Each year for the past 52 years, Chesterfield has been hosting a Memorial Day celebration to help fund the restoration of the town’s historic sites.
According to Pearl Mickelsen, a member of the Chesterfield Foundation Board, the town currently has 19 restored structures including a meeting house, amusement hall, log store, brick store, bishop’s granary, and many pioneer log cabins, all dating from the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Referred to by many as “Bountiful North,” Chesterfield was settled in 1880 by Chester Call, the LDS bishop of Bountiful at the time, who convinced many Bountiful residents to join him in settling this area of Idaho.
Many Bountiful families moved to the Chesterfield area which is located three hours north of Bountiful in the Portneuf Valley of Idaho, in the Soda Springs area, about 10 miles from Bancroft.
Due to the historical ties of the two cities, Bountiful City Council member Tom Tolman sponsored a proclamation to adopt Chesterfield as a sister city.
This proclamation was adopted by the city council in July 2006. Tolman said of his time spent in Chesterfield that “it is one of the best restored (pioneer) towns in the West.”
“A lot of people in the Bountiful area have ties to Chesterfield,” agrees Mickelsen. “Each year we have people from all over come to participate in the Memorial Day celebration.”
According to the Foundation’s website, this year’s festivities begin at 8 a.m. with a 5k run. From 11 a.m.-4 p.m. the town site will be open for tours, wagon rides, butter making, rope making, hankie doll making, and horseshoe nail ring making.
Vintage sewing machines and antique guns will be on display and there will be pioneer toys, candies, and clothing for sale in the log store. Volunteers will be at each of the buildings to inform visitors of each building’s history and answer questions.
The day’s celebration concludes with a free dance with music provided by the Hatch family (descendants of the original settlers). All proceeds from the celebration will be used for further restoration projects of the town’s historic sites.
The Chesterfield historic town site is not just open on Memorial Day. According to Mickelsen, there are seven full-time volunteers that work at the site from Memorial Day until Labor Day “guiding tours, doing maintenance, watering, mowing, and running the log store.”
The town site is also used for LDS youth conferences, pioneer treks, and service projects. For more information visit www.historicchesterfield.org.