Thursday, November 6, 2014

Monster bear encounters and a forgotten distillery

                    A bear statue at Ogden's Prairie Schooner Restaurant.

"KILLED a Monster Bear” was an Oct. 17, 1904 headline in the Standard-Examiner.
Frank Adams of Hooper came home with the hide of a 900-pound grizzly bear which he killed “in a desperate encounter in Black Bear Canyon at the head of Beaver Canyon.”
(Beaver Canyon is in the upper portion of today’s South Fork of Weber County, off Highway 39.)
Adams was on his way from camp to the bedding ground for sheep in the area, “when he was suddenly confronted by a huge infuriated bear that came for him open-mouthed. The beast was only twenty yards away and Adams had no weapon but his twenty-two,” the Standard report stated.
“With a nerve and accuracy which is astonishing under the circumstances, he began firing as rapidly as possible … The little missiles seemed to have no effect … Thirteen shots were fired while the bear was approaching, the last striking under the eye and penetrating the brain; but none too soon, for the brute literally fell at the feet of the brave hunter.”
Some eleven years earlier, the Standard had reported “A Narrow escape. A close encounter with a monster cinnamon bear” in its Oct. 25, 1893 issue.
Ogden City Councilman A.I. Stone, Joseph Ririe, R.H. Froerer, George Froerer and David Johnson were climbing in the mountains west of Huntsville, where a bear had been sighted earlier in the week.
They spotted the huge bruin and commenced shooting at it, amidst thick brush. It got within six feet of the men, before falling. It weighed 258 pounds and was put on display in Ogden. The men believed it would have killed one or more of them, had it not been brought down.

-In separate historical note, Carla Vogel of Ogden, 82, said in the early 1940s she recalls finding an old distillery, not anywhere near 25th Street, but on the land that is today’s Mount Ogden Junior High School.
About 100 feet up from 32nd Street, she and a Polk School classmate were digging around the area and discovered this great underground room.
“It was full of barrels, buckets, wood stoves,” she said.
Even at elementary school age, she said they knew what it was, though they never told anyone about it at the time.
Vogel said she later rode horses all around the east bench area of Ogden. She moved away in 1953 and Mount Ogden Junior opened in 1958.
“They probably didn’t know it was there,” she said of the still and the school builders. She’s convinced it was left over from the Prohibition of the 1920s and today is located under grass of the playing fields behind the school.

               The old St. Benedict's Hospital today, senior housing.

-Vogel also said she recalls her father saying the eventual site of St. Benedict’s Hospital (top of 30th Street) was the specific place where the Clark Family wanted the LDS Church to build an Ogden Temple back in 1921. That was the top of a hill above Harrison Avenue on land the Clarks were going to give the LDS Church, if it would construct an Ogden Temple there. (News reports of 1921 had stated the land donation address as 30th Street and Tyler Avenue, at the base of the hill and perhaps the last developed eastward street at the time.)
The Church declined the donation and it would be another 50 years before Ogden received a temple.

(Written by Lynn Arave and published on-line and in print by the Ogden Standard-Examiner on Nov. 6-7, 2014.)

-NOTE: The author, Lynn Arave, is available to speak to groups, clubs, classes or other organizations about Utah history at no charge. He can be contacted by email at:  

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