Pioneer Village’s Town Hall houses the police and fire department displays. On one side of the building, a few different examples of horse-drawn fire equipment are shown. On the other side is a police office complete with desks, mugs and billy clubs.
KIMBERLY JAIL CELLS
Kimberly was a prosperous mining town in Central Utah not far from the old Cove Fort. The town had a reputation for its rowdy residents. While log jails were common in the frontier days of the West, Kimberly’s jail was claimed to be “the strongest jail within a hundred miles” and according to one account, it was one of only a handful of buildings in town made of brick. Inside it had two cells made of iron. A former resident remembered the cells out in the open on the south end of town. The cells had no bathroom facilities and were very small and cramped with barely enough room for the doors to open.
A historical account from a book published by the Utah State Historical Society illustrates what happened to the cells after Kimberly was deserted:
“The gold and silver at Kimberly finally played out by 1938 and the mines closed for good. Only a watchman and a part-time employee remained. By 1942 the buildings that had not already collapsed under the heavy Gold Mountain winter snows had been torn down and the lumber salvaged. The county owned the jail and the county commissioners hired Walter Crowe to haul parts of it down from Kimberly. As he began dismantling the jail, Fred Tilton [manager of the company that owned the mines in Kimberly] arrived at the scene and asked Crowe what he was doing. He explained his errand. When Tilton said the jail belonged to the Gold Hill Mining Company, an argument ensued. Tilton finally left and Crowe returned to his task. Before long he heard a noise behind him. He turned and was looking down the barrel of a 30-30 Winchester rifle with Fred Tilton on the trigger end. Tilton ordered Crowe to leave, which he did without further conversation. The jail remained in the ghost town to weather and rust until it was finally moved to [Pioneer Village in Salt Lake City].”
A map of Pioneer Village in a 1966 brochure shows the jail cells located next to the “Pioneer Dentist Shop.” It’s possible they had been part of the collection as far back as the 1950s. The cells were brought to Lagoon with other displays and artifacts around 1975 and were placed near Lagoon’s own prison from the 1890s.
POLICE & FIRE DEPARTMENT DISPLAYS
Unfortunately, no information is currently provided about the origins of the police and fire department displays in Town Hall. A glass case holds old fire hose nozzles, bells, keys, locks, and a model showing firefighters at the scene of a fire. A few photos and paintings, some with fading inscriptions are hanging on the back wall.
While most of the buildings in Pioneer Village are authentic, the Town Hall building was built in 1975 specifically for these displays.
1966 Pioneer Village brochure.
Pace, Josephine. Kimberly as I remember her. Utah Historical Quarterly 35, number 2, page 115. Spring 1967.
Croft, David. Historic Pioneer Village Opens. Church News, 5 Jun 1976.
Newell, Linda King. A History of Piute County. Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah. 1999.