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Riverton’s Past Plays Important Role In Its Future

Feb 13, 2015 06:18PM ● Published by Shawna Meyer

Riverton resident and volunteer Tish Buroker created a timeline to reflect on Riverton’s past 150 years.

Riverton City is continuing its 150th birthday celebration by honoring its past. A few city employees and volunteers have helped plan a timeline about 5 feet long that features some of the city’s more monumental years above the line and some world events below to add context.

“You can’t celebrate a city’s anniversary without understanding some of its past,” Tish Buroker said.

Buroker joined the Sesquicentennial Committee about nine months ago to help the city plan the best birthday activities possible. Since she has lived in Riverton since 1962, she was excited to learn about the city she grew up in.

“My favorite thing about living in Riverton—and this probably sounds really trite—is just the fact that it feels like home,” Buroker said.

She said that the idea for the timeline came up in a brainstorming session with the other people on the committee. It was also inspired by Scott Crump’s book “Riverton: A Short History,” in which Crump highlights some of the more impressive moments in the city’s past.

“A lot of people don’t have that connection to the city, and that connection is what makes you proud of where you live and makes you want to be part of the community. I really wanted to create something that would give everyone a sense of connectedness,” Buroker said.

Community Events Coordinator Ann Farr also helped put the timeline together. Buroker said that if it wasn’t for Farr’s computer skills, then the timeline might not have happened at all.

The first proposal for the timeline project was submitted in May, and it was finished the last week of December. Unfortunately, the initial timeline had a small typo on it, which had to be corrected before it goes on display.

There will be two timelines, which will be put on display in mid-February. The first will be set up at Riverton City Hall, 12830 South Redwood Road. The second will be at the Riverton Library, 12877 South 1830 West, until June. Then it will be moved to its permanent location in the Old Dome Meeting House, 12600 South 1450 West.

The timeline starts in 1865, which was the year Nicholas Thomas Silcock purchased and settled in Riverton. If that year sounds familiar to history buffs, it’s because that is the year that the Civil War ended.

“You tend to look at history fairly linearly . . . but you never connect it with what’s going on in the world,” Buroker said. “I think really for me, it was most surprising to think that Riverton was being settled while the Civil War was still going on.”

In 1880, there were just 38 states in America, and there were 117 people in Riverton. In 1892, Ellis Island opened and allowed 45,000 immigrants to pass through in the first year. In that same year, Riverton City’s first post office was established.

In 1909, Tithing Yard Bridge over the Jordan River was built. Then in 1914, World War I began and lasted until 1918.

The first Miss Riverton Pageant was held in 1955, which is also the first year of the Vietnam War.

The first planning and zoning committee was established in Riverton in 1961, and two years later, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Texas.

Riverton’s arts council was organized in 1983 by Bonnie Young.

“I think the other thing that I really tried to do on that timeline, that I think it’s important for people to see, is how many organizations there are in Riverton that were truly started, staffed and supported by volunteers,” Buroker said. “If you look at the top half of that timeline, then you can see all the volunteer organizations that really take place because people care.”          
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