-15, secondarily by earthquake hazards, lake-effect snowfalls, and world-class inversions.

In addition to the Wasatch Front, Utah contains various other large-scale topographical subregions, some of which also function as social subregions. Consider the Uintah Basin, Emery County’s Castle Valley, Sanpete Valley, Sevier Valley, or Dixie. In Utah Valley, the coinage “Silicon Slopes,” invented by Google in 2013 upon announcing that Provo would be the third city in the nation to receive a Google Fiber network, has been picked up eagerly by business leaders to replace a moribund branding initiative from the 1990s: “Software Valley.”

At the scale just below the state, Utahns resort to vague descriptors based on cardinal directions: the west desert, northern Utah, eastern Utah, southeastern Utah. The popular phrase “southern Utah” is particularly elastic. Today, it often serves as a metonym for red rock or slickrock. Moab seems like classic southern Utah, whereas Beaver, located farther south, does not.

Southern Utah
Old scenery comboSince the 1960s the Utah Travel Council has valiantly tried to create touristic subregions by lumping adjacent counties into groups: Color Country, Panoramaland, Dinosaurland, and so on. These names have never really stuck. A few evoke heritage, such as Bridgerland, Golden Spike Empire, and Mormon Country (since renamed Great Salt Lake Country), but the majority call attention to Utah’s abundant and seemingly timeless natural attractions.

Surprisingly, natural attractions can have very short cultural lifespans. In the nineteenth century, northern Utah’s lionized sights included Echo Canyon, Devils Slide, and Black Rock. Relatively few people care about these places today.

Or consider Castle Gate, which once consisted of two pillars on either side of the canyon of the Price River. For late nineteenth-century railroad tourists traveling west from Colorado, this “natural wonder” marked the entry into the real Utah. Alfred Lambourne, Utah’s first noted landscape painter, made Castle Gate his subject, and countless photographers sold collectible views. By 1966 the rock formation had fallen so far in stature that the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), without qualms, dynamited half of it to make room for a wider highway.

Castle Gate 2
Castle Gate today

Over the first half of the twentieth century, as cars replaced trains as the primary form of transportation, the geography of Utah tourism changed. As of 1900, the leading attractions were built landscapes in the north: the resorts of the Great Salt Lake, Salt Lake City’s warm springs, and the Mormon sanctum sanctorum, Temple Square. Sightseers traveled to the “Center of Scenic America” by railroad, most often through Ogden, the undisputed second city.

Old sights combo

Gradually, interest shifted to the more unsettled landscapes of southern Utah, especially its remarkable sandstone canyons.

Zion tunnelBy 1950 tourists for the most part came by private automobile on newly paved roads. The sites for which Utah is now world-famous—Zion, Bryce, Arches—were commercially undiscovered until the automobile age.

The attractiveness of natural attractions depends significantly on media attention. In the mid-twentieth century, Hollywood filmmakers and New York City advertisers recast Monument Valley, an inhabited Navajo landscape, as wild American scenery.

Monument Valley still

More recently, Delicate Arch has become Utah’s most branded landmark besides the Salt Lake Temple. Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, this freestanding arch, which went by various names, was virtually unknown beyond Moab.

It was exponentially less renowned than Augusta Bridge, a place few contemporary Utahns could identify (even by its current name, Sipapu), though a heroic canvas of “Utah’s Greatest Scenic Wonder” hangs in the ceremonial Supreme Court chamber at the State Capitol, and a near-identical painting was presented to U.S. president William Howard Taft.

Augusta Bridge combo

Only in 1992, in advance of Utah’s centennial, did Delicate Arch first appear on license plates. Someday, inevitably, the arch will collapse like New Hampshire’s Old Man of the Mountain. Another one of Utah’s formerly celebrated landscapes, the Bonneville Speedway, may be as fleeting as the Mormon Meteor. The salt flats have shrunk in thickness and area because its sustaining brine flow has been partly captured by a nearby mining operation.

Bonneville Speedway

One of the Beehive State’s most extensive landscape losses has happened virtually without comment: the disfigurement of Pleistocene topography. Landmark shorelines of Lake Bonneville have recently been used as platforms for cookie-cutter suburbs, cheapo McMansions, and prefab temples. Laws protecting antiquities do not as yet extend to geoantiquities. No matter that geologists and geomorphologists rate the benches of the Wasatch Front as world-class features. Grove Karl Gilbert, one of the geological geniuses of the nineteenth century, marveled at the “great embankment” at Point of the Mountain, a magnificent sand and gravel bar. In its own way, it was more impressive—and more evocative of the deep past—than any ziggurat or pyramid.

Bonneville shoreline

But where geologists saw epic earth poetry, others saw real property. Gravel companies gouged out the point from Point of the Mountain, and advertisers erected billboards upon the wreckage.

Gravel mine

Utah’s imperiled heritage includes more than geosites. Practically all of the state’s ancient and historic indigenous ruins and burial grounds have been looted if not obliterated; much of its exquisite Native rock art continues to be vandalized; and most of its settler-era scenes have been bulldozed to make room for tract houses and big-box stores.

CoalvilleOnly in a few locales, notably Sanpete Valley, can you still see vestiges of the old Mormon landscape that has vanished from the Wasatch Front. Unlike the New England village or the Santa Fe style, Utah’s vernacular architecture was neither codified nor protected by historic preservation law. For every Brigham Young Academy saved, three Coalville tabernacles have been torn down. Furthermore, land trusts and conservation easements have struggled to gain traction in Utah’s terrain of property-rights fundamentalism.

Paradoxically, beliefs and practices about sacred space do not necessitate a land ethic. When I consider the contemporary Mormon Culture Region, I’m struck by the disjunction between the cultivated sense of place and the stunted sensibility of place. Utah’s leading real estate developer and its greatest shaper of community standards, the LDS church, does little to promote stewardship and sustainability, or to preserve historic landscapes, or to nurture place-based aesthetics. Instead the Corporation of the President erects edifices by the numbers—ample parking included—according to centralized master plans. Church architecture has gone from artful stonework built to last through the Millennium to a stuccoed simulacrum.

Brigham tab temple combo
In urban Utah, even as the interior sacred space of Mormonism has expanded with the construction of new temples to serve growing populations, the exterior sacred space—farms and fields and orchards, former sites of sacralized work—has contracted to virtual oblivion.

Spring CityFor various reasons, then, the traditional, idiosyncratic, somewhat shambolic Mormon landscape—a legacy of local craftwork—is largely doomed. The sturdy buildings made of adobe, brick, and rough-hewn native stone; the cockeyed wood-and-wire fences; the rows of upright poplars; the use of cottonwoods as ornamentals; the compact villages with double-wide streets on a grid; the close mixture of church lots and civic lots and vacant lots; the backyard gardens and the outlying fields: this distinctive geographical matrix will soon be a memory or perhaps even a lost memory.

I don’t mean to suggest that Utah is culturally out of line. Quite the opposite: when it comes to land use and real estate development, Utah long ago joined the mainstream. It’s locales and regions like Santa Fe and New England that seem peculiar now. In these United States, where consumer capitalism is the de facto state religion, landscapes are generally more cost effective if they are mass producible, mass destructible, fungible, and irreverential. For better or for worse, the story of our nation’s built environment—especially in the post-WWII era of car-based suburbanization—has been more about disposability than durability.

Heart Scenic WestTo reinforce my theme of geographic impermanence, I want to share one of my all-time favorite maps. It comes from a book with a charming title: Through the Heart of the Scenic West.

What’s interesting about this map is its time-boundedness. Only in the 1920s, the onset of the age of auto tourism, could this map have been drawn. How many living Utahns, I wonder, have heard about these map features: Wayne Wonderland? Temple of the Sand Pillars? Today, these places don’t exist as such. As for beautiful Maple Canyon, it hasn’t gone anywhere, but relatively few folks (besides Sanpeters and rock climbers) go there. If you asked the Utah Travel Council to produce a map like this—well, that’s what they do, isn’t it? But their current maps feature a wildly dissimilar list of landmarks and attractions.

It’s even more interesting to imagine an analogous map produced in the nineteenth century. On that map, there would be no Zion National Park, because it didn’t exist. There was a chasm known locally as Little Zion—also Mukuntuweap—but it wouldn’t have merited attention. Neither Bryce Canyon nor Natural Bridges nor Mt. Timpanogos would appear. In the nineteenth century, Utah was recognized as a land of lakes more than canyons or even mountains. People came to northern Utah to bathe in sulfur water and float in salt water.

Currently, of course, the Wasatch Front is more about “Life Elevated®” and the “Greatest Snow on Earth®.” Salt Lake City’s once-famous hydropathic resorts—the warm springs and the adjacent Hot Springs Lake—were long ago blotted out by a gravel mine and an oil refinery. In the hearts and minds of twentieth-century Utahns, the lowland Great Basin underwent a great desiccation.


I’ll illustrate the drying out of Utah’s old water-world with a short history of the place-name Utah.

Place-making is an act of power, and it begins with words. It starts with naming. Today, Utah’s capital and social center is Salt Lake City in Salt Lake Valley. It didn’t used to be that way. It’s no coincidence that Utah Lake occupies the center of Utah Valley, which occupies the center of Utah County, which occupies the near-geographic center of Utah. The names are concentric for a reason. In the nineteenth century and for untold ages before, this lake and its fishery defined a people. This was the place.

