OGDEN — A push to rename a portion of west 2nd Street after the LDS pioneer settlers who lived there nearly 200 years ago is gaining traction.
But the Ogden City Council wants the city’s Diversity Commission to review the proposal first to explore the possibility of also honoring the Native Americans that inhabited the area.
Anna Keogh, a historian who lives in the northwest section of Ogden in a nearly 100-year-old home that is surrounded by one of Weber County’s oldest farms, petitioned Ogden City earlier this year to name a portion of 2nd Street “Bingham Fort Lane.”
In the mid-1800s, the entire area near 2nd Street west of Wall Avenue served as a fort for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The fort served as a gathering spot for about 600 early settlers and was the largest fort in the Weber County area. Officially known as Bingham Fort, several of the structures and homes in the neighborhood were built by early LDS Church settlers and still stand today. According to Weber County property records, there are nearly 20 homes and other structures still standing in the area that were built prior to 1900.
Ogden City Planning Manager Greg Montgomery said the city’s Planning Commission unanimously approved of the measure, though with a slight change to Keogh’s petition that involves limiting the new designation to the fort’s original boundaries, from Century Drive to Wall Avenue. Montgomery said Keogh would be responsible for raising the money for three new street signs that would be put up in the area if the council ultimately approves the idea.
According to City Council documents, there is some evidence that the street was originally called Bingham Fort Lane in 1850, prior to the city using a numbered street naming system. Montgomery said city emergency response officials have said the honorary designation would not impact emergency services to the area as the mapping system used for emergencies will still recognize the street only as “2nd South.”
While the city planning staff, the planning commission and several other residents in the neighborhood have formally supported the idea to rename a street, one resident of the area says he’s against the idea. Bob Giboney, who lives on the north side of 2nd Street, just west of Wall Avenue, wrote a letter to the planning commission saying Native Americans were the area’s first, true settlers and therefore the street should remain named as it is.
Council Chair Angela Choberka brought up the concern and asked Keogh if she’d considered doing something in her effort to pay homage to the area’s indigenous people.
Keogh said there’s been talk of putting up a statue of an area Shoshone Chief called Little Soldier near Mill Creek as it runs through Business Depot Ogden.
“We have no idea about funding right now, but we always thought it would be a great idea,” Keogh said. “But that would be a separate project.”
Keogh also said while Native Americans indeed inhabited the area, and even frequently congregated with the LDS settlers, they did not build the road in question. She also noted there is a nearby road called Indian Camp Road.
Nevertheless, during a work session, the council deemed it appropriate to run it by the Diversity Commission. Ogden Council Policy Analyst Amy Mabey said a letter on the issue will be drafted and sent to the commission for review.
“Maybe we think about that becoming part of the process,” Choberka said.
The neighborhood has been a hot topic of discussion in Ogden City circles for more than two years as developers have sought to build on the land. Several development proposals have surfaced for the area in the past, but most haven’t come to fruition. Residents of the area appear to be split on its future, with some wanting the area to be preserved for low-density, residential uses, while others still support higher-density development.
Keogh says the street rename will help preserve the area’s history.