President Gordon B. Hinckley will dedicate Smoot Hall at Brigham Young Academy on Wednesday, July 21 at 10 A.M. at This is the Place Heritage Park. This replica building is patterned after the original home of Brigham Young Academy until it was destroyed by fire in 1884. The public is invited to attend the dedication free of charge.

Smoot Hall at Brigham Young Academy was named to honor the Smoot family for their continuing sacrifice for this institution. In the 19th century, Abraham O. Smoot’s visionary leadership and personal financial sacrifice maintained the viability of Brigham Young Academy. In 2004, his great-grandson, Stanley Smoot, his wife Mary Ellen and their family were approached by officers at This is the Place Heritage Park and they agreed to fund the completion and furnishing of this building. The building was originally started in 2001 with funds from various donors, including Brigham Young University’s Women’s Conference.

“My great grandfather, A.O. Smoot, was known as the ‘foster father’ of Brigham Young Academy because of his devotion to the school and it was one of his most memorable experiences,” said Smoot. “I have found similar joy in making this Brigham Young Academy a reality and I am certain he would be pleased.”

“Smoot Hall at Brigham Young Academy is one of our most important endeavors and will serve many purposes. Our administrative offices will be located on the upper floor,” said Paul Williams, President and CEO of This is the Place Heritage Park. “A meeting/lecture hall is located on the main floor where the Smoots envision a film being shown that will allow visitors to relive the stories of the pioneers. With that vision, the Smoots authorized and funded Richard Stout, a partner in their organization, to spend four months to produce this virtual tour.”

Williams said this film is specially designed for those who are unable to walk the Village or for those who want an overview of their trip to the past.
 
“The gem of the building is the family history center located in the lower level where innovative resources are available for visitors to connect with their past. A fully equipped Family Search Center is available for those doing genealogy work and two vendors provide groundbreaking personalized family history services,” said Williams.

Stories By Me! allows visitors to create individual short stories of life events that are then turned into a soft cover bound book. Their software interviews the customer and based on their responses, develops a basic story line. Personal pictures complete the story.

With a revolutionary concept, you can create your own family history documentary on DVD at an affordable price.  Using the latest digital filmmaking, Hearts of the Children, provides all of the resources necessary to capture the life stories of any member of your family, even your ancestors. The DVD could include interviews, pictures, music, and recreations.

This is the Place Heritage Park is managed by This is the Place Foundation, a private, non-profit organization. It is located at 2601 E. Sunnyside Avenue, Salt Lake City. The Park is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day with hours from 10 A.M.-5 P.M Monday through Saturday.  Admission prices are $6 adults, $4 children/seniors. Call (801) 582-1847 or visit www.thisistheplace.org for more information.