Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum

The Territorial Statehouse in Fillmore is the oldest existing governmental building in Utah. Brigham Young directed the construction of the building in anticipation of Utah's coming statehood. However, only the south wing was ever finished, and that was finished just in time for the only meeting of the Territorial Legislature that was ever held in Fillmore, in December, 1855. In 1858, the seat of government was moved back to Salt Lake City and has remained there to this day.

In the early days of the Mormon settlement of Utah, the church leaders envisioned a State of Deseret. Brigham Young and a group of his advisers traveled the area and selected a location more in the center of the far-flung Mormon settlements than Salt Lake City to be the seat of state government. Application was made to the federal government but statehood was denied at that time, and a Territorial Government for Utah Territory was put in place with Brigham Young as Governor.

The chosen site for the Territorial Government was named Fillmore (after the 13th President, Millard Fillmore who helped in securing the first $20,000 needed to begin construction - he couldn't help after that because he lost the next election). They started building the Statehouse in 1852 but funding problems hampered the project and only the south wing was finished. The original plans called for the red stone exterior to be covered with stucco, so many of the stone workers who were building the structure carved their initials into several of the stones. You can still those carved initials today.

After 1858, the Statehouse served a number of uses: religious meeting place, schoolhouse, civic center, jail. By 1900 the building was starting to fall apart and was threatened with demolition. It somehow survived until the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers suggested that it be restored as a museum in the mid-1920's. The Utah State Park and Recreation Commission restored the building and opened it as a museum in 1930 with the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers in custodial care of it. The Territorial Statehouse and the grounds around it became a Utah State Park in 1957.

Today, there is an All-American Rose Society Garden and picnic area on the grounds of the museum. There is also an 1867 stone schoolhouse and 2 restored pioneer cabins on the property.

The Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum is located in the town of Fillmore. It's open every day except Sundays and Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, from 9 AM to 6 PM.

A view in the second floor of the museum
In the second floor of the Territorial Statehouse
A view of the actual structure that is the Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum
The actual building
Photo of model of Utah Territorial Statehouse courtesy of D. Gunderson
Other photos of Utah Territorial Statehouse courtesy of Ben McKune