Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mormon Battalion Visitors Center revamped

As we pulled into the back parking lot of the San Diego Mormon Battalion Historic Site, we knew we were in the same location as the old Visitor's Center, but that was all that was the same. We found ourselves at what resembled an old Spanish style hacienda.

This was the only empty parking lot in the area as Old Town San Diego was in the midst of Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

We continued our walk past the southeast corner of the new building.

And on toward the entrance.

Glen's 4 great grandfather, Ebenezer Brown, marched with the Battalion so it seemed appropriate for Glen to stand next to the memorial statue.

This long front porch goes north again.

It leads to this replica of a covered wagon.

There are also rocking chairs to rest in before reaching the main entrance.

Once inside there is an excellent tour which is very engaging for all ages. We soon found ourselves at Fort Leavenworth mustering out for the long march. We would send our $42 clothing allowance money home to our families.

To identify ourselves as soldiers of the US Army, however, we would receive several other items.

Glen was picked to demonstrate those items as well as how they should be worn.

It was important that he not forget his hardtack to eat nor his scriptures to help feed the spirit.

These sister missionaries from Utah divide their time between this location, their area, and the San Diego Temple.

The young man you see through the window is Zemira Palmer, son of Phoebe Draper Palmer Brown and stepson of Ebenezer Brown. Phoebe and her son made the trek west with Ebenezer, Phoebe as a laundress and Zemira as an aide to the officers. The new media presentations use an actor portraying Zemira as the main narrator.

For more information on these three go here and here and here.

The only other people on our tour were an extended family from Toronto, Canada.

After Fort Leavenworth, we found ourselves around the campfire as we journeyed on to Santa Fe, through Arizona and Yuma before finally arriving in San Diego on January 29, 1847. For more information about the Mormon Battalion go here.

The tour ended in a room with exhibits of actual items used by battalion members and computers where one could easily look up information on the different companies as well as individual biographies which could then be sent to you via email.

Once outside again, there was a great hands on area for children. They could pan for gold, make bricks, and do other chores.

This view from the tower looked northwest over Old Town.

Heritage Park which is located just south of the Mormon Battalion site was developed for historic homes and buildings of San Diego which were moved here safe keeping.

We walked up the hill to a restaurant across from this historic Jewish synagogue.

The Acapulco Mexican Restaurant & Cantina was a good refreshment stop and the food was delicious.

After a great brunch, we traveled back east towards home. Glen decided a good way to bookend our day would be a visit to the new Mormon Battalion Memorial in Yuma.

It is part of the new Wetlands Park being developed by the city of Yuma along the Colorado River. It also has a great imaginative playground (including a castle) for children who might need to get their wiggles out on the way to or from San Diego.

I took a picture of this plaque for Lowell (Company of Edward Bunker.)

Here is a link to another of Glen's ancestors who marched with the Mormon Battalion. It also includes the story about the Spanish land grant on the Pacific Ocean that Glen loves to tell.

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