23 August 2020

SLC KKK Set Crosses Ablaze on Ensign Peak

Ensign Peak ca 1940, gift of Charles Kelly
(who was briefly in the SLC KKK) From UDSH.
The SLC Ku Klux Klan lit blazing crosses on Ensign Peak on several occasions during the 1920s.

The first time a blazing cross appeared on Ensign Peak was Feb 23 1925, just before 9 pm as a kick-off to a KKK parade that wound through downtown SLC in celebration of George Washington’s birthday.

The KKK also lit a cross on Ensign Peak on June 1 1927 to welcome a national KKK leader to SLC.

By far the most spectacular cross lighting occurred on the night of Monday April 6 1925, as part of the first Utah KKK Konklave (statewide meeting).

Ensign Peak was aglow with several fiery crosses that burned so bright they could be seen in almost every part of the Salt Lake Valley.

On a shoreline just below the peak, the hooded and robed Klansmen formed a circular guard line nearly a mile in diameter around the peak. Within the circle, the KKK held an initiation ceremony for new members from across the state. Two alters were used- one for men and one for women.

Automobiles of KKK members were parked within the circle to avoid identification. The massive demonstration also included flag displays and martial music.

The event drew thousands of participants and spectators. Of note, none of the SLC daily newspapers reported the event.

Sources: Blazing Crosses in Zion by Larry R. Gerlach, pgs 105-108; SL Telegram 1927-06-02.

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