Controversy surrounding a Sugarhouse Park plaque naming the first warden of the Utah Territorial Prison remains unresolved, and it may be a few more months before the issue is finally put to rest.
At issue is a plaque on one of two monuments erected earlier this year to commemorate the Utah Territorial Prison, which was on the park site until it was torn down in 1953 following completion of the current prison near Point of the Mountain.The monuments, two 6-foot-high walls constructed of bricks from the old prison walls, were erected by the Sons of the Utah Pioneers and the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. Plaques containing a historical summary concerning the original prison and identifying the first prison warden were imbedded in the walls.
The plaque naming the prison warden has generated a controversy. The plaque says Albert Perry Rockwood was the first warden, but relatives of Daniel Carn (the present-day family spelling has changed to Garn) say he was the first warden and have submitted evidence to support that claim.
Among the evidence is a report written by Rockwood himself, stating that Carn was the warden and that Rockwood, along with two others, were inspectors assigned to audit prison functions. Rockwood was actually the fourth warden, according to the report.
Everett H. Call, SUP president, said the matter has been referred to the local groups that submitted the idea for the monument. He said he has not received a response from them yet. The plaque with the misinformation is on the monument constructed with SUP money.
While Call said his group does not want to see incorrect information displayed, it will be up to the local group sponsoring the project to make the determination concerning changes. Money is a factor. Changing the plaque would require dismantling the wall, reworking the plaque and then rebuilding the monument.
Those involved are not sure how wrong information could have made it onto the plaque. They said several checks were made by the historical society, including a referral to the LDS Church Historical Department, to try to ensure that the information was correct.
Call said the error is distressing since the intent was not to honor individuals, but to cite the historical significance of the prison. He said that intent has been lost in the squabble over names.