Over the Cottonwoods is an overhead piece of art / metal mural in Murray Park in Murray, Utah.
It is commissioned art by William Littig and Paul Heath for Utah’s 1996 Centennial Celebration.
Depicted on the northeast side from left to right:
- 1 – 1848 – the first pioneers settled in the Murray area which was previously called South Cottonwood. The group arrived from the southern states in October 1848 under the direction of Amada Lyman and lived in wagons and dugouts for the first winter just south of the present day South Cottonwood LDS Ward Chapel.
- 2 – Cahoon Mansion and Street Clock was built in 1899 by the prestigious Cahoon family who owned the Miller Cahoon Company (lumber and hardware), Progress Company (power), Murray Orchard (irrigation) and Salt Lake Pressed Brick (now known as Interstate Brick). The Mansion is built on 4 levels, contains 33 rooms, and has more than 12,000 square feet. It was placed on the National Historic Register in 1984.
- 3 – Automobile transportation began to grow after the turn of the century and for many years moved alongside the trolley tracks.
- 4 – Carnegie Library, better known as the Vine Street library built in 1916 was one of two Carnegie libraries built in Utah with a $10,000 donation by US tycoon Andrew Carnegie.
- 5 – State Street Trolley came to Murray in 1895 and operated from electric wires hung above the tracks.
- 6 – Harker Building and Murray Mercantile were build side by side in 1898. The Harker building is Murray’s only historic three-story brick structure and has housed apartments, doctor offices, floral shops, bakeries, taverns, jewelry stores, and the Murray Eagle. The Murray Mercantile featured many turn-of-the-century items such as buggy whips and button shoes which were still on hand when the store closed in 1976.
- 7 – Street lights were some of the first improvements added by the newly incorporated city.
- 8 – Cooperative stores were common during the early days of the community when the settlers would trade their own crops and produce for things they needed. This particular storefront is designed from one of the first stores in Murray owned by Mr. Warenski.
- 9 – Pioneer family and adobe home represents the early settlers. Between 20 and 40 families farmed the Murray area during the first 20 years. The pioneers first lived in dugouts and log cabins. Eventually they were able to use the clay soil to make adobe bricks for their homes.
- 10 – 1902 – residents voted to incorporate as Murray City with C.L. Miller as the first Mayor.
Depicted on the southwest side from left to right:
- 11 – Smelter Building and stacks represent one of the most notable landmarks in the Salt Lake Valley. The smelter industry began in Murray in 1870 with up to 16 different smelters operating at different times in the south end of the valley. ASARCO began operating in 1899 where the previous Germania Smelter had been operating since 1972. ASARCO was the last operating smelter in Murray which rebuilt its tallest smokestack in 1918 at 455 feet to help dissipate large concentrations of sulphur.
- 12 – Farmers plowing with horse represents the agricultural element that was present in Murray for many years. In 1859, James Fickel made the first plow in Murray using iron from braces and wheels of old army wagons. The plow was hammered into its shape and pulled by three yoke of oxen.
- 13 – City Hall was built in 1908 on the northeast corner of Vine and State Street. The two story building was made of granite blocks for the foundation. Oak paneling was used inside and a beautiful clock tower and large bell adorned the top. The building housed a court room, police station, city officials, and later a small library. Restrooms called comfort stations were built under city hall with the entrance located outside and downstairs. This beautiful building was destroyed in the 1950s.
- 14 – Firemen stand around a fire truck ready to serve the public.
- 15 – Day Murray Music began operating in 1947.
- 16 – Murray Laundry began operating south of our current city hall in 1910.
- 17 – Murray Theater opened its doors to the public.
- 18 – Trains arrived in Murray via the Utah Southern Railroad in 1871.
- 19 – Trees were located mostly along the Cottonwood Creeks.