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Look around Salt Lake City’s downtown area. Is there anything that adequately tells the story of the initial days and months of the city’s founding?
Oh, there’s a log cabin nestled between two modern buildings across from Temple Square. There’s a plaque or two near historic locations. There’s Brother Brigham overlooking the city he founded. But, what outdoor display or venue tells the tale of 1847, and the subsequent winter of depravation and near starvation?
Fortunately, a large portion of the area where the pioneers made their initial settlement is still preserved as open space.
In recent years much attention has turned to Pioneer Park. A perfect spot for an aquarium, said one special interest group. A great location for the city’s Olympic legacy amphitheater, said another.
Wisely, these and other similar ideas have been rejected in favor of preserving an important piece of historic real estate.
KSL, though, sees a potential use for Pioneer Park.
As the site of the area’s first settlement, why not erect a modest replica of the original fort, with a few simple cabins. Nothing elaborate. No need for lots of on-site care and docent attention; just a few wooden structures, appropriately landscaped and decorated with self-guided interpretive markers.
Such a simple display on part of the ten-acre block would preserve the integrity of Pioneer Park, attract interested visitors to that part of the city and offer a modest, yet meaningful explanation of Salt Lake City’s first days.