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Sesquicentennial montage gets new home

Article Date: 
29 June, 2012 (All day)

With the help of city employees a 4’ x 14’ montage trekked from the courthouse to its new home in the Morgan County Library.   The montage was hung at its new location on Saturday, June 23, in order to provide a safe place for more people to view.  After 14 years on display at the courthouse, the Morgan Historical Society decided to bring it a little closer to their home.  The montage is now hanging inside the library in the southeast corner outside of the historical society office.  The space provides the perfect area for the work to be appreciated.  Prominently hanging high on the wall, the montage is safe from any little hands that may pass by.  
Over a decade ago we celebrated the sesquicentennial of when the Utah pioneers entered our state.   Proud of this heritage, we celebrated the 150th anniversary with celebrations and events throughout the year.  In December of 1997, the Morgan County Historical Society unveiled their crowning event of the year— a historical montage of our beautiful Morgan County.
 Those involved wanted “to create a lasting project that would be available for future generations to enjoy.”  Originally they wanted to create a mural with artists working together  to create one work of art, but soon it was apparent that idea would not work logistically for the artists.  The call was sent out to all known local artists to participate in the project.  They were each invited to paint a site, event or wildlife depicting Morgan County’s history.   The artists each received a 16 by 20 inch canvas to create their original oil or acrylic painting for the montage.  
Twelve area artists accepted this challenge and donated a painting of historical significance to our county.  Sandy Carter painted “1,000 Mile Tree—Devil’s Looking Glass” which depicts old time railroad and the 1,000 mile of track laid from the starting point in Omaha, Neb.   JoAnn Corpany painted “LDS Stake Tabernacle 1882.”  Currently Morgan residents typically refer to this building as the Rock Church.  It has been remodeled several times, and according to the historical society, it is one of the few existing historic public buildings still standing in our county.  Kim Corpany painted “Bryant Russell Company-1846” portraying a group who traveled through Morgan on mules and camped in Morgan on July 24, 1846.  Grace Duncan painted “Treacherous Road-Devil’s Gate.”  Travel into our valley was difficult; those traveling were plagued with geological obstacles such as Devil’s Gate before they entered our pristine valley.  Norma Hassell painted “Morgan County Courthouse 1874-1957.”  In this painting the Courthouse is depicted with its original portico on the front porch.  Hassell’s husband had been employed as a judge making her subject matter especially interesting to her.  Carol Hunt painted “Encampment at Red Rock Gorge-East Canyon.”  This painting illustrates the vivid colors and beauty of Red Rock Gorge with an Indian encampment of the 1800’s.  David Jackson painted “Mule Deer at Williaheimer Pass” depicting an area near Devil’s slide with majestic mule deer.  Linda Jensen painted “Wildlife of Morgan County.”  In this colorful painting the many species of wildlife are represented surrounded with a magnificent backdrop of mountains.  Bonnie Malan painted “Heart of the Valley-Weber River-Peterson.”  This painting depicts a lush Weber River full of vegetation and the iconic Francis Peak in the Peterson area.  Peggy Mecham painted “Winter Resident” which portrays with pride, Morgan sheltering the Bald Eagle.  Our waterways and mountains provide food when their northern summer habitat areas are frozen.  Laraine B. Toone painted “Dixie Pony Express Station.”  A symbol of the wild-west days, the Pony Express had two stations in Morgan that passed important messages including President Lincoln’s inaugural address, news on Fort Sumter, and reports of the Civil War. Joe C. Watkins rounded out the montage with his painting “Devil’s Slide.”  This unique rock formation is known throughout the country.  In earlier times railway passengers looked for the iconic rocks from their passenger cars.  This formation continues to demand attention as people still pull their cars off the freeway to get a better view. 
First National Bank of Morgan donated money for materials and Jay Hopkin of J&L Cabinets donated his talents for the custom built frame.
The artwork is open to the public to be viewed during library hours.  “The impact of seeing all these beautiful paintings depicting Morgan County in one unit is breathtaking.  It reminds us of the unique beauty of our county and its historical heritage,” Linda Smith, Morgan County historian pronounced at the time it was first created.