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The Mormon Mark


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Traveling around rural Washington and Oregon, one finds traces of Mormon culture from the 19th century. North of Enterprise, Oregon lie Mormon Mountain, and Mormon Meadows. Off I-84 In Oregon, about an hour from Boise, Idaho is Mormon Basin Road.  In Halfway, Oregon, a tiny little town that is extremely remote there is still a Mormon Branch. It is interesting to travel around these remote areas and stop once in a while to talk to local residents to see if they know about early Mormon history in their area. Even in tiny Goldendale, Washington there is a Mormon Ward. These things inspire the imagination.

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Look for places with sugar beet industry, since the early 20th century church funded lot of that.

My grandfather worked for the sugar beet industry before he switched to Morton Salt and moved to California...built one of the UandI Sugar plants, IIRC somewhere in Utah.

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Utah is the sixth lowest in obesity for the US states (that this is about 25% is a sad comment on the overall health here) so perhaps they figured out it was better to ship off somewhere else and not use it themselves earlier than expected....;)

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Look for places with sugar beet industry, since the early 20th century church funded lot of that.

Yes there is an old Mormon, Sugar Beet farm between La Grande and Baker City, though I could find no one that knew that. It is a great lead in to conversation about the church.

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Ellen, in many cases, the history of the west is the history of the Mormons. Not completely of course, but did you know that the original gold discovery at Sutters Mill was made by members of the Mormon Battalion who were working to earn money to get back to Salt Lake City? Or that San Bernardino, CA-and Las Vegas(!)-were both founded by LDS settlers, though both were subsequently abandoned by them on the approach of Johnston's army?

And, Johnston was Albert Sidney Johnston, who became one of the highest ranking Confederate generals in the Civil War until his death at Shiloh. He was replaced by Robert E. Lee. 

Of course, there are tragedies in the LDS settlement of the west, like Mountain Meadows, but there are genuine heroes and "interesting" characters right and left. And enough cool stuff and history to keep even those of us who have been members all our lives finding new things all the time. 

Congrats on running into one of them, the church's interest in sugar beet cultivation and sugar production. This was undertaken because of the cost and difficulty of bringing in cane sugar from the south. Brigham Young wanted the saints to be self-sufficient in all things, thus the small scale smelting of steel near Cedar City, cotton production in St. George, and I could go on all day...

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