“This Is the Place” State Park
It is believed that Brigham Young gazed onto the Salt Lake Valley for the first time from this spot (2601 Sunnyside Ave., 801/582-1847, visitor center open 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat., park open dawn–dusk daily, free), southeast of the University of Utah near the mouth of Emigration Canyon. He then spoke the famous words, “This is the right place. Drive on.”
Exactly 100 years later, on July 24, 1947, a crowd gathered to dedicate the massive This Is the Place monument. Twelve-foot bronze statues of Brigham Young flanked by Heber C. Kimball and Wilford Woodruff stand atop a central pylon.
The park has a pleasant picnic area, and the monument honors not only the Mormon pioneers but also the Catholic missionaries from Spain, fur trappers and traders, government explorers, and California immigrants who contributed to the founding of an empire in “the top of the mountains.”
Sculptures, bas-reliefs, and plaques around the base of the monument illustrate Utah’s beginnings. A visitor center displays a mural depicting major events during the migration of the “Saints” from Nauvoo, Illinois, to their promised land. An eight-minute narration recounts the journey; foreign language narration can be requested, too.
Old Deseret (9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun. Memorial Day-Labor Day, $9 adults, $7 children and seniors; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun. Sept.-May, $5 adults, $3 children and seniors), on the grounds near the monument, re-creates a Utah pioneer village. During the summer it comes alive with farming and crafts demonstrations and wagon and pony rides. In addition, three "mini trains" make loops around the park.
Most of the two dozen buildings that were moved here are original, some of the first in the valley. Some notable structures include Brigham Young’s forest farmhouse, the 1847 Levi Riter cabin, and the Charles Rich house, designed in the 1850s for polygamous family living.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition