The Tooele Pioneer Museum at 47 E. Vine Street opens for the season on Friday May 2 and 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be open every Friday and Saturday through September those same hours. Additional tours may be scheduled by calling Tim Booth (Museum Manager) at 882-1902. Docents are always ready to provide background, history and answer your questions. Maintenance of the building and grounds, receiving and displaying artifacts and providing docents is a service of the Sons of Utah Pioneers Settlement Canyon Chapter, and, of course, entrance is always free!
A door between the Tooele Pioneer Museum and the Daughters of Utah Pioneer Museum (situated next store in the old beautiful stone building) provides easy access to touring both museums in the same trip.
The Tooele County Historical Society is located downstairs and provides fascinating displays, books and presentations. At 7 p.m. every second Tuesday of the month, a different expert presents their historical specialty and brings slides, displays, books etc. For additional information about the Historical Society, call Alice Dale at 882-1612.
The museum docents have been busily preparing for this season opener. New lighting allows the visitor to better view one of the greatest displays in Utah of arrowheads and other Indian artifacts. If you haven’t seen Lee Nix’s array of Native American History, you are in for a treat. Along with arrowheads there are displays of Pit houses, foodstuffs, photographs and filmstrips that give a real feel to how it must of been.
The different town sites of Tooele City, and the mud wall surrounding it are interesting to contemplate, as is how they made the mud wall and even adobe bricks to build their homes. A huge Conestoga Wagon as well as pioneer handcarts, and buggies also decorate the museum floor. Farming and food preparation implements are there to view and learn about. For entertainment, a pioneer era pump organ and phonograph with records can be listened to. Ever wonder how shoes of so many different sizes were constructed in times past, or how the barber most often doubled as a dentist? Come see and learn. How rope was fabricated and mattresses made more comfortable is all part of the adventure of the museum.
The author remembers when his phone number was 484J, and everyone was on party lines. He remembers sitting in school listening to how wonderful rotary dial phones were going to be. And they were! Communication has come quite a long way. So has highway communication. On loan from the Utah Historical Society to the Tooele County Historical Society is an original Lincoln Highway sign that sat on the Utah-Nevada border.
How old Lake Bonneville impacted what was to become Tooele County; the huge roll of mining, smelting and railroads; and even books and hand-made pioneer craft items are all available for your perusal. In fact, everything you wanted to know about Tooele Pioneer History but were afraid to ask is all right here in your back yard!
Darrell Smith volunteers time as the publicity director of the Sons of Utah Pioneers Settlement Canyon Chapter. He also works as a docent at the Tooele Pioneer Museum. Smith can be reached at email@example.com.