Provo Once Thought it Should Be Utah’s Capitol City


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Provo Once Thought it Should Be Utah’s Capitol City.

Provo grew rapidly during the 1880s and 1890s.  Many of the old brick business buildings along University Avenue and  Center Street were built during this boom period and local pride soared.  Many residents thought Provo could be more than a regional business leader; they aspired to make it Utah’s capital city.

During a December, 1891, meeting of the Provo Chamber of Commerce, some civic leaders pointed out that that metropolis and commercial center of a state was nearer Utah’s geographical and population center than Salt Lake City was, and great possibilities for development lay in south and eastern Utah.

Provo Mayor John E. Booth presented a resolution to the territorial legislature in 1892 in which he offered land where BYU’s Maeser Building now stands as the site for the Capitol Building.  Booth and others claimed the site was much prettier than the site proposed in Salt Lake City, and it would be easier to bring water to it.  People in Provo started a subscription that was to be used to improve the grounds.  For several years, local people referred to the site in Provo as Capitol Hill.

In 1894, Mayor Booth presented a bill in the territorial legislature asking that the capitol be moved to Provo.  At this point, Salt Lake City offered land on Arsenal Hill to the state free of charge, and the city’s leaders stated that the building of the capitol in Salt Lake City would offer work to the city’s poor.  The legislature failed to pass a bill establishing a site for the capital.

Provo made a last ditch effort to become Utah’s capital city in 1895 by proposing that the question should be brought to the vote of the people.  This notion was rejected and the legislature chose Salt lake City as the capital.  Provo reluctantly gave up the fight to become the capital, but not the notion that she was worthy of it.

This marker is #35 in a series, see the others on this page.

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Union Cemetery


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The Union Cemetery in Sandy.

Location: 1455 East Creek Road, Sandy, UT

Text from DUP Marker #155 reads:

Rufus Forbush buried his wife, Polly Clark, at this spot on 22 August 1851. In 1852, after several victims of a Black Smallpox epidemic had been buried here, he contributed the land for use as a pioneer cemetery and many of the prominent early citizens of Union were buried here. All official records are lost but the restorers of the cemetery have been able to identify the graves of 48 adults, 72 children and 20 persons of undetermined age.

Green and Martha Flake are buried here, two of the first 3 African American people to join the LDS Church and to come into the Salt Lake Valley.

There is a plaque for the Olaus Johnson Family reading:

Olaus Johnson, a twin, was born November 17, 1833, to Johan Olsen (Heggum) and Karen Olsen (Winnes) in Nordstand, Royken-Buskerud, Norway.  At the age of nine, he went into the fishing trade with his father and at fifteen, he left to become a sailor.  After six years, he was commissioned as a “captain.”  He lived on the sea until he was twenty-nine years old.

Olaus and his family were converted to the L.D.S. Church and migrated to Utah in September of 1863; along with Anna Helena Dyresen, Marie Hansen, Martin Mattias Olsen, Amphion (Olsen) Johnson, Little Olsen, and Charles Kalo Ingelinn Olsen.  Olaus and Anna Helena Dyresen Amundsen (daughter of Dyre Amundsen and Gjretude Marie Olsen) were married in Echo Canyon September 9, 1863, prior to arriving in the Salt Lake valley.  They settled in South Cottonwood and later moved to West Jordan where they lived in a dugout.  They later lived for a period of two years in Mill Creek, and then back again to West Jordan.  In 1866, they moved again to South Cottonwood.  During this period, their first son drowned in an irrigation ditch.

More immigrants came from Norway in the fall if 1864.  Included was Paulina Thomasen (Thomasdatter), daughter of Thomas Syverson and Marie Pederson, who came to live with the Johnsons.  Olaus and Paulina were married on Jamuary 13, 1867.  Due to the U.S. anti-polygamy raids, he was forced to hide out most of the time.  Following a period in California, he finally returned and turned himself over to the authorities and as a result, spent six months in the penitentiary.

Prior to his death on March 22, 1922, Olaus served two missions for the L.D.S. Church.  He was a skilled craftsman and spent most of his life as a carpenter, mason, and farmer.  Olaus is buried in the Murray City Cemetery.

This is listed on the SUP Marker list as # J-1 and is on the DUP Marker list as #155.

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Wight’s Fort Cemetery


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Wight’s Fort Cemetery

Early Pioneers displayed determination of spirit and purpose, even death, disaster, or elements of nature could not drive them away.  About 1853, on a small knoll just south of Wight’s Fort, an Indian baby was buried.  The first West Jordan pioneer child to die was a son, born to Lyman and Harriet Bateman Wight.  He was buried next to the Indian infant.  There two graves were the beginning of the Wight’s Fort Cemetery.

Trees and shrubs were planted to provide protection from drifting sand and to provide cooling share over the graves of the early settlers.

Sadly, many of the native sandstone headstones and markers have eroded with time, but the memories of these stalwart early settlers live on in the hearts of their descendants.

