Escape to another time at Lagoon's Pioneer Village

Pioneer Village preserves history in Lagoon's quiet 'suburb'

By Ray Boren

For The Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Aug. 18 2011 6:13 p.m. MDT

A multiphone — "sort of the jukebox of its time," Freed observes — towers in a room housing all manner of musical instruments, from other record and cylinder players to an eye-catching "giraffe piano," with its strings rising upward beyond the keyboard, like a harp. Old presses occupy the newspaper/print shop, yellowing newsprint lying on countertops and spread out on stacked holders.

The shelves of the general store — once the Rockport Co-op in Summit County — are orderly with crocks and boxes and tins advertising cereals, spices and other goods, from "Quick-Serve Beans" to "Postum Cereal." An actual collection of aging medicines and herbs — anise seeds, jalapa, Sierra salvia, many bearing corporate names still familiar today — is displayed in bottles and tall glass jars across from the ice cream dispensary, itself featuring an antique saloon back bar.

Other buildings house a prized china and crystal shop, some of the wares believed to have belonged to Brigham Young; a wonderful model railroad collection, lovingly put together by David E. Sperry, filling Kaysville's one-time rail station; and a miniature circus of fantastic detail, from tiny people and performers to big-top tents and a parade of elephants, handmade by Utahn Don Ogden.

Pioneer Village also has an antique stove display. The ornate, and perhaps one-of-a-kind, "Sovereign Jewel" stove is something to behold; an antique toy and doll museum; a blacksmith shop; and a carriage shop, including a Wells Fargo & Co. Over-Land Stagecoach, recreated by a team at Lagoon, and seemingly perfect for a John Wayne movie or a modern bank ad.

Two small boys, their faces spattered with evidence of a recent ice cream splurge, peer into the old dentist's office. Tools, molds and other devices of another, fearsome era of dentistry pepper the room. One boy notes that he actually has a cavity, but is advised he might prefer a modern dentist to what probably occurred in a chamber like this.

Not surprisingly, the dentist's office is one of Wright's favorites. The long-time SUP member and official is a retired dentist and acknowledges that he could have told the two lads exactly what each of those tools would have been used for.

Additional articles in the Rediscovering Deseret series:

  • Old age among myths of Daughters of Utah Pioneers membership

  • Pioneer Memorial Museum: Salt Lake's treasure house of artifacts and stories is a 'secret' everyone can share

  • The area of Deseret started huge, got smaller as it became Utah

  • Shifting shape: Salt Lake City is a living metropolis

  • Hotel Utah, 100 years of history

  • Living history: The past comes to life at Antelope Island's Fielding Garr Ranch

  • Life in 'Old Deseret' — This Is the Place Heritage Park carries on LDS pioneer traditions

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