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School festivities honor city founder

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — On Monday, April 21, the students of Jefferson Hunt Elementary School in San Bernardino, Calif., stepped back in time to experience life in 1853. Their grassy playground was transformed into a pioneer village complete with Mormon Battalion soldiers and a covered wagon. Students learned what it was like to be pioneers through this living history experience provided by the Heritage Trails Association that promotes the early pioneer history of California.

San Bernardino was founded by Mormon pioneers in 1851.

The event was planned to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the establishment of San Bernardino County on April 26, 1853, and the 200th birthday of Jefferson Hunt, Mormon Battalion soldier and pioneer. Hunt is also known as the "Father of San Bernardino County." He introduced the bill to separate the region from Los Angeles County while serving as a state assemblyman.

The festivities began with a presentation to the school of an original photo of Hunt in the early 1870s. Carolyn Goodson of Newport Beach California Stake and a descendant, donated the family heirloom. Doug Poulson, San Bernardino California Stake President, represented the Church at the event.

Dignitaries from district and county schools paid tribute to Jefferson Hunt as a great soldier, leader and pioneer. The San Bernardino County Office of Superintendent of Schools is celebrating its 150th anniversary as well. After the county was formed in 1853, the office was established and Mormon Pioneer William Stout was appointed as the first superintendent.

On the playground, the favorite activity was the ride in the 1903 wagon pulled by two large Belgian horses provided by Lynn and Sharon Bogh of the Redlands California Stake.

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