Photograph Exhibition

1897 & 1997 Mormon Trail Wagon Train Re-enactments

As part of the Sesquicentennial (150 years) celebration of the Mormon Trail, a re-enactment wagon train, handcart company, walkers and riders retraced the Mormons' route. The color photographs here were made toward the end of the trek. In 1897 for the Silver Jubilee (50 years) celebration there was a re-enactment of the Pioneers' entry into the Salt Lake Valley. The black-and-white photographs here are from that event. There are both striking similarities and differences between the pictures taken 100 years apart.

Made July 1997 at Fort Bridger Wyoming. Re-enactors in the "Authentic Camp." Photograph by Steve Berlin.

The "Authentic Camp" docents from Old Deseret Village at The Place State Park in Salt Lake City, Utah. They are shown having a pioneer supper. This living history group was with the company throughout the trek and adhered as closely as possible to the means and methods of pioneer times.

Made July 20, 1997 on a hill just north of East Canyon reservoir, East Canyon, Utah. This scene depicts, Handcart Struggles. Photograph by Steve Berlin.

This handcart was made in Russia, pulled across Siberia and Ukraine and flown from Moscow to Salt Lake City for the final leg of the trek. It bears gifts made by members of the LDS Church in several Slavic countries for the church president. East Canyon Reservoir is seen in the upper right.

 

 

Made July 24, 1997 at the Place State Park, Salt Lake City, Utah. Triumphal Entry - 50,000 Greeters. Photograph by Steve Berlin.

A throng of more than 50,000 cheering, enthusiastic greeters welcomed the re-enactment company as it entered the Salt Lake Valley after nearly 100 days travel over 1100 miles along the Mormon Trail from Winter Quarters, Nebraska to Salt Lake City.

 

Made July 24, 1997 at This is the Place State Park, Salt Lake City, Utah. Team of Oxen. Photograph by Steve Berlin.

Wagon and team of oxen enter Salt Lake Valley. Although ox teams were the most common draft animals on the trail in pioneer times, none made the entire trip in the reenactment company.

 

Made July 2, 1897 Salt Lake City, Utah. Triumphal Entry
1897. 
Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society, all rights reserved - Photograph: Salt Lake Tribune.

The Silver Jubilee re-enactment company's greeting by parade-goers is recorded here but no details as to the exact location of the photograph accompany it.

Made July 24, 1997 at This is the Place State Park, Salt Lake City, Utah. Handcart - The Last Few Feet. Photograph by Steve Berlin.

This happy man has come through all the way from Winter Quarters, Nebraska, more than 1,000 miles. With the This Is The Place Monument over his shoulder he has heard the last of the speeches, songs and tributes, but not yet the final cheers and accolades of the vast and admiring crowd as he pulls his cart the final few feet to the last camp.

Made July 22, 1997 just north of East Canyon Reservoir. Handcart Company, East Canyon, UT.  Photograph by Steve Berlin.

As dawn breaks across the Wasatch Range and the morning sun's first rays touch the mountain tops, the handcart company is on its way. First comes the long, steep pull to the top of Big Mountain and in the afternoon, the hot climb up Little Mountain where they will camp for the night.

Made July 22, 1997 just north of East Canyon Reservoir, East Canyon, Utah.  Photograph by Steve Berlin. 

When apparently the weight of the wagon they were hitched to overcame this pair of mules on a steep hill, they began to run downhill at top speed spilling the driver, who broke his arm and crashing the wagon box into the hill slightly injuring the passengers. Having broken off the front wheels, axle and tongue the team continued to run until the animals went down in the brush and rocks. Once freed from the wreckage, the mules jumped to their feet, appeared unhurt and and stood quietly. The accident was videotaped by the many domestic and international crews covering the last few days of the trek and the dramatic footage aired around the world.

Made July 2, 1897 near mouth of Emigration Canyon, Salt Lake City, Utah. OX Teams 1897. Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society, all rights reserved - Photograph: Salt Lake Tribune.

Wagons stop, perhaps for the camera. This view is also looking generally south from the bench north of Emigration Canyon. The undeveloped land in the distance, on the south side of Emigration Creek, is now home to thousands.

 

Made July 24, 1997 at Place State Park, Salt Lake City, Utah. Another Ox Team. Photograph by Steve Berlin.

This ox team pulls a wagon made in Germany and shipped to Salt Lake City for the last portion of the trip.

 

Made July 2, 1897 Salt Lake City, Utah. Wagon & Handcart
1897. 
Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society, all rights reserved - Photograph: Salt Lake Tribune.

Handcart and wagon meet in this scene from the 1897 Silver Jubilee re-enactment. One hundred years closer to the pioneers than today's re-enactors, it is instructive to examine the picture's details. The team and wagon are the same as those in the lead of the previous picture.

 

 

  Made July 22, 1997 just north of East Canyon Reservoir, East Canyon, Utah.   Utah State Wagon.  Photograph by Steve Berlin.  The "Utah Wagon" made the entire 1100 mile journey.

Made July 22, 1997 just north of East Canyon Reservoir, East Canyon, Utah. Utah State Wagon. Photograph by Steve Berlin.

The "Utah Wagon" made the entire 1100 mile journey.

 

Made July 22, 1997 just north of East Canyon Reservoir, East Canyon, Utah - Formidable Hill. Photograph by Steve Berlin.

This steep hill leads directly off the high flat where the company had camped the night and onto the highway which would be used to skirt East Canyon Reservoir. The handcart company had some trouble on the hill holding back their heavy conveyances but all made the descent without incident. Not so the wagons. After one narrowly-averted runaway and finally the out-of-control bolt of a mule-drawn wagon, which resulted in minor injuries to its driver and occupants and the destruction of the wagon, this route was abandoned. The remainder of the company took a longer but more gentle route to the highway.

Made July 2, 1897 near mouth of Emigration Canyon, Salt Lake City, Utah. Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society, all rights reserved - Photograph: Salt Lake Tribune.

Just as one would do so 100 years later, in 1897 for the 50-year Silver Jubilee Celebration of the Mormon Trail, a re-enactment wagon train enters the Salt Lake Valley. This view is looking generally south from the bench north of Emigration Canyon.

 

Made July 2_, 1897 near mouth of Emigration Canyon, Salt Lake City, Utah. Two Yokes of Oxen - 1897.  Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society, all rights reserved - Photograph: Salt Lake Tribune.

Two yokes of oxen were used on the trek whenever possible but cattle-poor Mormons made do with fewer draft animals than most emigrants on the Oregon-California-Mormon Trail. This view is another looking generally south from the bench north of Emigration Canyon.

Made July 24, 1997 at This is the Place State Park, Salt Lake City, Utah. Wagon Train Scout. Photograph by Steve Berlin.

This rider served as scout for the company across Wyoming and Utah.

 
UTAHcrossroads.org.convention.2018.octa.jpg

Registrations are open! Book your exciting trip on the trails! 

Discover more about the convention and the many activities that will be available for you and your party at our Convention page.  We look forward to your arrival!