It's been almost a century and a half since pioneer Perrigrine Sessions brought a herd of livestock to a plot of acreage now known as Bountiful.
And it's about time the place had a museum, says Leslie Foy, a City Councilman who also happens to be a co-chairman of the Bountiful Historical Society.The City Council recently voted to help fund an appraisal on some property at 300 N. 200 West. The land, about 0.7 acre, contains a large rock barn that dates back to the 1870s.
What might be most significant to the city's history is a small dugout beneath the barn. Local historians know that Sessions built a dugout in September 1847.
"But there's no proof yet as to whether this dugout is that of Sessions," Foy said.
Proof or not, the city's Historical Preservation Commission and the Planning and Zoning Commission as well as the historical society have recommended that the city purchase the property, which would then be developed by private contributions. The museum concept also fits into the city's master plan, which was developed several years ago.
"Our hope is to renovate the barn into a museum, possibly for multiple use with the Chamber of Commerce or the Bountiful Community Theater," Foy said.
Owned by Lila Glade, the property is currently listed around $160,000, said City Manager Tom Hardy. The City Council, however, wants to have the property appraised and voted to fund half the cost of an appraisal. The other half would be funded by Glade, Hardy said.
In addition to the old barn, the property contains the Lazy B Saddlery Building, which was heavily damaged by fire two years ago and would probably be removed if the city purchases the property.
Foy said the barn is structurally sound with "walls thick and strong" and could be renovated into a museum, a project that some estimate would cost between $30,000 and $40,000.
The museum would be a fitting touch to other festivities planned for the city's centennial celebration in 1992, Foy said.
"A museum would help us with our sense of identity," said Foy, noting that visitors to south Davis County have no central place to go to get information. "We need a center, a home for all that information." The museum could be combined with the Chamber of Commerce, a set-up Foy said exists successfully in Park City.
Foy said he believes the centennial would provide the perfect impetus for a museum. "If we can't get it together by the centennial, then, in my opinion, we'll never get a museum."