There are a couple of artifacts in this small museum’s collection that might be described as idiosyncratic. Maybe even eccentric. At the Pioneer Heritage Museum in the city of Hurricane, Utah you’ll find some reverently preserved 1907 fruit cake, and a slab of 1945 bacon that’s holding on for dear life.
While fruitcake has a well-deserved reputation for survival of re-gifting year after year after year, this example probably takes the cake. It was originally the top two tiers of a four-tier wedding cake. In 1907 Emily Wood married Joe Scow, and Mrs. Maria Ballard over in Grafton baked them a fruitcake and covered it in dewy pink flowers.
As was the fashion back then, the family held onto some as a keepsake, and while the frosting and pink flowers were slowly snacked on by the newlyweds growing family, the rest of it was kept on the mantle for the next 83 years. In 1990, the desiccated marvel was donated to the museum by the couple’s granddaughter, where it can still be viewed on its cake stand pedestal.
The bacon comes from a different Hurricane Valley pioneer: Grace Wright Jepson—local midwife, nurse, mother of seven, and cured meat wizard. The slab was put away in the family drying shed sometime around 1945, hanging up in some sackcloth. Mrs. Jepson passed away in 1958, and everyone forgot about the bacon until it was rediscovered and donated to the museum by her son Woodrow in 1996. It’s held up remarkably well, maybe due to Grace’s secret saltpeter, brown sugar and pepper recipe.
Know Before You Go
Hurricane is in southwest Utah, about 135 miles up I-15 from Las Vegas. Take exit 16 of the interstate and follow State Route 9 east for about 13 miles, and you'll head straight into town. The Museum is located at the corner of State St and Main St. and is open Monday through Saturday from 9 AM to 5 PM. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.