Upper Ogden Valley bicentennial 7 years away, but not too early to celebrate

Wednesday , May 16, 2018 - 5:00 AM1 comment

EDEN — In seven years the Upper Ogden Valley turns 200, but a newly formed group says it’ll commemorate the area’s often overlooked history each year before the bicentennial arrives. 

Made up of local volunteers, the Ogden Valley Bicentennial Council (OVBC) formed in 2017 and is working on an ambitious set of plans to mark May 16, 1825 — the day Peter Skene Ogden descended on the land known by many today simply as “The Valley.”   

The OVBC will recognize Ogden’s arrival, with a contingent of trappers from the Hudson Bay Company, as the day the valley was settled. 

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As part of a yearly lecture series leading up to a massive bicentennial celebration in 2025, the OVBC this year will examine details of initial Native American interactions with the mountain man trappers of the early 1800 fur trade — highlighting notable players like Ogden, his Hudson's Bay brigade and the local Shoshone Indians of the time.

The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. May 17 at the Historic Eden Chapel, also known as the Hearthside Reception Center, 5612 E. 2200 North.

Darren Parry, Chairman of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, will be the keynote speaker, and representatives of the Fort Bridger Rendezvous Association and the Fort Buenaventura Mountain Men will also be present.

“We are really trying to dial this in to the specific fur trade stories of the Northern Utah and Weber County/Ogden Valley area,” said OVBC member Dave Martin. “A lot of times, it’s almost like Utah history didn’t exist before the Mormon pioneers came. We are trying to highlight some of this area’s history that maybe isn’t as recognized.”

Ogden’s valley expedition came about 30 years before Mormon settlers arrived and formed the towns of Huntsville, Eden and Liberty.

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As part of last year’s inaugural lecture, a pair of Utah historians detailed Ogden’s arrival and the Mountain Green rendezvous that followed. Martin said more than 150 people attended the discussion last year. He expects this year’s crowd to be similar. 

At Thursday’s event, the OVBC will also address some of its commemorative projects scheduled for the bicentennial. Martin said plans include the placement of a monument, historical roadside markers, a re-enactment of Ogden’s entrance into the valley and the possible construction of a museum.

If everything goes according to plan, roadside markers and monuments will be placed at the camps of Ogden's journey through the valley, and an Ogden monument will be erected in an already acquired lot adjacent to the Eden Chapel. The re-enactment would include living descendants of Ogden and other members of the brigade, including local Shoshone participants, Martin said.

The museum would focus on the Rocky Mountain fur trade of the early 1800's, particularly local actors, and local tribal groups.

The OVBC is also building an online resource library to preserve and present details of the pre-pioneer settlement period of Ogden Valley and surrounding areas.

“It’s a pretty ambitious plan,” Martin said. “But we have seven years to make it happen.”

For more information, go to ogdenhole.com.

You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at mishaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23 or like him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mitchshaw.standardexaminer/.

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