We honor the resting place of many of the early settlers of Wight’s Fort, especially the original families listed in order of their arrival:  John Bennion, Samuel Bennion, Lewis Wight, Lyman and Harriet Bateman Wight, Charles Wight, John Irving and Mary Street Bateman, Joseph Stacy, J.H. Murdock, John Loveless, John Elmer Cutler and Sheldon Cutler.

See also:

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Wight’s Fort Cemetery


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Wight’s Fort Cemetery

In the fall of 1854, construction on a fort began about 100 yards northwest of this cemetery.  The uncertainty caused by the Walker Indian War and Brigham Young’s urging to “Fort Up” had created a flurry of fort building that year.  This fort was constructed from stones, med, and logs, the walls being twelve feet high.  The fort enclosed two and one-half acres, seven log cabins, several other buildings and a part of Bingham Creek, which at that time had a “nice flow of water.”  The fort was named for the Lewis and Nancy Wight family including two sons.  With the Wights were John Irving, Joseph Stacy, J.H. Murdock, John Loveless, John Elmer, and Sheldon Cutler who worked on the fort through the winter.  The fort was finished and occupied by the spring of 1855.

The cemetery was located on this site after the pioneers had discovered the grave of an Indian baby.  Lewis’ son, Lyman and his wife, Harriet, buried their firstborn child near the Indian grave.  Later John Irving buried his son here also.  From that point, the area became a community burial ground.  There are many unmarked graves.

See also:

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Log Cabin Grist Mill


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During the winter of 1850-51, Arza and Sabina Adams moved their family of seven children here from Mill Creek, Salt Lake Valley. They built a log cabin across the street east of where you stand. Journals tell that Arza built a Grist Mill near his log cabin. Arza learned how to build and operate flour mills from his father, Capt. Joshua Adams, in Ontario, Canada. The Adams Flour Mill was the first to produce baking flour for American Fork families. In 1833 Arza moved the water wheel, mill stones and other workings 4½ blocks north of here and built a larger mill near the Lake City Fort. During his lifetime, Arza also built and operated a third flour mill one mile north of town.

No photographs exist of the original 1851 mill. The log cabin and water wheel in front of you is a replication of that grist mill. Arza Adams built this log cabin at 234 North 100 East, American Fork in 1880. It became the home of his daughter, Bets Adams Robinson. The cabin was taken down log by log in 2012 and reassembled on this site in 2014. The water wheel is a replica of a wheel built in the mid 1800s. This park property originally belonged to Stephen Chipman who was Arza’s maternal uncle.

This Log Cabin Grist Mill stands as a Historical Monument of American Fork City and a tribute to Arza Adams, pioneer miller and one of the co-founders of this city.

SUP Monument dedicated July 11, 2015 by Daniel K. Adams, Arza’s Great-Grandson.

This is located in Centennial Park in American Fork.
See other historic markers in the series on this page for SUP Markers.

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First Flour Mill


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First Flour Mill, American Fork

Location: 49 East 200 North, American Fork, UT, on the same block where the second Arza Adams mill was located next to the millstream.


Arza Adams (1804-1889), pioneer millwright from Canada, came to Utah Valley with other pioneers to settle this area in 1850, soon after the first pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Arza built a waterpowered “grist” mill on the adjacent creek to turn a pair of mill stones to grind wheat into flour. The mill stone atop this monument was used in Arza’s first mill located at 3rd South Center St. (See Adams history plaque at A.F. Cemetery Pioneer Mon.)

In 1853, Brigham Young directed pioneer settlers to build forts to avoid conflict with Native Americans. Arza relocated his flour mill upstream just north of the Lake City Fort (American Fork), located about 450 feet south of this monument. New machinery and other improvements were added to that flour mill pictured here (photo drawing by Gail Gibson). In the 1880’s Arza built another mill about a mile north of American Fork on this same creek.

The history of grinding seeds with stones is very ancient. The Native Americans here in Utah Valley, known as Timpanogos Utes, used grinding stones like the ones shown below this monument. These stones came from the Doyle Smith farm near Utah Lake. The basin stone is called a metate, and the hand-held stone is called a mano. The Native Americans shared their locally adapted seeds, such as beans, corn, squash, etc., with pioneer settlers. This exchange helped build peaceful relations.

This monument was erected with cobble stones from the mill creek by the Timpanogos Chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers. Dedicated July 28, 2012. SUP Mon. No. 171.

See other historic markers in the series on this page for SUP Markers.

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Parks in American Fork


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This page is links to pages about the parks that are in American Fork, Utah.

  • Art Dye B Park
  • Bamberger Park
  • Beehive Fields
  • Centennial Park
  • Chipman Park
  • Country View Park
  • Evergreen Park
  • Greenwood Park and Skate Park
  • Hindley Park
  • Hunter Park
  • J.C. Ball Park
  • Kimberly Park
  • Legacy Park
  • Lions Park
  • Martin Park
  • Miller Park
  • Mountain Meadows Park
  • Nob Hill Park
  • Pioneer Park
  • Pony Ball Field
  • Robinson Park
  • Rotary Park
  • Spring Hollow Park
  • Val Vista Park
  • Valley View Park