Tag Archives: utah state history

Mesa to Mountain Symposium 2017

For More Information and Conference Registration click here.

Salt Lake City is a crossroads of the American West and abounds with historic resources and projects that will be of interest to APT members from across the country. Mesa to Mountain will explore the rich history and unique preservation challenges of this region with a focus on western sites, materials, and conditions.

The symposium kicks off on Thursday, March 23 with a plenary address and reception at the historic Alta Club. Friday begins with a keynote address, then continues with a full day of paper sessions following three tracks: Seismic Retrofit of Historic Buildings, Materials and Construction Techniques, and Cultural Heritage Management. On Saturday, three full-day tours will take participants to historic sites in the Salt Lake City area.

Utah Historical Quarterly Current Issue

Volume 84, Number 4 (Fall 2016 Issue):

Published since 1928, the Utah Historical Quarterly is the state’s premier history journal and the source for reliable, engaging Utah history. Join the Historical Society for your own copy.

Each issue of the Utah Historical Quarterly is accompanied with rich web supplements that introduce readers to sources, photos, interviews, and other engaging material. These “extras” are located at history.utah.gov/uhqextras.

WEB EXTRAS: See here 


It’s often noted that the work of a historian—patching together fragments of information to arrive at an understanding of the past, however limited—is like the work of a detective. Just so, as historians assemble their puzzles of documents, objects, and memories, they ask questions about motivations, about cause and effect, and even about what simply happened. The articles in this issue of Utah Historical Quarterly—as they reconsider accepted explanations and ponder how big events can affect personal lives—are full of such inquiries.

Our lead essay draws on Jedediah Smith’s record discovered in 1967 and published in 1977—more than two decades after Dale L. Morgan’s classic Jedediah Smith and the Opening of the West—to detail the famed 1826 and 1827 southwest expeditions. Smith’s travels helped to map terra incognita, as other historians have shown, and perhaps explain a puzzling mystery: what happened to the Paiute village first encountered by Smith in 1826 but abandoned upon his return the following year? Edward Leo Lyman’s close reading of the record suggests that Jed Smith’s narrative is intertwined with those of two of his contemporaries, James Ohio Pattie and Ewing Young. Though Smith is well known by scholars and general readers of the American West, this piece offers a welcome reevaluation of his travels and provides surprising revelations.

In April 1857, Felix Marion Jones traveled with his family as a toddler, from Arkansas to Utah Territory, where his family became victims of the superlative tragedy at Mountain Meadows. Jones survived the massacre but endured loss beyond description: first his parents, then the woman who cared for him after their death, and even his identity. After the federal government returned Jones and his fellow survivors to Arkansas, the boy experienced a difficult childhood. As a teenager, Jones struck out on his own for Texas and eventually had a family of his own. One of his posterity, a favorite grandson named Milam “Mike” Jones, heard F. M.’s memories and, in 2008, passed them on to the historian Will Bagley. This is a story of loss, family, and renewal that spans centuries.

During the hottest years of the Cold War, the U.S. government—especially the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)—conducted above-ground, atmospheric tests of nuclear weapons at the Nevada Test Site (NTS). Although representatives of the AEC and others soft-pedaled the dangers of these tests, they had devastating effects upon many people and animals living downwind from the NTS. Our third article explores how employees and institutions of the federal government dealt with the consequences of nuclear fallout.

When designated in 1964, Canyonlands National Park was to be “built” in the tradition of Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon—lodges, restaurants, and roads directing visitors to the park’s inner sanctum. Within fifteen years the Canyonlands General Management Plan called for a preserved landscape devoid of the easy-access roads planned into the Chesler Park, Grabens, and Needles areas. Our fourth essay details the forces at play—the wartime shortfall in funds, the rise of environmental sensibilities, the ideologies of park superintendents—and the sense of loss experienced by some. The history of Canyonlands is a reminder that all landscapes are products of contingent forces and of contending voices. Even the look and experience of a most dramatic and remote landscape is not inevitable or fixed.



