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Emigration Visitors District Enters New Phase As Foothill Cultural District
SALT LAKE CITY – Nearly three decades have passed since a group of arts patrons, cultural visionaries and philanthropists founded the Emigration Visitors District, a unified community of cultural, educational and entertainment attractions in the eastern foothills of the Salt Lake Valley.
Wielding an enviable combination of organizational acumen and idealism, Emigration Visitors District’s founders included Ezekiel Dumke; Don Hague, Director of the Utah Museum of Natural History; Frank Sanguinetti, Executive Director of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts; Maj. Gen. Michael Kaufman, Director of Fort Douglas Museum; Hogle Zoo’s Lamar Farnsworth; Richard Hilldreth, Executive Director of the State Arboretum of Utah (now known as Red Butte Garden); and Jay Christianson, Park Superintendent, Pioneer Trail State Park (now known as This is the Place Heritage Park). Together they developed a marketing strategy based on three primary concepts: consolidation, collaboration and creativity.
The primary goal of the EVD marketing strategy was to develop joint promotions that would heighten awareness of and visitation to the Emigration area’s concentrated cultural resources.
Once publicly announced, the Emigration Visitors District attracted a range of talented and well-connected board members who
didn’t hesitate to shift the interests of the Emigration Visitors District into high gear. Energy and commitment flowed from the new supporters, bringing resources to the organization that more than compensated for its budget. The president of the Utah Broadcasters Association was an early board member, and soon Emigration Visitors District ads were aired on 32 radio stations throughout the state. Other advertising professionals garnered free billboard advertising and, astonishingly, a full page ad in Time magazine soon appeared. Before long, Emigration Visitors District’s notable successes won a significant grant that helped to forge a partnership with the Utah Travel & Tourism department.
Board members willing to advance the cause expanded their reach into the larger Salt Lake community, soliciting financial and in-kind contributions from among the city’s civic and philanthropic leaders. In the meantime, attendance at EVD attractions skyrocketed.
By around 1980, according to Don Hague, the Utah Museum of Natural History’s director-emeritus, the organization’s activity peaked. Its subsequent efforts were limited by fewer resources and waning active support from business leaders.
Still, Emigration Visitors District continues to this day as the revitalized and re-energized Foothill Cultural District to undertake the enviable task of building an arts, history, and entertainment magnet at the mouth of Emigration Canyon for families, students and tourists alike.
For further information call: Linda Hunt, 801/532-7057