Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Miracle of the Sea Gulls, Salt Lake City

From Life's Journey II

Image: Click to enlarge. Note the sculptures of Sea Gulls on the roof of this trolley station in down town Salt Lake City, Utah, near Temple Square. One of the birds is silhouetted against the snow-capped mountain in the distance.

For those of you who are old enough, do you remember the TV series, "Death Valley Days" which appeared in the 1960s. The episode opened with a man standing up behind a desk and announcing, "Hello folks, this is the old Ranger". Then he proceeded to introduce the audience to a true tale of the old West. The setting of each story was somewhere near Death Valley on the border between California and Nevada. The show was sponsored by "Twenty- Mule Team Borax." a laundry detergent which was made from a mineral mined near Death Valley. The musical theme was the sound of bugles playing like they do when the cavalry is coming.

One episode really stuck in my mind and still does. It was the true story about an event that occurred during the first year that the Mormon pioneers settled in an area that would eventually become Salt Lake City. As it goes, the Mormons were getting ready to make their first crop harvest. Suddenly, thousands of crickets descended on the fields of ripened grain and proceeded to devour the only food that would be available to the pioneers. Certainly they would starve over the Winter. Then just as suddenly as the crickets appeared, thousands of Sea Gulls flew in and devoured the crickets, thus saving the harvest and the Mormon families.

In honor of the Sea Gulls and their miraculous appearance in the desert, these sculptures of the bird are attached to the roof of the tram station near Temple Square. A little more research about the story revealed the location of perhaps the first and maybe only monument dedicated to Birds in America. Come to think of it, I know of no such other. Incidentally, the California Gull is the State Bird of Utah.

The image below presents the Gull monument which has been placed in front of the Assembly Hall on the grounds of Temple Square. By the way, the Assembly Hall is a meeting place for community events. It was constructed from granite blocks left over after the building of the Mormon Temple.

From Life's Journey II

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