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Utah’s Latest Additions to the National Register

Check out the latest historic properties in Utah listed on the National Register of Historic Places: Rainbow Bridge Traditional Cultural Property, San Juan County; the Smithfield Tabernacle, Smithfield, Cache County; the Thomas Clark & Millie Callister House, Fillmore, Millard County; and the J.M. Wilbur & Company Blacksmith Shop, Eden, Weber County.


Rainbow Bridge Traditional Cultural Property
Rainbow Bridge National Monument, San Juan County

Statement of Significance: As a culturally significant cultural and religious site for the six tribes participating in this nomination Rainbow Bridge TCP exhibits the necessary qualities of significance for American Indian history and culture. These qualities are exhibited by Rainbow Bridge itself, by the listed contributing features, and by its ties to tribal origin stories and historic events. The bridge (including the area within the proposed boundaries of the TCP) is the focus of tribal historic events, tribal stories and tribal pilgrimages. Archaeological sites, springs and water seeps, shrines and tribal offering places within the district reflect its ancient association with Indian peoples. Contemporary testimonies of tribal members clearly document ancient as well as on-going religious beliefs and ceremonialism. “Rainbow Bridge Traditional Cultural Property” (the official name) qualifies as a TCP under Criterion A as it is used for tribal religious use. Tribal members consistently describe the period of significance as “from time immemorial” to the present and no specific dates are assigned or needed. The Area of Significance is Religion and Ethnic Heritage/Native American. As indicated, this property is culturally and historically significant on a “national” level. However, this broad national designation of significance should not be viewed as diminishing its importance at the local and regional levels.

Tribal historic events, cultural origin stories (individual and communal), religious ceremonialism, culture hero journeys, tribal migration stories, and communication with supernatural entities are all part of individual and communal ethnic identity and all play a vital role in the transmission of cultural and traditional knowledge across generations: A transmission essential for the reaffirmation and continuation of tribal specific cultural traditions – and the broader patterns of tribal cultures in the region.

Existing documentation clearly displays the district’s significance. Over the past few decades, folkloric, archaeological, and ethnographic research provide clear evidence of the importance of the place to the tribes participating in this nomination. A small number of Indian archaeological sites at or near the stone arch span hundreds, if not thousands of years of Indian occupation and use. Preservation and protection of these sites within the TCP boundary (and beyond) allow for future research and are likely to yield additional and significant aspects of tribal culture and history.  Tribal representatives have clearly expressed an interest in working with the managing agency to preserve these ancestral sites – sites that will continue to contribute to knowledge of tribal cultural association with the proposed TCP district and the larger more expansive cultural landscape.

The Navajo, Hopi, the Ute Mountain Ute, the Kaibab Southern Paiute, the San Juan Southern Paiute, and the Zuni (all the tribes participating in this nomination) have all visited and/or used the proposed site for thousands of years, as confirmed by oral testimony, archeological site analyses, ethnohistoric, and ethnographic documentation. While these tribes share similar views on the cultural significance of Rainbow they each attach to the district their own unique tribal histories, their own set of cultural values and practices, and their own means of interacting with the bridge, the district, and the larger landscape. For some, the district is a place of power, a source of culturally important resources (plants, spring water, minerals) used in traditional healing practices, a place of spiritual cleansing, and a place to perform traditional ceremonies and individual prayer. For others, the bridge is the focus of migration stories and tribal origins. Still others view the bridge and the surrounding landscape as their traditional home. But while tribal differences are acknowledged the cultural histories, practices and beliefs often overlap and all participating tribal representatives consistently expressed the view that the Rainbow Bridge TCP plays an important role in a larger multi-tribal traditional religious and ceremonial context of the area.

Finally, Rainbow Bridge is an integral part of a larger cultural geography and as such contributes to our knowledge of broader aspects of American Indian culture and history. Although it stands out physically as one of the largest natural stone arches in the United States, it’s cultural importance to Indian tribes in the region lies in the fact that it is part of this regional cultural landscape – elements of which are linked to various tribal histories, mythologies, origin stories, and sacred sites. While the proposed TCP is a highly significant cultural place it is part of this larger geographic context that is also sacred. The nature this larger landscape is beyond the scope of this nomination but future work is encouraged to more carefully describe the multi-tribal perspectives on this larger landscape.

Read the full nomination: This nomination is not available for publication


Thomas Clark & Millie Callister House
Fillmore, Millard County

Statement of Significance: The Thomas Clark and Millie Callister House, constructed 1896 in Fillmore, Millard County, is locally significant under Criteria A and B.  Under Criterion A the house is significant in the area of Communication. The Callister House served as the main office of the Millard County Telegraph and Telephone Company for 15 years. The main switchboard was operated by Mildred “Millie” Callister, wife of Thomas Clark Callister. This was the first telephone switchboard in the county and provided phone service for the entire county. Under Criterion B the house is significant in the area of Politics and Government. Thomas Clark Callister lived here while serving as mayor for two terms from 1917 to 1920. As one of Fillmore’s most influential mayors, he was a well-known engineer who spearheaded much of Millard County’s water and irrigation infrastructure during his time in office. His work as county surveyor and engineer was attributed to controlling flood and erosion of the Fillmore Mountains. Thomas Clark also was a prominent businessman, who owned the Millard County Telegraph and Telephone Company and was chairman to several committees in his lifetime, including the Library Loan and American Red Cross.  The period of significance is 1907 to c.1922. This covers the period the house was purchased by the Callisters and the telephone switchboard was installed until the operation was moved to another building, c.1922. This also includes the two terms Clark Callister served as Mayor of Fillmore, from 1917-1920.

Read the full nomination:
ut_millard-county_thomas-millie-callister-house


J.M. Wilbur Company Blacksmith Shop
Eden, Weber County

Statement of Significance: The J.M.Wilbur Company Blacksmith Shop, built in 1895 and rehabilitated 2011-2014, is a brick, one-part block commercial building with a stepped gable parapet and Late Victorian Commercial details. The building is historically significant under Criteria A. The period of significance dates from 1895, when it was built by Jesse Wilbur, to1951, when Jesse passed away. Jesse partnered with his son Glenn in 1924, and they used this building as a commercial outlet providing primarily blacksmithing and other related services to local farmers and the surrounding communities. Following Jesse’s death, Glenn carried on the business for two more decades. It is significant under Criterion A in the areas of Industry and Commerce because it provided essential services in a developing community and played a vital role in the development and success of the village of Eden, Utah and surrounding Ogden Valley.  The building was originally designed and constructed to facilitate the needs of the blacksmithing industry—a once very common and necessary business in frontier life—and is the only known continuously functioning blacksmith shop remaining in the region. Following a recent careful rehabilitation, the building continues to operate as a blacksmith shop today.

Read the full nomination:
ut_weber-county_jm-wilbur-co-blacksmith-shop


The National Register of Historic Places is the official federal list of properties that are significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, or engineering.

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