Salt Lake City Land Acknowledgment

Coming down off the fun of celebrating Utah’s Pioneer Day #PieAndBeerDay #BiAndQueerDay #CincoDeMomo in a city that sees Mormons as strange and exotic. #SexCultCommunists I went looking for Salt Lake City’s land acknowledgment. My question was whether it would be just the Shoshone, or whether it would include the Utes, Paiutes, and Goshutes. Surprise (or … Read more

Boundaries of Texas

The last week or so I’ve been playing with the historic geography of my mother’s family. I’m not sure it counts as either history or genealogy but it’s fun in the way it personalizes history for me. My mother was born in Rock Springs, Wyoming, which lies in what used to be Mexican Territory. And … Read more

Tri-Territory Marker

A few days ago I wrote about the Red Desert, where my mother’s family is from. There’s a monument there near Farson to mark the place where the Louisiana Purchase, Oregon Territory, and Mexican Territory came together. When I was in my teens I calculated the old Swanstrom place was on the edge of the … Read more

Red Desert

I have a life-long fascination with the Red Desert. Wikipedia describes it as “a high altitude desert and sagebrush steppe located in south central Wyoming”. I think of it as being about the same as the Great Divide Basin, a river basin that doesn’t have an outlet to any of the oceans. (Don’t confuse the … Read more

Lingonberries

In Sweden they have lingonberries, a wild berry that’s harvested in the Fall and used to make jams, jellies, syrup, and preserves. Nowadays most Americans have heard of them because of IKEA, but when I was growing up it was something only Swedish-Americans knew about. It was a great treat when we’d find the finished … Read more

Pagan Reconstruction

I like to watch Neo-pagan, Heathen, and Reconstructionist videos on YouTube. And, we have customers who follow these and related paths. It’s all very magical and mystical and romantic, but it seems a mirage to me. I’m a minority voice here. We know so little and no one likes to hear that the light on … Read more

Legend of Earl Durand

I wonder what I can say about Earl Durand that won’t throw me back into the family storm. Again. Supposably, Earl Durand was my grandfather. But I don’t believe it. On good days I think of him as a sort of ancestral godfather. On my bad days I think of him as just a PR … Read more

Mental Maps

Mental Maps, not mind maps. Mind maps are something different. Peter Moskowitz, author of How to Kill a City, says, “A mental map is just your own personal geography of the city and all of its personal and emotional attachments.” In other words, we carry a picture of the city in our heads. It’s our … Read more

Joseph Bates Noble

I’m reading Joseph Bates Noble: Polygamy and the Temple Lot Case (2009). Goodreads says: “In 1892, a deposition was taken in a Salt Lake City courtroom to gather evidence in a land ownership battle between two offshoot branches of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) The dispute centered on ownership of land … Read more