Salt Lake City

Parks & Public Lands

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City Cemetery History

The first known burial was September 27, 1847, and was a child named Mary B. Wallace. On February 17, 1849, a council was held and Brigham Young appointed George Wallace, Daniel Wells, and Joseph Heywood to select a place for a Burying Grounds. George Wallace led the group to where he had buried some of his family members. The other men in the group liked the area because it was away from the living area of the Valley but close enough for families to travel in order to pay their respects to their loved ones. These men made their report to Brigham Young. Brigham Young was in favor of their selection and asked them to survey twenty acres for a Burying Ground. George Wallace was asked to keep the records of the people that were buried.

In January of 1851, and ordinance was passed by the General Assembly of the State of Deseret for “Incorporating the Great Salt Lake City.” A City Council was organized and the Salt Lake City Cemetery was officially organized. Since George Wallace was keeping the records of the Cemetery, he was made the first official Sexton. A Sexton is the person that takes care of and oversees all the operations of the Cemetery.

In February 1856 Mayor Jedediah M. Grand instructed the Committee on Municipal Laws to create an Ordinance for all people to be buried in a Cemetery, not on private property, without the consent of the Mayor and Committee on Municipal Laws.

In 1900 an irrigation system was placed by piping water from City Creek. This allowed the City Cemetery to start perpetual care. In the beginning perpetual care was only allowed in Park Plat, the newest area of the Cemetery to be developed. In 2014 the entire cemetery was placed on an automatic sprinkler system.

In 1906, perpetual care was extended to the whole cemetery and by 1915 such a growth of trees and shrubs, many of them evergreens, had developed that the hillside was nearly a forest.

Read more about the cemetery’s rich history at