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Old 08-15-2011, 11:20 PM
 
13,280 posts, read 12,465,817 times
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I'm something of a history buff. I thought I would write something occasionally about Utah History. There's actually more to Utah History than Pioneers, Brigham Young, and Polygamy (although all are important in Utah's Past).

Here's a story I learned long ago from my parents. Back in 1952, there was a fellow named Douglas Stringfellow who got himself elected in Utah to the US House of Representatives. Stringfellow had served in World War II and had been wounded when he stepped on a landmine in France. The only problem was that he liked to exaggerate his experiences a bit. He would go around on the campaign trail and tell people that he had gotten his injuries while working for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS--forerunner to the CIA) while he was being held prisoner by the Naziis and being tortured. Of course, none of this was true. The fact that it wasn't true, though, didn't keep him from repeating it again and again when he gave campaign speeches.

One day, Stringfellow was asked to appear on the t.v. show "What's My Line" where he told this story in front of millions of viewers. At this point, people began challenging his veracity.

The long and short of it was sixteen days before the election, Stringfellow had a long meeting with LDS Church President David O. McKay. Stringfellow emerged from the meeting and told everyone he had lied about his war experiences. He than withdrew from the campaign and faded into obscurity.

Honesty is the best policy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_R._Stringfellow
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Old 08-16-2011, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
25,965 posts, read 27,136,184 times
Reputation: 12420
Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
I'm something of a history buff. I thought I would write something occasionally about Utah History. There's actually more to Utah History than Pioneers, Brigham Young, and Polygamy (although all are important in Utah's Past).

Here's a story I learned long ago from my parents. Back in 1952, there was a fellow named Douglas Stringfellow who got himself elected in Utah to the US House of Representatives. Stringfellow had served in World War II and had been wounded when he stepped on a landmine in France. The only problem was that he liked to exaggerate his experiences a bit. He would go around on the campaign trail and tell people that he had gotten his injuries while working for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS--forerunner to the CIA) while he was being held prisoner by the Naziis and being tortured. Of course, none of this was true. The fact that it wasn't true, though, didn't keep him from repeating it again and again when he gave campaign speeches.

One day, Stringfellow was asked to appear on the t.v. show "What's My Line" where he told this story in front of millions of viewers. At this point, people began challenging his veracity.

The long and short of it was sixteen days before the election, Stringfellow had a long meeting with LDS Church President David O. McKay. Stringfellow emerged from the meeting and told everyone he had lied about his war experiences. He than withdrew from the campaign and faded into obscurity.

Honesty is the best policy.

Douglas R. Stringfellow - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Great story, Mark! He definitely did fade into obscurity.
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Old 08-27-2011, 09:57 PM
 
15 posts, read 53,540 times
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Quote:
write something occasionally
One story in a year and a half is called occasionally in Utah? I'm a history buff too and got excited when I read your first line. LOL
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Old 08-28-2011, 07:43 AM
 
Location: God's Gift to Mankind for flying anything
5,844 posts, read 12,917,010 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cldj40 View Post
One story in a year and a half is called occasionally in Utah? I'm a history buff too and got excited when I read your first line. LOL
Huh ...

The OP wrote his first *story* on
08-15-2011
Today is
08-28-2011

This does sound like when our kids were very young,
and after we got all packed up to drive to Grandma and Grandpa,
the kids asked us after 15 minutes on the Freeway, *Are we there yet ??*
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Old 09-04-2011, 01:58 PM
 
370 posts, read 1,502,115 times
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Hey, good story and thanks for sharing. I'm guessing he was LDS since the meeting with President McKay had such a profound impact on him??!!
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Old 09-05-2011, 07:13 AM
 
13,280 posts, read 12,465,817 times
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Default Simon Bamberger: Railroad Builder and First Non-Mormon Governor of Utah

Today's "moment in history" is about a man named Simon Bamberger who may have done more to create a "modern Utah" than any other man.

Simon was a Jewish immigrant to this country. Born in 1846, he eventually wound up in Salt Lake City. After some perseverance, he became wealthy after establishing a silver mine in Juab County that hit a rich vein of ore. Simon became interested in railroads and is famous for establishing both the Lagoon Amusement Park in Farmington and an interurban railroad that ran between Salt Lake City through his amusement park at Lagoon and finally having a terminus in Ogden. The line ran from 1908 through 1955. From 1910 onwards, the train was electric.

Today, we can ride "Frontrunner" which runs a mile west of the old Bamberger line. However, it was Simon Bamberger who showed Utahns that mass transit along the Wasatch Front was possible.

