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Historian unravels mystery of someone buried near Brigham Young

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Historians have lit A few minor mysteries surround the Salt Lake City tomb of the prophet Brigham Young of Mormon.

Crews from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are undergoing renovations to the small cemetery on Boulevard Boulevard, with work including the addition of improved lighting and other improvements aimed at better protect historic sites from the recent increase in vandalism and trespassing.

A church history conservationist told city officials earlier this year.

Church officials have since declined to release details of comments made about the graves of Emily Utt, a Utah-based curator of historic sites for the faith, made in July. for the city. Historical Marking Committee in its assessment of innovation work.

But a retired church historian who has studied relics of Utah’s pioneering past said the findings were not a surprise. Randy Dixon said that nearly 48 graves listed on the burial list and death records linked to the family cemetery located at 140 E. First Avenue, including his wife, children, grandchildren and a few neighbors. of the leader of Latter-day Saints polygamy.

According to Dixon, the radar survey was not intended to locate all of the cemetery’s burial grounds, but rather to pinpoint locations within areas where roads, trees and perimeter fences are located. The cemetery’s wrought iron is being overhauled.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brigham Young Family Cemetery, 140 E. First Avenue, on Saturday, November 27, 2021.

Dixon, who has retired to the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, said the burial at the cemetery, located on land Young once owned, before the powerful leader’s death in 1877 The third part of an estate was put to good use after he became a monk for large family members and those associated with his surviving large household.

“Over the years, those markers deteriorated and disappeared, but at this point anyway, they’re not trying to identify all the other burials,” he said. “They just wanted to make sure it wouldn’t disturb anything in the area they were working in.”

As with Temple Square A row of houses to the west, the frontier cemetery, now surrounded by houses and apartments, is being improved, according to church plans unveiled at City Hall.

As part of the replacement of its distinct mature stone walkways, walls, lights and trees, church officials applied for approval in April to increase the height of the wrought-iron fence 32 inches of decoration around the cemetery, also known as the Mormon Pioneer Memorial.

Church officials sought to raise the fence 5 to 9.5 feet as an added security measure due to an increase in vandalism over the past two years, including graffiti by Young and stole some stele.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Aerial view of Brigham Young Family Cemetery, 140 E. First Avenue, on Saturday, November 27, 2021.

Brigham Young Family Cemetery is designated a historic landmark in the city’s Avenue Historic District. That gives the Historic Places Commission authority over the proposed changes, and committee members refused in July and September to approve plans to change the church’s fence.

The wrought iron fence atop a stone wall surrounding the cemetery and a similar enclosure around Young’s tomb were both designed and engineered by William J. Silver, a successful ironworks operator in Salt Lake City.

Although they expressed sympathy for the security concerns, committee members and city staff concluded that the church’s plan to temporarily weld the new wrought iron bar to the bottom of the existing fence and then that reattached that taller structure to the stone wall surrounding the cemetery “without any historical basis.”

Then, around Thanksgiving, when the church unsuccessfully appealed the committee’s ruling, the fence disappeared from the cemetery, apparently in violation of a city order to approve other work at the site.

In documents filed three days before Christmas, officials essentially asked for permission retroactively with a request for approval. “We propose removing the perimeter fence to make the necessary repairs and improve structural performance,” church officials wrote — after the fence had disappeared.

“This repair is easier to do in a shop than on site,” they write, noting that the removal will also save neighbors from the noise of sandblasting and painting the fence and reduce “potential damage to other features of the website”.

“Each section of the fence will be labeled and cataloged prior to removal to ensure that all sections will be reinstalled in their original locations,” church officials wrote. Similar care will be taken, they said, with a smaller fence surrounding Young’s white grave, which was also removed over Thanksgiving.

Off-site work on the perimeter fence includes lengthening its anchor points in the rock wall, according to application, replacing and repairing missing or damaged sections and removing some shaped brackets. L-shaped was added to the fence over the years.

And according to the city’s December 22 approval of the request, no changes have been made to the current fence height.

In a statement released on December 7, a church spokesman said, “the historic wrought-iron fence surrounding the cemetery has been carefully removed and is being temporarily stored outside the cemetery. member for safety.”

“It will be restored and reinstalled as part of the project,” the spokesperson said. Meanwhile, a 6-foot chain link perimeter fence remained encircled the cemetery on Monday as renovation work continued.

https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2021/12/28/historian-clears-up/ Historian unravels mystery of someone buried near Brigham Young

Mike Sullivan

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