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Old 08.04.2011, 13:30
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How the Swiss founded a Mormon Town [Santa Clara UT]

Santa Clara, in far southwestern Utah, sits in a narrow valley near the confluence of the Rio Virgin and Santa Clara Creek.

The Swiss influence is unmistakable in Santa Clara. Besides the Swiss Days festival and the Swiss Bank Storage (for RVs and boats), the names of the citizenry provides the most tangible link to the past. Some of the earliest settlers were the Ence family of Mettlen, the Grafs of Rebstein, Hirschis of Neuchâtel, Moosmans of Muhleberg, Roulets of Payerne, Stahelis of Amriswil, Toblers of Appenzell, and the Wittwers of Schangnau. Many of those family names exist today, in some cases anglicised.


Ask just about anyone from Santa Clara, Utah, about “the call” and there’s no mistaking what you mean: The time the Swiss Mormons rolled in and changed everything.

In fact, there was no real town to speak of in this remote corner of the American southwest before the Stuckis, Hirschis, and Toblers—some 85 Swiss pioneers in all—unloaded their covered wagons and began to build.

The epic journey the Swiss pioneers began 150 years ago this spring has now been immortalised in a mural hanging in Santa Clara’s Town Hall. Two documentary filmmakers are making a movie, having followed Utah artist Julie Rogers around as she put paint to history, using today’s descendants of those Swiss pioneers as models.

“The Swiss were the ones who made Santa Clara into a town,” said Kathleen Nielson, chair of the local heritage commission. “There was nothing in town to commemorate that.”

It was not an easy task. Shunned, ridiculed and often chased out of town, they were the first Swiss Mormons—indeed some of the first Mormons at all—who traded relatively comfortable lives in the Alps for the hard, sun-seared folds of an unknown land. To make matters worse, the outbreak of the American Civil War would greet them.

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Old 08.04.2011, 13:43
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Re: How the Swiss founded a Mormon Town [Santa Clara UT]

Our Vision for the City of Midway is to be a place where citizens, businesses and civic leaders are partners in building a city that is family-oriented, aesthetically pleasing, safe, walkable and visitor friendly. A community that proudly enhances our small town Swiss character and natural environment, as well as remaining fiscally responsible.
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Old 08.04.2011, 13:46
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Re: How the Swiss founded a Mormon Town [Santa Clara UT]

Sorry, forgot to add, there are more than one town in Utah founded by the Swiss pioneers. They are proud of their heritage and even the houses are built in the swiss style. We visited Midway a few years back (we only lived about an hour from it ) and it was great!! If I can find some pics, I will post it.
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