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A Landmark Journey: Photographs of the Sesquicentennial Wagon Train Along the Mormon Trail

April 12, 2004


The Sugarhouse Chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers announces an exhibition highlighting the 1997 pioneer wagon train re-enactment. Featuring photographs by Gary B. Peterson, the display will open to the public on Monday, 10 May 2004, and run through Saturday, 31 July 2004.  An invitation-only reception will be held for Mr. Peterson on Friday, 7 May.


The presentation will occupy the Heritage Hall of the SUP headquarters building at 3301 East Louise Ave. (2320 South).  It is free to the public, open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm.  SUP headquarters is located on the hills overlooking Parleys Hollow, four blocks directly north of the intersection of 3300 East and 3300 South.  It is accessible via exit 3 from I–215 southbound, exit 4 from I–215 northbound or I–15 exit 306 (3300 South).


The exhibit is self-guided but special tours can be arranged for groups by contacting Sugarhouse Chapter Special Events Chair Robert Race at 801-967-0119 or


Gary Peterson has been a commercial photographer and geographer for over three decades. He is co-author of the award winning work Sanpete Scenes: A Guide to Utah’s Heart, and has recently been involved in a site-sensitive, energy-efficient house & studio design project.  He is also producing a traveler’s guide to the Lewis & Clark Expedition route and historic sites across America.


Peterson is best known for his sensitive documentation of past landscapes of Mormon settlements and mining in the American West.  He discovered that few of the photographers on the trail were aware of the significant, and sometimes spectacular, landmarks they were passing.  He resolved to record as many of those sites as possible with “authentic” wagon train elements.  Though bits of the 20th Century frequently intruded into his view and the circumstances of trail life were sometimes difficult, he discovered that the wagons, handcarts and walkers were worthy of documentation alongside the landmarks that were their guideposts.  This exhibit allows Peterson to share a sampling of his visual impressions & emotions of great western landmarks with wagon trains of the distant & recent past.


In addition to Peterson’s photographs, noted Utah sculptor Stan Watts will display two bronzes, Carry On and Journey’s End, which depict handcart pioneers.  Watts, who was raised in Sugar House, has received commissions from all over the United States, including Leaning Into The Light in the lobby of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and Angels Are Near Us at This is the Place Heritage Park (both donated under the sponsorship of SUP); The Osprey at the University of Northern Florida; life-size statues of KFC founders Col. Harlan Sanders & Pete Harmon at the Harman Café in Salt Lake City (the first KFC franchise); Hockey Players for the E Center in West Valley City, Utah; An Appeal to Divine Providence in Tampa, Florida & Bountiful, Utah and a full-size Egyptian sarcophagus for the BBC.

Sugarhouse Chapter and entire National Society of the Sons of Utah Pioneers is proud to present this exhibition and hopes that everyone who comes will enjoy the beauty of the photographs and bronzes and contemplate the significance of the events they recall.