Lake Utah map

In its original usage as a toponym, Utah signified the lakeside home of the “Utahs.” Now we would call them Utes; in earlier times, these Utes of Utah Lake were also known as the Fish-Eaters, the Lake People, and the Timpanogos.

In 1850 Congress created something semantically new: Utah Territory. Mormons had previously applied for territorial status under the name of their choosing, Deseret, as engraved in the ceremonial stone donated to the Washington Monument.

Washington Monument 1

Congress overruled the choice. Until this moment it had been customary for the national legislature to affirm local usage. More often than not, American settlers called their region by the name of the major river—which usually carried a variant of a Native name—or by its major indigenous group. “Deseret” did not follow that pattern. The name wasn’t Native; it wasn’t even from a language spoken in America. The word came from the Book of Mormon, which Joseph Smith had translated from “Reformed Egyptian,” in which Deseret means honeybee.

The word Utah has its own exotic origin in Spanish New Mexico. It derives from Yuta, an Hispanicized version of a Native word—possibly Western Apache for “one that is higher up.” A nineteenth-century authority defined Yutas as “they who live on mountains.”

In English-language sources, the word appeared in various spellings—with a first letter e, g, j, or y—before stabilizing as a four-letter word starting with u. Whereas Spaniards used Yutas to refer to all Utes (called Nuche, or “the People,” by themselves), pioneer Mormons used Utah exclusively to refer to the Fish-Eaters who lived around Utah Lake. The U-word also gained geographic referents for four coextensive entities: a lake, a valley, a Mormon stake, and a territorial county. For instance, in 1853 Brigham Young reported to Salt Lake City residents, “It is only the Utah who have declared war on Utah.” Translation: only the Lake Utes have raided the settlements of Utah Valley.

Fort Utah 2

At the national level, “Utah” took on a very different meaning after 1852, when Mormons publicly announced—and stoutly defended—their practice of plural marriage. To easterners, the name now brought one thing to mind: “the Mormon Problem.” The conflict first came to a head in 1857. President Brigham Young told his followers that President James Buchanan had dispatched troops to put down the saints and blustered that “they constituted henceforth a free and independent state, to be known no longer as Utah, but by their own Mormon name of Deseret.”

Brigham Declaration

His words turned out to be hot wind: in the aftermath of the so-called Utah War, Mormons pursued statehood in the regular way. Multiple Deseret constitutions went to Congress, where they faced intransigent anti-Mormon opposition. In 1872, at yet another constitutional convention, LDS delegates debated the wisdom of retaining Deseret when this name “might be made a basis of prejudice.” Others worried that the name could be confused with “desert.” The delegates stuck with the familiar because it referred to honeybees, whereas the alternative brought to mind a “dirty, insect-infested, grasshopper-eating tribe of Indians.” Talk about prejudice.

Needless to say, by the time of statehood in 1896, Mormons had closeted polygamy and abandoned Deseret—both the political idea and the place-name. The idea became a half-forgotten lost cause, and the name became, in Maurine Whipple’s observation, “merely a colorless term with which to entitle laundries or places of business.”

After reconciling with the once-despised name Utah, Mormons gave it new significance. In 1923 Levi Edgar Young, the head of the history department at the University of Utah (and a general authority in the LDS church and a relative of you-know-who), published a chronicle of the state in which he asserted that the Indians “tell us that their forefathers called this the land of ‘Eutaw,’ or ‘High up.’ ‘Utah’ means ‘In the tops of the mountains.’” This was a crucial semantic shift. Whereas Yutas had originally been an Hispanicized word referring to Indians who lived in a mountainous region, Utah became an Anglicized word for the region itself. Professor Young’s definition, “in the tops of the mountains,” had scriptural resonance, as in Isaiah 2:2: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains.” Moving full circle from “Deseret,” contemporary Mormons have been known to spread the faith-promoting rumor that Congress unwittingly fulfilled prophecy by imposing the name Utah.

As for the actual Utahs—the Timpanogos people—they tried for one generation to coexist with Mormon settlers in and around Provo. In practice, hostility supplanted harmony. Settlers and Indians clashed repeatedly at the mouth of the Provo River, the best fishing site at Utah Lake. Ultimately, with the federal government’s blessing, the Mormons in 1865 forced the starving remnants of the Timpanogos to sign a treaty and move to a distant reservation.

Spanish Fork Indian Farm

Spanish Fork Reservation

Having displaced the Utes of Utah Lake, the settlers and especially their progeny went on to create a substitute totem out of a previously unnamed and uncelebrated local landform: Mt. Timpanogos (colloquially shortened to “Timp”).

Timp sign

In the frontier period, nobody saw this massif as a discreet landform. It never showed up on maps. A mountainous space existed, but the mountain-place Timp did not. Thanks to a 1920s civic booster project—including a huge annual community hike—this once “invisible” mountain became conspicuous, beloved, and the site of a national monument. Meanwhile, the invented landmark began to function as a signifier of Indianness thanks to the power and pervasiveness of the “Legend of Timpanogos.” Since the 1920s, people in Utah Valley have repeated and enacted this pseudo-Indian folklore about an Indian princess petrified in profile.

Legend play

In the same era that Timp became visible, Utah Lake became overlooked. Due to overuse and mismanagement, this haven for native cutthroat trout degenerated into a sewage-laced carp pond by WWII. In the postwar period, even as the lake became differently polluted and additionally scorned because of a massive steel plant built on its shores, the mountain earned new honors through the designation of a wilderness area and the siting of Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort. Various schools, hospitals, and even an LDS temple were named after Timp.

These various geographic changes accompanied—and contributed to—a revision in collective memory. As early as 1950, the historical Timpanogos people in the watery lowlands had been entirely supplanted in collective memory by a fictional Princess Timpanogos in the rocky highlands. In short, the modern sense of place surrounding Timp concealed a double displacement from the past: the literal displacement of native inhabitants and the symbolic displacement of their landmark lake.

Thus I circle back to my initial point: the making of our Utah cannot be separated from the unmaking of earlier Utahs—“Utahs” with an s, plural—both a homeland and a people.

Utah Lake postcard

* * *

Now for a coda.

In your mind, picture a feverish Brigham Young—suffering most likely from a tick-borne infection—looking down from Big Mountain. At the time he reportedly “expressed his full satisfaction in the Appearance of the valley as A resting place for the Saints.” His exact words are unknown. Forget the folklore; never mind the monument at This Is the Place Heritage Park; no one on July 24, 1847, recorded the legendary utterance, “This is the right place; drive on!”

Pioneers 1847

However, Young did say something similar on July 28 during an evening meeting on the valley floor. As one pioneer wrote in his diary,

the camp was called togeather to say whear the City should be built. After a number had spoken on the subject a voat was calld for [and] unanimosiley aggread that this was the spot After that Pres Young said tha[t] he knew that this is the place. he knew it as soon as he came in sight of it and he had seen this vearey spot before

After the vote, Orson Pratt, the closest thing to a scientist in the Pioneer Camp, immediately went to work establishing a so-called initial point for surveying the City of the Saints.

Meridians baselines

While the national map has one master meridian, the historic rectilinear mapping of the trans-Mississippi West occurred unevenly, much like settlement. Initially, many settlement zones were anchored cartographically to temporary locations where a regional east-to-west “baseline” intersected a “principal meridian.” In the Far West, these “governing” points of intersection were typically prominences. Had U.S. surveyors gotten their choice, they probably would have picked Mt. Nebo as Utah’s initial point. But Mormons got to choose first because when they arrived, the Great Basin still belonged to Mexico. Pratt went ahead and created a “Great Salt Lake Meridian” with future Temple Square as the initial point. In other words, every plat made by Mormon settlers would have as its reference point a religious site. Every gridded street in Great Salt Lake City would be measured and numbered according to its precise distance from the sacred place where the House of the Lord would rise to welcome to the imminent Second Coming of the Messiah.

When “Gentile” surveyors got around to officially mapping Utah Territory in 1855, they accepted and used this established initial point, even though it didn’t make utmost cartographic sense. The U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey later constructed an official meridian base at Temple Square—a little piece of federal property within the holy walls—where it still stands, though most visitors miss seeing it. More noticeable is the unofficial marker (actually a replica of the original) at the outer southeast corner of Temple Square.

Temple meridian combo

This waist-high sandstone obelisk doesn’t look impressive compared to the temple or the Church Office Building or the Capitol, but, just as much as those edifices, it represents the making of Utah: a story of settlers (albeit peculiar settlers on a delayed timeline) colonizing Indian land, organizing a territory, dispossessing natives, disposing property, and achieving statehood. Overall, the story couldn’t be more American.

I must tell you, as my terminal point, that the Salt Lake Meridian at Temple Square does not cartographically govern every part of Utah. There is one anomalous sector of the state where the original cadastral maps corresponded to a separate base and meridian.

Back in 1875 (the same year Four Corners was marked out), the U.S. government established the Uintah Special Meridian to survey the Uintah Basin reservation where the Lake Utes and other Nuche bands had been relocated. This cartographic project later facilitated the government giveaway of tribal property—a communal disaster for the People. As a result, the greater part of the Uintah Basin within the boundaries of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation now belongs to non-Indians as private land.

Having served this dispossessing purpose, the initial point on the reservation was literally buried and paved over in the 1950s when UDOT improved State Route 121. In 2009—the same year, by apt coincidence, as the Four Corners brouhaha—the survey marker was ceremonially exhumed and replaced.

