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Intimate Glimpses of Salt Lake - Memory Grove
The story of the dedicated citizens who created Memory Grove written by Ed C. Penrose for the Deseret News, Oct 25, 1930.
Glad to see you again, all on time, as usual. If you are ready for a little exercise, come with me and you shall see one of the beauty spots of our fair city; and if you don’t agree that it is about as picturesque as anything you have seen in a long time, I shall be greatly surprised.
We’ve had this place in mind for several weeks but delayed visiting it until now, when old man Jack Frost has had a chance to paint with his mystic brush, bring forth a riot of colors and transform the scene into a veritable panorama of bewildering beauty. So, up the hill we go to a point east of the Capitol, on the rim overlooking City Creek canyon.
Here we are, friends! Look down into the canyon. Is it not a gorgeous sight, an eye-filling picture? Have you seen anything more alluring in our weekly rambles during the past several months? Look at the hillsides covered with pine trees, spruce, fir and wild bushes, the dazzling colors in Autumn leaves; an notice the profusion of flowers that line the banks of City creek, while round about are beds and streamers of petunias, pansies, asters, dahlias, marigolds, geraniums, red cannas, zinnias and other flowers. Notice the lawns, the graveled and cement walks, the miniature lake, the shady nooks, bower covered benches, fountains, arches, tablet and monuments, and also the rambling old Colonial house.
Would You Believe It?
This is Memory Grove! Would you believe it that not so long ago all this array of beauty was a section where only weeds, scrubby brush, stunted trees and sagebrush grew, the hillsides strewn with unsightly boulders, dead limbs and debris? And that imposing house, Memorial Hall, would you believe that it once was the city barns, remodeled and made into an attractive and comfortable place of amusement where fraternities and sororities are wont to hold dances and other festivities?
Now that we have looked at the Grove from the canyon rim, let’s go down into it by following these stone steps, and after a jaunt along this side, we’ll cross historic City Creek by that romantic looking bridge that spans the stream and see what is on the other side.
All this, friends, is in commemoration of the brave Utah boys who made the supreme sacrifice in the service of their country! This granite shaft, as you see by the inscriptions on the base of the monument, was dedicated by the Living to the Dead of the 145th United States Field Artillery, October 8, 1927, and bears the names of B. H. Roberts, regimental chaplain, George D. Pyper and Harold P. Fabian. Farther down the canyon, almost opposite the beautiful Capitol, we find under a flowered and evergreen arch, a bronze tablet in grateful remembrance to our soldier dead!
Not the Half of It
Of course, you folks will want to hear the story of Memory Grove; how it originated; who were chiefly responsible for it, and how it is maintained. It is a long story, an interesting story of devotion to a noble cause, and there is time this afternoon to touch only upon the outstanding features. Enough could be told to fill a book, and if every other page were devoted to praise for the splendid women and men who gave unselfishly of their time and substance in the creation of this beautiful spot, they would not receive the half of what they deserve!
In 1920, Mrs. E. O. Howard, who had returned from France where she visited the American Fields of Honor, and Mrs. C. S. Kinney, who was president of the Service Star Legion, went before our city commission and requested a plot of ground, their purpose being to plant a grove of trees in honor of the World war dead. They were given 10 acres at the entrance to this canyon, this being the old road. Nothing of importance was done for some time owing to lack of funds. In 1929 Mrs. Howard was asked to take the chairmanship and later she became the life chairman of Memory Grove. At that time this place was desolate and offered anything but encouragement. Mrs. Howard walked among the weeds and debris on one October day, and suddenly saw the possibilities of transforming the grounds and hills into a section of rare beauty. Business men told her it would cost a very large sum of money, but nothing daunted she went to work, determined that her dream should be realized.
