Emigration Canyon National Historic Landmark derives its historical
significance primarily from association with the original “Mormon
emigration of 1847. Brigham Young led the trek westward from the
Missouri Valley through the rugged Wasatch Mountains. Threading his
way down Emigration Canyon, tradition holds that Brigham Young first
obtained an unobstructed view of the valley from the grassy knoll
where the native stone monument now stands. Upon ascending this
small hill, he is purported to have declared, “this is the place.”
The route pioneered by Young and his followers later became known
as the Mormon Trail, and was the path followed during future migrations
to the Great Salt Lake Valley until 1850 when Parley Pratt pioneered
the Golden Pass Trail south of Emigration Canyon.
The landmark boundaries envelope a thin belt of unspoiled landscape punctuated by small grassy knolls within Pioneer Monument State Park. Upon the tallest knoll, Mormons erected “Pioneer Monument” in 1947 to commemorate the early Mormon emigrants. The native stone monument features a 60′ pylon surrounded by bronze figures of Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and Wilford Woodruff. Bas-relief scenes in bronze around the 86′ base illustrate numerous historical events associated with the Mormon exodus from the Missouri Valley. .From the small promontory, one can obtain, an unimpeded panorama of the magnificent Salt Lake valley. The tone monument,. was designed by Mahonri M. Young, grandson of Brigham Young.
A sign in Allen Park tells of some of the history of Emigration Creek and Canyon:
In 1847, the first party of Mormon Pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley through what we now know as Emigration Canyon. Tradition holds that this is where Brigham Young first views the valley unobstructed and said “This is the right place, drive on.”
Within days of settling in the Salt Lake Valley, the water of Emigration Creek was diverted for irrigation. The diversion established the first water right in the valley.
The hydrology of Emigration Canyon attracted pioneers to take up residence along the creek, clearing dense vegetation in favor of fields and pastures. Pollution from livestock deterred the City from protecting Emigration Canyon as a watershed, opening the area to development.
An early 1800s building boom prompted the extraction of red and white sandstone in Emigration Canyon. An electric railway system was installed in 1907 to meet the high demand but was dismantled a decade later as concrete became the preferred foundation material.
In 1931, Mr. & Mrs. Hogle donated land near the mouth of Emigration Canyon to became the new site for Salt Lake City zoo, now known as Hogle Zoo.
Record snowpacks in 1952 and 1983 caused hundreds of Salt Lake City blocks to be flooded. Excessive spring runoff in 1983 cased 10 million dollars of damage in Parleys, Emigration, and Red Butte Creeks.