LOCAL NEWS

Utah celebrates its 126th birthday Tuesday

Jan 4, 2022, 4:37 PM | Updated: 5:48 pm
Shown above, the flag hung in the tabernacle. The flag measured 158 feet by 75 feet with the forty-...
Shown above, the flag hung in the tabernacle. The flag measured 158 feet by 75 feet with the forty-fifth star illuminated. (Utah State University, Merrill Library, Special Collections. Photograph also available at Utah State Historical Society, Marriott Library, and the LDS Church Historical Department.)
(Utah State University, Merrill Library, Special Collections. Photograph also available at Utah State Historical Society, Marriott Library, and the LDS Church Historical Department.)

Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2021, marks the 126th anniversary of Utah becoming an official state of the United States of America. To paint a picture, in 1896, the first x-rays were taken, the first college basketball game with five on each side was conducted as an experiment, and Tootsie Rolls were first introduced. And of course, Utah was signed into the Union by President Grover Cleveland, making Utah the 45th state.

In an article from the Salt Lake Tribune dated Jan. 3, 1896 says there was some dispute in what time the statehood proclamation would be signed with the paper being told, “Secretary Thurber advised Gov. West that it was impossible to predict when on Saturday Mr. Cleveland would sign the declaration.” The article concluded that after communicating with the President about the importance of representing the state at such a crucial moment, Gov. West was told it would likely be at noon the following day and he would be allowed to be in attendance.

Multiple events took place on Saturday to celebrate Utah’s new statehood. Business was suspended for the day and people took to the streets to celebrate; ringing bells, shooting off fireworks, and cheering.

ZCMI store shown decorated in red, white, and blue to celebrate the statehoodl. Streets of Salt Lake City People crowded the streets of Salt Lake City in celebration of achieving statehood (Utah State Historical Society). Shown above, the flag hung in the tabernacle. The flag measured 158 feet by 75 feet with the forty-fifth star illuminated. (Utah State University, Merrill Library, Special Collections. Photograph also available at Utah State Historical Society, Marriott Library, and the LDS Church Historical Department.)

James E. Talmage wrote the following of the event: “At 8:03 a.m., Mountain Time, the expected message reached Salt Lake City that Grover Cleveland President of the United States had signed the proclamation which makes the admission of Utah to the Union of States complete…. 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.” 

The National Guard marched to the capitol building and fired a 21-gun salute for the occasion.

“Though we have seen some interesting days in Utah, We have Never seen such a Day as this,” Wilford Woodruff, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wrote to his son in a letter. 

The following Monday, the tabernacle, decked out with red, white, and blue and a 45 star flag, hosted a number of performances to celebrate.

More information including historic images can be found at https://thrive125.utah.gov/ and https://collections.lib.utah.edu/.

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