Chad Robert Parker gave an honest and heart warming account of his newly published novel “Sterling Bridge” to members and friends of the Sons of Utah Pioneers Settlement Canyon Chapter on Thursday, March 3 at the TATC in Tooele. Several attendees at Mr. Parker’s presentation lived in Tooele during or shortly after the real life events that were the basis for his short novel, and can testify to the divided town Tooele was then. Future film interests dictated that this work not be a long, all-inclusive book.
“Sterling Bridge” tells the true story about Sterling Harris’ unwavering attempts to bring New Town and Old Town Tooele into one cohesive, pullled-together community. As a concerned teacher and football coach, Mr. Harris managed to pull this off, using every means available to him. He visited unwilling students and athletes in their homes and in their gathering places such as Home Town Bakery that still exist today, and various LDS gathering places like cultural halls, where dances that excluded the non-LDS New Town teenagers were held. In the process, he garnered several Utah high school football championships at a time when smaller schools competed against the larger city-based high schools with their much larger student bodies. He even claims one more state championship because Box Elder High School refused to play Tooele one year for that coveted crown.
Most importantly were the principles of unity and working together for the good of the whole that flavor the 126 pages of this novel. Real people and real happenings as told through the memories of some present during these times, as well as children and others recalling what had been told to them, limit in some minds the actual day-to-day story. As explained by the author, several situations were blended together to make the story more readable, and at times the order of the story is changed for the same reason. What doesn’t change is the undeniable principles and example of one of Tooele’s greatest citizens, Sterling Richard Harris.
If such presentations and camaraderie of those with similar values appeals to you, come join the SUP’s potluck dinner followed by speakers such as these the first Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m. in the wonderful TATC building at 80 S. Tooele Blvd. The speaker for April 7 will be Jon Bryan (not Tooele’s John Bryan), who will tell the real-time story of the destruction of the Provo Tabernacle, and the building and recreating of the remains of that historic building into the beautifully designed and constructed Provo Town Center Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.