Special meridian combo
Larry Cesspooch, a noted Ute historian, came to the site for the occasion. He offered a prayer with the aid of an eagle feather and a sweet grass braid. “I’ve struggled with what to say today because this [marker] is not a good thing for us,” Cesspooch said. “It’s like showing you something that’s always going to remind you what happened.”

That’s what landscapes do when we look deeply. They haunt us. They remind us that the past—as inscribed in our present landscape—is a record of tragedy, hope, and considerable irony.

Special Meridian monument

Think about the Nuche of 1847, and think about the saints. For all the remarkable successes of the pioneers, they failed in their larger project to redeem the desert and to build a self-contained kingdom for the End Times. Consider that most of the acreage within the old proposed boundaries of Deseret is uninhabited and unredeemed—indeed, much of it wild by the definition of the Wilderness Act—and belongs to the feds. Brigham Young would not be pleased. And he wouldn’t be alone in disappointment. If you scrutinize a rectangular survey map of the Beehive State, you can see how history did not turn out as anyone in the nineteenth century wanted or expected—not for Mormons, not for anti-Mormons, and not for any of the region’s indigenous peoples.

Utahns today, not unlike the Yutas in 1847, inhabit a place in a state of fateful transition.

* * *

Jared Farmer is a history professor at Stony Brook University and the author of Glen Canyon Dammed: Inventing Lake Powell and the Canyon Country (1999) and On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape (2008), the latter of which won five book prizes. He delivered a version of this essay as the keynote speech for the sixty-first annual Utah State History Conference in 2013.

Past UHQ Designs

< back to Web Extras

The Summer 2014 issue represents our latest effort to give Utah Historical Quarterly a fresh, new look. Since its founding in 1928, the quarterly has undergone a number of graphic redesigns, as represented by the following images.

The Summer 1997 issue of UHQ contains a comprehensive history of the quarterly and the Utah State Historical Society.


National Register Nominations | July 2014

In July 2014, the Board of State History, for the Utah Division of State History, will review four (4) nominations to the National Register. These nominations are:

George and Mabel Anderson House, Brigham City, Utah
The Princess Recreation Hall/Lynndyl LDS Meetinghouse, Lynndyl, Utah
Ezra and Abigail Shomaker House, Manti, Utah
Murray Hillside Historic District, Murray, Utah

The Board of State History meets on July 17, 2014. These meetings are public. To view or print the meeting agenda, please visit the Board of State History on this web site.

62nd Annual Utah State History Conference, Utah Technology Through Time: Sessions, Bios, and Abstracts

Sessions, Bios, and Abstracts
September 26, 2014
The Leonardo @ 209 East 500 South, Salt Lake City

Please note: Session updates occur regularly, but may take up to 48 hours to appear.

Venture Capital in Utah's Story

Moderators: Mike Homer, Brad Westwood
8:30 – 9:20am, Auditorium

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Collaborative Climate Builders

9:30 – 10:45am,  Auditorium

More info coming soon!

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Human Genome Technology

Chair: Amy Oliver
11:00am – 12:15pm, Auditorium

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Session 1: Places of Amusement

9:30 – 10:45 am, Event Center

Gregory Smoak: “Living on the Shores of an Inland Sea: Oral History and Great Salt Lake”

Beginning in the summer of 2013 the American West Center began an oral history project focused on Great Salt Lake. The goal was to document the recent history of the lake from diverse perspectives including conservation, industry, recreation, science, and the arts. This presentation will explore how oral history can be used to document a place and how the interviews to date can shape new understandings of Great Salt Lake.


Gregory E. Smoak is director of the American West Center and Associate Professor of History at the University of Utah. He researches and writes in the fields of American Indian, American Western, and Environmental History. He is also an active public historian working with Native Nations, the National Park Service, and numerous historical organizations.

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Brad Hansen: “Fish Culture in Utah, 1870-1896″

The settlement of Utah by Mormon pioneers contributed to fisheries decline across the state. By the early 1870s a combination of overharvesting and destruction of habitat resulted in dangerously low populations of native Bonneville cutthroat trout, especially along the Wasatch Front. Mormon leaders, particularly Wilford Woodruff, were aware that Utah’s fisheries could not sustain the pressures of an expanding settler population. Woodruff’s response, however, was not to promote fishing regulations, but to engage in artificial stocking of Utah’s declining lakes and streams. In 1871, Woodruff and other prominent Mormon leaders and businessmen organized Zion’s Cooperative Fish Association (ZCFA), Utah’s first large scale fish culture operation. From 1871 to 1896, ZCFA artificially propagated and imported native and nonnative fish and other aquatic species to Utah, many of which were made available by the newly created United States Fish Commission. ZCFA’s actions highlight Utah pioneers’ entrepreneurial spirit and creativity, but also their limited ecological understanding of native trout and the technology associated with pisciculture in general. This presentation will discuss the fascinating and never before told history of Utah’s first fish culturists, demonstrating how early stocking efforts by Mormon pioneers have in many ways shaped Utah’s fisheries into what they are today.


Brad Hansen studied environmental history at Utah State University. After graduating in 2013, he happily moved to Helena, Montana, for a job opportunity at Carroll College. Since moving to Montana, Brad has taken a part time position at CrossCurrents Fly Shop where he feeds his addiction for fly fishing. He loves his wife Janelle, history, and fly fishing, but only pretends to understand the last two. You can contact Brad at

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Michael Lyle Shamo: “A ‘Project’: The Civilian Conservation Corps’ Washington Fields Project, 1937-1938″

Although the Civilian Conservation Corps’ primary purpose was to provide work for many young single men, many of their projects fulfilled the needs of the communities they served. The CCC experimented with a variety of new technologies to conserve local environments. Residents in the small southern town of Washington sought the CCC’s assistance to protect their community’s most precious resource, the irrigation water for their fields. In the spring of 1937, leaders of the St. George and Washington Canal Company invited an engineer from the federal Soil Conservation Service where they discussed plans to upgrade the Washington Fields Canal. The engineer encouraged them to petition for government assistance to protect the canal. That winter, members of the local Leeds CCC camp swarmed the hillsides constructing several structures intended to minimize the damage caused by flash floods and soil erosion. Since Washington’s founding in 1857, residents constantly fought with the untamable Virgin River. Annual flooding destroyed dams and silted up ditches resulting in frustrated farmers franticly repairing the irrigation systems to restore the water’s flow before the desert sun left their crops shriveled and dead. The Soil Conservation Service showed these farmers that their canal was part of a more complex ecological system. This scientific approach was the impetus behind the technologies the CCC used in the hillsides overlooking the canal. The CCC boys used a series of dikes, terraces and rock spreaders to slow and disperse flood waters while at the same time forcing it to drop sentiment and debris before they reached the canal. This paper illustrates how science and technology helped solve an environmental problem that plagued Washington residents for several decades. It is also a case study of how local residents were able to work with and influence federal agencies during the New Deal.


Michael Lyle Shamo is a PhD candidate in American western and environmental history at the University of Utah. He is currently working on a dissertation about tourism and community development on the Colorado Plateau. He worked on a team at the LDS Church History Library researching the Mountain Meadows Massacre. He has also conducted research for the U. S. Forest Service about historical grazing on the Ashley and Manti La Sal National Forests. This paper is part of an agreement between UDOT and the Utah State Historic Preservation Office to understand the history behind CCC structures discovered in Washington County.

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Session 2: Government and the Western EnvironmentChair:
9:30 – 10:45am, Classroom 1

Daniel King: “A Comparison of Corrugation”

Corrugation is an ancient pottery construction technique in which the coils of the vessel are pressed together at certain intervals creating a decorative pattern on the exterior. These vessels were being produced in southern Utah by both the Anasazi and Fremont people. Anasazi potters began making corrugated vessels around the seventh century, at least 400 years before the Fremont. Initial observations and experimental archaeology suggest that the Anasazi used their fingers while the Fremont likely used tools as well as fingers. Recent studies have shown that Fremont potters were highly consistent in their construction of corrugated vessels. This paper presents an initial comparison between the corrugated vessels of the Anasazi and the Fremont.


Daniel King is a M.A. student studying archaeology and museum practices at Brigham Young University. He currently works as a publications assistant for the department of anthropology, as well as a research assistant for the Office of Public archaeology. His research interest include ancient plant use in northern mexico, the development of social complexity in mid level societies, and integrating technology into archaeology and museum studies. King has work on many international archaeological projects in Jordan and Mexico, as well as local projects here in Utah and Nevada.

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Joseph Bryce “Sound of Music: Whistles at Fremont Sites”

Music is an important part of almost every culture but can rarely be understood from the archaeological record. Songs, rhythms, and musical tastes are all lost, but the musical instruments can sometimes be recovered. The Fremont culture occupied much of modern Utah from AD 300 to AD 1300. Archaeologists have examined Fremont pottery, projectile points, architecture, subsistence, and social complexity, but little has been done with musical instruments found at some of the sites. In this paper I will describe Fremont whistles and where they are found, show some comparisons with those from surrounding areas, and provide conclusions from an experimental project with these unique artifacts.


