Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fillmore State House

Over the years I have gone back and forth along the I-15 Freeway. I have stopped in Fillmore a few times to get something to eat or get gas and such but never really stopped and looked around in the town.
Then one day it dawned on me that Fillmore was at one the time the State Capitol and so I decided that I would stop and take a little time and check it out.

It was time well spent!

Looking back, on July 24, 1847 the main body of the first group of Mormon pioneers arrived in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake or the Great Basin.

The pioneers went to work immediately to start planting crops and building shelters but Brigham Young also sent groups out in all directions to explore and gather knowledge of the surrounding territory. They were looking for knowledge about the availability of materials and resources and also looking for other places that would be good locations for more settlements.

The Salt Lake Valley was the headquarters but Brigham Young was looking ahead and anticipating many more pioneers following after the first groups. And follow they did and for many as they arrived they were dispersed by Brigham to the surrounding areas, north, south, east and west, to start other settlements and to build up the country around.

Just four years after arriving in the Great Basin, in 1851, then Governor Brigham Young stuck his cane into the dirt on a spot and declared it to be the site of the new State Capitol, but not of Utah.
It was to be the capital of the new State of Deseret and the new capital was 150 miles south of the Salt Lake settlements. The State of Deseret was envisioned by Brigham Young as a place where the Saints could thrive and grow. The place he designated for the state capital was a central location of what would have been a huge state.

Deseret was to be somewhat square and about 500 miles across. It was to incorporate all of present day Utah, part of Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, and Idaho.

The town for the State House and new Capital was named Fillmore and it was in Millard County. The names were given the area after the US President Millard Fillmore.

Truman O. Angell the architect for the Salt Lake Temple was to design and plan for a grand State House which he did however the first wing of that State House was all that was ever built.

That building was used for only 3 sessions of the State Legislature from the years 1855 to 1858, and that was all. It was decided that the area was developing too slowly and it was just too far from the center of activity which was in Valley of the Great Salt Lake.

They had dances here also, of course they called them balls!

So the capital moved to Salt Lake City.
But the building in Fillmore has been restored and is now a Utah State Museum. It houses a large collection of pioneer artifacts and furniture and other interesting objects from the history of the area. There is also a great collection of photographs of the early settlers and leaders.

The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It sits in a very nice park like setting and there are also some other building on the site from that era.

There is a school house that was one of the first schools in the area and some log cabins are there to see also.

If you are traveling either north or south on I-15 it is a nice diversion to stop and take a step back into the history of this State of Utah.

There are two exits from the freeway one on each end of town. It is also a pleasant drive to just take the road from one end of town to the other.

I LOVE TO DRIVE! (and sightsee)