Rethinking Jedediah S. Smith’s Southwestern Expeditions
By Edward Leo Lyman

Touching History: A Grandson’s Memories of Felix Marion Jones and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows
By Will Bagley

“Damned Stupid Old Guinea Pigs”: The Cover-Up of the “Dirty” Harry Nuclear Test
By Katherine Good

Closing the Road to Chesler Park: Why Access to Canyonlands National Park Remains Limited
By Clyde L. Denis


David B. Danbom, ed., Bridging the Distance: Common Issues of the Rural West. Reviewed by R. Douglas Hurt

Marian Wardle and Sarah E. Boehme, eds., Branding the American West: Paintings and Films, 1900-1950. Reviewed by James R. Swensen

Richard L. Saunders, ed., Dale Morgan on the Mormons: Collected Works Part 2, 1949-1970. Reviewed by Curt Bench

Diana L. Ahmad, Success Depends on the Animals: Emigrants, Livestock, and Wild Animals on the Overland Trails, 1840-1869. Reviewed by Jeff Nichols


James A. Toronto, Eric R. Dursteler, and Michael W. Homer, Mormons in the Piazza: History of the Latter-day Saints in Italy

Martha Bradley-Evans, Glorious in Persecution: Joseph Smith, American Prophet, 1839-1844


NHPA 50 Year Anniversary

Join the nationwide celebration for the 50th Anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) in 2016. This Act transformed the face of communities throughout the United States and Utah by establishing a framework and incentives to preserve historic buildings, landscapes, and archaeological sites.  Coordinated through Preservation50.org, the nationwide celebration is designed to inform and engage all ages and backgrounds in this significant law’s effects on local communities and history. Since 1966, the NHPA has shaped preservation efforts on America’s history and culture while generating positive social and economic impacts. In 2015, the Utah State Historic Preservation Office (formed in 1973) gathered stakeholders to organize a year of events and to gather engaging stories and media for the celebration.

This website is a portal to a year of events and activities that cover all corners of Utah.

Events Calendar     Media     Preservation Apps     Links     Partners


Shipwreck at the Great Salt Lake


2017 Utah State History Conference

Local Matters

October 10-11, 2017

In 2017, we’re focusing on Local Matters—and local can be broadly defined.

Our annual conference will examine the many strands that create the fabric of communities, such as festivals, buildings, schools, or the arts.

We’ll also discuss the uses of local history and the application of sophisticated methodology to personal, family, and community history.

Workshops will focus on strategies for local organizations, oral history, historic preservation, and community histories.


Tuesday, October 10th
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Rio Grande Depot, 300 S. Rio Grande Street, Salt Lake City

Wednesday, October 12th
8:00 am -5:00 pm
Plenary, lunchtime keynote and awards presentation, history and panel sessions
Utah Cultural Celebration Center, 1355 West 3100 South, West Valley

*A detailed schedule will be posted in July

The Utah State Historical Society invites the public, scholars, students, policymakers, and organizations to submit proposals for papers, panels, or multimedia presentations on the theme Local Matters. This is both a call for papers and a call for the participation of community organizations such as museums, preservation groups, and historical societies.

Utah History Day On The Hill

On Friday, January 27, thirty middle- and high-school students from Logan, Price, Layton, Salt Lake, Alpine, Orem, Beaver, and Montezuma Creek will be the featured guests at Utah History Day on the Hill. The Division of State History is thrilled to host these exceptional young people, who are participants in Utah’s National History Day program.

These youth have done extensive historical research on important topics, presenting their work in the form of exhibits, documentaries, performances, websites, or papers. They were members of Utah’s National History Day delegation this past June, traveling to Washington, D.C., to compete in this prestigious academic event.

