Monday, June 9, 2008

Southern Utah University, The Founders Monument...

Southern Utah University has one of the most dramatic beginnings of perhaps any University in America. They received a charter from the State for the school, but then they were threatened with losing that charter if they didn't get a building built by a certain date. And it had to conform to the all of the standards of the buildings at the University of Utah. Because of the weather and the lack of funding, this seemed like an impossible task. The story that followed was one of an entire community pulling themselves together and doing whatever they could to see the task through. This included sending crews into the nearby mountains on an expedition to obtain lumber in the dead of winter, where they encountered serious difficulties with the cold and the snow. There arose a blizzard and the men were trapped out there in it. It was then that the story of this horse, now refereed to as "Old Sorrel", came into play. He would rise up and plunge into the snowbanks, breaking the trail for those that followed. The men later commented that they owed their lives to the horse. He is depicted here on campus in bronze, forever to be remembered as a part of SUU's history.

At one point in the lumbering expedition, the men were losing heart, and Cornelius Bladen, captain of the expedition told them: "We're not going to quit and don't get in into your heads that we are. We're going to go down and get bobsleds and then come back in here and get that lumber out!" He sounds like a determined soul. I would have liked to have met him.

The Founders Walkway extends from the Founders Monument across the campus to where Old Main stands on the east end.

I was about two months into the Sharsmith Project when I had to go to Phoenix for business. I had two of my younger sisters with me along for the ride, and we arrived in Cedar City at about 10:00 PM. There were snow drifts a couple of feet deep all over the city and it was still snowing that night when we arrived. I settled them into the hotel and I told them that I would not be back for a couple of hours. I took my camera, which was a Nikon N80 with Fuji Pro160S film, and wandered out into the night. I remember being filled with a sense of extreme awe at the beauty of it all. The lights and the falling snow. I never really made it to the upper campus, and I wish that I had, because it was probably beautiful. The footprints in this photograph are mine, after I had wandered in and then wandered back out. I looked back and I loved the way it all looked. The lights, the snow, the footprints. It definitely seemed magical to me. I had no idea if anything had worked until I got back to Salt Lake, and processed the film because I wasn't shooting digital yet. I was out there taking shots on the campus until about 2:00 am and I was totally soaked with snow by that point. I was freezing, but I had a certain warmth in my soul. This is really when the Sharsmith project began. I think that these images are the earliest images that actually made it into the final collection.

Preface and Index for the Sharsmith Project

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