OGDEN — Next month, Utah will celebrate the 174th anniversary of Mormon pioneers settling in the state — but a few days after the July 24 celebrations are done, the Weber County Heritage Foundation and others will formally honor the people who lived here first.
The group’s “Weber County Time Machine: Meet the Shoshone” event has been set for 7 p.m. on July 31 at the Stone Farm, 317 W. 2nd Street in Ogden. The event is meant to highlight the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation — the indigenous people who lived along parts of the Wasatch Front before white settlers arrived. According to the WCHF, the celebration will feature interactive crafts, Shoshone artifacts and photographs, storytelling, music, hayrides, a Shoshone traditional cooking demonstration and more.
The event was born out of an effort to rename a portion of 2nd Street that began last year.
In 2020, Ogden resident Anna Keogh (who lives on the Stone Farm) submitted a petition to Ogden City to give the honorary name “Bingham Fort Lane” to 2nd Street from Wall Avenue to Century Drive.
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 was a gathering spot for about 600 early settlers and was the largest fort in the Weber County area. Keogh’s original petition was meant to honor those settlers, but her proposal was twice modified at the behest of Ogden’s Diversity Commission and some members of the City Council because the Northwestern Shoshone tribe was known to inhabit the area near present day 2nd Street and Wall Avenue.
The prevailing criticism of the initial street name was that it failed to honor the people who first lived in the area and that the word “fort” was indicative of a troubled and often violent history between Native Americans and early European settlers. After consulting with the tribe, Keogh ultimately landed on “Chief Little Soldier Way” for the honorary name. The Ogden City Council is expected to consider the proposal soon.
Darren Parry, a previous chairman of the Northwestern Shoshone Nation, said he took the “Chief Little Soldier Way” name to the nation’s seven-member tribal council, which approved of the naming unanimously. Parry said Chief Little Soldier lived in the area near present day west 2nd Street and got along well with the LDS people who settled there. In 1856, Chief Little Soldier even marched in the Pioneer Day Parade on July 24, Parry said. He said next month’s celebration is a fitting way to cap the renaming issue, because it will bring people together.
“It’s going to be for the city of Ogden, the folks in Weber County and our tribe,” Parry said. “We’ll come and share our culture with you.”
The event is free for members of the WCHF and $5 for the general public.