Joseph Bryce is a M.A. student studying archaeology and museum studies at Brigham Young University. He currently works as the collection manager at the Museum of Peoples and Cultures. Research interests include Fremont ceramics, basketry, bone tools, digital archaeology, experimental archaeology, museum studies, historical archaeology, PXRF, photogrammetry, and many other varied and interesting topics. Bryce has worked at several archaeological sites in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and Missouri.

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Jaclyn Marie Eckersley: “The High-Volume Artifact Processor: The Machine and Its Implications”

The process of labeling, measuring, photographing, and classifying artifacts consumes significant amounts of resources for museums and archaeologists. This presentation introduces technology developed by the Museum of Peoples and Cultures at BYU for high-volume cataloging and processing of artifacts, reducing basic cataloging tasks from over 10 minutes per item to less than 15 seconds per item. The system automates artifact labeling, photography, basic measurement, and classification for objects smaller than 12” W x 10” L x 3”H. The system significantly reduces manual data entry, reduces classification errors, virtually eliminates typographic errors in object labels, and improves long-term accessibility to artifacts and associated data. Using vision recognition algorithms, the system identifies objects as they pass beneath a calibrated camera. A 5-megapixel publication quality image is taken of every object and basic measurements are extracted and written to a database. The resulting big data sets and images allow for new approaches for researchers to investigate in their respective fields. The system allows for better control over collections by having every item in a collection numbered, photographed, and measured for reference and tracking. Time saved by the system allows staff to focus efforts on other tasks.


Jaclyn Eckersley is a first-year graduate student at Brigham Young University. She works as a research assistant to Paul Stavast, the inventor of the High-Volume Artifact Processor, and director of the Museum of Peoples and Cultures. As an undergraduate, she underwent the monotonous ordeal of hand-labeling artifacts. She hopes this new system will make new advances in the archaeological field.

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Scott M. Ure: “Eyes in the Sky: Unmanned Aerial Systems and Their Application in Archaeology”

The term “drone” has received a great deal of attention lately as governments, companies, universities, and even private individuals are starting to use these aerial vehicles for a variety of applications. Archaeological endeavors are also slowly beginning to apply unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in different ways. In this paper I first share the results from a project where the Brigham Young University archaeology program used a survey-grade UAS to document the Ad-Deir Plateau at the World Heritage site of Petra. Finally, I conclude by discussing how these systems will significantly improve documenting archaeological sites in Utah once the FAA gives permission for small UAS flights in the United States.


Scott M. Ure is a recent graduate of the Brigham Young University Anthropology graduate program, earning his Master’s degree with an emphasis in archaeology. Ure is currently a research archaeologist for the Department of Anthropology at BYU. He is focused on the application of technology in archaeological data collection, as well as in prehistoric Utah, the American Southwest, and LDS Church Historical sites. Ure has worked on numerous archaeological projects throughout Utah, Nevada, and Missouri, but also on several international projects in Jordan, Syria, and Mexico.

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Session 3: Archaeology and LandscapeChair:
9:30 – 10:45am, Classroom 2

Amy Brunvard, Alison Regan, Ambra Gagliardi, Kinza Masood: “Computing History at the University of Utah: Creating a Digital Archive”

Since 2011 the Marriott Library has initiated several digital library projects to identify, collect and preserve technical reports and photographs that document computing research at the University of Utah.

The University of Utah Computer Science Department (now School of Computing) which formed in 1969 was particularly influential in the early development of computer graphics, animation, digital music as well as other areas of computer science. However, because of the way computer research was distributed through informal channels many technical reports issued by the Department did not find their way into library collections.

In 2011 the Library worked with an undergraduate intern to document a relatively small piece of computer history– Utah was the 4th node on the ARPANet (the Defense Department project that because the Internet and World Wide Web). In the course of this project the Library found that the School of Computing had a closet stacked high with boxes of technical reports dating back to the 1960s. These describe foundational research in areas such as computer graphics, digital music, and asynchronous circuits and became the basis of a digital library.

So far the Library has identified nearly 900 technical reports that were produced by the University of Utah Computer Science Department. About 600 of these have been scanned to the USPACE institutional repository and we are currently working to create a comprehensive collection. The Library recently received a grant to scan high-quality images of photographs form these reports. Before graphics printers were invented the C.S. Department had a photographer on staff to document graphics displays directly from the screen. However, reports that were distributed by photocopying and microfiche had very poor quality reproduction of these images.


Amy Brunvard is a librarian at the University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library. She is part of the Digital Scholarship Lab team and is a subject specialist for government information and Environmental and Sustainability Studies.

Alison Regan is Head of Scholarship and Education Services at the University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library and Adjunct Associate Professor in the University Writing Program.

Ambra Gagliardi is an MLS student at the University of Maryland iSchool enrolled in the eGovernment specialization. She received a Laura Bush 21st Century scholarship funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. She is employed by the J. Willard Marriott Library as a Development Specialist.

Kinza Masood is the Head of Digital Operations at the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah, where she has been working for over 13 years in various capacities.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in Business from the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, with an emphasis in Information Systems. Through her travels, and having lived in various parts of the world, she has developed an appreciation and recognition for diversity among people and cultures.

Her passion for digital initiatives in libraries keeps her involved in research, and in the application of such research in the field of Digital Libraries. She has invested much of her professional career in cultivating strong partner and local media relations, for a sustained, long term interest in activities related to digital initiative efforts at the Marriott Library.  These relationships have been instrumental in the on-going development of a robust digital library program at the Marriott.

Kinza has sat on multiple panels, offered workshops and training sessions, presented nationally and internationally, mostly in the domain of Digital Libraries.  You can read more about her adventures in this field at ‘Digitination’:  She can also be contacted via email at:

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Session 4: Salt Lake City ArchitectureChair:
11:00am – 12:15pm, Event Center

Eric Swedin: “Utah’s Spaceport: A Failed Dream”

In 1971, the Apollo Program was still putting astronauts on the Moon, but NASA was already looking forward to the future. A reusable spacecraft called the space shuttle was projected as the next obvious step. Utah, already home to solid rocket manufacturers Hercules and Thiokol, saw an opportunity to expand economic opportunities by proposing that the new space shuttle launch from Dugway rather than Cape Canaveral. The federally-owned west desert was an ideal asset for such a spaceport and launching from the higher altitude of Utah would make the space shuttle more efficient. The Utah Spaceport Committee sponsored preliminary studies and sent a serious proposal to NASA. In the end, Utah lost out to Cape Canaveral because of the launch facitlies already built there and due to lack of political pull. While never used, another spaceport for the space shuttle was built at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.


Eric G. Swedin is a Professor of History at Weber State University. He has published eleven books and his web site is

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Brian Cannon and Neil Longo: “You Can Write Your Documents ‘WordPerfect’: WordPerfect’s Role in the Word-Processing Revolution”

In 2013 the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at BYU began interviewing former executives and employees of WordPerfect as part of its Silicon Slope Oral History Project. This paper will draw upon those interviews to explore facets of the history of WordPerfect from the perspective of those who experienced it firsthand.


Brian Q. Cannon is a professor of history and directs the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University. He serves on the editorial board of the Utah Historical Quarterly.

Neil Longo is an undergraduate student at Brigham Young University studying Political Science and Business Management. He has worked for the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies since 2012, and has been involved in projects relating to Native American History, Mormon History, and the Agricultural and Economic History of the American West.  He has also worked as a Research Assistant at the University of Utah. His research interests include environmental ethics, Mormon cultural history, and the role of traditional life-ways in the post-industrial world. 

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Rick Phillips: “Utah’s Regional Culture in the Internet Age”

Scholars have long recognized a distinct regional subculture in Utah that emerges from and interfaces with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Studies show that this subculture molds and shapes the religious and civic behavior of not only Mormons, but of other residents of the state as well. In the early 1990s I conducted extensive ethnographic research in Utah and collected oral histories from residents in the state in an effort to describe and analyze the parameters of this regional subculture. In this paper, I present updated findings from a second wave of ethnography and oral history conducted in 2014. The findings focus on how new communication technologies are connecting Utah with the rest of the nation in new and different ways. These technologies have transformed religious and civic life along the Wasatch Front. In some ways this transformation has enhanced and bolstered the state’s regional subculture. However, in other ways the peculiar way of life that has characterized Utah is now challenged and threatened. The story of this transformation is told in through the words and experiences of the ordinary Utahns that served as informants in this study. A major focus of the paper is the way the internet has lessened the importance of a physical place as a component of this subculture. The paper also assess what the future may hold for the religious and civic identity of citizens of the Beehive State.


Rick Phillips is associate professor of sociology and religious studies at the University of North Florida. His work centers on the religious culture of Utah, and Latter-day Saint identity.

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Session 5: Making Place Through Water DevelopmentChair: Maria Garciaz
11:00am – 12:15pm, Classroom 1

Lisa-Michele Church: “Early Brickmaking in Garfield County, Utah, 1871-1939″

More than 100 brick homes and buildings in Garfield County today stand as evidence of a once-thriving local brick-making industry. These early brick-makers were immigrant pioneers who learned their trade in their native England, then used these same skills to build some of southern Utah’s most beautiful and lasting communities. My presentation will feature brief biographical sketches of the key 19th century brick masons, including Frederick Judd, Henry Excell, Samuel Worthen and Edward Richards. Drawing on pioneer diaries and histories, I will explore the techniques used to fire the brick from natural materials found in and around Panguitch. Attention will be paid to their methods of mixing the adobe mud, building the kilns, stocking the fires, designing the brick molds, and finally, laying the brick. The people who worked in this industry were multi-talented, although not formally trained. They were required to be engineers, architects, carpenters, designers and craftsmen. They often worked in a communal setting where several families would band together to make a stockpile of 10,000 brick, then take turns working on each other’s house to completion. The result is a series of one- and two-story brick homes that even today serve as comfortable residences and as a monument to pioneer industriousness. My presentation will feature interviews recently done with some of the surviving brick layers who remember working on the last brick-making crews prior to World War Two. After the war, commercially fired brick was widely available and the local brick-making industry evaporated. I will also present a photographic slide show illustrating many of the surviving brick buildings and their unique architectural features.


