04 August 2020

Dinosaur Caravan at the University of Utah in 1924

From University of Utah "articles by Earl Douglass 1924 p3

On Sept 17 1924 a dinosaur caravan arrived at the University of Utah bringing the fossil remains of 5 dinosaurs from the Carnegie Quarry in what is now Dinosaur National Monument. 

Automobiles were quite common by 1924 and the people of SLC were surprised to see anything, let alone dinosaur fossils, being transported by wagons. The reason wagons were chosen was because there were no railroads into the Uinta Basin and in many places the roads were impassible for automobile trucks so the old-fashioned method of transportation was resorted to.

The trek from the dinosaur quarry took 9 days and 19 two-horse teams. They arrived in SLC greeted by the SLC Mayor and a mounted police escort. The dinosaur caravan proceeded north on Main Street and then east on South Temple to the U of U.

The wagons held 141,457 pounds of fossils encased in plaster of paris jackets. The species included Brontosaurus, Diplodocus, Ceratosaurus, Allosaurus, and an unidentified species. They were excavated by Dr. Earl Douglass and arranged to be brought to the University by Dr. Frederick J. Pack of the Geology Department.

The drivers camped behind the Park Building on President’s Circle during the 2 days it took to unload the crates. The wagons were then loaded up with supplies from SLC and headed back to Vernal.

The fossils were on display for a while at the University of Utah’s Geological Museum (now integrated into the Natural History Museum of Utah). Most of the collection was transferred back to Dinosaur National Monument in the early 1980s.

Sources: multiple newspaper articles but especially SL Telegram 1924-09-17

The dinosaur caravan arriving at the U of U. From University of Utah Collections

The dinosaur caravan arriving at the U of U. From University of Utah Collections

The caravan on Main Street of SLC. From University of Utah Collections

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