“Pioneer Life Revisited,” Ensign, July 1986, 40
It stood on Temple Square for many years. Now, after a year of restoration, the Deuel log cabin is back and open to visitors.
Situated west of Temple Square on the plaza between the new Genealogical Library and the Museum of Church History and Art, the cabin is a tangible reminder of the time over a century ago when the Saints first entered the desert valleys of the West and struggled to make them blossom.
That struggle is vividly portrayed in this newly restored exhibit of the Museum of Church History and Art. Tools and toys, furnishings and crafts fill the cabin, and docents—volunteers dressed in typical 1840s dress—illustrate the patterns of life led by the early Salt Lake Saints.
The Deuel cabin was built in 1847, soon after the Saints arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. Six people—Osmyn M. and Mary Whiting Deuel and William H. and Eliza Whiting Deuel (the Deuel brothers married sisters) and William and Eliza’s two daughters, Minerva and Mercy Ann—lived in it from October 1847 to May 1848. The cabin was part of the north extension of an adobe fort and stood about a mile southwest of where the present-day Museum of Church History and Art is located.
It is likely that when the Deuels moved, they rented the home to other settlers. In 1849, they sold it to Albert Carrington, who placed skids under it and, with ox teams, moved the cabin to his property at West Temple and First North. In 1852, Christopher and Maryann Riding and their five children were living in it. Brother Carrington gave the home to his daughter, Francis, and her husband, Zebulon Jacobs. They lived in it briefly, and years later offered it to the Church as a historical relic.
The cabin was dismantled and moved to the Deseret Museum, where it was displayed until about 1919 when it was moved to Temple Square. It stood there until 1976, then was put into storage. In 1984, the cabin was placed on the plaza in its present location.
Restoration of the cabin began in 1985. Under the direction of Don Enders of the museum staff, information from historical sources was gathered, then the home was dismantled and treated with preservatives and restorative chemicals. The cabin was then reassembled to appear as it would have looked in 1847. Set in a native Utah landscape designed by Esther Truitt of the Church’s Ground Services, the cabin is furnished with antiques and reproductions from the pioneer period.
The photographs show the exhibit’s re-creation of the pioneer life-style of 1847.