Thursday, July 24, 2008
A Work in Progress
NOTE: This is a quick view of Salt Lake City, currently a work in progress. Many of the downtown streets and buildings are blocked off in the process of becoming, therefore there are gaping holes and barricades and walls enclosing brigades of pile drivers and earth movers and cranes everywhere. I have used some pictures from the internet to show off our city. If you see your picture here and would like me to remove it from this slideshow, please tell me and I will remove it hastily. If not, then thanks to you all for sharing!
This Is The Place Monument is found at the mouth of Emigration Canyon, the spot where, after a long trek of more than a thousand miles, Brigham Young is said to have risen from his sickbed in one of the wagons, and, gazing off into the valley below, and having seen it before in a vision, uttered these words: This is the place. The first party rolled into the valley on this day in 1847, and included 143 men, 3 women, 2 boys, 72 wagons, 93 horses, 66 oxen, 52 mules, 19 cows, 17 dogs, and some chickens. The rest of the wagon train, 70,000 more tired people and worn wagons came a while later. It's said they didn't have a parade celebrating this event until two years later, because nobody wanted to walk. Heh.
They planted their first crops, and hoards of crickets descended upon them, devouring all they could. Those tired folks, after beating them off with their shovels and rakes into burning piles, thinking all was lost, dropped to their knees in prayer. When great dark clouds of seagulls came swooping in, they thought it was more clouds of crickets and despaired, but behold, those seagulls came in like gangbusters, ate crickets until they were stuffed, went off like the old Romans did after great feasting, to their vomitariums, spit them up, and went back time and again for more, and SAVED THE CROPS! Hence, the seagull is the Utah State Bird. We love seagulls, and have made a monument to them. This story is known in Utah as THE MIRACLE OF THE GULLS.
The Salt Lake Temple took them 40 years to build. They had built a couple of others earlier, in Ohio and Illinois, that were burned, or otherwise destroyed. They went up into the mountains (which are mostly solid granite) and quarried out the stones, and hauled them down into the valley. There are several other temples around the valley now. Worldwide, there are something like 112 temples altogether.
The Christus statue by Bertel Thorvaldsen is in the North Visitor's Center on Temple Square. It's placed before a painted backdrop of clouds, and stars and planets and galaxies of the cosmos. My daughter-in-law Grace, her mother, and Simon and Jacob in the picture give an idea of scale.
The Salt Palace was famous in its day. The first one was actually made of salt. They soaked the timbers, the chandelier wires, etc. in the Great Salt Lake until they were all covered with shiny thick salt crystals. That would've been something to see! They have conventions and things in the new (not made of salt) Palace. And the Utah Jazz plays next door in the New Solutions Arena. Go, Jazz! We also have a professional baseball team (the Bees) and a pro soccer team (the Reals--as in re-als).
The Gateway is a beautiful downtown outdoor Mall, which has shops, food courts, the Hansen Planetariam, fountains, flowers...a fun place to go. ZCMI Mall (one of the places being reconstructed)is also downtown. Southtown Mall is...well, south, and Fashion Place midtown. Valley Fair is west. Jordan Commons and Jordan Landing are two newer ones. All of them are full of people going to see The Dark Knight, or buy ice cream, or new shoes.
There is Lagoon, a fun park to the north, with roller coasters--a new one called WICKED, and lots of other stuff, water tubes, pools etc. I think one of the last times I was at Lagoon there were goats and a few sheep grazing under the roller coaster. That's how long it's been. Hogle Zoo is up toward the east mountains. There are Museums of Art and of Natural History, a huge genealogical library, and, of course, the University of Utah, my Alma Mater.
The Capitol Theater is home to the Utah Opera and Ballet West. Maurice Abravanel Hall houses the Utah Symphony. Trax will get you near to most places you want to go in the city, and the new Front Runner will take you up north to Odgen, and eventually down to Provo. There are four canyons nearby in the Wasatch for summer picnics and outings, and winter skiing and snowboarding. What more could you ask for?