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Stolen Ensign Peak marker is recovered after 30 years

The historic plaque from the monument on Ensign Peak, stolen at least 30 years ago, has been found and returned. Weighing 60 pounds, the solid brass plaque was placed on the 18-foot, 4.7-inch (for 1847) tall monument on July 26, 1934, when 500 people climbed the peak for the monument's dedication.

The plaque was recently returned to the Ensign Peak Foundation, an organization committed to preserving and beautifying Ensign Peak."It is miraculous that the plaque has been found and returned," said Nancy Pace of the Salt Lake City Council. "The peak is now owned by the city, and plans are under way to restore the monument, and build an attractive trail, through a nature park, to the top. The peak is a historic landmark, with a spectacular view.

The monument was built with stones gathered along the Mormon Pioneer Trail, and from historic sites, such as the Nauvoo Temple site. In 1934, Arza Hinckley, president of the Ensign Stake, organized the young people of the Mutual Improvement Association, and, with the support of the Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association, constructed the monument and placed the plaque. Architect for the monument was George Cannon Young.

President Heber J. Grant, his counselor Anthony W. Ivins and many notable citizens climbed the peak for the dedication. Elder George Albert Smith of the Council of the Twelve was master of ceremonies. Eight young women in pioneer dress, who were descendants of the eight men who climbed the peak on July 26, 1847, unveiled the monument in what is described as a "breathtaking moment."

President Grant spoke and dedicated the monument and the assembly sang "High on the Mountain Top." From then on the monument has been a noticeable part of the peak.

However, some time later, perhaps 30 or even 40 years ago, the plaque was pried from the monument and taken away.

The plaque reappeared recently when a gentleman, who deals in scrap metal, found the bronze plaque in an old chicken coop in West Jordan, Utah. Thinking that it may have special value, he inquired of Betty Sorensen, marker chairman for the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. She obtained the plaque, and remembering a newspaper article about the July 25 hike and plan to restore the monument, passed it on J Malan Heslop, president of the Ensign Peak Foundation.

"It is a marvelous find," said Ronald Walker, foundation historian. "Though it is marred with bullet marks and defaced by vandalism, every word can be read, and it is beautiful."

The project to beautify Ensign Peak is slated for completion as part of the Utah centennial celebration in 1996.

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