Lisa-Michele Church is a corporate attorney and community activist. She is a graduate of the University of Utah and spent more than 20 years of her legal career at The Sinclair Companies, including Grand America and Little America hotel group. She has also served as Executive Director of the Utah Department of Human Services and Administrator of Utah’s Juvenile Court system. Her interests include the history of tourism in Southern Utah, especially motor courts and motels of the mid-century.

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Judson Callaway: “Salt Lake City’s Priority in Urban Electric Lighting: An Urban Legend Resurrected and Reconsidered”

The presentation will examine the widely held belief that Salt Lake City was the fifth city in the world to have central station electric lighting service. An Argument based on original research and established authorities well be made that it was, in fact, the third city with such service (with the possible exception of Stockton, Utah).


Judson Callaway is the co-author of two articles published in UHQ on electricity in Utah and various published and unpublished works on Murray City/South Cottonwood history.

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Susan Peterham and Gail Meakins: “Mass Transit and Urban Form: Streetcar Suburbs of Salt Lake City”

While transit-oriented development may seem like a fairly recent initiative in the Wasatch Front region, the area actually has a long history of real estate speculation and development relying on transit service. This session explores the history of the relationship between evolving technologies in transportation and its impact on urban form. Subdivisions within the original plats of Salt Lake City began early after settlement and mule-powered streetcar service began in 1872, with electric cars operating by 1889. What distinguishes the ‘streetcar suburb’, however, is the simultaneous subdivision of land outside the core urban plats and the expansion of streetcar service to convey its residents into town for work and household needs. The concept is illustrated with the example of Forest Dale in Sugar House and others. Forest Dale was one of the earliest subdivisions in Salt Lake City that encompassed a large area of land with the intention of formally developing, and its creators specifically planned to lure prospective residents by offering reliable streetcar service into downtown. At the time, areas further out from the central core of the city were sparsely developed, as most streets were not paved and it was a long, dusty (or muddy) commute into town either by foot or horse. By incorporating transit as an integral part of the subdivision, Forest Dale also spurred additional development in the area that was able to capitalize and benefit from the expanded streetcar access to and from central Salt Lake City. The session will conclude with a discussion of how this early relationship between the built environment and transportation technologies affected the pattern of the urban form in Salt Lake City, both in the short and long-term.


Susan Petheram, an urban planner and historic preservationist, is an associate principal with CRSA, a planning and architecture firm in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Metropolitan Planning, Policy, and Design at the University of Utah, where she is studying the impacts of the light rail system on the value of surrounding neighborhoods in Salt Lake County. She lives in the Sugar House neighborhood with her husband and two children, and is engaged in understanding more about how past relationships between transportation and the built environment affect present day urban form characteristics.

Gail Meakins is a research assistant and doctoral student in the Metropolitan Planning, Policy, and Design program at the University of Utah. Gail has a BA in physical education from California State University Sacramento, a MA in physical education from the University of California Berkeley, and a MUP from the University of Utah. She has a certificate in historic preservation and expertise in GIS. Gail is interested in the connection between the built environment and public health specifically physical activity and obesity as well as issues dealing with land use in the West.

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Session 6: Exploration of PlaceChair:
11:00am – 12:15pm, Classroom 2

Sheri Murray Ellis: “Move ‘Em Out! Technology’s Role in the Rise and Fall of the Ogden Union Stockyard”

The Ogden Union Stockyard of the early 1900s was not only the product of technological advancement but the physical embodiment of it as well. The stockyard arose out of the late 1800s advancements in refrigeration and butchering technology as well as the expansion of and gains in efficiency in the railroad industry. Starting out as just a few stock pens near the Weber River and the Ogden Rail Yard, the Union Stockyard rapidly grew into a sprawling complex of corrals, specialized barns, auction arenas, and the headquarters of the Ogden Livestock Exchange. By the late 1920s, the yard had become the largest stockyard operation west of Denver, and several hundred thousand animals made their way through the facility on an annual basis. The stockyard site became a demonstration of industrialization and Progressive Era agriculture with the layout of the yard as a reflection of advancing concepts of workflow, the integration of the rail system for the mass transport of livestock, the close coordination with the meat packing industry, and the extensive incorporation of concrete, including stamped concrete, for sanitation and traction purposes. The site also played host to conferences and expositions on technological advancements in the livestock industry.


Sheri Murray Ellis is an archaeologist and historian with more than 20 years experience in Utah and the western U.S. She holds degrees from Weber State University and Utah State University in anthropology, psychology, and American Studies. Ms. Ellis has a special interest in historic period resources their reflection of shifting cultural concepts, traditions, and ideologies. Later this year she will be presenting on the role of the media and local folklore in the eradication of wolves in early 1900s Grand County, Utah.

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Russell Hartill, J.D.: “The Prospector and the Burro: Will Higgins and the Life Cycle of Innovation”

Exploring and documenting the life cycle of innovation as exemplified in 19th and 20th century Utah mining within the pages of Will C Higgins’ Mining Review, 1899-1929.

All technological advances go through a cycle of discovery, daring, deals, dividends, decline and disruption. This paper will review key prospecting and mining discoveries and innovations in Utah and the West through the lenses of these six phases. From Vipont to Silver Reef, Gold Hill to Moab as well as the central Utah districts of Alta, Park City, Bingham, Ophir, Mercur, all the towns of Tintic as well as Frisco, Joy and Diamond, Granite and more will all be discussed. Utah Technological innovations ranging from the Eimco mucker to concrete lined shafts and ore dressing techniques will all be examined.


Russell Hartill is a lawyer and mining historian and co-author of Desert Fever and author of Preserving Our Mining Heritage. Russ graduated from California State University Fullerton with a degree in history after work at the Colorado School of Mines (Geophysical engineering) and Cal State Sacramento (rec and park admin) His JD is from the University of Idaho College of Law.
As Executive Director of the National Historic Mining Initiative, an L3C based in Utah, he leads a team dedicated to the dynamic interpretation and dissemination of western American mining history. Russell can be contacted at

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Amber Koski: “Innovation from the Dust: A Cow Tale”

From the Spanish explorer, Francisco Coronado, to Utah’s pioneer settlers, and outlaw gangs, livestock grazing has played a pivotal role in the development of a deeply rooted and profound regional industry. Albeit controversial at times, livestock management in Utah has seen its share of technological advances and setbacks. This presentation will focus on those technologies developed specifically for range land management, and livestock grazing from the 19th and 20th centuries, through case example. A general overview of grazing practices and techniques will be provided, preceded by an explanation for the development of range land standards, and what these standards convey about livestock use and its associated technologies overtime.

In recent weeks, controversies over grazing rights, and the laws that govern those rights have been called into question. This research will specifically address those controversies through case study, and cause/effect analysis.


Amber Koski works for the Bureau of Land Management, Price Field Office as an archaeologist. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, and a Masters of Science in Environmental Management and Policy. She has worked with public land management agencies for over a decade throughout the Inter-mountain West as an archaeologist, and ecologist.

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Session 7: Movie "Brigham Street"Chair:
1:15 – 2:15pm, Auditorium

Mary Hall: “The Creative Process in Inventing Computer Science at the University of Utah”

Founded in 1965, the computer science department at University of Utah was at the forefront of a variety of early, high impact research on computer graphics and animation, establishing the internet, programming languages, and more generally, the relationship between humans and computers. The early years benefited from the leadership of David Evans, who went on to found Evans and Sutherland. What distinguished research at Utah over its contemporaries was the recognition that computer science is a creative process, and the relationship between humans and computers would evolve through a combination of technology advances and creative exploration. Evans fostered a creative environment that produced entrepreneurs and technology leaders, and remains the legacy of computing at University of Utah.


Mary Hall is a Professor in the School of Computing at University of Utah. Since 2009, she has chaired the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) History Committee. The ACM is the professional society for computer scientists worldwide. Having joined the University of Utah in 2008, her interest in computing history fueled an investigation into the rich computing history at University of Utah, one of the earliest computer science departments.

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James R. Lehning: “Computing and Technology Transfer at the University of Utah, 1965-1980″

This paper will examine the relationship between the University of Utah and the creation of a high-tech sector in the Utah economy. The time frame to be examined is from 1965 to the end of the 1970s. While this relationship was elaborated in a number of different areas of high-tech activity, including genetics and artificial organs, the particular focus of this paper will be on the development of computer technology by University faculty and its commercial exploitation in spin-off companies.

