Surprise History in Fillmore
Oct 23, 2009
|I used to work with a guy that loved to go to yard sales. He'd say "it's like going on a treasure hunt". I never really understood at the time but I was reminded of that today. We came to the town of Filmore just to stay the night and discovered a bit of history when we ventured out.
But first a bit about our departure. We left Boise Thursday morning on schedule and pulled a fairly long trek into Utah driving 4 1/2 hours to the town of Perry. That's longer than we usually do but we wanted to make some time and it was fairly easy freeway driving.
Just staying overnight and arriving late afternoon, we decided to stay at the local Walmart. Not glamorous, but convenient for a quick stay as we don't have to check in or unhitch, plus it makes it easy to stock up on last minute items. I never say it's free as we spend more than the cost of an RV park inside the store.
This morning we pulled out fairly early and drove 200 more miles to the town of Filmore. We're staying at a KOA which again isn't our favorite but this one's OK. Since we got in early I asked the gentleman at the desk if there was anything to see in town and he mentioned the Territorial Statehouse which included a museum.
So we got setup, had lunch then headed towards town. The town itself is very small and I didn't think we'd have trouble finding it. I stopped to take this picture of the courthouse before driving to the other end of town without finding the museum. But we ran across a small visitors center and the nice lady inside said it was BEHIND the courthouse that I had just taken a picture of.
Back we went (3 or 4 blocks - not miles mind you) and found it and what a surprise. The town of Fillmore as it turns out is named after someone famous that most of us probably have forgotten - Millard Fillmore, our 13th president. In fact the county is named Millard.
The Territorial Statehouse was the first federal building in the Intermountain West, dedicated in 1855. It's a reminder of the struggle for power between Mormon church leaders and the federal government.
Brigham Young was appointed governor the same year President Fillmore created the territory of Utah. Young wanted the capitol to be in the center of the territory and congress had set aside funding for it's start. But many were concerned that Young being both the governor and and President of the Mormon church represented a conflict of interest. They feared the Mormon's vision of a home in the west conflicted with federal government's idea.
When President Filmore's term ended, congress withdrew funding. The plans called for four wings and a rotunda, but only the first wing was built. With very few settlers moving into the town, along with cold winters, the capitol was moved to Salt Lake City.
Wow - here we are in a little "unknown" town that I picked on Mapquest as a place to stay between Perry and Saint George only to find out it was once the capitol of Utah. We returned to the park afterwards and it was warm enough to pull out the recliners and relax in the sunshine. Another great day on the road.