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Mendon historian loves to discover and share the past

April 21st, 2012 Posted in Arts and Life

Story and photo by Josh Ruggles

MENDON — Rodney Sorensen has lived in Mendon most of his life; he is passionate about the place and its rich history. And he happens to be one of the foremost historians of this small mountain town.

He is the author and proprietor of mendonutah.net, an extensive informational and historical website focusing on the northern Utah city. Sorensen was also instrumental in the creation of the book, In the Shade of the Mountains: Histories of Mendon & Petersboro.

Sorensen, being passionate about the knowledge he has acquired, is excited to share it with others.

“It’s nice to have a thread back to the beginning,” Sorensen said. “Mendon history belongs to the people of Mendon, it doesn’t belong to one person.”

He was the first person to identify every person who has been buried in the Mendon cemetery and forming a digital database for them all. The task took four years of measuring, researching and compiling information. His template for the cemetery database was later adapted by the state of Utah.

Sorensen’s wife Karole is amazed about how passionate he became with the cemetery.

“Most people take flowers to their family at the cemetery, I took him lunch,” she said. “He knew so much about the people buried there, it was like he knew them personally.”

Paul Willie, one of the committee members who wrote In the Shade of the Mountains, said Rod has it in his genes.

“Rod’s great-great-grandfather Isaac kept a history of Mendon for about 60 years. And Rod is from the same texture,” Willie said.

Over the years Sorensen has compiled several hard drives full of Mendon historical information. He is currently working on a book on the history of May Day, a Mendon celebration dating back to the 1800s.

“Rod has been a great Mendon historian, his collection on May Day is probably the best there is, and his collection on Mendon in general is probably one of the best that there is,” Willie said.


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