Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Book Review: Of Dugouts and Spires: The History of South Jordan, Utah

This is a book published by City of South Jordan in 1998.  It was written by Ronald R. Bateman. I enjoyed this book, although I could see that it wasn't perfect in every regard.  The part I enjoyed the most was being taken back to a period which I did not live.  I could really see and feel with the early residents of South Jordan.  I was studying with the idea of understanding my great-great grandfather Isaac better; and his family.  Isaac lived in South Jordan for 41 years, half of his life.

Bateman describes South Jordan before the settlers arrived.  He describes the life of the settlers, initially living in adobe dugouts mad into the hill.  The fronts were adobe, but the were dug into the hillside, so the entire back wall was earth, as well as most of the side walls.  A hazard of these buildings was for a cow to walk on the roof and cave it in.  Bateman gives a brief history of the families who settled before 1900.  He then gives a nice chapter on pioneer life.  In this chapter he describes housework, farming and many other aspects of early life in South Jordan.  Many of the stories could have happened in any other Mormon pioneer town. 

There is a chapter on development of the Church in South Jordan, another on the history of the schools.  One chapter was his description of tragedies that struck South Jordan.  Among these was the train-school bus crash of 1938.

He tells of the coming of the South Jordan Temple.  The land was donated to the Church. 

The appendices are also very interesting.  They include a synopsis of important events in the city, store receipts, history of bishops, history of mayors, maps, etc.

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