The paper will in particular focus on two important aspects by which the University of Utah sought to accomplish the interrelated goals of becoming a significant research university and a contributor to the economic growth of the Salt Lake economy. The first of these is the development of computing resources and expertise in the University itself, through the creation of a University Computing Center that would provide access to computing for researchers on campus, and the appointment of faculty who would conduct research in Computer Science and teach undergraduate and graduate students the subject. The second is the evolution of practices involving the relationship of the University administration to the spin-off businesses that became an important by-product of the internal development of Computer Science. The paper will focus on the interrelationships of individual scholars, the evolving institutional structures of the University, and the larger economic and political context in which these technological developments and business ventures took place.

The paper will be based on materials in the James C. Fletcher and David Gardner Presidential Papers in the University of Utah Archives, and the David C. Evans Papers and Thomas Stockham Jr. Papers in the Marriott Library Department of Special Collections.


James R. Lehning is Professor of History at the University of Utah. He is the author or editor of seven books and numerous articles on various aspects of the social, political, cultural and economic consequences of technological change. His most recent book is European Colonialism since 1700 (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

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Session 8: Mansion to Modern on South TempleChair:
1:15 – 2:15pm, Event Center 

Ken Alford: “The Utah Cavalry’s Civil War Diarists”

At the request of President Abraham Lincoln, the Lot Smith Utah Cavalry Company helped guard the overland trail between Fort Bridger and Independence Rock from April 30 to August 14, 1862. This presentation will discuss the four military diarists (Privates Harvey Coe Hullinger and John Henry Standifird, Corporal Joseph Felt, and First Sergeant R. H. Atwood) who documented this little known, but very interesting, Civil War story.


Ken L. Alford is an Associate Professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. After serving almost 30 years on active duty in the United States Army, he retired as a Colonel in 2008. While on active duty, Ken served in numerous assignments, including the Pentagon, eight years teaching at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and four years as Professor and Strategic Leadership Department Chair at the National Defense University in Washington, DC. His most recent book, Civil War Saints, looks at Utah Territory during the Civil War.

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Devan Jensen: “Gold Planner to Mail Pioneer: Henry Wells Jackson’s Unlikely Path to the Civil War”

After marching in the Mormon Battalion and panning for gold in California, Jackson began delivering mail between Great Salt Lake City and Placerville. In 1860 this mail service was replaced by the Pony Express. Jackson was unable to collect his back pay, which led him on a three-year odyssey to the East. Working as a wagon master for the Union, he became a prisoner of war. After being released, he returned to Washington, D.C., and volunteered as a lieutenant in the 1st D.C. Cavalry.


Devan Jensen is executive editor and associate director of publications for the Religious Studies Center at Brigham Young University. He is a direct descendant of Henry Wells Jackson through Henry’s son William Henry Jackson.

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Paul A. Hoffman: “Henry Wells Jackson at the Battle of the White Bridge”

On January 6, 1864, Henry Wells Jackson, a Utahn, was commissioned a lieutenant in the First District of Columbia Volunteer Cavalry. This presentation focuses on Jackson’s participation in a Union cavalry raid in early May, 1864, culminating in the Battle of the White Bridge. He died on May 27, 1864. Thus, Jackson became the first known Mormon battle fatality of any American war and the only known Civil War battle death from Utah. The author has original photos and maps that he will share during this presentation.


Paul Austin Hoffman ( is a partner at Greenwald & Hoffman, LLP, a law firm in Santa Ana, California. He has been a Mormon Battalion reenactor for sixteen years. He is a direct descendant of Eliza Ann Dibble, wife of Henry Wells Jackson, through Eliza’s third husband, Julius Augustus Caesar Austin.

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Session 9: Immigrant Communities Chair: Brad Cole
1:15 – 2:15pm, Classroom 1

Randy Williams, Robert Parson, Ross Peterson: “Chasing Water: Central Utah Project Oral History Effort”

Authorized by Congress in 1956, the Central Utah Project (CUP) was envisioned as a way for Utah to utilize its allocated share of the Colorado River. The CUP proposed transferring water from the Uinta Basin to the Wasatch Front. Additional features constructed in the Uinta Basin would ostensibly replace this trans-basin diversion, compensate the prior rights of the Ute Tribe, and bring thousands of acres of both Indian and non-Indian land under irrigation. Fraught with delays, and by funding and environmental constraints, completion of the CUP languished for nearly three decades.

In 1992, Congress passed the Central Utah Project Completion Act (CUPCA), which transferred the responsibility for completing the CUP from the Bureau of Reclamation to the Central Utah Water Conservancy District. This Act was unprecedented, both in its legislative approach and in its attempt to reformulate the CUP.

This panel will discuss the arduous task of researching the CUP in some of the State’s archival collections; as well as the extensive oral history project, which promises to further tease out the events, facts and personalities of the CUP, and which is being preserved as an archive.


Randy Williams is the Fife Folklore Archives Curator and oral history specialist at Utah State University Libraries’ Special Collections & Archives. She conducted the interviews for the CUP oral history project.

Robert Parson is University Archivist at Utah State University Libraries’ Special Collections & Archives. He is a co-author of the forthcoming book about the CUP history.

Ross Peterson is emeritus professor of history at Utah State University. Next year he will be the Wayne Aspinall Chair of History at Colorado Mesa University. He authored the History of Cache County and is a co-author of the forthcoming book about the CUP history.

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Session 10: Place Names Chair:
1:15 – 2:15pm, Classroom 2

Shelley Watts: “The Applications and Benefits of Photogrammetry in Archaeology”

Photogrammetry has a long history and its development has grown in leaps and bounds from the first simple plane table equipment of its beginnings to the digital cameras and computer software we use today. While the original uses of photogrammetry were mainly focused on surveying, its modern applications have become very diverse. Recently, photogrammetry has begun to find its place in archaeology. By understanding how this technology can be applied in this field archaeologists can improve the quality of their records in the field, collect more precise data for later analysis, and preserve various aspects of the archaeological record and artifacts for future uses and research.


Shelley Watts is an anthropology graduate student at BYU finishing up her thesis on Late Classic Maya burials from an archaeological site located in southern Chiapas, Mexico. She also completed a bachelors in International Cultural Studies with an emphasis in anthropology from BYU-Hawaii. During her graduate studies she spent the summers in Mexico gathering data for her thesis and helping the New World Archaeological Foundation on a number of various projects. After graduate school she hopes to gain more field experience through a position with a forest service or CRM firm.

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Chris Merritt: “What Was Once Gone is Now Found: Use of Free 3D Modeling Software for Archaeological and Historical Reconstruction”

Archaeologists and historians traditionally used relatively low-tech methods such as artistic renderings to visualize past buildings or sites long since disappeared. Freely available and user-friendly 3D modeling software such as Google Sketchup, allows for a more interactive, realistic, and completely moldable historical and archaeological experience. Google Sketchup, informed by historical documents and archaeological information, can provide both scholars and the public with a hyper-realistic envisioning of the past. Further, the outputs of this technology can be easily disseminated via digital means, and allow users to explore the past at their own leisure. This paper will illustrate the potential of this technology by applying it to several Utah historical and archaeological topics. This technology is revolutionizing the preservation and reconstruction of the past by scholars and public alike.


Chris Merritt received a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Montana in 2010 detailing the Overseas Chinese experience in Montana, and a M.S. in Industrial Archaeology from Michigan Technological University in 2006 focusing on LDS pottery production and trade. He currently works as a Senior Preservation Specialist for the Utah Division of State History, and also served as a principal investigator for a private archaeological firm in Utah and as a heritage specialist for the United States Forest Service.

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Jessica Montcalm: “Archaeology and the Public Interface: The Presentation of Archaeological Data through Digital Media”

The prevalence of digital outlets as a platform for public engagement is becoming increasingly popular, and is often a recommended course of providing the public with results of field work, especially associated with large, publicly funded projects. This paper will address the changing trends in how data gathered from archaeological surveys, excavations, and related investigations are presented to the public. In addition, a number of successful web sites and digital platforms will be reviewed, including Preservation Pro, Next Exit History, and the Making Archaeology Public project.


Jessica Montcalm is an archaeologist and cultural resource management specialist based in Salt Lake City. With field experience with pre-contact sites to early historic and industrial sites, she provides comprehensive assessment and analysis of the wide variety of archaeological environments on projects ranging from large-acreage surveys, large-scale industrial settings, urban corridors, and residential neighborhoods. Ms. Montcalm’s professional background includes project and field management, research strategy development, laboratory management, artifact analysis and curation, technical report writing and production, project-based cultural resource coordination and planning, and construction inspection compliance and monitoring. She has worked with numerous federal, state, local, and private organizations.

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Session 11: Culture and the Utah Diaspora Chair: Bob Voyles
2:30 – 3:30pm, Auditorium

Brian Tarbet: “The NSA Utah Data Center: How Utah Obtained the Center”

The story of how Utah obtained the NSA Data Center that was built at Camp Williams, near Point of the Mountain. The strategy and campaign; the state agencies and other organizations that contributed; and the individuals involved. Also discussed will be the reasons why Utah was finally selected.


Major General Brian L. Tarbet retired from the Utah National Guard in 2013 after 40 years of service. He served the last twelve years of his career as the commanding general of the Utah National Guard. As a former Military Intelligence Officer, he was instrumental in working with federal, state and other organizations to ensure that the new NSA Data Center was approved for Utah. Following his retirement, General Tarbet was appointed General Counsel to the State Attorney General’s Office in 2013. He currently serves as the Chief Civil Deputy, Civil Department in that Office. He received his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Utah and a B.A. in Political Science and Business from Utah State University.