In Less Than a Week
Her first step was to send out letters asking for donations of $5 for the cause. The response was $2,500 in less than a week! With the aid of the Utah Nursery company, a portion of the east side of the grounds was laid out. Rich soil was hauled to cover the grounds, paths were laid out, the pergola was built, evergreen trees, shrubs and roses were planted. The $2,500 soon was exhausted. Mrs. Howard and her associates wanted to build the bronze tablet bearing the 732 names of our boys. L. H. Farnsworth, the chairman of the State council of Defense, presented a check for $500, left after publishing the book, “Utah and the World War.” The small fund soon was increased when ten men sent in checks for $2,500 and soon after four others donated $1,000. After the tablet was built, Mrs. Howard asked the city commission for perpetual care of the park.
From the beginning, Mayor C. Clarence Neslen was an enthusiastic supporter of the project and gave generously of is time and influence in the cause, rendering every aid possible. He was never too busy to listen to Mrs. Howard’s appeal and to advise her. Mayor Neselen dedicated the tablet, and when the matter of building Memorial House came up he pointed out the rambling old barn built of brick, but built in a manner characteristic of old time Utah structures, and opposed the suggestion that the barn be moved. He suggested that Mrs. Howard get the advice of architects. This she did and they told her that the old building could be remodeled and made into something worthwhile.
--And Got It
Next she went before the state legislature and asked for an appropriation of $10,000—and got it! In this she had the backing of State Senator Herbert S. Auerbach, as well as others. Then a committee of women from the Service Star Legion was named. This committee met once a month to discuss current needs, expenses, future plans and finance problems.
The committee then stood as follows:
Mrs. E. O. Howard, chairman; Mrs. H. P. Fabian, vice chairman; Mrs. E. A. Bering, treasurer; Mrs. B. F. Quinn, secretary; Mrs. W. S. Woodruff, Mrs. J. B. Moreton, Mrs. N. A. Dunyon, Mrs. J. D. Spencer, Mrs. Victor E. Vette, Mrs. T. I. Holman, Mrs. Julion Clawson, Mrs. John Q. Cannon, Mrs. Selden I. Clawson, Mrs. A. L. Murray, Mrs. Lucy Garvin, Mrs. A. L. Thomas, Mrs. Albert Wilkes, Mrs. A. A. Green, Mrs. Susan Lyman, Mrs. J. W. Cherry, Mrs. C. P. Overfield.
The city commission was asked to assist in building the house. The members agreed to assume half the cost. After the work of remodeling was done, came the problem of grading and landscaping Capitol Hill. Rock walls were reinforced and the Rotary Club came forward with a check for $1,000 to pay for the steps leading to the Capitol. About this time Mrs. Howard was informed that the erection of a monument to the dead of the 145th Field Artillery was contemplated and, naturally, she was anxious that it be placed in the park. You have seen the result today.
Mrs. Howard had something else in mind. She wanted a bridge to span the stream. Did she get it? She did! The Kiwanis Club came forward with $1,000. Then she visioned the old spillway made into a lake. She got the lake! Then came planting around the lake, the rock garden, the grading of the hill back of Memorial House, the planting of more shrubs and trees, cleaning the roadway, etc. Much of the work was done by city prisoners, the chain gang being furnished by chief of Police Joseph E. Burbidge, another public official deeply interested in the park. This spring the picturesque entrance to the park was completed.
A word should be said about the vases, fountains and seats which were presented by the Gold Star Women. A beautiful seat and vases were presented by Mrs. James J. Burke, Mrs. Grant Hampton, greatly interested in the park, gave $1,150, also shrubs, tress and English ivy—which came from the tombs of Washington and Robert E. Lee.
Close to $100,000 has been spent on Memory Grove. Half of this amount appropriated by the city in perpetual care and some special appropriations, the other half being raised by Mrs. Howard; the state appropriating $25,000; the county $6,500, the Latter-day Saints Church $1,000, Kiwanis club $1,000. Mrs. Hampton $1,150, the Rotary club $1,000, Lumbermen’s club $500, State Council on Defense $500; $2,500 first letter sent out: $2,500 second letter; $3,500: fourteen men, and innumerable smaller donations making up the balance.
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