Central Utah Mormon History Sites
Although sparsely populated in most places, Central Utah offers as many Mormon historic sites as anywhere else in Utah. Of particular interest in Central Utah are the two pageants that local residents perform each summer: the Castle Valley Pageant in Castle Dale and the Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti.
Below are listed some Mormon historic sites in the Central Utah area. This is not an exhaustive list, and visitors looking to see some of the more obscure or less popular historic sites are encouraged to research other sites of interest before visiting the area. (Note: Some information on this page is taken from William C. and Eloise Anderson's book, Guide to Mormon History Travel.)
The Castle Valley Pageant tells the story of the first settlers of the area.
Castle Valley Pageant, Castle Dale
The Castle Valley Pageant portrays the trials, triumphs and tragedies of some of the first settlers of Castle Valley, who set out to homestead this vast frontier, relying on their faith in a strange and often unwelcoming land. A "pioneer village" exhibit, presented before the pageant begins, instructs visitors on the skills required to survive as a pioneer. Held on a hill overlooking scenic Emery County and surrounded by miles of breathtaking Castle Country, the pageant is performed each year in late July. Call 435-381-2403 for information.
Mormon Miracle Pageant, Manti
Unlike the Castle Valley Pageant, the Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti focuses more on the ancient inhabitants of the American continents according to the Book of Mormon. It weaves their story with the story of Joseph Smith and the pioneers. Featuring a large cast and a gorgeous setting—the pageant is performed on a hill in front of the Manti Temple—it is a must-see attraction for those interested in Mormon history or the Book of Mormon. The pageant is held in June. Call (888) 255-8860 for more information.
The 100,373-square foot Manti Temple was dedicated in 1888.
Manti Temple, Manti
The Manti Temple is an architectural gem, built of beautiful cream-colored limestone quarried from the same hill upon which the temple stands in a mixture of neogothic and colonial styles. It was the third temple built in Utah, and was completed in 1888. Visitors are reminded that the general public is not admitted into Mormon temples, although all are welcome to enjoy the beautifully groomed temple grounds and the memorable architecture of the building.
Orson Hyde Home, Spring City
Orson Hyde was an early Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who, among other things, visited Jerusalem as part of his missionary labors. He was later called upon to preside over the settlements in Sanpete County and built a house in Spring City in the 1860s. Pioneer town planning and architecture in the town are remarkably well preserved, and the Orson Hyde house is no different. It is located diagonally across the street from the unmistakable Spring City chapel.
Old Fort Deseret, Deseret (South of Delta)
Old Fort Deseret was constructed by settlers in 1865, with permission from Brigham Young, to protect livestock against Native American thiefs. Although the original fort has been gone for over a century, markers have been placed by the descendents of the original settlers and some ruins are still visible.
The Fillmore Territorial Capitol Building is Utah's oldest government building.
Fillmore Territorial Capitol Building, Fillmore
The Territorial Capitol Building is Utah's oldest government building, and was constructed in the early 1850s. Brigham Young intended Fillmore to be the capital city of Utah, even though Salt Lake City has always been the state's population center. The Territorial Legislature met in this building only once, in 1855. Since 1930, the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers organization has been operating the building as a museum, complete with pioneer furniture and furnishings, photographs, woodworking tools, musical instruments, farming equipment and more. It is open daily.
Old Cove Fort, Cove Fort
Built in 1867 by Ira Hinckley and a small group of local citizens, this is the only complete pioneer-era fort still standing in Utah. It was built to provide shelter for travelers on the path between Beaver and Fillmore. Now owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is open to the public daily. Free guided tours begin every two minutes. Call (435) 438-5547 for more information.
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