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Session 12: Utah and the World Chair: Steve Olsen
2:30 – 3:30pm, Event Center

Richard E. Turley, Jr. and Will Bagley: “Being There: Personal Recollections of Utah’s Tech Revolution, 1969-1995″

Sponsored by the Utah Westerners

Since 1969, when the University of Utah (and its DEC PDP-10 running the TENEX operating system) joined with UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, the Stanford Research Institute’s Augmentation Research Center and the Department of Defense to create the first Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), Utah has been at the forefront of the computer and Internet revolutions.

Two noted Utah historians will share personal memories of the heady early days of Utah high technology at the session sponsored annually by the Utah Westerners.


Richard Eyring Turley Sr., a nuclear and mechanical engineer, joined the University of Utah as an associate professor in 1972 and helped start Utah’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology. Upon becoming professor emeritus in 1989, Dr. Turley directed the Utah Technology Finance Corporation, created by Utah’s legislature to provide seed money to start-up tech companies.
His son, Richard E. Turley Jr., served for many years as managing director of the Historical and Family History Departments of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is now Assistant Church Historian and Recorder.

Historian Will Bagley is best known for his 220 columns and articles (or so) that appeared in The Salt Lake Tribune, as editor of the Arthur H.Clark Company’s 16- volume documentary series, KINGDOM IN THE WEST: The Mormons and the American Frontier, and for his books on overland emigration, frontier violence, railroads, mining, and Utah and the Mormons. He began his high-tech career in 1982 and worked as a technical writer until his departure from computer graphics pioneer Evans & Sutherland in 1995. Mr. Bagley also wrote for Utah entrepreneurs Randy Fields, Earl Holding, Ed Cheadle Jr, and Bruce Boyes about networking design and protocols, data transfer, artificial intelligence, and embedded systems.

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Session 13: Deep History in the DesertChair:
2:30 – 3:30pm, Classroom 1

Robert Kessler and Roger Altizer: “Graphics and Games in Utah – A University of Utah Perspective”

Utah acted as a homestead for early graphics and games pioneers. From the the first interactive graphics program, Sketchpad, to the standard for all 3D models, the Utah Teapot, digital trail blazers have found Utah to be fertile ground for innovation and discovery. This panel will tell the known, and little known history of the great people and inventions that defined the digital era. This panel will focus on two major themes: graphics pioneers and the rise of the Utah games industry.

“Almost every influential person in the modern computer-graphics community either passed through the University of Utah or came into contact with it in some way.” The Algorithmic Image: Graphic Visions of the Computer Age, by Robert Rivlin. A list of graphics pioneers from Utah would include the likes of David Evans and Ivan Sutherland, founders of the first graphics company, Alan Kay, the inventor of the graphical user interface, Elliot Organick, founder of SIGCSE, Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar, John Warnock, founder of Adobe, and many others. This panel will explore the question, “why Utah?”, and share the story of how computer graphics were born.

The second half of the panel will focus on the application of graphics and the entrepreneurial spirit of innovators in Utah by focusing on the history of videogames in the state. Five times the number of dollars are spent making games compared to film in Utah. Microsoft, Sony, Electronic Arts, and Disney have all either started studios here or acquired companies created locally. Building on the land tilled by the graphics pioneers, game companies in Utah have found a way to make this a hub for the future of digital entertainment.


Roger Altizer, Jr. (Rahjur) is the co-founder of the Entertainment Arts and Engineering Program at the University of Utah, which is presently the #2 ranked undergraduate games program in the nation. He also co-founded an indie game co-op, Game Makers Anonymous, designed and developed indie and medical games, and spent a decade as a games journalist. He is frequently a guest commentator on games issues both locally and nationally and has presented his games research at international conferences.

Robert R. Kessler has been on the faculty of the University of Utah since 1983 and is currently the Executive Director of the Entertainment Arts and Engineering Program and also is a professor in the the School of Computing. He earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in 1974, 1977, and 1981 respectively, all from the University of Utah. His early work was centered on the portable implementation of the Lisp programming language and then distributed and parallel implementations of Lisp. In the early 90′s, he founded the Center for Software Science, a state of Utah Center of Excellence, which was a research group working in nearly all aspects of system software for sequential and parallel/distributed computers.  In the late 90’s Professor Kessler served as chairman of the Department of Computer Science (which became the School of Computing in 2000).  At about that same time, his research interests expanded into software engineering and he also dabbled in agent technologies.  In 2007 he co-founded the Entertainment Arts and Engineering (EAE) program as an undergraduate emphasis, then in 2010 co-founded a master’s degree program in EAE.  The program has grown to be the #2 best undergraduate and #4 best graduate video game design program in the world and currently has over 200 undergraduate and over 100 graduate students. He has authored two books and over seventy-five journal and conference publications.  Professor Kessler has received over $6.5M in external research funding from government and industrial sources and $10M in equipment grants.  He has founded two startup companies and has been on the board of directors of several others.  He is an award winning teacher having received the College of Engineering Outstanding Teaching Award in 2000 and the University of Utah’s highest teaching honor, the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2001.

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Session 1: Places of Amusement

Chair: Bob McPherson
2:30 – 3:30pm, Classroom 2

“My Canyonlands: The Adventurous Life of Kent Frost” is an enthralling portrait of an American original and his fierce love of the land. This 45 minute film tells the story of Kent Frost, Utah’s homegrown John Muir, who passed away in 2013 at the age of 95. He was the last of the old time river-runners and a legendary back country guide who knew the canyon country of southeastern Utah better than anyone else. As a boy, Kent explored the wild redrock canyons on foot; as a man, he ran the rivers, developed backcountry tourism, and helped create Canyonlands National Park. Today, people come from around the world to visit the canyons for their beauty, but when Kent was growing-up they were perceived as a wasteland. He helped change that view by taking people out to experience the wilderness. His clients included Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, and others who helped open the eyes of the public to our extraordinary landscape. Running through the film, as it runs through Kent’s heart, is the drowning of legendary Glen Canyon by Lake Powell – a still controversial environmental loss. Director Chris Simon interweaves stunning photography of the landscape, stories, music, archival footage and present-day adventures to create an intimate and compelling portrait of Kent Frost and the canyons he loves.

My Canyonlands is narrated by NPR commentator Hal Cannon. In addition to Kent Frost, it features Ken Sleight, Katie Lee, author Stephen Trimble, and additional music by James Keelaghan, TR Ritchie and Cowboy Celtic.


Chris Simon is a documentary filmmaker based in Utah. Chris has a degree in folklore with a minor in oral history. Her favorite subjects are portraits of people and cultures of the Western US. Her film “Down an Old Road: The Poetic Life of Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel” won the Oral History Association’s media award. Her work has been supported by the NEA, Utah and California Humanities Councils and numerous private foundations. Her company, Sageland Media, is in Salt Lake City.

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Session 1: Places of Amusement

Chair: Holly George
3:45 – 5:00pm, Event Center

Paul Stavast: “Museums as Technology: The Intersection of Utah’s Deseret Museum, the Early Twentieth-Century Museum, and James E. Talmage”

Museums are fundamental to historical research, yet museums are often ignored during discussions about technology and innovation. This presentation will look at museums as a form of technology by tracing the development of one Utah museum, the Deseret Museum, and its institutional impact on many of the major collecting museums now in the state. Simultaneously, the session will explore the training and education of its key director, James E. Talmage, which led to his significant, but unnoticed, influence in shaping the idea of museums in the USA. Talmage became director of the Deseret Museum in the early 1890s as Utah was preparing for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Numerous items were collected throughout the state to showcase the natural resources and industry of the territory at the Fair. One often-missed aspect of the event was the collecting of prehistoric artifacts and mineral collections. Some of the Fair items found their way into the collection of the Deseret Museum upon returning to Utah. At nearly the same time, the Museum and its director were becoming noted throughout the western world by affiliating with scientific societies and exchanging collections with other museums. Widely respected by many as a scientist, specifically a geologist, previous research has glossed over and largely ignored Talmage’s contributions to establishing the technology of museums within Utah and his efforts as a founding member of the American Association of Museums to formalize and refine 20th century concepts of museums.


Paul Stavast is Director of Brigham Young University’s Museum of Peoples and Cultures. He received a MA in Museum Studies from the George Washington University and a BA in Archaeology from BYU. In addition to directing the museum, he teaches museum studies courses through BYU’s Department of Anthropology. Courses include Museums and Cultures, Museum Practices and Technologies and Museum Registration and Collections Management. His two main current research interests are 1) developing new technology, software and hardware, to assist in and streamline classification and cataloging of museum collections and 2) documenting the history of early natural history museums in Utah.

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 Peter Kraus: “Trouble and Toil in Zion-The Academic Crisis of 1915″

Founded in 1850, The University of Utah is the oldest institution of higher learning, west of the Mississippi. The lines between church and state in Utah have often been blurred more than any other state in the Union and these church-state issues have impacted higher education several times in Utah’s history.

in 1915 when several members of the faculty did not have their contracts renewed due to unpopular remarks made by students (whom they taught and supported) at commencement where students expressed support of progressive ideas of the time. The newly formed American Association of University Professors (AAUP) launched an investigation about these faculty dismissals that attracted nation-wide attention. Similar situations were occurring at several other universities around the nation, which the AAUP was also investigating. The results of these investigations at the University of Utah and other institutions of higher learning are considered by many to be the birth of the concept of tenure at American Colleges and Universities.

