Plaque to honor Dorothy Adams will be unveiled on Pioneer Day
A final finishing touch will be added to the beautiful Pioneer Park in Monticello on Pioneer Day. A plaque honoring Dorothy Adams, the creator of the park, will be unveiled at a brief ceremony at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 24. The park is on Main Street in Monticello, across from the Post Office.
Adams was a beloved member of the community and spent her life in service to the area. In addition to involvement in a host of community projects (including community concerts, swimming pool, library, schools, and more), she helped organize the construction of Pioneer Park, along with rebuilding the original log church and a number of pioneer-era buildings from the various groups involved in the creation of the Little Town at the Base of the Blues.
While Adams created a number of plaques in the park that outlined the contributions of early pioneers, there was no plaque to honor her contributions… until now.
The Monticello Chapter of the Rotary Club, the volunteer group that manages the park, has created the plaque that will be dedicated on Pioneer Day.
A Tribute to Dorothy Rasmussen Adams
Born 1910 – Died 1998
Dorothy Rasmussen Adams loved the people, culture, and history of Monticello. She arrived in her adopted hometown of Monticello in 1915 with her family. After she graduated from high school, she entered the University of Utah where she graduated with a degree in education in 1935. She then accepted a teaching position with the Grand County School District to teach at Sego and later taught second grade in Moab.
While working in Moab, Dorothy became reacquainted with Donald Adams, a childhood friend. They married in 1937 and moved to Monticello where she continued teaching elementary school. When she and Donald had two children, her teaching time was reduced, but she continued to support the war effort through the American Red Cross, and raised funds to aid people in Europe.
In 1944, Dorothy became Elementary Supervisor for the San Juan School District. She visited every grade school in the district, and quickly learned to dig herself out of the sand when she got stuck driving dirt roads to get to them.
Over the years, she taught at Monticello Elementary School and became chairperson of the Library Board for San Juan County, opening the elementary school library to summer readers.
As Monticello changed with the advent of uranium mining, Dorothy saw opportunities to help improve the quality of the town’s amenities, such as creating a golf course, swimming pool, the Community Concert Series, and getting the Utah Symphony to perform in Monticello. When community libraries became popular, Dorothy was appointed to both the county and state library boards. Dorothy helped design the Blanding and Monticello libraries and insisted that local materials be used, so the red rock exteriors were from quarries in San Juan County.
Dorothy later spent hours researching the history of the original settlement of Monticello, and with the capable modeling skills of Clio Nebeker, they created the Little Town diorama. It is now located in the Frontier Museum-Welcome Center, accompanied by The Little Green Book, a building-by-building history keyed to the diorama.
Dorothy’s efforts at community enhancement were supported by her family, especially Donald. Eventually, she created Pioneer Park on a parcel of land adjacent to her home and worked with Rusty Musselman and other community members to build a replica of the first church in Monticello. Other buildings were added, including a Hispanic cabin and oven built by Pee Wee Barela, a Ute tepee and blacksmith shop donated by Dick Myer, and an early family cabin donated by the Dean Robinson family. Pioneer Park was then donated to a private foundation and subsequently deeded to Monticello City.
Dorothy Rasmussen Adams was committed to the betterment of Monticello. She enjoyed hearing about successes of former students and was heartened by the broadening of town services and attractions. She was a caring and skilled advocate for her town.
She died in 1998, and this park is now cared for by Monticello City and the Monticello Rotary Chapter.