Garden of Treasures Under Temple Light dedicated at new entrance to Manti Cemetery
MANTI—Dozens of people gathered on Memorial Day in Manti to celebrate the dedication of the Garden of Treasures Under Temple Light.
“What a thrill it is to see you all gathered together with us today to celebrate a miracle,” the Garden of Treasures Under Temple Light,” said Jane Braithwaite, co-chair of the Manti Heritage Ad Hoc Committee. “We are so thankful for every person who has helped in any way. This is a true benchmark occasion.”
The garden, which sits on the southwest corner of the Manti City Cemetery, is a project that Braithwaite, Jay Cluff and other members of the Ad Hoc Committee have been working toward for about three years. Its focal point is the Pioneer Heritage Name Wall, which is inscribed with the names of more than 500 of Manti’s founding citizens and in some cases, descendents of the founders.
In addition to showcasing the Name Wall, the garden recreates a pioneer-era stone bridge, complete with lichen growth in the replica stream, and contains walkways paved with granite provided by State Stone.
Costing approximately $115,000, Cluff said the project was completed for two-thirds of the original estimated cost, thanks to the donation of time and materials by community members, including four Scouts who turned portions of garden construction into their Eagle projects.
During the dedication, Braithwaite recounted a story about early Manti Temple construction worker Richard Hall, who made daily sacrifices over the nine years spent it took to complete the temple. She said the story of the pioneer sacrifice in constructing the Manti Temple helped inspire and motivate her in the effort to make the garden a reality.
Manti City Councilman Darren Dyreng spoke at after Braithwaite’s talk. He emphasized the progress Manti City had made since the Mormon pioneers settled the area.
“It’s incredible when you look at how industrious those early pioneers were,” Dyreng said, “and you look at the beautiful temple on the hill that was created with volunteer hours and labor, and has stood for essentially 150 years.
“When I look at those early pioneers who put their work into the land and turned it into this beautiful place, I can’t help but think of the Ad Hoc Committee, and those people who make Manti City really great, those people who just take the reins and do it, not because they are asked, but because they can see a need.”
Dyreng explained how, after UDOT had widened U.S. 89 in 2012-13 along the southern tip of the cemetery, it left the area mostly weeds and dirt, something he said was an unfitting entry to a cemetery that holds so many outstanding Mormon pioneers.
Dyreng said it was Braithwaite and her co-chairwoman, Marlene Cox, who came to the city with the vision to make the southern entry into the beautiful site it had finally become.
“They wanted to make this into something really pleasing and inviting as you came into this historic cemetery,” Dyreng said. “As Manti City Council we thought this was a great idea, but we didn’t have a lot of resources besides equipment.
“They said, ‘That’s okay, we’ll take this and run with it and turn it into a treasure for the people of Manti.’ We cannot thank the committee enough for what they have done.”
Dyreng said he was overwhelmed with gratitude at the local volunteer work that had gone into the garden. “This legacy is a continuation of the legacy left behind by the pioneers who are buried in this historic cemetery,” he said. “I hope we can build upon that and continue to make Manti a better place through being community partners and following our beliefs and doing it because it’s the right thing to do.”
The final speaker of the dedication was Cluff, who Braithwaite said deserved much of the credit for making the garden concept a reality.
Cluff said that there had been another design proposed for the project, and many challenges arose in finishing to the end. He thanked Manti City leaders for backing the Ad Hoc Committee in its efforts.
“In this area, like the pioneers of old, we have as much ability in Manti and Sanpete County as anyplace in the world, but I have to thank the main source of work here, our Father in Heaven.”
Cluff said he was convinced the committee could thank the Savior for helping it overcome the challenges it faced in completing the project.
“We seniors, when working on this place, might have had to go home and take Tylenol at the end of the day,” Cluff said. “But we were strengthened way beyond our age, and we know from what great source our bodies were renewed.”