This paper will explore the actions of the trustees of the University of Utah, the administration of the University of Utah, the faculty and the AAUP. The premise of this paper is that these dismissals were motivated by political considerations of the time and not religious discrimination or nepotism and that with the lack of an organized system of faculty governance (i.e. a faculty senate) there was no real system of communication on policy matters at the University and that the President of the University of Utah saw himself more aligned with the wishes of the University Trustees verses an advocated for the faculty and that these actions were a result of the growing pains of the development of the University of Utah at a time when great social and economic change where occurring in the state.


Peter L. Kraus is currently an Associate Librarian at the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah. Prior to joining the faculty at the “U” in 1999 he was with The Research Libraries of The New York Public Library. He holds his BA (History) and MSc (Library Science) from Florida State University. He also pursued graduate coursework in history and religion at the University of Utah and Harvard University.

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 Ian Keller: “Folk and Professional Medicine in Cache Valley, circa 1900″

The Riter Brothers Drug Company was incorporated in 1891 and remained in business at least until 1918. The pharmacy operated five stores, two in Utah at Garland and Logan, and three in Idaho, at Preston, Montpelier, and Franklin. They kept prescription records, pasted into huge ledgers, four of which are now held in Utah State University’s Special Collections and Archives. Further materials, including business records and the Franklin Riter Manuscript Collection, are held by the Utah State Historical Society.

However, this pharmacy was not the only source of medical treatment available to locals. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has a long tradition of folk medicine, going back to the 19th century “Thomsonian” movement, and perhaps further. The Fife Folklore Archives USU Student Folklore Genre Collection of Belief contains multiple subsections related to folk medicine.

This paper will compare the Riter Brothers prescription records to the Fife Folklore belief collection in an effort to better understand the development of medicine in Cache Valley and Utah. What cures did these two traditions prescribe; what were their differences and similarities? And as the practice of medicine became professional, was Utah’s experience different than that of the nation?

These are questions of science and technology. They are also questions of belief and truth. In our contemporary world, we continually see science and belief at odds, and this, of course, is nothing new. Furthermore, our current medical system is in flux, and it may prove interesting to see how Utahns dealt with their changing medical system at the turn of the last century.


Ian Keller grew up in Logan, Utah and attended Logan High School. He received a B.A. in History from Reed College, located in Portland Oregon, in 2008. Some years after returning to Logan, Dr. Chris Conte convinced him to start a masters in history at USU, and he has been there since. His current research involves looking at folk and professional medicine in Cache Valley and the surrounding area circa 1900.

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Session 1: Places of Amusement

3:45 – 5:00pm, Classroom 1

 Robert McPherson: “The Navajo’s First Impression of the Car”

Americans today live in a vast ocean of technology that swirls and changes with each hour.  It has grown to be the expected, may even be demanded, that everything is new or improved—faster, lighter, smaller, clearer, louder, greater capacity—the list goes on depending upon the object.  Our worldview thrives on new, previously unimaginable techniques, objects, or systems that soon become standard fair.

Return to an earlier time and a different set of expectations, when the Navajo were first introduced to an “impossible” technology—the automobile—that challenged many of the concepts of how the world worked.  Explore the past to see how this machine became an integral part of the culture, its vocabulary, and daily life while being employed and understood according to traditional Navajo values practiced at the turn of the twentieth century.  The Din4, noted for their ingenious adaptability to new things, prove to be no exception in this instance, as cultural values dominated their understanding of this mysterious machine.  Enjoy some Navajo humor along the way, as today’s elders share their thoughts and experiences of a time long gone.


Robert S. McPherson is the author of numerous books on the history of Southeastern Utah and on American Indian tribes. He is a professor at the Blanding Campus of Utah State University and is on the Board of State History.

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 Clint Pumphrey and Jim Kichas: “Information Scenic Byway” The Technology of Boosterism Along Utah’s U.S. Highway 89″

Technology was central to the development of Utah’s tourism industry in the 20th century. In the post-World War II period, better roads and cheaper, more reliable automobiles made the state’s unique backcountry experience more accessible than ever. But Utah’s tourism boom was not simply a product of advances in transportation. It also resulted from the way boosters used new and more widely-available media technologies to promote vacationing in the Beehive State. State government and civic organizations alike took advantage of tools like radio, television, and movies to draw more visitors to Utah, where their money helped supplement Utah’s traditionally agricultural and extractive economy.

This presentation proposes to explore the role of technology in tourist development, specifically along the Utah segment of U.S. Highway 89. Extending north and south from Canada to Mexico, this federal highway was a prime corridor for vacationers who wanted to experience the West. In Utah it traveled from Bear Lake in the north, through Logan, Salt Lake City, Spanish Fork, Mt. Pleasant, Salina, Panguitch, and Kanab, threading between Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks along the way. This presentation will first look at how boosters, including state and local governments and chambers of commerce, initially sought improvements along Highway 89 to make it more accessible to tourists. Additionally, it will explore how these and other groups, like the 89’ers International Highway Association, used media to produce things like theme songs and promotional films to further the route’s appeal. Finally, the presentation will investigate how private citizens and government entities are now using the Internet to promote Highway 89’s scenery and history. This discussion will primarily focus on the Highway 89 Digital Collection, a collaborative effort among Western libraries and archives to capture Highway 89’s storied past through the digitization of photographs, manuscripts, and printed items.


Clint Pumphrey is the manuscript curator in the Special Collections and Archives division of Utah State University’s Merrill-Cazier Library where he manages approximately 500 collections, mostly related to the history of southern Idaho and northern Utah. He completed an MS in History at Utah State University in 2009 and a master’s thesis entitled, From Sagebrush to Subdivisions: Visualizing Tourist Development in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, 1967-2002. His professional interests include environmental and leisure history, collaborative digitization of archival material, and social media in archives.

Jim Kichas is an archivist for the Utah State Archives. Hired in 2002, Jim has spent the last twelve years processing a variety of historic government records in State Archives holdings, as well as taken part in numerous special projects, such as the Highway 89 Digital Collections initiative. He is a Certified Archivist (2013), and has served as treasurer for the Conference of Inter-mountain Archivists since 2012. In 2010 Jim began work on a master’s degree in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah, with research focused on the nuclear MX Missile System. This work was successfully completed in 2012.

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 Korral Broschinsky: “The Merry-Go-Round Mystery”

This presentation will trace the history of the current carousel at the Lagoon Amusement Park. The carousel history will be placed in the context of the technological and design advances in merry-go-rounds and carousels in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. My work on the history of the Lagoon Carousel resulted in the listing of the amusement park ride on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.


Korral Broschinsky is an architectural historian and preservation consultant with nineteen years of experience researching the history of Utah and the Intermountain West.

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Session 1: Places of Amusement

3:45 – 5:00pm, Classroom 2

Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, education played a significant role in Utah’s technological development as well as determining how those new technologies were incorporated into the state’s distinct culture. This panel will examine some of the intersections between education and technology in Utah from 1865 to 1930. Brett D. Dowdle will examine the monumental changes the railroad brought to Utah’s schools between 1865 and 1890. The railroad’s arrival heralded one of the territory’s most important technological advances, lessening its isolation from the rest of the nation. In addition to raising several important questions, the railroad paved the way for superior educational growth and opportunities as Utah headed toward the twentieth century. As a result, skilled scientists and educators brought other technologies to Utah’s schools. Casey P. Griffiths will examine the contributions of Joseph F. Merrill, one of Utah’s first citizens to receive a PhD. Following his studies at a number of prestigious eastern universities, Merrill accepted a professorship at the University of Utah. While there, he spearheaded the creation of the School of Mines and Engineering, helping the school to become achieve recognition as a leading research institution and a center for science and learning in the West. Similarly, Brian W. Ricks will discuss the scientific contributions of James E. Talmage as a leading educator and scientist in the University of Utah’s Department of Geology. In this position, Talmage furthered the study of earthquakes in the West, installing the first seismograph west of the Mississippi River, one of many notable achievements.

 Brett D. Dowdle: “A New Cosmopolitanism in Thought and Action: The Transcontinental Railroad and the Transformation of Utah’s Schools”


Brett D. Dowdle is a PhD candidate in American history at Texas Christian University and is currently working on a dissertation examining the efforts of the Federal Government to reconstruct Utah from 1848 to 1890. He holds both Masters and Bachelor’s degrees in history from Brigham Young University. He is originally from Orem, Utah.

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 Casey Griffiths: “The Contributions of Joseph F. Merrill”


Casey Paul Griffiths is a teacher and writer for the Seminaries and Institutes of Religion and an Adjunct Professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University. He holds a Bachelors degree in History, a Masters degree in Religious Education, and a PhD in Educational Leadership from Brigham Young University. His research focuses mainly on Latter-day Saint educational history and religious thought. His publications have appeared in The Journal of Mormon History, BYU Studies, and the Religious Educator. He is currently at work on a biography of Joseph F. Merrill.

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 Brian Ricks: “The Scientific Contributions of James E. Talmage”


Brian Ricks is a seminary teacher in Saratoga Springs, Utah. He holds a PhD in Educational Leadership. He and his wife Jessica have been married for 14 years and have 6 children. Both he and his wife are originally from Utah, but have resided in Utah for the last 12 years.

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