Dear 100 Hour Board,
I'm trying to figure out when the statue of Brigham Young just in front of the Smoot building was built. Can you help me out?
Are you ready for an adventure? Okay then c'mon vamanos.
I first turned to the trusty internet. This Daily Universe article from 1999 explains:
"This statue was built by Mahonri Young, Brigham’s last grandchild to be born before he died in 1877. He is cast in bronze and stands seven and a half feet tall and weighs 1,300 pounds as he keeps his watch on a four foot square block that weighs 7,000 pounds. (Holy cow)
The Brigham Young statue was originally designed for “This is the Place Monument.” It had Brigham Young and both of his counselors standing in front with Young’s arm resting on the shoulder of one of his counselors. His hand was changed for the statue standing on the south side of the Abraham O. Smoot Administration Building."
(parenthetical phrases added)
So it's good. But it does not say when it was built. I had to keep going.
Deeper in the internet, the artist's Wikipedia page says he was commissioned for "This is the Place Monument" in 1939, so we can safely say it was done between then and 1957 when Mahonri Young died. The Wikipedia page for "This is the Place" says it was dedicated in 1947, so we've taken the window from 18 years to 8, but that's still a pretty big window. Unacceptable.
At this point I figured I should check out what I could find on campus. Maybe it had a plaque that you missed?
Nope. The plaque just had the birth and death dates of Brigham and Mahonri Young, which I already knew from the internet. Drats.
But I was already on campus so I figured I might as well use the resources that were there. Maybe the Smoot building would hold the key. I only knew that OneStop exists there, and I didn't have a lot of hope for them knowing the statue's history, but maybe they would know someone who knows.
"Alright, I've got a good question for you," I told Spencer, the desk attendant. As I explained the predicament, he soon came to agree that it was indeed a good question. He knew the Smoot building was built in 1961 so he thought it might have been done then, but I pointed out that the sculptor died in 1957, so the timeline didn't fit. (You may see the flaw in logic here, but we'll get to that in a moment.) Spencer looked around on his computer, but when the internet failed him, too, he made a call to his supervisor.
"Hey [supervisor]," he said. "I've got the most wonderful question for you." (I appreciated that.) The supervisor didn't know either, but he recommended the Wilk Info Desk. I had less faith in them (no offense Wilk Info Desk. It's just an obscure question. It's not you, it's me.) But I was willing to do what it took to get your answer, so off I went.
No sooner had I stepped past the very statue did Spencer, the realest of MVPs, came running out to tell me he had found the answer. Not only that, but he had been right all along. I followed him back inside where he showed me this 2014 Daily Universe article,
"Brigham Young’s grandson, Mahonri Young, sculpted this statue as a monument in Salt Lake City. The statue was recreated and added to BYU’s campus on Homecoming Week in 1961."
Freaking 1961. Of course. Because why would they put a statue in front of a building that wasn't built yet? Right? Right. So, 1961. Thanks again, Spencer.
Also, happy late birthday, friend.
(The face is my creation but I must admit I stole the bag from Frere Rubik.)