HILDALE (News4Utah) – Tuesday, crews continued to tear down the 14-foot walls that once kept visitors away from the border town of Hildale.
“It was a symbol. It was a way to control the people,” said Terrill Musser, a Hildale resident.
“Basically, built to keep the women and kids in, from escaping the persecution and the outside influences. So, that’s a sick thought,” said Ted Barlow, Hildale resident.
Barlow grew up in Hildale and now raises his children here.
“I absolutely love watching this thing come down,” said Barlow.
FLDS leader Warren Jeffs commanded the walls to be built and paid for by tithing money.
“They called this the compound; Jeffs Compound. When Warren was going to get out of prison, then this was going to be his area of living. And this wall was built around this storehouse, and his house, I mean it’s two feet thick,” said Musser.
“A decree went out to the FLDS community, saying they should home-school their children, and we essentially couldn’t operate a school, and it was sometime after that they put up the wall,” said Steve Dunham with the Washington County School District.
But four years ago, the Washington County School District bought the storehouse, opening Water Canyon High School.
But the concrete slabs remained.
“And we’ve always wanted to remove that wall in its entirety, but there haven’t been the funds available. And an opportunity came this summer, and we jumped on it,” said Dunham.
It’s a good thing when you can actually make a school look like a school, and not a prison site,” said Barlow.
“History is being made every day as we wake up out here,” said Musser.
“Things have changed. …. I need these walls to come down and have this openness. We want an open town. We want loving people to come and be a part of this town,” said Musser.
“The new school, and the new aspect of the future of our kids, is so bright and wonderful, it’s absolutely thrilling to me,” said Barlow.