Great colonial history to see in Provo

Published: Sunday, July 3 2011 9:39 p.m. MDT

This wallet was given by George Washington in 1762 to Abbott Hall, a family member of Martha Washington's. He was the war veteran and first Collector of Customs in South Carolina.

Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Monday is the 235th anniversary of the founding of the United States.

Each July 4th since 1776, we have celebrated our independence from Great Britain. We remember Jefferson's opening words of his declaration, "When in the course of human events," and he listed the reasons for our independence. Congress agreed after long debate that it was time to sever our ties with our mother country.

Today, and during the past few days, Provo celebrates this day with parades, hot air balloons and, of course, the Stadium of Fire. Most of these events have now passed, but Colonial Days remains open today.

One other area in Provo that is just as important is located on Center Street between 200 and 300 East, surrounding the Crandall Printing Museum. The museum show us all what life was like 200 years ago.

Between the re-enactors and interpreters of our history, you can take your children and grandchildren to see the real letters, documents, photos and art of Brent Ashworth's huge collection. He has, for the past few years, provided thousands of historic documents and other items for us to enjoy.

The Hall of U.S. History, which is adjoining the Crandall Printing Museum, has a copy of the Declaration of Independence, published by the government in 1823 by W. J. Stone.

There are 200 other items on display telling the story of America. These are not copies but are the real things worth thousands of dollars. Ashworth has letters from some of American history's great men, including Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt, as well as from Paul Revere.

Ashworth displays signed photos of General George A. Custer, the Wright Brothers, and the first American astronauts that went to the moon. The collection contains other items if you want to see a letter from Marilyn Monroe to Joe DiMaggio, a wallet George Washington gave to a friend, or Emma Smith's bond on the estate of her husband Joseph Smith. There are also items relating to the founding of the City of Provo, they are there for you to see at no cost, but a few minutes of your time.

We invite you to submit photos to us at UtahHistoryPhotos@gmail.com. We are looking for any scans of photos of movies and TV productions being made in Utah (movies have been made here in Utah since about 1908). Also, if you have photos of early BYU, or if you would like to find out a little more about the importance or value of your old photograph, you guessed it: send it to us. Please consider donating your old photos to colleges and universities and state and local historical societies or church history libraries, rather than see historic images fall into disrepair or be tossed away.

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