Utah’s first capitol building (and its oldest existing government building) is only a fraction of what it was meant to be. What looks like a single red stone building is actually the south wing of what was supposed to be a much larger, more regal structure.
Brigham Young wanted the land that’s now Fillmore to be to be the capital of his planned State of Deseret. When the United States Congress refused to acknowledge the proposed state and established the Utah Territory, it was decided that Fillmore would be the territorial capital instead.
Funding ran out before the capitol building could be completed, leaving only one wing mostly finished. The builders, thinking the structure would one day be covered in stucco, carved their initials into the stones. You can still see them today, as the project was abandoned before the stucco was ever added.
The one existing building was soon abandoned too, after Utah’s capital was moved to Salt Lake City. It fell into disrepair until it was salvaged and transformed into a state park and museum.
When you enter the building, head downstairs to see the hallway of portraits. There are about a couple hundred Utah and Mormon pioneers lining the hallway, all drawn or painted, many in ostentatious gold frames. The images watch you as you make your way down the passageway. Be sure to pop into the side rooms, which make up a pseudo museum filled with pieces of Utah history that are well, rather obscure.
Go upstairs to see more random collections of artifacts and some interesting stories about modern-day Fillmore. Head to the top floor for a great view of the mountains, as well as a TV looping a video of a rather unnerving girl singing songs about her church.
Outside, there are a couple cabins, a garden, and a plaque with some rather horrifying stories about pioneer and Native American encounters.
Know Before You Go
It's approximately 141 miles south of Salt Lake City.
From I-15 southbound, take exit 167 for the town of Fillmore. Turn left at stop sign, follow Main to 100 South and turn right.
From I-15 northbound, take exit 163 for the town of Fillmore. Turn right on Highway 99, follow Main to 100 South and turn left.