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Elder Wirthlin dedicates pioneer cabin

A restored log dwelling - one of two remaining cabins from Salt Lake Valley's first settlement - was dedicated July 22 by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Council of the Twelve.

The cabin is located in the Old Deseret Village, a living history museum at Pioneer Trail State Park, adjacent to This Is the Place Monument, east of Salt Lake City. It originally belonged to Levi Evans Riter and his wife, Rebecca Dilworth Riter, who arrived in the valley on Oct. 2, 1847.Elder Wirthlin spoke at the dedication, as did his wife, Elise, who is a great-granddaughter of the Riters.

Speeches and musical numbers were presented at the Social Hall in the village. Afterward, the gathering walked or rode in a horse-drawn wagon to the cabin west of the Social Hall, where Elder Wirthlin delivered the dedicatory prayer.

In his address, the apostle told of marathon runners in ancient Greece who carried lamps containing olive oil burning in small, shallow dishes. The runners were to reach the finish line with their lamps still burning; thus, they could hope for victory so long as their lights continued to burn.

He compared the lights carried by the marathon runners to the light of faith, obedience to the principles of the gospel and dedication to the Prophet Joseph Smith, carried by the pioneers who came to the valley.

The cabin, in its restored state with period furnishings, was presented to the park by Ann Brest van Kempen, president of Old Deseret Foundation, which funded the restoration.

The cabin was located for many years in Liberty Park. It was acquired by Pioneer Trail State Park in 1980.

One other original cabin from the first settlement in the valley still exists. It was located on Temple Square for many years and is now exhibited on the plaza between the Museum of Church History and Art and the Church Family History Library.