Venice Ward observes centennial

VENICE, Utah — The Venice Ward of the Richfield Utah Stake celebrated its 100th anniversary June 10 by participating in a week-long slate of activities that included a dinner, bazaar, breakfast, talent show and a display of old and modern artifacts. The ward was organized June 10, 1900.

Venice is located in central Sevier County, just a few miles outside of Richfield. It was originally called Wallsville, but residents later changed the name to Venice in honor of the first settlers. The town has never been incorporated and continues to be governed by law abiding citizens who live gospel principles.

Hundreds of visitors and family members returned to Venice for the festivities. They were greeted by yellow ribbons tied around telephone poles, and wooden, hand-painted flowers in each yard. A Scout-sponsored breakfast began the day, followed by a ceremony honoring past bishops, missionaries and servicemen. A talent show involved many families in the ward. An exhibit in the cultural hall displayed antique furniture, farm tools, an organ and a picture of the entire Sunday School class of 1916.

Joseph Curtis Cowley was the first bishop. Eleven have served since.

The local chapter of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers opened the week with a historical program that included the touring of several pioneer log homes. Members of Camp Venice Knolls were dressed in pioneer-like clothing and were stationed at the various sites to recount the history of the log home to visitors.

The town was established on the Sevier River. Early settlers waded across the river or used rafts. A swinging bridge, much like a hammock, was later built. During the years, other bridges were erected, each playing an important role in the social life of the residents. Youth in the ward continue to paint a white "V" that was etched many years ago on the side of a nearby mountain.

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