Base and Meridian
This small marker at the corner of South and West Temple, just outside the Temple Square area, holds tremendous historical significance to the history of Salt Lake. When Joseph Smith and his followers arrived in the Wasatch Valley, they planned to create a utopian society based on their religious beliefs and their faith in education. The later included support for the idea of a planned city based on a grid system and designating certain areas for public use. That system is (mostly) in existence today. Smith died before making the trek to the American West, but Brigham Young followed the plan with some pragmatic revisions. The "0,0" point (established in 1847) is designated by this marker which became the basis of Salt Lake's streets and addresses. This commitment to urban planning serves as a reminder of the influence of early church leaders both logistically and culturally.
Backstory and Context
Joseph Smith never had the opportunity to turn his utopian vision into a reality, however, as an anti-Mormon mob killed Smith in 1844. As a result of his death, church leadership fell to Brigham Young, who led LDS members to the Salt Lake Valley; they established Salt Lake City in 1847.
Laurence, Ray, Simon Esmonde Cleary and Gareth Sears. The City in the Roman West, c. 250 BC-c. AD 250. Cambridge, New York. Cambridge University Press, 2011.
"Plat of Zion." 99% Invisible. Accessed March 02, 2018. https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/plat-of-zion/.
Smith, Joseph. "An Explanation of the Plat of The City of Zion, Sent to the Brethren in Zion, The 25th of June, 1833." Urban Planning, 1794-1918: An International Anthology of Articles, Conference Papers, and Reports (Cornell University). Accessed March 02, 2018. http://urbanplanning.library.cornell.edu/DOCS/smith.htm. Selected, scanned, edited, provided with headnotes, and formatted as a web document by John W. Reps, Cornell University
Photo SourcesHistorical Marker: Principal Meridian Project, http://www.pmproject.org/images/gslm/GSLBM-2.JPG
Joseph Smith's Plat of Zion: Cornell University Library of Urban Planning: http://urbanplanning.library.cornell.edu/DOCS/smith.htm
Base and Meridian, and Closeup: Temple Square Website, https://www.templesquare.com/explore/base-and-meridian/
Satellite Image / NASA Image: Located in the Desert News Piece, "‘The Plat of Zion,’ Salt Lake’s grid system explained in new podcast," https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865671656/6The-Plat-of-Zion7-Salt-Lake7s-grid-system-explained-i...