Projects on display at the Capitol will include:

St. Eustatius: The Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange that Won the Revolution, by Jacob Simmons, Albion Middle School

Long Walk of the Navajo: The 1864 Encounter at Hwéeldi and its Impacts on Dinétah,
by Kami Atcitty, Kaia Jay, and Esperanza Lee, Albert R. Lyman Middle School

George Catlin’s Native American Encounters: A Gift of Artistic Preservation, by Maren Burgess –8th Place, Senior Individual Exhibit, National History Day 2016

The Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, by Saige Hinds, Eliza Lewis, and Daniela Meneses

The Rebirth of Literature: Shakespeare’s Encounter, Exploration, and Exchange of Ideas, by Tessa Atwood, Katie Snow, Mercedez Clifford, Zoey Kourianos, Tyler Pierce, Carbon High School

Helen Foster Snow: American Journalist in the Chinese Revolution, by Daniel Nelson and Spencer Standing, Lakeridge Junior High. 5th Place, Junior Individual Website, National History Day 2016

Interagency Task Force

harvest_timeSince the late 1980’s, the Utah State Historic Preservation Office, housed within the Utah Division of State History (UDSH), has organized and convened the “Interagency Task Force” (ITF). Since its inception, the mission, direction, and membership have fluctuated, but the main goal remains consistent: to convene preservation and archaeological professionals from State and federal agencies, and others, to join in an informal dialogue about current issues in Utah.

Loosely organized with no formal bylaws, the Interagency Task Force promotes cooperation, data sharing, and professional discussion of topics relevant to both archaeologists and preservationists of the built environment. Recent topics in the ITF have included modifying the archaeological site form for Utah, emergency preparedness and resource sharing between agencies, archaeological site stewardship programs,  sharing ideas for improving tribal consultation from the agencies, dissemination of changes to policy and guidance, state permitting and licensing, data sharing agreements, and current plans for increasing community preservation efforts.

Participants in the ITF are fluid but usually include architectural historians, archaeologists, program leads, and others from federal agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Army Corps of Engineers, US Air Force, US Army mixed with state agency leads from State Trust Lands, Wildlife Resources, National Guard, State Parks, Oil, Gas, and Mining, Utah Department of Transportation, among others. Recently, the ITF expanded to include an archaeologist from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has recently become deeply engaged in Section 106 consultation efforts as a consulting party.

With no formal bylaws, meeting minutes, or decision points, the ITF has been an effective and easily organized means of promoting inter-agency cooperation on a host of projects well beyond the three-hour meeting every quarter. Improved communication, resource sharing, and a sense of a growing and interlinked community are among the many benefits of the ITF.

Utah on the National Register

NRHPBook_Page_01The National Register of Historic Places only exists because of its association with the federal National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and it is turning 50 years old in 2016.

This book is a small selection of Utah’s contribution to historic preservation work.

Historic Contexts

Historic contexts are a formal tool to  help agencies, consultants, and the public to understand and assess the range of variation within a certain region, period, or resource type. These documents form a strong foundation for assessing the significance of a cultural resource for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. The Utah State Historic Preservation Office (UT-SHPO) is happy to include existing but hard to find resources on this website, and will be expanded as new contexts are made available. For many of these documents below there are additional materials at the Utah Division of State History’s office at 300 S. Rio Grande St., Salt Lake City, Utah.

The National Park Service’s National Register Bulletins provide the core description on how to develop and employ a historic context, so please be sure to visit their website for more information. Specifically, Barbara Wyatt of the National Park Service created a short white paper that succinctly describes what is in a historic context and how to use it, and it can be found by clicking here.

If you have any questions or comments on these please contact the UT-SHPO’s resident context wrangler: Elizabeth Hora-Cook at ehora@utah.gov

Broad Overview Contexts (Multi-Resource Type)

Architectural Contexts

General Domestic or Other Contexts

Public Buildings Contexts

Religious Architectural Contexts

Industrial or Engineering Related Contexts

United States Forest Service in Utah Contexts

Archaeological Contexts*

*Some reports above might have been redacted per state or federal data protections on archaeological site locations.

