In “Griddy Little Town,” [January 2011, City Guide] Gabi Gaston cited Joseph Smith as the one responsible for Salt Lake City’s grid street system. Salt Lake City was settled by Brigham Young in 1847, and Joseph Smith was murdered by a mob in Carthage, Ill., on June 27, 1844, so he couldn’t have possibly “named Temple Square’s southeast corner as the grid’s point of origin.” Brigham Young is most certainly responsible for that one. Again, the overall context of the article regarding SLC’s LGBT community is far more important to the reader, but I couldn’t help but get a little irked by that detail.
In large contrast, the City Guide is fantastic. I’m a graphic design student at the University of Utah, and we’re currently working on a locals-created map and pocket-guide system. This issue has been especially helpful with the vast amounts of local information, as your publications always have been. Thanks for the great material, keep it coming!
Editor’s note: Actually, Joseph Smith did design the grid pattern. According to various documents on BYU.edu, in 1833, in a document that came to be known as the City of Zion Plan, Joseph Smith designed, in great detail, the ideal city of Zion. The location of the city was supposed to be in Independence, Mo., but as Mormons moved from Kirkland, Ohio, to Far West, Mo., to Nauvoo, Ill., Zion was established in several places. Since each of those towns already had settlements, the Mormons’ grid system was imperfect. But when the Mormons arrived in what is now Salt Lake City, they were able to lay out the city as Joseph Smith had originally drawn up—including all the streets and compass points relating to the Temple at the grid’s center, the exact widths of the streets, and the locations of homes, farms and gardens.