Sexton Mark E. Smith has co-authored Salt Lake City Cemetery, a photographic history and guide book, with Salt Lake City Public Services Department colleagues Annastasia Hirt and Corey Rushton. Smith is the longest-serving sexton in the cemetery’s 170 year history. The book’s foreword was written by Mayor Jackie Biskupski.
The authors agree: “Part of the Cemetery Master Plan that we wrote in 2017 was increasing public appreciation for the cemetery. This book highlights all the amazing history we have on our grounds, the importance of preserving this important local site, and the hard work our staff does every day to maintain the grounds.”
Salt Lake City Cemetery includes chapters about the cemetery’s founding and development into the twenty-first century, and also profiles notable individuals who are buried on the grounds. These individuals include politicians, religious leaders, suffragists, artists, inventors, and more. The book can be used as a navigational guide, with grave locations accompanying information about most individuals who are featured. Maps are available for free on the cemetery website and at the Sexton’s Office at the corner of N Street and Fourth Avenue.
Located in the Avenues neighborhood, the Salt Lake City Cemetery has been in continual operation since its first burial in 1848, conducted by pioneer George Wallace for his young daughter Mary. It is the largest municipally run cemetery in the United States, a legacy that Smith takes seriously. “We are truly a living museum, a historic gem in this city,” Smith enthuses. “When you look at the stories of all the people who are buried here, you get a picture of the history of the city since its founding.”
Salt Lake City Cemetery is published by noted local history publisher Arcadia Publishing and will be available for sale by local booksellers including Barnes & Noble and Sam Weller Book Works beginning on December 3. All author royalties will be directly deposited into a fund for perpetual care of the cemetery, helping to secure this local site’s preservation for future generations.
On Monday, December 3, the three authors will hold a book signing at Weller Book Works in Trolley Square.
The public is also always welcome to visit and tour the Salt Lake City Cemetery itself, which is open seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. until dusk. The cemetery office, where staff is available for assistance with navigation and genealogical research, is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Sexton Mark Smith encourages visitors to enjoy the scenery, take a walk or jog, and soak in the serenity and history of the grounds. “Cemeteries are for the living to enjoy, explore, and cherish.”