The Block U is a large concrete hillside letter on Mount Van Cott in Salt Lake City, Utah. The stylized “U” is a logo of the University of Utah and is located just north of the university’s campus. It is one of the earliest hillside letters. It sits at 5,249 feet above sea level. Lights outlining the Block U flash when athletic teams from the University of Utah win and burn steady when they are defeated.
The official name is the “Block U” and is a registered trademark of the University of Utah.
The history of the Block U begins at the turn of the twentieth century. Each year, as an unofficial activity, students of the University of Utah would climb “The Hill” (Mount Van Cott) and paint their class year on the mountainside. The administration felt that something more permanent was needed. In 1907 the block U was built with limestone. The U is over 100 feet tall and has a surface area of over 45,000 square feet. It can be seen from many different areas of the Salt Lake Valley. It was later modified in 1967 to include 124 lights. By 2001 the Block U had fallen into a constant state of disrepair. Despite several attempted maintenance by students it was not sustainable without a more thorough renovation.
Above St. George to the West you see a large, white letter D on the hillside, there are many of these letters around Utah and this is one of the easiest of them all to get to. It’s located on “West Black Ridge” just South of “Devil’s Saddle.”
I found a plaque talking about the “D” on the Dixie State University campus in town, it said: The “D” on the hillside has its roots from our early pioneer heritage when leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon) colonized Southern Utah for the purpose of raising cotton and was know as the Dixie Mission. Schools were established and the “D” soon after became the symbol for this great group of Dixie pioneers. The original land where it rests was homesteaded in the early 1930′s by William H. (Bill) and Lida Cox Prince. The land was donated to the Dixie Alumni Association, but the deed was never recorded and was lost. Later, Rutger and Leona Cox Atkin redeeded the property to the school as you see it today. The Prince and Atkin families honor their parents in their contribution of this famous lankmark to the community. The “D” stands as a symbol of the spirit of Utah’s Dixie and Dixie College!
View from the plaque
Here’s a “JMH 1893″ carved on a rock near the “D,” I wonder if it’s authentic?