In 1917, Simon ran for Governor of Utah on the Democratic ticket and was elected. During his term in office, he succeeded in getting the legislature to pass a string of progressive laws. One law established worker's compensation for injured workers. Another law imposed a tax on mines (which actually affected Bamberger since he owned mines). Another law established state regulation of banking and securities over 15 years before the federal government enacted similar legislation. Other laws lengthened the school year. Bamberger fought to maintain free, public education believing it was the essential right of all citizens to have free schooling. Bamberger quit after only one term in office, largely because of his age. He left the governor's office at age 74. Truly, these accomplishments deserve to be remembered.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Bamberger
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Old 09-08-2011, 03:58 AM
 
313 posts, read 738,584 times
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Bamberger, Rampton, Matheson, Huntsman were really great for making this modern state we have.
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:44 PM
 
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that's more like it markg
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Old 09-28-2011, 07:21 AM
 
13,280 posts, read 12,465,817 times
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Default Charles Steen and the Uranium Boom

The United States entered a period known as the "Cold War" after World War II. Essentially, the USA and the Soviet Union were in a contest to see who could acquire the most destructive nuclear bombs and missiles in the shortest possible time.

Production of bombs required a source of uranium. The very first atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan were made from uranium acquired from Canada and the Belgian Congo. The newly organized "Atomic Energy Commission" was extremely interested--for reasons of national security--in obtaining sources of uranium here in the USA. To further that end, the AEC artificially inflated uranium prices which set off a "uranium boom" in Utah and the Southwestern United States during the early 1950's.

Enter Charles Steen. Steen was a geologist who had worked for several large companies in the energy and mineral exploration business. The problem was that Steen was too independent and outspoken to get along with anyone. After being fired more than once, he decided that the best way he could earn a living was by working for himself, prospecting for uranium. The first years were very hard and he literally lived in Cisco, Utah in a tar paper shack with his family hunting wild game to survive.

Than, in 1952, while prospecting near La Sal, Utah he came across a huge find of uranium. The government purchased this find or "claim" from Steen for millions of dollars.

Steen managed to prove that some people can't hang onto their money. He built a mansion on the hill right above Moab. The mansion was complete with swimming pool and servants quarters. He contributed money to the local hospital. He even organized and had built a Masonic Lodge and Temple. Steen organized lavish parties that everyone in Moab was invited to attend annually. He even served a short time as a Utah state senator before becoming bored and resigning that position. In the 1960's, the government realized it had all the uranium it needed and stopped purchasing it from Steen and others. Than the downhill slide began. Steen failed at other business ventures. Finally he ended up declaring bankruptcy. Although, he was allowed to keep his Moab mansion.

Steen died at age 86, a confirmed individualist until the end.

Today, his mansion above Moab has been turned into a restaurant. If you have the money and the time eating there is an interesting dining experience.
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Old 10-19-2011, 08:54 PM
 
13,280 posts, read 12,465,817 times
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Default The Howard Hughes Will Controversy

In 1976, reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes died at the age of seventy.

Hughes had resided in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and even Managua, Nicaragua in the years prior to his death. He never resided in Utah.

Yet, the Howard Hughes Will controversy is a significant part of modern Utah history.

One day in 1976, shortly after Hughes death a man named Levayne Forsyth dropped a copy of what purported to be a handwritten "Last Will and Testament" by Howard Hughes at the Willard, Utah gas station owned by Melvin Dummar. Under this "purported Last Will and Testament", Dummar was listed as one of a number of heirs to Hughes estate. Dummar's subsequent behavior put his credibility at issue. Instead of promptly contacting the authorities and telling them what he had in his possession, or contacting an attorney, Dummar took the purported Will down to the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Salt Lake City. It would later turn out that in this "purported Will", Howard Hughes had allegedly made bequests of 1/16 of his huge estate to both the Church and to Melvin Dummar. The bequest to Melvin Dummar had allegedly been made because Dummar has supposedly picked Hughes up in the desert and given him a ride back to his hotel in Las Vegas. He had performed the act of a good Samaritan.

I have a personal interest in this engaging story because I know a number of the people involved in it. They are all convinced Dummar told the truth.

It could be proven that the man who dropped the Will off at Dummar's gas station was a man who had done considerable work for Howard Hughes in the past. Handwriting experts reviewed the Will. Some believed Hughes had written it. Others called it a forgery. Evidence presented at the trial suggested that the Will had in fact been mailed to Forsyth who lived at the time in Anchorage, Alaska and that the document had been sent from the Desert Inn in Las Vegas (where Hughes was residing at the time). During the trial there was some indication of jury tampering. Forsyth's deposition was read into evidence. However, he decided not to testify at the trial after he claimed his life had been threatened.

The jury in the trial of the Will, subsequently ruled that it was a forgery. Dummar ended up with nothing.

In recent years, though, this case has been revisited. Some facts not known at the time had come to light. There is a former Hughes employee who claims he gave Hughes an airplane ride up to the area where he was found hitchhiking the night before. The property that Hughes was found on was owned by Hughes.

Was Dummar telling the truth or did the jury get it right back in 1977? You'll have to judge for yourself. However, its an interesting bit of history. I would suggest this book to anyone who wants to know more:

http://www.amazon.com/Investigation-.../dp/1569802947
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