MANTI; A GLIMPSE INTO RURAL DESERET
Shortly after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, Brigham Young sent parties out to settle and lay claim to a vast area of what was hoped to become the Land of Deseret. Settlements were started as far afield as near Carson City, NV, Las Vegas and San Bernadino, CA. The farthest flung outliers were abandoned in the late 1850's though when the US Army threatened the Mormon core by marching into the Salt Lake Valley. Other regions remained viable developing as smaller clones of the Salt Lake original. Urban planning was set down by Brigham Young with streets wide enough for a wagon and a team of oxen to turn around in. When you walk around a Mormon block, you are really walking around the block! The atuned traveller can quickly notice if a western town has Mormon roots by observing how it is laid out.
Manti is one of the oldest settlements outside of the Salt Lake Valley, first settled in 1849. Brigham Young had only led his first pioneers into Salt Lake two years previously, in 1847. Like many regional towns, the name originates from Mormon theology - a place in the Book of Mormon, in this case. The town remains a small agricultural and governmental center today of a few thousand. The population is overwhelmingly Mormon and ultra-conservative pockets can be discovered in the cultural fabric here. Polygamists and Mormon splinter groups lurk under the surface, though still in the vast minority. What makes Manti a stopping point for the possible traveller is the over 100 pre-1880 buildings to be found on the town's side streets. These and the glorious late 19th century temple sitting on the hill above the town.