Price City Hall
- 200 East Main Street
Price, UT 84501
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- Historic Place
The Price Mural
By muralist Lynn Fausett
Price Municipal Building, 200 E. Main Street, Price, Utah
Many scenes depicted on the Price mural show the history and industry of Price and Carbon County. The chronology follows the first men into Castle Valley and ends with the coal industry in the county. The scene shown at right depicts the artist, Lynn Fausett, leading his blind grandfather. Fausett was paid a total of $1,600 for the mural, which he painted over a period from 1938 to November 1941.
Tenaciously hanging onto their heritage and history, it was of little surprise to local citizens that Lynn Fausett was commissioned in 1938 to paint the now-famous Price Mural, depicting the local history of Carbon County.
The mural was to fill the top half of the foyer walls on the new Works Progress Association (WPA) Price Municipal Building. The project was a dramatic turning point in the artistic career of Lynn Fausett. Fausett was a native son who had studied in New York and Europe to perfect techniques used in murals and mosaics. Now he returned to his hometown after an absence of some 16 years and began work on the mural.
Fausett first used his garage in Price as a studio, but later transferred his work on the mural to a large WP A studio in Salt Lake City. He would paint separate sections of the mural on canvas which were then installed on the foyer walls, the project taking until November 1941 to complete. While working on the Price Mural, Fausett also worked on three other WPA mural projects, one of which was the great Barrier Canyon Mural, one section of which hangs in the CEU Prehistoric Museum in the north part of the municipal building.
Fausett became quite renowned as a muralist following this period. He has many murals in both public and private buildings in many states, but the most famous is "The Pioneer Trek," a large mural encompassing three walls of the visitor center in the This Is The Place Monument at the mouth of Emigration Canyon in Salt Lake City.
The Price Mural actually depicts the history and industry of all of Carbon County and takes about 800 square feet of wall space. There are 82 principal figures in the mural, all done from photographs or personal memories of the artist. These principal figures are about half-size. Many of the early buildings of the Carbon County area are used as backgrounds to provide perspective to the mural.
The mural depicts an accurate chronology of the populating and industrializing of Carbon County. As one enters through the main east entrance, immediately ahead, in the center of the west wall, is a panel showing the first trappers and settlers in the county, Abram Powell and Caleb Rhodes, who came into the valley in 1877. Beneath each new scene is a brief title describing the scene.
One follows the chronology of Carbon County by moving to the right. The second scene shows the construction of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad through the area, which was finished in 1883. Chinese coolies and Europeans are depicted with the familiar cliffs in the background which gave Castle Country its name.
In the third scene is a store and post office built by Fred Grames at the time the railroad was completed. Grames is shown with W .H. Branch as they surveyed the Price Canal in 1884.
Camped freighters, their giant freight wagons in the background are shown in the fourth scene. When the railroad was completed, a freight road to Fort Duchesne in the Uintah Basin to the northeast was constructed in 1886 for supplies to be moved from Price to the Basin. Matt Warner, a member of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch, is shown in this scene.
On the north wall, the fifth scene is a view of the Price Main Street in 1892. Dominant to the scene is the Price Trading Company building. The artist's mother, Josephine Bryner Fausett, is seen wearing a white apron standing in the doorway.
In the sixth scene a group of people are shown as they sought to incorporate the town of Price. Mrs. Isabell Birch Bryner is shown holding an incorporation petition, which she took by train to Salt Lake City and filed to acquire the townsite.
The first town hall after incorporation is in the background in the seventh scene, which shows Price's first town board president and early rancher, J .M. Whitmore.
The eighth scene shows the early religious development of the county. The three leaders of the dominant non-Mormon religions, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Methodist, are shown together while another group depicts early Mormon organization in the county.
The first wedding in the county is shown in the ninth scene. The wedding was for Gilbert and Ann Peterson and was conducted by Justice of the Peace Erastus W. Mclntire. Pigs were used to pay for the ceremony and are shown being held by the best man and Mclntire's son. The old courthouse is shown in the background.
Education is depicted in the tenth scene. Two early schools are shown as are two of the first teachers along with the first superintendent and Joseph Birch, who sponsored legislation providing for free public education. A second setting shows the old high school and one of the first principals along with the block "C" on the cliffs above the first high school.
In the eleventh scene, the artist depicted himself as a small boy leading his blind grandfather, Hans Ulrich Bryner.
The twelfth scene, which moves the viewer to the south wall, shows W. Grant Olsen, first mayor of Price, in 1911. A community promoter, Olsen is shown planting trees in the new Price City Park. In the background is a statue of a pioneer woman, sculpted by Dean Fausett, brother of the mural artist, Lynn Fausett.
A Fourth of July celebration is depicted in the thirteenth scene. A parade during the 1911 celebration features horse-drawn floats and a marching band.
Back on the west wall, the fourteenth scene commemorates the importance of the coal industry to the county. The first setting shows men working the coke ovens at Sunnyside in 1917. Next to that setting, is one showing three miners emerging from an old wooden mine portal. In the third setting of the scene, the outside workings of the mines at Sunnyside are depicted. World War I brought tremendous expansion of the Carbon County coal industry and the setting depicts the hectic activity, which characterized the local industry during that period.