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Old-Fashioned Barn Raising to Create Mapleton Historic Town Square

The city of Mapleton is holding an old-fashioned barn raising on Sept. 7, creating a Historic Town Square at Mapleton City Park for all to enjoy.

Everyone is invited to take part in this Founder’s Day Celebration. Hammer a nail in the barn door and blacksmith shop, or lay a brick to help reconstruct the 1888 Relief Society Hall. Eat a boxed dinner, bid at the auctions, listen to live music, enjoy dancing, and shop at the bake sale and old-fashioned bazaar for quilts and other handcrafted items.

The Founder’s Day Celebration will be held at 4 p.m. and barn-raising festivities will begin at 5 p.m. and finish around 8 p.m.

In the early days of the Utah Territory, women created a place of their own by building Relief Society Meeting Halls. They earned the money for these buildings in inventive ways, including holding bazaars and dinners, investing in properties, gleaning fields, donating “Sunday eggs,” performing dramatic shows, etc. Like the sisters of old, organizers of the event will be earning money to help reconstruct the hall and create the Historic Town Square with a dinner, bake sale, auction, and bazaar.

To honor the fortitude and dedication of these women, the Historic Town Square is being created to display their handiwork from the past: quilting, knitting, embroidery, wheat storage, silk making and more.

“My grandmothers, Hannah Bird Mendenhall and her mother, Abby Ann Whiting, were part of the first silkworm production in Utah County,” said Mary Fojtek, President of the Mapleton Historical Society. “When Grandmother Hannah Mendenhall served as Kolob Stake Relief Society President she was in charge of this building which they outgrew in 1922, and the women began meeting in the Old White Church.”

In 1924, the property was sold to the Jensen family. The hall has been hiding in the backyard of the Dana and Derek Keller family for many years, and they have generously donated it to the community. Too fragile to move, the hall was dismantled brick by brick, each one cleaned and prepared for repair. Now the historic building is ready to be reconstructed. The Relief Society Activity Hall is one of the two remaining halls out of eleven originals in Utah Valley. The other hall is in the Provo Pioneer Park.

In addition to the Historic Relief Society Hall, old barns have been donated and dismantled and will be repurposed to construct a new barn and blacksmith shop. There will be an opportunity for those who attend the celebration to hammer nails in the walls of these newfound historic structures.

Memorabilia of the agricultural heritage of Mapleton will be displayed in the new buildings.

“I firmly believe the example set by the founders of Mapleton City has provided a legacy that is important in any place and in any era,” said Dr. John Frischknecht. “It is especially critical for our young people, today and in the future, to understand the sacrifices and values that have preceded them.”

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