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Ben Lomond HS grad pushing for new “BL” lettering on mountain

By Tim Vandenack - | Aug 4, 2022

Tim Vandenack, Standard-Examiner

Sheldon Hawks, left, who will be a Ben Lomond High School senior, tosses a paver that's to be used to make a new "BL" emblem on the mountainside above the school onto a pile. The photo is from Saturday, July 30, 2022, when a contingent of volunteers gathered, hauling the pavers to be used to make the new emblem up the hill.

OGDEN — Driving through Ogden on I-15, Doug Wimmer would always try to make out the “BL” lettering on the side of the mountain up above Ben Lomond High School.

He graduated from the school in 1972, and he’s still true to his alma mater 50 years later.

Sadly, though, it seemed like the lettering just kept getting harder and harder to see, spurring him to action. He got to thinking and scheming, reaching out to school and Weber County officials and other communities with their own mountainside lettering, ultimately settling on a plan to upgrade and improve the worn letters.

“I just kept thinking, ‘What would it take to make that really stand out, something the kids would be proud of?'” Wimmer said. The emblem dates to 1969 or 1970, he said, though an earlier incarnation from the mid-1950s once sat on the mountainside, north of the current one.

It’s been a lonely effort at times.

Tim Vandenack, Standard-Examiner

The new "BL" emblem taking shape on the mountainside above Ben Lomond High School, photographed Friday, July 22, 2022. Doug Zimmer, Ben Lomond class of 1972, is spearheading the efforts.

Ogden School District officials don’t want to get directly involved, he said, worried other schools in the system will clamor for their own mountainside lettering. “It’s strictly alumni and donations,” Wimmer noted, with help from some students as well.

Moreover, as the hard work has progressed over the summer, he’s not mustered the body of volunteers he hoped for. “Without the kids’ support, we aren’t going to be able to do it,” he said.

Still, a core of volunteers have always shown up on the designated work days and the efforts have yielded results. No way is he giving up. “We’re just going to chip away at it,” said Wimmer, a retiree now living in St. George.

His daughter Jillian Green, also a Ben Lomond grad, lives in Ogden and has been aiding in the effort along with others, including Shanda Richey. Richey has kids at the high school, and before Wimmer launched his initiative, she would periodically whitewash the rocks used to make the old “BL” emblem to keep it from fading away completely.

‘SEE IT FROM THE HIGHWAY’

Wimmer’s plans entail moving the emblem, a “B” with an intersecting “L” below it, slightly up the mountain, out of the Rocky Mountain Power right-of-way and onto land owned by Weber County. Reps from the power company asked for the move when Wimmer started making his inquiries, and Weber County Commissioners gave him the nod earlier this year to move the lettering onto county property.

Tim Vandenack, Standard-Examiner

Doug Zimmer, Ben Lomond High School class of 1972, is spearheading efforts to replace the old "BL" emblem on the mountainside above the school. He's pictured here on the mountain on Saturday, July 30, 2022, showing designs for the new emblem.

The height and width will be roughly the same, 127 feet from the top of the “B” to the bottom of the “L” and 70 feet across. But the letters themselves will be wider, eight feet, and they’ll be made of pavers, not random rocks pulled from the mountainside. Ultimately the blocks will be painted so the lettering stands out.

“You’ll be able to see it from the highway,” Wimmer said.

As things stand, a weed barrier has been placed where part of the new emblem will sit and some of the pavers have been put in place, forming part of the “B.” Many of the rocks used to form the old “BL” symbol have been turned over, obscuring the emblem.

Whatever the case, given the location on the mountain, southeast of the Douglas Street Trailhead and directly east of Ben Lomond High School, it’s a tough task. A narrow, precarious utility road leads to a spot below the emblem, allowing for truck transport of pavers at least part of the way. But the heavy blocks still have to be lugged partially up the hill — the task for the contingent of volunteers that showed up last Saturday.

Several students were there, along with Lyndon Johnson, the Ben Lomond football coach, and Ken Richey, Shanda Richey’s husband and a member of the Ogden City Council. They formed a long line, passing pavers heaped in a pile, person to person, up the hill, closer to where they’d need to be placed.

Photo supplied

The old "BL" emblem above Ben Lomond High School in an undated photo.

The volunteers have gathered on several Saturday’s over the summer and Wimmer isn’t setting a timeline for completion of the project. “If something’s going to be done, you want to do it right,” he said.

But he could use help, and donations are welcome. “Now we’re at the point we need the younger generation or the younger alumni to step up,” he said. For more information, Wimmer invites inquiries at 801-791-6644 or via email at wimmerdoug72@gmail.com.

Eldon Peterson, left, who will be a Ben Lomond High School senior, grabs a paver that's to be used to make a new "BL" emblem on the mountainside above the school. The photo is from Saturday, July 30, 2022, when a contingent of volunteers gathered, hauling the pavers to be used to make the new emblem up the hill.

Doug Zimmer, Ben Lomond High School class of 1972, is spearheading efforts to replace the old "BL" emblem on the mountainside above the school. A contingent of volunteers, shown here on Saturday, July 30, 2022, gathered to haul the pavers to be used to make the new emblem up the hill.

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