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Frontier Utah

Flash Point of Cultures on the Immigrant Trail

July 15–21, 2013
Historian Guide: Ephriam Dickson

Mark Twain described Utah as a "fairyland, to all intents and purposes a land of enchantment, and goblins, and awful mystery." Ralph Waldo Emerson noted that, "One must thank the genius of Brigham Young for the creation of Salt Lake City — an inestimable hospitality to the Overland Emigrants, and an efficient example to all men in the vast desert, teaching how to subdue and turn it to a habitable garden."

Created in 1850, Utah Territory experienced strife in its early days. The so-called Mormon Rebellion of 1858 brought 2,500 troops to the new territory in the greatest military movement since the Mexican War. One of the most barbarous battles in Western history occurred in January 1863, when California Volunteers under Gen. Patrick Connor attacked a Northern Shoshone village on Bear River. Rapid communication came to Utah in 1861, when the last link of the First Transcontinental Telegraph was completed to Salt Lake City, and the First Transcontinental Railroad joined at Promontory Point in 1869.

Led by historian Ephriam Dickson, this new tour centers around the early days of frontier Utah's struggles and settlement, when determination and endurance meant everything. We will explore places and sites and military posts connected with these events, as well as learn about the trials of early immigration, the government, and the practices of the people who founded the Zion in the Wilderness, while experiencing the desert landscape and the wonders of the Great Salt Lake.

7 Days / 6 Nights

Cost: $2,495 Single Occupancy, $2,175 Double Occupancy

Click to request a 2013 printed Travel Guide.


Monday, July 15
Gather in Salt Lake City, where we stay the week, for a briefing and welcome dinner hosted by Ephriam Dickson and HistoryAmerica TOURS.

Tuesday, July 16
Hear about the establishment of Salt Lake City and the church-led territorial government. We visit several sites related to the arrival of Mormon immigrants in Utah, including the Beehive House (Brigham Young's residence), as well as Temple Square and the Museum of Church History.

Wednesday, July 17
Concerned that the Mormons were in a state of rebellion, the largest military expedition since the Mexican War was organized to support the installation of a new governor. At Fort Bridger we visit the site where the Utah militia captured and burned several army wagon trains. Visit the site of Camp Scott where the army spent the winter of 1857-58 before a personal tour of the archaeological dig of the original Fort Bridger fortification. On our return, we stop in Echo Canyon and view the fortifications built by the Mormon militia to slow down the army's march toward Salt Lake City.

Thursday, July 18
Following peace negotiations that ended the risk of open conflict, the Army marched peacefully through Salt Lake City in June 1858, and established Camp Floyd, the largest military post in the western U. S. See demonstrations of uniforms and equipment of the period before we tour nearby Fort Douglas. The successor to Camp Floyd, this Civil War post became the center of military activity in the Salt Lake Valley.

Friday, July 19
In January 1864, a column of troops from Fort Douglas led by Colonel Patrick E. Connor attacked the Northern Shoshone at Bear River, near Preston, Idaho, resulting in the largest number of Indian deaths in the western U. S. We will walk the battlefield and visit the site of the Indian village, discussing the details of the fight. We will also stop at the tribal office of the Northern Shoshone to better understand the ramifications of this event on the future of the tribe.

Saturday, July 20
We begin our explorations today with a visit to Antelope Island State Park, the largest island in the Great Salt Lake. Discover the central role the lake plays in the local climate and learn about the army's early efforts to survey the lake. Finally, the construction of the transcontinental railroad fundamentally changed the region. We continue north to Golden Spike National Historic Monument, where the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads were joined in 1869. Our farewell dinner is this evening.

Sunday, July 21
Depart at your leisure after breakfast. You may choose to attend the 9:30 performance and radio broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

© 2013 HistoryAmerica TOURS
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Updated on 1 November, 2012