Thursday, April 5, 2012

Edna and Lottie Tell of Utah

In 1906, two local girls from West Earl Township in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, sent a series of letters to the New Holland Clarion detailing their travels out West. In the 1 September 1906 issue, the Clarion printed a letter from Edna P. Hurst and Lottie Eckert that included a section about their passage back through Utah on their return, which reads partly as thus:
The next point of interest was Great Salt Lake. The railroad crosses it from one side to the other, a distance of seven miles. Leaving the lake we passed through Ogden. Salt Lake City was our next stopping place. This is a beautiful city, twenty miles south of the lake. Here the streets are 132 feet wide and bordered on each side with trees and streams of water. Some of the finest homes in the west are found here, belonging mostly to wealthy miners. All buildings are well built.

Temple Square contains the Mormon temple, tabernacle and assembly hall. With the exception of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York it is the most costly place of worship in the country, having cost $6,000,000. It is built of snow-white granite. It has four large towers and can be seen for fifty miles. Of course, as the temple is used only for marriages and other Mormon ceremonies, we could not get in. The tabernacle is a large structure designed by Brigham Young. It was built before iron nails were used and wooden pegs and raw hide were used to fasten things together. This building has a seating capacity of 18,000. It also contains one of the largest pipe organs in the world. We heard an organ recital by McClellan, the German musician. A choir of 500 voices sings in the tabernacle on Sunday, but we could not stay to hear it.

We also saw the Bee Hive and the Lion House, which were the homes of Brigham Young and his many wives. The photos of twenty-one of these with Brigham in the centre of the group are a novelty as a souvenir post card. We also visited his grave. To our surprise there are sixteen other denominations that have houses of worship in Salt Lake City.

A trip to Salt Air Bench and a float in Salt Lake were delightful. The water is so dense with salt that one can not sink. The water crystallizes on the hair or any part of the body with which it comes in contact.

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