Pres. Hunter speaks to crowd at centennial of historic building

As did President Wilford Woodruff, his predecessor of a century ago, President Howard W. Hunter addressed a festive crowd on the grounds of the Salt Lake City and County Building July 23.

The occasion was the centennial of the historic structure, and the program was patterned loosely after the original dedicatory ceremony 100 years ago. The building recently underwent extensive restoration.That original dedicatory program, in addition to President Woodruff, featured his first counselor George Q. Cannon, the Salt Lake mayor who was in office at the time of the dedication, the former mayor when the building was commissioned, judges and the Utah territorial governor. Denhalter's Military Band provided music on that occasion.

This time, the Salt Lake Letter Carriers Band played march music preceding the centennial program, attended by hundreds of spectators who sat on chairs or lounged on the north lawn of the edifice. Conducting the program was Mayor Deedee Corradini of Salt Lake City. Speakers included Gov. Mike Leavitt of Utah, retired district Judge David B. Dee, Salt Lake County Commissioner Jim Bradley, former Salt Lake City Mayor Ted Wilson, Justice Christine M. Durham of the Utah Supreme Court, Chairman Alan Hardman of the Salt Lake City Council, and U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch from Utah. A meditation was given by the Rev. Dr. Horace M McMullen and music was performed by the Faith Temple Choir, a gospel group.

As President Hunter was introduced, the crowd stood and rendered prolonged applause. "This is probably the only opportunity I will ever have to clap for the prophet," a woman in the audience commented.

Referring to President Woodruff's dedicatory prayer 100 years, ago, President Hunter noted he offered "thanks for mercies and . . . gifts that had come from the Divine Creator and were lavished upon this valley," that he invoked blessings upon those who had constructed the structure and upon officials of the city, county, territory and nation.

"President Woodruff concluded his prayer with the wish that those who occupied this beautiful structure might at all times be inspired by the teachings of the Creator in the administration of its affairs. I wish to speak similarly today. This building, which has become a landmark in this community, and which has been seismically strengthened and beautified in recent years, is recognized as an important edifice wherein the needs of the citizenry are considered and adjudicated by our public servants. This structure has been a unifying force in the community."

President Hunter traced the history of the site on which the building stands, noting that the first group of Pioneers camped close to that location on July 23, 1847, and the first plowing appears to have taken place just north of the block on the same day.

"In its early history it was known as Emigration Square or Washington Square, and during the 1860s was used as a campsite for those entering the valley," he noted. "It was later known as Eighth Ward Square. The children may be interested in knowing that after the coming of the railroad, when camping diminished, this square was also used for a number of purposes including cattle drives, carnivals, medicine shows and circuses. It was also used for a time as a playing field for the Deseret Baseball Club. The Salt Lake City and County Building was erected on this site between 1891 and 1894."

On behalf of the Church, President Hunter asked the blessings of the Lord upon public servants housed in the building and elsewhere "who continue to serve the citizens of this community and valley. May the approbation of heaven attend their deliberations. May this edifice continue to be a beacon to the citizens of the Salt Lake Valley and a source of community pride. We extend our congratulations to those who have been instrumental in preserving it."

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