Westward Through Nebraska
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
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      OGDEN is the terminus of the Utah Central Railroad, a line, 36 miles in length, owned and administered by the citizens of Utah Territory. It was begun on the l7th of May, 1867, the ceremony of breaking ground being solemnized by the presence of the head of the Mormon Church and all its principal dignitaries.

      Utah Territory, we may premise, occupies an area of about 65,000 square miles, the greater portion of which is savage, rough, and mountainous. Not more than 135,000 acres are under cultivation. But the underground wealth of the Territory will probably be found of great extent—rich veins of gold, silver, iron, and other metals, having been discovered.

      Utah was first settled in 1847, when, on the 24th of July, the vanguard of the Mormon emigration, numbering 143 men, entered Salt Lake Valley; five days later 150 more men arrived; and on the 31st of July Great Salt Lake City was laid out. On the 9th of March, 1849, the Territory, then known as the State of Deseret, passed formally under the governorship of Brigham Young. In 1850 the United States, to whom the country had been surrendered by the Mormons, placed it under their own legal administration, and an Act of Congress was passed to provide it with a Territorial government. Brigham Young was continued as governor of the Territory, then first known as Utah, until 1858, when a Federal governor was appointed.

      The population is now about 130,000, of whom about 60,000 may be Mormons, 35,000 Indians, and the remainder, settlers of all creeds and nations.

      Twenty-four years ago Utah was a wilderness; to-day it is a land of thrift, industry, and wealth, its soil teeming with riches,its large population enjoying in peace the products of their labour. Prosperous towns and settlements (with 220 schools) extend a distance of about 500 miles—from Idaho Territory on the north, to Arizona Territory on the south. For about twelve miles, the Utah Central Railroad

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      traverses what is known as the "Sand Ridge;" a long sandy swell, where sage-brush, rabbit-brush, sunflowers, and similar vegetation, with occasional patches of succulent grass, reign undisturbed by plough or water-ditch, much of it lying at too great an elevation for the use of the ordinary means of irrigation.

      Along this portion of the line we obtain a noble view of the Great Salt Lake, with Antelope, Fremont, Stansbury, Carrington, Dolphin, and Hat Islands; a span of horizon exceeding a hundred miles in extent, from north to south, being opened up to the gaze of traveller or tourist, with scenery embracing the principal elements of loveliness and sublimity; a loveliness resembling, though inferior to, that of the Bay of Naples, with a magnificence not unworthy of the Swiss Alps.

      Sunset upon the lake is, during the summer months, one of the most brilliant spectacles the eye could ever hope to see, so gorgeously rich is the colouring, when peak and canyon are bathed in the purple and golden twilight of departing day.

      The line for twenty-two miles from South Kaysville traverses the most fertile portion of the valley, the generous soil yielding profuse harvests of every product grown in this latitude. While those of cereals and vegetables are extraordinarily large, the fruit, including apples, peaches, plums, apricots, and grapes, with melons, squashes, and pumpkins, is particularly fine.

      The lake, dimpled with the shadows of its rocky islands, or reflecting the glory of a sunlit and cloudless sky, stretches far away to the right—126 miles long, by 45 miles wide. Dreamy-looking valleys, buried in a rosy mist, and crowned by towering ranges of mountains—whose peaks, snow-capped even in the midsummer, soar above the clouds—are visible around us; while, on the left, lie well-cultivated arable lands, with orchards and gardens encircling the settlements of Kaysville, Farmington, Centreville, and Bountiful,* and running along the base of the Wahsatch range.

      Within about five miles of the City of the Saints, the railroad reaches the Hot Spring Lake, fed by the celebrated springs. It forms a beautiful little sheet of water, nearly three miles long, and upwards of a mile broad, whose calm surface is scarcely rippled by the flocks of wild ducks and geese floating so lazily upon it.

* The nearest station (2 m.) to the shore of the lake.

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      A small inlet or creek of this lake is crossed by the railroad; and the cars, swiftly flying over the pasture-land north of the city, and passing the Warm Spring Baths, soon arrive at the Salt Lake City terminus.

      While varying greatly in the colouring of their descriptions, almost all travellers have recognized the skill with which the Mormon leaders selected the site, and have dually developed the plan of their city. But at the felicity of the choice we need not wonder, since, according to President Brigham Young, it was indicated to him in a vision by an angel, who, standing on a conical hill, pointed out the locality where the New Temple should be built. Consequently, when the Mormon patriarch first entered the Salt Lake Basin, he looked for the angel-haunted cone, and discovering a fresh clear stream rippling at its base, he immediately named it City Creek. Some say the angel was the spirit of his predecessor, Joseph Smith, the apostle of Mormonism; others, that as early as 1842 the latter was favoured with dreams of these valleys and mountains, these lakes and rivers, and revealed them to his favourite disciples. At all events, on the enforced exodus of the Saints from Nauvoo, they crossed Rocky Mountains, and descended into this sheltered basin, to found their new city in a scene of picturesque and impressive beauty.

      Salt Lake City is situated in an angle of the Wahsatch Mountains, and stretches up close to the foot of the northern hills; while, on the east, it comes within about three miles of the bold and rugged range. The highest summits of the Wahsatch reach an elevation of more than 7000 feet above the level of the valley, and between 11,000 and 12,000 above the ocean-level.

