Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Mountain Meadows Massacre

Before I returned to California, I decided to visit the memorial for the mountain meadows massacre. I won't try to explain that very tragic event in 1857, but you can find some decent descriptions on the Wikipedia page and the LDS page where they attempt to describe the complicated circumstances that led up to the massacre. Suffice it to say that 120 men, women and children (members of a wagon train from Arkansas headed west) were murdered by LDS followers. There are several books that describe the subject. Here are a few: The Mountain Meadows Massacre and Blood and Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows. A movie on the subject titled September Dawn was recently released.

The memorial is located on the site of the seige and killings in Mountain Meadow, southwest of Cedar City, Utah (Google Maps link). Tasteful and understated, it does a fine job of memorializing the event. I especially liked the layout. You park in a large dirt lot and then walk down a sidewalk lined with natural vegetation. Visitors then take a small bridge to cross a creek and continue up the sidewalk to the memorial. This layout, among natural plants with no distractions, forcing the visitor to take some time before arriving at the memorial, seemed to help imbue a peaceful, almost somber tone to the whole setting. They also have an overlook area with plaques and more to help describe the meadow setting, now and then. I was pleased to see that I was not alone. Several other visitors were there, and most of them had Utah license plates.

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