Ethnographic Contexts

2016 State History Conference Sessions

Missed out on the 2016 State History Conference “Rural Utah, Western Issues”? Below are some select sessions that were recorded.

Historical Perspectives on the Public Lands Debate in the American West

  • Leisl Carr Childers is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Northern Iowa where she coordinates the Public History program and teaches the American West.
  • Joseph E. Taylor III is a professor of history at Simon Fraser University. He has written broadly about gentrification and the struggles to control access to natural resources. He is currently mapping the history of transfer payments to western counties for activities occurring on federal lands.

Early Rural Utah in the Uinta Basin

  • Lee Kreutzer (chair)
  • Elizabeth Hora-Cook: Public Spaces and Private Places: The Construction of Social Landscapes in Jones Hole Canyon, Utah
  • Judson Byrd Finley: The Fremont Archaeology of Dinosaur National Monument: Fifty Years after Breternitz

Industrial and Natural Landscapes

  • Nelson Knight (chair)
  • Mark Karpinski: Utah Coal Company Towns: Rural Towns Created to Fuel Western Urbanization
  • Susie Petheram: The Jordan River Then and Now: From Rural Resource to Urban Resource
  • Jessica F. Montcalm: Echoes from the Camp: Sego as a Case Study in Identifying and Industrial Landscape

New Methods, Historical Innovation

  • Gregory C. Thompson (chair)
  • Justin Sorensen: Exploring Utah’s Nuclear History through the Downwinders of Utah Archive
  • Cami Ann Dilg: The past that was differs little from the past that was not”: Pictographs and Petroglyphs in Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West
  • Kenneth P. Cannon: Across the Desert: The Archaeology of the Chinese Railroad Workers, Box Elder County, Utah

The Personal and the Political

  • Colleen Whitley (chair)
  • Devan Jensen and Kenneth L. Alford: Cynthia Park Stowell: Wife of a Utah War POW
  • Walter R. Jones: A Tragic Set of Events in Early-Twentieth-Century Rural Uinta County, Wyoming
  • Kenneth L. Cannon II: Frank Cannon, the Salt Lake Tribune, and the Alta Club

Voices from the Desert: Rural Issues in Southeastern Utah

  • Panel: Robert S. McPherson (moderator and panelist), Winston Hurst, Rick Eldredge, Mike Noel

Participants will address the loss and acquisition of land by Native Americans; the use and abuse of Ancestral Puebloan sites and artifacts; the multifaceted issues of law enforcement in a complex, disputed environment; and the impact of the Grand-Staircase Monument on residents twenty years after its inception. Moving from past to present, panelists will share views on how history has shaped contemporary issues.

World War I in Rural Utah

  • Robert S. Voyles (chair)
  • Kerry William Bate: Kanarraville Women Fight World War I
  • Robert S. McPherson: Native American Reaction to World War I
  • Allan Kent Powell: World War I in Castle Valley: The Impact of the War on Carbon and Emery Counties

2016 State History Conference Workshop Schedule

Online registration is now closed.

**Conference At A Glance

Thursday, Sept. 29th, 2016
Conference Workshops/Seminars
Rio Grande Depot


9:00 am – noon







Seminar (Zephyr Room)  (SEMINAR IS FULL)
Megan van Frank and Jedediah Rogers

Oral history is a powerful tool for people to understand their family stories and community history. Whether used for scholarly research, finding community stories, or fleshing out one’s family history, oral history provides unusual access to stories not otherwise known or in danger of being lost. This workshop will provide a focused introduction to the art and craft of oral history: to the philosophical underpinnings of the discipline—what it can, and cannot, tell us about the past—and to the nuts and bolts of executing successful oral history projects. Participants will learn how to make pre-interview preparations, interact with interviewees, conduct interviews, and transcribe and archive recorded interviews. They will receive experiential practice preparing probing questions, conducting an interview, and editing an oral history transcript. An orientation to the Utah Humanities and Utah Division of State History joint oral history program will also be provided.

