While in Park City, one of my "to do's" was to visit This is the Place Heritage Park. I didn't know much about it, just that it was where Brigham Young and the early pioneers had come through Emmigration Canyon to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847 declaring that "this was the place". We headed to Salt Lake Tuesday morning and I am so glad we went. The weather was perfect, the leaves were beautiful, and it was not very busy since it is off season. Basically, they have re-created what frontier life was like when the pioneers first settled in the Salt Lake Valley. Many of the buildings and cabins are originals that have been moved and preserved. The kids enjoyed it all and we spent a good four hours seeing the sights, and then we only left because we were starving. Next time I would pack a lunch!
There was a little house where they could do various pioneer crafts. Here they are making necklaces with arrowheads. We came back twice.
Annie checking out the farm animals.
This picture cracks me up because it looks like Michael is getting a good lick from the ox. Really, it is not a "true" ox. It is still a steer. They told me the difference between regular steers and oxen are four years of training. This steer has almost completed it's fourth year, and so will be an official "oxen" in the Spring. Who knew?
I can see why the pioneers really valued their oxen, they are not only huge and strong, they are also gentle and very likable!
The kids taking in barn life.
Kids 11 and under were able to take pony rides. For once, Joshua was bummed to be too old for something.
Sophie was not scared a bit, she loved it!
The kids are really hoping that Grandpa gets some horses soon, that was Joshua's consolation.
These little pigs were pretty funny too.
The "train" circles around the entire park and they tell facts about each place you pass. It was nice to sit down and rest a bit.
Not the best picture, but I had to include it. Evidence that I really was on the trip.
I think this was the kids favorite spot. They are panning for gold. The Miner told them they could each collect 10 pieces and as payment for using "his spot" on the river they had to give him two pieces back. It was great entertainment.
Joshua decides to cross the river and find a new spot.
It was a bit messy, but anything is worth some "gold".
Here they are evening up with the local "Miner". He was pretty awesome. He even had a pet squirrel he was feeding.
Just a little miniature train ride...look at Sophie's face. She was terrified.
At the end of the ride, she is still not too sure about it.
The kids could keep their gold, or go to the local bank and trade it in for candy. They all chose the candy. It was pretty serious business, he weighed everything and some got more candy than others.
I loved the old school house. I wish that school rooms were still like this today. It made me just want to "play" school! What more do kids need to learn than a chalkboard, chalk and some books. Forget all these ipads for each child. My kids thought the punishments for forgetting to bring your homework were pretty funny.
Maybe I should try this one at home.
The kids were able to see a glimpse into all the work that the pioneer children had to do. It was all a novelty to them so they still thought it seemed fun.
The one thing they agreed would NOT be fun was the whole chamber pot thing. The chamber pot was kept in the house so on winter nights they would not have to drudge to the outhouse in the snow. The lady told me it was the youngest child's chore to empty the pot each morning. YUCK! Can you imagine?
I wished I would have taken pictures of the little cabins that LARGE families lived in. Seriously, they were tiny. And each family had like ten OR SO kids. I asked where they slept and usually the children slept on the floor or up above in a loft. I just can't imagine. The kids would basically have to spend all their spare time outside. They must think we are so ridiculous today with our fancy houses and our "debating" if we should have two children share a room or not. It really puts some of our "excess" into perspective. (And our junk! Everything they owned had a purpose, was treasured and taken care of!)
As we stood here and looked down into the Salt Valley at all the freeways, and urban sprawl I tried to imagine what it looked like when the pioneers arrived. I thought how isolating it would feel to have NOTHING and build a community completely from scratch. I think of what it would be like to wonder what you were going to feed your children each day. Just not being able to "run" down to grocery store for ANYTHING. If you didn't plant and grow, you would not eat. Not to mention childbirth, lack of clothing, Indians, and just the natural elements. The whole thing would take some serious faith. Can you imagine their prayers? Would I and do I have that kind of faith? Hats off to the settlers of the American West. I must now go do my Monday morning cleaning. I guess it doesn't seem so bad with a washer and dryer, a dishwasher, a car, and a vacuum. Six kids? That is nothing, in fact, the smallest family I read about in a cabin had seven. Ya, my life isn't too bad. :)