      The principal business thoroughfare in the city is East Temple Street. Like all the rest, it measures 132 feet in width, with brooks running down either side, and trees casting their pleasant shadow over the pathways. In shape the city resembles an L, the larger portion of the letter stretching east and west, and the shorter north and south. Its appearance is unique, and peculiar to itself. The numerous orchards met with in every quarter, and the thriving trees which border every thoroughfare, communicate to it the appearance of a mass of villas, cottages, and residences of every imaginable (and unimaginable) style of architecture, buried in a mass of luxuriant foliage.

      Laid out in square blocks of ten acres each, the wide

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      streets run at right angles to each other, following the cardinal points of the compass. Thus the city covers a space of about nine square miles, and contains nearly 25,000 inhabitants. There are several hotels; but the best are the "Salt Lake" House, the "Townsend" House, and the "Revere" House.

      The plan of Salt Lake City, as every traveller may judge for himself, resembles that of all our other cities. It has a main street, from which others run parallel, and from which side streets diverge at right angles. The majority of shops and stores are in East Temple Street. Observe, O tourist, on some of the stores, a sign-board with the following inscriptions: at the top, "Holiness to the Lord;" underneath, the All-Seeing Eye, and the announcement, "Zion's Co-operative Mercantile Institution." It is 132 feet in width, with a runlet of water rippling down either side, keeping the shade trees in lovely green foliage during the scorching summer months.

      Among the public buildings the first to attract the attention of travellers is the TEMPLE, which forms the centre, as it were, of the hopes of the many thousand devotees who cling to the Mormon faith throughout the world.

      It is intended to be devoted to such preliminary rites and ceremonies as baptisms, washings, anointings, and the like. Its dimensions, when completed, will be, 186 1/2 feet from east to west, including towers, and 99 feet from north to south. The foundation is laid 16 feet from the surface of the earth, and the walls resting upon them are 8 feet thick. The towers will stand at each end of the building,—the centre ones, east and west, rising higher than the others, and to an altitude of 225 feet; while in each a circular stairway will whirl round a column of 4 feet in diameter, with landing-places at various sections of the building, which afford the most superb and extensive views of the city and the lake, the valley and the mountains.

      Nor must we forget the Tabernacle, which is erected inside the Temple block of buildings. The south wall of this two-acre enclosure is perfectly embowered in foliage. From all parts of the city the building itself is recognized by its egg-shaped, dome-like roof. It is said to be the largest hall in the world of a single span roof, unsupported by pillar or column, and used for purposes of

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      public meetings. It measures 250 feet inside, from east to west, and 150 feet from north to south. Forty-six parallelogram pillars of red sandstone, 9 feet deep by 3 feet wide, form the base for the roof, which is a strong lattice-work of timber, firmly bolted together, and self-supporting. The west end is filled with a rostrum or "stand," an elevated platform, with three seats in the centre, elevated, slightly one above the other, for the Church dignitaries.

      The grand organ in the Tabernacle is the third largest in the Union. It contains about two thousand pipes.

      The Theatre is built in a


      semi-Doric style, and is elegantly fitted up in the interior. It measures 172 feet by 80, and has a stage of 62 feet in depth.

      The City Hall is a handsome red sandstone building, surmounted by a clocktower.

      Then there are also the City Prison, the Old Tabernacle, the University of Deseret, the Council House, the Court House, and the General Tithing Store,—all to be visited by the traveller; to say nothing of the Lion and Beehive Houses, which form the residence of President Young, and are surrounded by beautiful gardens. They are connected with the General Tithing Store.

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      In the immediate vicinity of the city are several places of interest. To the Great Salt Lake, or "Dead Sea of the West," we have already alluded, and its huge "Black Rock" is a feature of great interest; nor have we forgotten to refer to the Hot Springs and Warm Springs, which lie about two miles distant from each other, and are much commended for their medicinal virtues.

      The Canyons, or valleys, in the Wahsatch and Oquirrh


      mountain ranges, are all deserving of exploration on account of the beauty and freshness of their scenery; and in the clear sweet brooks which ripple through them, the angler will find satisfactory employment for his skill. The artist, too, may occasionally come across a group of Ute squaws, who, for a small gift, will allow themselves to be transferred to his sketch-book; or he may prefer a

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      Snake Indian and his squaw; and both the Utes and Snakes are still numerous in Utah Territory.

      A visit should also be paid to Utah Valley and Lake, the latter a pleasant sheet of water, 30 miles long, by 15 miles broad. And Jordan River, and Ensign Peak, are both to be included among the natural features of this extraordinary region, where human industry, despite of seemingly insurmountable obstacles,has converted the wilderness into luxuriant garden ground.


      CENSUS OF UTAH.—It is stated that the new census shows a total population of 86,605 in the Territory of Utah, and many persons will be surprised to learn that the males are 1277 more in number than the females. It must be remembered, however, that in newly-settled territories the males, in ordinary cases, much more largely outnumber the females. The returns for Salt Lake City show how greatly the "peculiar institution" is sustained by foreigners. The native (American-born) population is 10,236, and the females are 78 fewer than the males; but in the foreign-born population—viz., 7010—the females are 686 more in number than the males. In the native population of Salt Lake City there are 50 females to 51 males; in the foreign population there are 38 females to 31 males. If we exclude children, who are probably in nearly equal proportions, the excess of women over men in the foreign population becomes much more marked.

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