Missionaries served SLC's municipal auto camp

An article by Ardis E. Parshal at keepapitchinin.org discusses the auto camp that sprung up on the west end of Salt Lake City, and Mormon missionary efforts there:

By 1921 it had the usual amenities found in any such western camp. In earlier years [Pioneer S]take leaders had noted the increasing thousands who spent time at the auto camp before passing along, and they realized they had an unusual service opportunity. That summer of 1921 they pitched a large tent at the camp and held church services, both on Sundays and during the week. Meetings were short and casual, and relied on music and the recitations of Sunday School children. The various ward choirs in the stake took turns providing music, and talented instrumental soloists offered their services. Stake officers provided brochures, sold copies of the Book of Mormon, and answered questions. Some 25,000 tourists were served in that first year alone.

In 1922, the project expanded, and stake members build a small chapel, open on one side to face rows of benches in the open air. And word began filtering back from missionaries in the field, that they had been welcomed into the homes of people who had stayed at Salt Lake’s auto camp and changed their opinion of the habits and character of the Mormons.

ABOVE: an image of the auto camp missionaries from the article, which identifies the men.
TOP IMAGE courtesy Russell Rein.

SLC and the 1860s Tabernacle were regular stops for most everyone motoring through Utah. As the author points out, and as seen in period travel journals, many wanted to see what Mormons looked like. Early auto traveler Harriet White Fisher was among those who stopped to see but concluded, “I could find no marks of identification that made them any different from other men in the East.”

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