Utah Historic Sites
Utahns are known for the loving care with which they preserve homes, buildings, and other sites of historic significance. This section is only an overview of the state's heritage and cultural offerings. When visiting any part of the state, inquire locally about other historic sites and buildings.
The Golden Spike National Historic Site at Promontory is located 32 miles west of Brigham City, (435) 471-2209. The Golden Spike was driven in 1869 to celebrate the completion of the nation's first transcontinental railroad.
This boom town from the 1850s, when Johnston's army was stationed at Camp Floyd, is 20 miles southwest of Lehi via state route 73. It is the site of Stagecoach Inn State Park, which was an overnight stop on the historic overland stage and Pony Express route. The two-story adobe and frame hotel, restored with original period furnishings, is open daily in summer, (801) 768-8932.
Logan and Vicinity
With many historic mansions and one of Utah's finest old railroad stations (now a up-scale southwestern restaurant), Logan's Center Street has been designated a National Historic District, (435) 752-2161. Read more about Historic Logan.
In Garden City, a historic marker designates a portion of the first Oregon Trail, and Rendezvous Beach on Bear Lake is near the location where the Rocky Mountain Fur Company held mountain man rendezvous' beginning in 1826, (435) 752-2161.
Ogden's 25th Street is remembered as an intriguing place of excitement and variety. Saloons and bordellos stood side by side with more conventional businesses which thrived on Ogden's status as a railroad hub. Today, 25th Street offers a glimpse into the past with the opportunity to enjoy unique shops, antique stores and restaurants, (801) 627-8288.
The Egyptian Theatre on Washington Blvd. in Ogden was built in 1924. It is noted for its rococo terra cotta exterior. It has been renovated to serve as a state-of-the-art performance venue and the centerpiece of the Ogden Eccles Conference Center, (801) 395-3200.
On Antelope Island, accessed via a causeway from I-15 near Layton, the Fielding Garr Ranch House was built in 1848 and lived-in until 1981, making it the oldest continuously occupied Anglo-built home in Utah. Call for information on guided tours and activity schedules, (801) 773-2941.
Main Street is the heart of this sprawling resort town. Harkening back to the city's early days as a silver mining boomtown, restored buildings on the street house purveyors of food and drink, as well as chic shops and galleries.
Salt Lake City
On top of the hill at the northern end of State Street is the Utah State Capitol building completed in 1914 and patterned after the nation's capitol. A brochure is available detailing features of the building's interior. Guided tours are offered most of the year.
Directly across the street to the south of the State Capitol is Council Hall, home of the Utah Travel Council. Built in the 1860s as Salt Lake City Hall, it was dismantled brick by brick in 1963 and moved to Capitol Hill.
On the western side of Capitol Hill is the Marmalade Historic District, or Fruit Tree Streets where many original pioneer-era homes are located, (801) 533-0858.
Memory Grove at the mouth of City Creek Canyon, just east of the State Capitol and within walking distance of downtown Salt Lake City, is dedicated to Utah's war dead.
At the southern access to Memory Grove and City Creek Canyon (North Temple and State Sts), City Creek Park and the adjacent Brigham Young Memorial Park provide pleasant open space in a busy city center. The parks celebrate historic aspects of City Creek and vicinity.
South Temple Street is lined with many historic churches including the Rhenish Gothic-styled Cathedral of the Madeleine, 331 E South Temple, built in 1909, (801) 328-8941. A red sandstone exterior marks the First Presbyterian Church at South Temple and "C" Streets, (801) 363-3889.
Once the most fashionable street in the city, South Temple also has numerous elegant mansions, most notably, the Kearns Mansion, 603 E South Temple. It was built in 1902 as the residence of mining magnate Thomas Kearns. It is now the official residence of Utah's Governor. A fire caused by faulty holiday lights in December of 1993 damaged much of the mansion. During renovation, the original color scheme and ornamentation were re-created. Tours are offered,(801) 538-1005).
One block off South Temple Street, the Cathedral Church of St. Mark, 231 E 100 South, was built in 1871, making it Utah's oldest non-Mormon church. It is also the third oldest Episcopal cathedral in the United States, (801) 322-3400.
The City and County Building on Washington Square between 400 and 500 South on State Street was an early encampment for Mormon settlers. After Utah became the nation's 45th state in 1896, this impressive building served as the State Capitol for 19 years.
At 279 S. 300 West, the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity was built in 1923, replacing a church built during 1905, the year the Greek Community of Utah was first organized, (801) 328-9681.
This area, west of the Salt Lake Valley, is one of the few places in the nation where motorists can see and drive portions of the Lincoln Highway, the first coast-to-coast "motor road" for automobile travel in the United States. Construction of the 3,389 mile highway, named for Abraham Lincoln, began in 1913. By 1927, the route stretched from New York City to San Francisco, passing through twelve states. In many areas, the "highway"was little more than a one-lane dirt road, but several stretches in Tooele County have changed little since they were built in the 1920s. A detailed brochure is available, (435) 882-6581 or (435) 882-0690.
