The Brigham Young Monument was re-established at its new location Nov. 15 after standing for more than 96 years in the intersection of Main Street and South Temple in Salt Lake City. The monument was moved 82 feet north, between the southwest corner of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and the southeast corner of Temple Square.
The move was completed when the refurbished, nine-foot bronze statue of Brigham Young was placed on the 25-foot granite monument. Before the monument was moved from its longtime location, the statue was lifted from its position on top of the monument and placed in storage, awaiting its new location. While in storage, the statue was refurbished.Bronze statues of an Indian and a trapper, a bas-relief of a pioneer group and plaques describing the monument and listing the names of the pioneers in the group that arrived July 24, 1847, had been placed on the granite base earlier.
The monument, which has been clouded by controversy from time to time, has become a well-known landmark in Salt Lake City.
The idea for the monument was conceived in 1891. A letter to members of the Church, dated Nov. 22, 1894, and signed by Church President Wilford Woodruff and his counselors, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith, stated: "In December 1891, acting under our advice and direction, an association was formed consisting of some twenty-seven persons, for the most part sons of the pioneers, with ourselves as an advisory board, for the purpose of attending to the detail work of the erection of a monument to the pioneers of Utah and their distinguished leader, President Brigham Young."
The Brigham Young Memorial Association proceeded to make plans for the monument including its size and nature, and its location. One of the association's first acts was to contract with Utah-born sculptor Cyrus Edwin Dallin to design and create the statues on the monument.
For his work on the statues of Brigham Young, the trapper and the Indian, as well as the pioneer group, Dallin was to receive $25,000.
The Brigham Young Memorial Association set out to raise funds privately to pay for the monument, but that became a troubling challenge.
In their letter to the Saints, President Woodruff and his counselors said: "We are aware that there are many and varied calls for donations for worthy purposes from the people, but it is our desire that this call shall be given first place and other considerations of a public nature be regarded as secondary until the work in hand shall be completed."
They had hoped to dedicate the monument in October 1895.
In the October 1894, general conference, Elder Heber J. Grant of the Council of the Twelve said: "A statue of President Young and Pioneers has been executed and a great many thousands of dollars are due on it. It has been decided by the Presidency of the Church to call upon the Latter-day Saints to pay something toward that statue, and I hope that every man, woman and child will pay from five cents up, so that every one of us can say, when the monument is erected on the corner of this block, `I contributed something toward erecting that.' "
As late as Jan. 17, 1902, an editorial in the Deseret News called upon the Saints to donate funds to clear the debt incurred by building the Brigham Young Monument.
Dallin's work on the Brigham Young statue was completed in time for it to be displayed in front of the Utah Building at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, which ran from May 1 to Oct. 30, 1893.
Several sites were originally considered for the permanent location of the monument including in front of the future Capitol, North State street and at the entrance to Liberty Park. Finally, the southeast corner of Temple Square was chosen and the monument was placed on a temporary pedestal in that area after its arrival from Chicago.
Spencer Clawson explained in an article in the Improvement Era how the monument ended up in the Main Street-South Temple intersection. Pres. George Q. Cannon "urged that the achievements of President Young and the pioneers rendered it more fitting that the monument to their memory should be in a more public place – it was decided that the monument should be built at the intersection of East and South Temple streets, and the city council deeded to the association a plot of ground twenty-five feet by twenty-five feet, for that purpose." (Improvement Era, October 1900, p. 883.)
One of President Brigham Young's sons, Church architect Joseph Don Carlos Young, designed the permanent monument, according to his grandson, Dick Young.
Although the original target date for dedicating the monument was missed, the granite base was erected and the statue of Brigham Young placed on top in time for unveiling during the 1897 celebration of the 50th anniversary of the pioneers' arrival in the Salt Lake Valley.
Amid great celebration on July 20 of that year, the monument was officially unveiled. Bishop Orson F. Whitney read the dedicatory prayer prepared by President Woodruff, the Tabernacle Choir sang "Ode to Brigham Young," and James H. Moyle delivered a speech and presented the monument to the public on behalf of the Brigham Young Memorial Association.
President Woodruff then proclaimed, "In the name of God, I now unveil this monument," as the United States flag that covered the monument fell away from
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