Utah remembers its roots with Statehood Day

by | Jan. 04, 2010

News from Utah

Utahns first petitioned for statehood in 1849, two years after the Mormon pioneers first established homes in the Great Basin.

But it took 47 years — and an official declaration from the leadership of the LDS Church stating church members would no longer practice polygamy — before President Grover Cleveland on Saturday, Jan. 4, 1896, issued the proclamation admitting Utah to the Union as the 45th state.

Salt Lake City officials, wanting to be properly prepared for the occasion, postponed the official celebration until Monday, Jan. 6.

But residents didn't wait that long. A battery of the Utah National Guard marched to Capitol Hill and fired a 21-gun salute to alert the city. Businesses closed their doors and crowds swarmed the streets, ringing bells, shooting off firecrackers and blowing whistles.

"The news of the admission was welcomed by the firing of cannon and small arms, the shrieking of steam whistles and every other kind of noise which could be produced," wrote James E. Talmage in his personal diary.

An article in the Jan. 4, 1896, Provo Daily Enquirer said that when a telegram announcing the signing of the proclamation was delivered to the newspaper — and the community — "precisely at 9:30 a.m. Mountain Time," the celebration started:

Read the rest of this story at deseret.com
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