Tooele Pioneer Museum
After an arduous journey across the Great Plains in 1847, Mormon pioneers arrived on the eastern rim of the Great Basin frontier and founded Salt Lake City. Less than two years after their arrival, a small group of families ventured 35 miles to Tooele Valley. They built a simple cluster of cabins at the mouth of Settlement Canyon, the cornerstone of today’s Tooele City. Parts of their lives, and the pioneer lives that came and stayed in the area, can be experienced while standing inside the Tooele Pioneer Museum Complex in Tooele City. The complex consists of a museum by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers with an adjoining original pioneer log cabin, and a second museum by the Sons of Utah Pioneers.
The Museum is housed inside Tooele’s first courthouse, which was built in 1867 with hand-cut stone from nearby Settlement Canyon. It was the first public building the pioneers built, and it served as a seat of county and city government, and as a general amusement hall for dances and other activities. The museum and the log cabin are listed on the National Historic Register.
Visitors will see pioneer memorabilia and personal effects, furnishings, musical instruments, pioneer portraits, pictures, stories and more. There are also displays on the ancient Native Americans who were already here when the pioneers arrived, plus artifacts that pertain to the area’s more recent history involving mining and military bases.
The on site pioneer log cabin was first built at 80 S. Main in Tooele by Andrew and Hugh Gowans. Over the years it has been a home for 31 couples and the birthplace of 16 children. It has also been a store, private library, shoe shop, and dressmaking shop.