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A Statehouse for the New Territory

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The Territorial State House Museum

The struggle for power in the new Territory of Utah, between an established and powerful theocracy and the federal government, began in Fillmore.  The Territorial Statehouse is a physical reminder of that past struggle.  The Statehouse is the south wing of a large domed capitol building in the form of a Roman cross, designed by Truman O. Angell.   It is the only portion of that envisioned structure ever built.  The statehouse has a wonderful and varied history, yet the most intriguing parts of the story are more closely tied to those sections of the capitol that were never constructed. Before diving into the conflict between the Mormons and the federal system, why Fillmore was chosen, and some back ground, are needed to understand the events that followed.   Utah gained Territorial status with the compromise of 1850.  President Millard Fillmore appointed Brigham Young as the first governor.  One of the first items of business for Governor Young was establishing a capitol and a capitol city.   Centralized government or equal access for all citizens was the key factor that led to the choice of Fillmore, because of its location in the center of the Territory.   In honor of the president the county was named Millard and the new capital was designated Fillmore. All that needed to be done now was build a town and a capital to follow the dreams and aspirations of joining the Federal Union with full statehood status.   The loss of the next election by Fillmore was the beginning of the end for the partly built capitol. The city would suffer the same fate in the annals of history as its name sake; lost but not forgotten. The following two presidents cut all funding for the building.  Newly appointed federal officials, looking after their own political aspirations, did nothing but widen the gap between Mormons and non-Mormons.  The only full session of the legislature to meet in Fillmore was the year the Statehouse was finished, 1855.  Brigham Young himself dedicated the building and gave an eloquent speech for the vision of the future of Utah.  One governor and three years later the dream was dead.  "What could have been the place," Fillmore and the lone south wing were swept into the cobwebs of time.  Salt Lake City has been maintained as the capitol since 1858; the year Governor Alfred Cummings allowed the legislature to move the capitol to that location.  The Daughters of the Utah Pioneers restored the Territorial Statehouse and reopened it as a museum in 1930. The old capitol building became Utah's first state park in 1957 and today houses a pioneer collection from the time period of the Utah Territory, 1850 to 1896. There are additional historic buildings, a picnic area and an All-American Rose Selection rose garden adjacent to the museum.

Gordon Chatland, Park Ranger, Utah Territorial State House Museum

Park Information
  Old Capitol Arts Festival
 Annual ATV Jamboree
  Elevation - 5,300 ft.
  Park Open - All Year
  Day-use Only
  Day-use Fee - $5
  Visitors Center
  Picnicking in the park
  Group Pavilion
  Drinking Water
  Modern Rest Rooms
  Fishing & Hiking - Nearby
  Swimming - Nearby

A collection of dishes.
museum display

Permits and Passes:
The Single Park Permit is $50 and allows the cardholder and up to seven guests in the same private vehicle day-use entrance into Territorial Statehouse State Park.  The permit is valid for the current calendar year.  The Five-Day Pass is $15 and allows day-use entrance to most Utah state parks for five consecutive days.  For updated information regarding facilities for the physically challenged, contact the park.

A collection of clothing & dolls.
museum display

For more information contact: (hours vary)

Territorial Statehouse State Park
PO Box 657
Fillmore, Utah 84631-0657
(435) 743-5316

or Request an Information Package

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