On the Pony Express Trail between Vernon and the Nevada border, signs mark original Pony Express stations, (435) 882-0690.
Nothing much remains of Topaz War Relocation Center, eight miles west of Delta. A monument in Delta City Park honors the memory of 10,000 Japanese Americans who lived at Topaz during World War II, (435) 864-4316.
Mormon colonizer Brigham Young chose the settlement of Fillmore to be the seat of territorial government - and eventually the state capital - practically before there were any settlers in the area. He planned a state with cities radiating from Fillmore like the spokes on a wagon wheel. The Territorial Statehouse had barely been completed when it was judged impractical to have a capital city 150 miles south of the territory's major population center. The Territorial Statehouse is now a state park and museum, (435) 864-4316.
The former Piute County Courthouse, located on US 89 in Junction, was built in 1903. Its stately architecture is reminiscent of the Victorian era. The building is listed on the State and National Historic Registers and is being renovated for use as a community center.
The Canyon of Gold driving tour begins at the Fishlake National Forest boundary in Bullion Canyon west of Marysvale and continues up the canyon for 2 miles. A brochure, available at the trailhead, interprets ten historic mining features including Miner's Park with a quarter-mile walk through remnants of the canyon's rich mining era.
This small pioneer-era town is the only incorporated city in Utah where every building is on the National Historic Register. The city has since become an arts colony of sorts, but its historic designation remains intact. A self-guided tour map is available locally, (435) 283-4321.
Vernal and Vicinity
In northeastern Utah, at Browns Park near the mouth of Jesse Ewing Canyon, the BLM's John Jarvie Historical Property has a stone house, dugout, buildings, cemetery and pioneer artifacts.
The Oscar Swett Ranch, listed on the National Historic Register as a capsule of frontier life, was one of the last homesteading efforts in Utah. It is 1/2 mile north on US 191 off state route 44.
Still standing, about 6 miles east of the Dinosaur National Monument Quarry, is the cabin of cowgirl Josie Morris, who was linked with Butch Cassidy and other outlaws, (435) 789-2115.
Green River City straddles the river for which it was named. The city's location is significant as it is the site of a centuries-old river crossing along the historic Spanish Trail, (435) 564-3600.
Nine Mile Canyon
Nine Mile Canyon was a major freight route in the 1800s. A small freight stop featuring a hotel and post office was built at Harper. One of the earliest homes built of stone is still standing. Nutter Ranch, one of the original ranching establishments in the canyon, is still worked and some of the original buildings have been preserved. This canyon boasts one of the highest concentrations of ancient rock art of any spot in the world. Hundreds of figures can be seen on the canyon walls; most are from the Fremont culture.
Settlements were established along the Price River in the late 1870s. Early activities included farming and ranching. Soon mining and railroad work also became important. Helper became known as the town of "57 Varieties" because of the ethnic diversity the mines and railroad attracted. There are many historic sites in these towns. The nearby Castle Gate Mines had the distinction of being robbed by the outlaw gang of Butch Cassidy.
San Rafael Swell
The "Swell" is so rugged it was virtually uncrossable until modern I-70 was blasted through its heart. It channeled travelers north into the Price area. Cattlemen ran stock on the Swell's plateaus and outlaws hid in its rugged canyons. The Swasey Cabin still stands and there are other evidences of early ranching.
The town of Beaver has a designated National Historic District with over 30 significant buildings from log cabins to unique basalt rock houses, (435) 438-2975.
Bryce Canyon National Park
The Bryce Canyon Lodge is a National Historic Landmark, and recently underwent restoration of its grand rustic-style lobby, and other areas. Many of the park's other buildings are also on the National Register.
Capitol Reef National Park
Some of Capitol Reef's most delightful surprises are the remnants of the tiny town of Fruita. Farm equipment, weathered buildings, and a one-room schoolhouse are spread among orchards originally planted by Mormon settlers in the 1800s, (435) 425-3791.
BLM's Wolverton Mill is a log structure once used to mill wood and crush ore. It is one of very few mills in the country constructed and used to perform both of these functions, (435) 542-3461.
St. George has a lovely historic district with streets lined by tall, leafy trees. A walking tour brochure is available at the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce, 97 E St. George Blvd, (435) 628-1658.
Moab and Vicinity
Thirty-five miles northeast of Moab on state route 128 is the Dewey Bridge, a single-lane cable suspension bridge built across the Colorado River in 1916. It was used by vehicles until 1986.
Monticello's Old Log Church, a replica of the original which was built in 1888, has been constructed in Pioneer Park in downtown Monticello. The site also has a faithful reproduction of a typical pioneer-era cabin.
A 1913 Big Four tractor is displayed in City Park at Main and Central.
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
In Monument Valley, Goulding's Trading Post and museum recreate life in the 1920s, and document the valley's starring roles in movies and television through the decades.
Nine miles west of Goulding's is the Oljato Trading Post, which is on the National and State Registers of Historic Places.
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