Wyoming Arts Council

Tom Rea speaks about "Martin’s Cove Controversy" in Rawlins Nov. 10

“The Martin’s Cove Controversy: Public Land, Sacred Land,” featuring author Tom Rea (pictured above), will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 7 p.m., at the Carbon County Education Center, Rawlins. This event is free and open to the public. It’s part of the award-winning “Power of Place” series. FMI: Dave Throgmorton, 307-328-9204

Here’s a description:

Bad weather, bad planning and their own zeal killed about 150 members of the Martin Handcart Company as they trekked across Wyoming in 1856. Today, the spot on the Oregon trail near Devil’s Gate where some of these Mormon pioneers died lies on BLM land–and at the center of controversy over religious freedom and the right of public access. Tom Rea explores the history of Martin’s Cove, using historical and contemporary photographs, and describes its later transformation into “holy ground” for the LDS Church. His presentation raises questions about who owns the past and how we preserve a balance between public and religious rights.

Tom Rea grew up in Pittsburgh, Pa., and has lived in Wyoming for 35 years. He holds degrees from Williams College and the University of Montana, and worked for many years as a reporter and editor on the Casper Star-Tribune. His books include Devil’s Gate: Owning the Land, Owning the Story (Oklahoma, 2006), winner of the 2006-07 nonfiction book award from the Wyoming State Historical Society, and Bone Wars: The Excavation and Celebrity of Andrew Carnegie’s Dinosaur, (Pittsburgh, 2001, paperback 2004) winner of the Western Writers of America Spur Award for contemporary nonfiction. He lives with his family in Casper.

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