Megan van Frank directs community history and museums programming for Utah Humanities.
Jedediah Rogers is a Senior State Historian at the Utah Division of State History and co-managing editor of the Utah Historical Quarterly.

Co-sponsored by Utah Humanities.






Workshop (West Lecture Room) (WORKSHOP IS FULL)
Roger Roper and Cory Jensen

This workshop session will address the basic components—and many of the nuances—of evaluating historic buildings. It will cover assessments of historic integrity, evaluations of significance (National Register eligibility), the affects of additions and alterations, and appropriate and inappropriate rehabilitation work. The wide-ranging discussion should be of interest to cultural resource professionals as well as amateur old-building aficionados.

Part I, Historic Building Evaluations, will address a wide variety of issues and examples related to the following:

  • Assessing the historic integrity of buildings and structures, including the effect of alterations and additions. Can “really significant” properties absorb more changes without losing their integrity? How can the “seven aspects of integrity” be applied most effectively? What other tools and cues can be used to make valid assessments?
  • Evaluating the National Register eligibility of historic properties. How much information is needed to make an appropriate evaluation? Does the evaluation process vary depending on which criteria you are trying to use? How “final” are evaluations? Under what circumstances can evaluations be changed?
  • Assessing “effects” of undertakings for Section 106 purposes. What types of impacts trigger “adverse effects”? Do those same types of impacts affect a property’s historic integrity or National Register eligibility? Would any of those impacts ever be allowed on a certified rehabilitation tax credit project?
  • Using “phased documentation” to assess historic properties incrementally, as funding and other needs dictate. When is it appropriate to “make a call” on integrity and eligibility without full documentation? Are there legal ramifications or procedural improprieties in doing so?

Part II, “What’s New with the Old National Register,” goes beyond the basics of conducting historic building surveys and preparing National Register nominations. It focuses more on some of the nuances involved in both processes, things that can either trip you up or smooth your path to project completion. It also addresses recent issues and trends that have emerged either nationally or statewide, including using online resources for conducting “digital surveys” and conducting historical research.

Roger Roper is a Deputy SHPO and historic preservation program coordinator for the Utah Division of State History (Utah SHPO).

Cory Jensen is the National Register and architectural survey coordinator for the Utah Division of State History (Utah SHPO)..






Seminar (Utah State Archives Training Room 346 S. Rio Grande St) (SEMINAR IS FULL)

Christina Epperson and Tessie Burningham

We will show you how to find our historical data-sets and map gallery, both available online. Participants will learn about different online resources for historical aerial imagery and learn steps to overlay a historical map onto Google Earth. Then we will give a brief introduction to a free mapping program called ArcGIS online and review the capabilities and resources available for historians.

Christina Epperson is GIS Analyst, Utah Division of State History
Tessie Burningham is Records Assistant with the Antiquities Section, Utah Division of State History

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.






Workshop (Zephyr Room)
Elizabeth Hora-Cook and Deb Miller

The Utah Division of State History (UDSH) announces a new teacher training workshop as a part of the Utah State History Conference. This workshop will present a complete module that introduces students to Utah prehistory, develops evidence-based critical thinking skills, and embodies an important message about archaeological stewardship. As a part of UDSH’s mission to preserve and share the past, we designed a 90 minute module that can articulate with 4th and 7th grade social studies curriculums. The workshop will introduce teachers to Utah prehistory and provide instruction for how to use the teaching module. We will offer free materials during the training and direct educators to other online teaching resources.

Elizabeth Hora-Cook is Cultural Compliance Reviewer with the Antiquities Section, Utah Division of State History.
Deb Miller is GIS Specialist and Assistant Archaeology Records Manager, Utah Division of State History.