“Plaque, Cabin Memorialize 1847 Pioneers,” Ensign, Oct. 1989, 75
Church leaders dedicated two historical sites in the Salt Lake Valley on July 21 and 22 that memorialize the pioneers who arrived in 1847.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, dedicated a marker on the grounds of the Utah State Capitol July 21 that notes the significance of Ensign Peak in the state’s history. Ensign Peak is about a mile north of the Capitol, overlooking the valley.
President Ezra Taft Benson and members of his family attended the dedication; he is a great-grandson of Elder Ezra T. Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve, who accompanied President Brigham Young to the top of the peak on 26 July 1847 to study the valley.
As President Young and his party surveyed the valley, someone suggested that this peak would be a good place to erect “an ensign to the nations,” in connection with the prophecy in Isaiah 11:12. Later, explains the metal plaque on the new marker, “a standard was erected on its summit.”
In 1934, a historical monument was built on Ensign Peak, but it was destroyed by vandals. The new marker was erected on the Capitol grounds by the Salt Lake Chapter of the Sons of the Utah Pioneers. Its location provides a view of the peak and makes the marker more accessible to visitors and less vulnerable to vandals.
On July 22, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve dedicated a restored log cabin that belonged to settlers who arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in October of 1847.
The cabin, one of two remaining from the valley’s first settlement, now stands in Old Deseret Village at Pioneer Trail State Park, next to the This Is the Place monument, which overlooks the Salt Lake Valley. The cabin originally belonged to Levi and Rebecca Riter, great-grandparents of Elder Wirthlin’s wife, Elise. Sister Wirthlin and her husband both spoke during the dedicatory services.