Brigham Young’s Plans for the Desert

“Brigham Young’s plans for the desert mecca were ambitious, extending even to the acquisition of a seaport on the Pacific Coast. Initial explorations into the surrounding area were quickly followed by colonizing missions. Passing emigrants thus found not only an impressive city by the lake but also clusters of small communities presumably located to defend the ‘inner core of settlements’ and to sustain the all-weather route to San Diego along the ‘Mormon Corridor.’

Within ten years of their arrival at Salt Lake, Mormon pioneer-missionaries under Young’s close supervision had established ninety-six separate settlements. Outposts fanned out from the Salt Lake City axis in all directions: southwest along the corridor to San Bernardino, California, southeast to Moab, Utah, northeast to Forts Bridger and Supply, north to the Fort Lemhi mission on Idaho’s Salmon River, and westward to Mormon Station in the Carson Valley. An impressive testament to both Young’s aspirations and abilities, this extensive domain initially spanned some 1,000 miles from its northernmost to southernmost point and 800 miles from east to west. It incorporated one-sixth of the territory of the United States.”