Brigham Young's winter home: Residence offers visitors glimpse into the life of 'the American Moses'

Historic St. George residence offers visitors glimpse into the life of 'the American Moses'

By Ray Boren

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Dec. 13 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

On the walls are many portraits: a large one of Brigham Young himself over the fireplace mantle; a drawing in profile of Joseph Smith, the first prophet of the LDS Church and President Young's martyred predecessor; several of George Washington, a personal hero to Brigham Young; others of advisers like Daniel H. Wells and George A. Smith (for whom, some say, St. George is named); and one of Brigham with his wife Amelia.

Brigham Young's large second-story bedroom is more than a simple bedstead. It is obviously an office, as well.

"He spent a lot of time here," Collings says. "We know that he read a lot. We know that he wrote a lot." For a man who had very little formal schooling, he was well-, and self-, educated.

And as the prayer stool at the foot of the bed testifies, "We know that he prayed a lot," the missionary guide adds.

Besides the comfortable home and quarters, other factors made it possible for Brigham Young to spend so much of the year in St. George.

His wife Harriet Amelia Folsom Young served as a hostess and nurse, capable of helping him with the infirmities of time and age, for like the century itself, Brigham Young was in his 70s.

And by the 1870s, the telegraph was linking communities across the continent. Indeed, Collings notes, Brigham Young had access to just such a line between St. George and Salt Lake City. He was informed and in charge.

This was a necessity for a man who, as historian Leonard J. Arrington summarized in the biography "Brigham Young: American Moses," "directed the organization of several hundred Latter-day Saint settlements; took contracts to build the transcontinental telegraph and Pacific Railroad; set up several hundred cooperative retail, wholesale, and manufacturing enterprises; established colleges and universities; and initiated the construction of meetinghouses, tabernacles, and temples."

If you go …

Brigham Young's winter home is at 89 W. 200 North in St. George. Several signs along St. George Boulevard point visitors to its location.

Tours of the home are free. Missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serve as docents and guides, focusing upon history.

Hours vary depending upon the season. They are currently 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in winter, with the last tour beginning at 4:30 p.m. Extended hours begin April 1, from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. For up-to-date information, call 435-673-5181.

The winter home is presently decorated for Christmas, with several Christmas trees, wreaths and other seasonal items.

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