Brigham Young gave land in Salt Lake City to the Catholic Church - fact or fantasy?

Living here in Utah, I have heard more than once that Brigham Young assigned parcels of land in Salt Lake City to be used for other churches. I have also read this claim here, in this forum.

The story goes, when the Catholic Church wanted to build a church in Salt Lake City, Brigham Young gave the Catholic Church land to build on. Later, when Catholics wanted to build the Cathedral (on S. Temple), he donated the land for this purpose as well.

I have heard it from both Catholics and Mormons. Before doing any research on my own, I believed it was a fact.

I decided to get a history on the Catholic Church in Utah, not only for this, but because I like history. :slight_smile:

FACT ONE: In June of 1866, $2300 was paid to William T. Twitchell, the owner of a small piece of property, one block east of Social Hall. Twitchell did not have clear title to the land, and so there was a conflict with the original owner, Joseph B Nobles. Father Edward Kelly, of the San Francisco archdiocese, approached Brigham Young to arbitrate the conflict. Young ruled in Father Kelly’s favor. The first Catholic church in Utah, St. Mary Magdalene church (commonly called St. Mary’s church), was built on this property. Using funds donated to the archdiocese by a French Catholic mission charity and local parishioners.
FACT TWO**: In February of 1890, Bishop Lawrence Scanlan, of the newly formed Vicariate of Utah and Eastern Nevada, paid $35,000 for a lot on South Temple and B street. A month later he bought an adjoining lot that expanded the property north to 1st Avenue, for $14,500. The Cathedral of the Madeleine was built on this property, using funds donated by Utah parishioners (all 5000 of them). Cardinal James Gibbons (of Baltimore) attended the Cathedral dedication, on August 15, 1909. When Bishop Scanlan died in 1915, Cardinal Gibbons suggested he be buried in the sarcophagus beneath the main altar of the cathedral he had brought into being.

(“Salt of the Earth: The History of the Catholic Church in Utah, 1776-2007”, Bernice Mooney and Msgr. J. Terrence Fitzgerald)

myth buster !

Thanks for the history lesson Rebecca!

I personally never heard the claim that the LDS Church provided the Catholics with land, but I have however heard this with respect to Jewish synagogues in Utah.

… I’m starting to wonder if that legend is also false.

ETA: I found the claim here on wiki: but it has no citation.

ETA2: So it seems Brigham Young didn’t provide the land for the first Jewish synagogue, however he did provide the land for the first Jewish cemetery:

Very interesting!

Would mormons actually do that…? I don’t trust them…

Another interesting “FACT” you might like to mention is that LDS helped pay for the extensive renovation and reconstruction work done on the Cathedral of Madeleine in Salt Lake City in 1993; and Thomas S. Monson (then counsellor in the First Presidency) attended the reopening ceremony of the cathedral to represent the LDS Church. Here is a quote:

Msgr. Mannion calls the cathedral the “most visible physical symbol” of the faith in Utah. He mentions that Thomas Monson, LDS First Counselor, brought greetings from his Church to the Catholic community assembled for the reopening of the Cathedral in 1993. (Monson, who is in line to succeed current LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley, is held in high esteem by many Utah Catholics.) The Latter-day Saints also contributed to the renovation fund.

“The Catholics and Mormons get along better than people might expect. A good sense of respect permeates relations and has done so over the decades. A strong pro-life, pro-family stance is something we share and we cooperate to further these values,” Msgr. Mannion says, seeing this as the big story in his diocese. Source.

hi zerinus, I gave facts for the land purchases, which took place at the end of the 19th century. You jumped about 100 years of history and about 200 pages of the book I am reading. :slight_smile:

Bishop Weigand oversaw the renovation of the Cathedral, which was done to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Diocese of Salt Lake City. There was a five year preparation. “Under the motto “A Cathedral for All People”, co-chairs John W. Gallivan, Jon M. Huntsman, and Ian M. Cumming achieved major campaign goals for the nearly ten-million-dollar rebirth of the sacred interior.” So yes, zerinus, the Cathedral of the Madeleine is for All People, including you.

In your poking around the Cathedral website, did you happen to go to the Diocese website? There is a lot of historical information that has been put up, in honor of the centennial of the dedication of the Cathedral. In particular, did you see this? It is one of the many things I love about our Cathedral.

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