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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Cottonwood Heights Historic Committee recognized by leading state historical organization

Feb 02, 2024 10:10AM ● By Cassie Goff

Historic Committee Chair Jim Kichas and Member Gayle Conger were present to accept the Historic Committee’s Outstanding Achievement Award at the Utah Historical Society Board of State History reception. (Photo courtesy of the Cottonwood Heights)

The Cottonwood Heights Historic Committee has been recognized by the Utah Historical Society Board of State History with their 2023 Outstanding Achievement Award for their dedication to preserving the history of Cottonwood Heights through digital archives. Their efforts in amassing an impressive collection of written documents, oral histories, historic maps, photographs, and more did not go unrecognized.  

“Congratulations on receiving this prestigious honor!” said Mayor Mike Weichers while recognizing members of the Historic Committee during their Cottonwood Heights City Council Meeting on Jan. 16. 

The Historic Committee is made up of residents of the city who volunteer their time. Jim Kichas serves as Chair, Ken Verdoia serves as Vice Chair, Carol Woodside serves as Secretary, and Councilmember Ellen Birrell serves as City Council Liaison. Additional members include Gayle Conger, Beverly Beckstead, Jerry Christensen, Jessica Despain, Don Connon, Bruce Lubeck, and Mark Lentz. 

The Cottonwood Heights Historic Committee was formed in 2007. Since their formation, they have been working to collect various forms of media detailing the area’s stories and history. They have gathered recorded information about historical sites, photographs, maps, charts, documents, artifacts, and written and oral stories. 

“The committee’s dedication to preserving the history of Cottonwood Heights is truly inspiring,” Weichers said. 

The Historic Committee spearheaded and oversaw the creation of historic trail markers throughout the city. They also invested in and helped guide the publication of “City Between the Canyons: A History of Cottonwood Heights, 1849-1953” by Allen Roberts. 

In fact, Allen Roberts was recognized by the Utah Historical Society Board of State History with an Outstanding Achievement Award as well. Roberts is often credited as being the founder of Utah’s historic preservation movement with his work on preserving historic districts and buildings throughout the state. 

The Historic Committee was able to invest in an ongoing website and cloud-based storage. With those resources, they have been able to scan a multitude of historic documents and (over 400) photographs to make them available for public viewing. 

“Their website is an excellent example of how technology can preserve history,” the Utah Historical Society Board of State History notes.

 One of the biggest projects the Historic Committee has been working on for the past three years is their collection of oral histories. They have been busy interviewing humans of importance for the area, editing and posting those interviews, and sharing them online as part of their digital archives. 

Seven different categories have already been added to the original two categories within the Historic Committee’s Digital Archive including the Oral Histories Collection, School History Collection, and Community Reminisces Collection, among others. 

“Their Digital Archive is an excellent example of how history can be preserved. They’ve set a wonderful example,” Weichers said. 

Neighboring cities have reached out to the Cottonwood Heights Historic Committee for their guidance in creating and implementing similar projects within their areas. 

“Thanks to their efforts, the history of Cottonwood Heights will remain secure and accessible for generations to come,” noted the Utah Historical Society Board. “They have an unwavering passion for the community’s history to stay alive and accessible.” 

To view the full list of awards from the Utah Historical Society, visit:

The Cottonwood Heights Digital Archives can be accessed through the website Preservica or by visiting this link. 

This Historic Committee knows there is still more work to be done and more documents to add to their Digital Archives. They plan to send out requests to the public for historic documents later this year. 

If you would like to stay up to date with the Historic Committee, visit: the Cottonwood Heights City Website, navigate to the “Your Government” tab and locate the “Boards and Commissions” tab. The Historic Committee’s page will be listed. 

To apply to serve/volunteer on this Historic Committee, visit “Boards Application” page through the Cottonwood Heights Website. λ