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Annual ‘Ogden’s Hole’ lecture, part of Upper Ogden Valley bicentennial lead up, back on in 2021

By Mitch Shaw standard-Examiner - | May 10, 2021

EDEN — After a COVID-19-driven pause in 2020, work to commemorate a significant, forthcoming bicentennial in Northern Utah is back on this year.

In 2025, the 200th anniversary of the earliest European explorers’ arrival in the Upper Ogden Valley will be celebrated. And though the commemoration is still some four years out, a local, grassroots outfit is already gearing up for it.

For the fifth year, the Ogden Valley bicentennial committee will host a free public lecture in Eden. The group plans to hold the yearly event up until the bicentennial is celebrated, which is set for May 16, 2025. This year’s lecture is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 20 at the Historic Valley Chapel, 5612 E. 2200 North, Eden.

The event will feature keynote speaker Jay H. Buckley, an associate professor of history at Brigham Young University, and former Northwestern Shoshone Chair Darren Parry.

Dave Martin, chairman of the committee, which is now called OV200, as in Ogden Valley 200, said the anniversary is tied to Peter Skene Ogden’s maiden voyage to the area. The famous fur trader and explorer — for which Ogden the city is named — descended on what is now known as the Upper Ogden Valley in May 1825, with a contingent of trappers from the Hudson Bay Company.

According to information provided by the OV200 and the publication “When Men and Mountains Meet: Pioneer Life in Utah’s Ogden Valley,” by BYU history professor Andrew Hedges, Ogden arrived in the upper valley with a group of about 130 men, women and children, as well as 300 horses. HBC approached the territory from the south end of Cache Valley and quickly began harvesting large quantities of beaver, according to the Utah Division of State History.

Soon after their arrival, Ogden’s group was confronted by a group of trappers in the area known today as Mountain Green. An overview of the incident from the UDSH says an argument over who held claim to territory quickly “escalated into a heated exchange,” where the rival fur company lured 23 of Ogden’s men to abandon the outfit and bring with them more than 700 beaver pelts. Fearing more losses, Ogden gathered what was left of his platoon and set out for Montana.

According to the Hedge’s profile, Ogden first called the area “New Hole.” His excursion was the first recorded entry of white men into the valley, and geographers began calling it “Ogden’s Hole.” The Ogden/HBC expedition happened nearly three decades before Mormon settlers arrived and formed the towns of Huntsville, Eden and Liberty.

In addition to the annual lectures, Martin said the OV200 will be installing monuments throughout the valley, located at known Ogden encampments. That project will likely be completed sometime this year, Martin said.

The group is also planning to build a fur trapper museum on a vacant piece of land next to the Eden Chapel and a large mountain man rendezvous, in conjunction with the Fort Buenaventura and Fort Bridger mountain man associations, will also be held during the 200th anniversary celebrations.

The group is also looking for descendants of Ogden and has established a registry, inviting descendants to identify themselves. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/ogdenhole/.


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