LAYTON — Local history enthusiasts might be interested in a unique series of lectures now being put on by the Heritage Museum of Layton.
The museum’s “Centennial Lecture Series” has resumed after a COVID-19-related pause. Initiated during the first weeks of 2020, the series aims to tell the story of Layton, Davis County’s most populated city, through a series of presentations from notable, longtime Layton residents. The series was put on hold for eight months while the pandemic necessitated social distancing measures across the nation, but according to Layton City’s website, it is now returning under a new format.
The series will feature lectures scheduled at monthly intervals at least through spring 2021. According to the city’s website, the lectures will now be broadcast live on Facebook, as well as recorded and then posted on the museum’s Facebook page and on the city’s website.
Davis County Commissioner and former Layton City mayor Bob Stevenson is involved with the production and will give a lecture on “lost industries” of Layton at noon on Jan. 7.
“I think it’s been a good opportunity for people to learn some of the history of our city,” Stevenson said. “A lot of speakers — and I say this kind of tongue-in-cheek — are longtime Laytonites, which is kind of a nice way of saying we’re really old.”
But with age, comes wisdom. In addition to formerly serving as mayor of the city and currently working as a county commissioner, Stevenson was born and raised in Layton. He graduated from Layton High School in 1972 and later that decade became the first graduate of the school to become a teacher there. His father, Richard Stevenson, was also principal of Davis High School.
“My roots run pretty deep,” he said. “I love this place and we do have a pretty interesting past, so it’s fun to be able to share some of that.”
Stevenson’s lost industries lecture will put a microscope to former industries, now long gone, that helped shape Layton. According to the museum’s website, before Layton was incorporated as a city, there were several industries that contributed to the growth of the region. At one time, there were four flour mills that processed the various grains grown in Northern Utah. There were also three canning companies that processed corn, peas, beans, tomatoes and other items that were shipped all over the western United States.
“When I was mayor, I got to dig a little deeper into the history (of Layton),” Stevenson said. “There are just a lot of things, which I think comes across in these lectures, that people might not know about. (Researching for the lecture) has kind of made me think about kids in school. In their history classes, they of course get some of the state history, but wouldn’t it be neat if we gave them like a four-week course on their city or their county? Like I said, there’s just a lot of history here that kind of goes under the radar for the most part.”
Past speakers at the series have included Utah lawmakers Steve Handy and Jerry Stevenson, former Layton Council member Joyce Brown and former museum curator Bill Sanders. The speakers have covered a host of topics, from the first Native American bands in the region to the transcontinental railroad’s impact on the city.
For more information, go to www.laytoncity.org/LC/HeritageMuseum.