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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NEWS: 100th Anniversary of the Presentation of the Silver Service to the USS Utah

For Immediate Release
November 2, 2011

Kristen Rogers-Iversen
Utah State History
(801) 533-3542
Claudia Nakano
Utah Department of Community and Culture
(801) 859-8443

100th Anniversary of the Presentation
of the Silver Service to the USS Utah

First Lady Jeanette Herbert will host a news conference on Monday, November 7, at 10:00 a.m. at the Governor’s Mansion to mark the 100th anniversary of Utah’s presentation of a Silver Service to the USS Utah. The exquisite Silver Service was partially purchased by the school children of Utah, who contributed nickels and dimes to accumulate some $2,700 towards the $10,000 total paid to the Gorham Silver Company.
The Mansion, located at 603 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, will be open for the public to view the Silver Service and other USS artifacts from the State’s collections from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  “This is a wonderful opportunity for the people of Utah to experience first-hand a small part of Utah’s military history,” says Wilson Martin, acting director, Utah State History.  

The USS Utah was launched on Dec. 23, 1909, and the Silver Service was presented on Nov. 6, 1911, in New York Harbor. Governor William Spry and Senator Reed Smoot were aboard the ship.  Around 500 people traveled to New York for the ceremony, including more than 200 Mormon Tabernacle Choir members. The choir performed and the silver was unveiled and presented to Captain William Benson.  The Silver Service was used often and was specifically used to entertain President-elect Herbert Hoover in 1928.  In 1930 the ship ceased to be a battleship and became an auxiliary ship. The Silver Service returned home to Utah and is still used at the Governor’s Mansion.   Read more about the history of the USS Utah at history.utah.gov

Artifacts that will also be displayed for the public include a Congressional Medal of Honor awarded to a sailor who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor, the flag flown on Dec. 7, 1941, which was fished from the harbor, the Captain’s clock, and other items from the USS Utah.

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State History serves the citizens of Utah by helping to make history accessible, exciting, and relevant—and integral to the economy and culture of the state. State History is a division of the Utah Department of Community and Culture (www.community.utah.gov).

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