The Plat of Zion

“The details of the Plat of Zion were drafted by Joseph Smith as early as 1833 (LDS archives) this was roughly fifteen years prior to the arrival of the Mormons in the Salt Lake Valley. The original plat was drafted in June 25th, 1833. when Joseph Smith was 27 years old.  Joseph finally settled on one that captured the essence of what he was trying to accomplish while accommodating local variation to fit the environment in which these cities would develop. Two months later in August 1833, he produced the official Plat of Zion which would become the blueprint for future Zion cities. A third design and revisions were in progress but due to the Mormons volatile relationship with their neighbors it was never completed. Some of its highlights included: a greenbelt surrounding the city, grid patterns, central blocks with public buildings, location of heavy industry outside city limits, population caps, setbacks and equal lot sizes.

The Plat of Zion is best summarized by Charles L. Sellers in his study of early Mormon City Planning (Sellers, p. 24-30)

-The City was to be divided into a square grid pattern.
-Central blocks were reserved for ecclesiastical buildings.
-Specific blocks were reserved for public buildings—storehouses, schools and parks.
-The city was divided into ecclesiastical districts called wards resulting in the possible creating of social units or neighborhoods.
-Individual family lots were regulated relative to the sitting of dwellings and the enhancement of the community.
-The farmers and ranchers lived within the boundaries of the city in order to be part of the larger community.
-An agricultural greenbelt was to be created.
-Barns, corrals and heavy industry were to be located on the periphery of the city.”

Original Plat of Zion, June 25th 1833


Revised Plat of Zion, August 1833 as preserved by the LDS Church Archives.  This Plat will be the one used in discussions in this blog.