Before we left for Jerusalem, Jim Beck cornered me at church and suggested that when we arrive in Jerusalem, we should do all that we can to clean up the Orson Hyde Memorial. He had heard that it was very run down.
I asked him why he had interest in the park and he told me the story of his Great Grandfather. When Orson Hyde was on his way to Jerusalem, he stopped on the East coast and gave several lectures with the hope of getting some financial support. A sister who attended was impressed, ran home and told her husband, and they both came back to hear more of his story. The man was so impressed that he gave Elder Hyde a bag of gold that was enough to finance his trip.
The donation was unusually large and Elder Hyde said that he would try to pay it back and the brother said that it would be necessary to reimburse him but, perhaps, Elder Hyde could remember him in his dedicatory prayer.
The generous couple that donated the bag of gold was Jim Beck’s great grandfather. So, I told Jim that if he would give me a bag of gold, that I would do my best to help restore the Orson Hyde Memorial Park
As it turns out, the park is in wonderful shape. We visited the park today and the assigned keeper of the Park took us around and showed us how beautiful it is in every way.
The Church purchased the 5 acres many years ago for $3000. It was donated to the City of Jerusalem with the agreement that the City would maintain the property. However, it became neglected and used at night for various gatherings by local youth.
About 5 years ago, the City installed security cameras, watering systems, and hired a full-time gardener who keeps the walks and plants looking really good. The copper sign that used to be located by the group seating area was stolen several years ago and has not been replaced.
This is looking west from the Orson Hyde Memorial Park towards the Temple Mount.
This picture is looking east near the Temple Mount towards the Orson Hyde Memorial Park. It is simple beautiful, just up and a little north from the Garden of Gethsemane.
The BYU Jerusalem Center is to the left of the Memorial Park.
P.S. I wish I would have had some of Jim Beck’s gold to give to the gardener. The gardener is really doing a good job.
As promised, Elder Hyde included those who helped him finance his trip in his dedicatory prayer November 22, 1841, including the Beck family.
“Do Thou also look with favor upon all those through whose liberality I have been enabled to come to this land; and in the day when Thou shalt reward all people according to their works, let these also not be passed by or forgotten, but in time let them be in readiness to enjoy the glory of those mansions which Jesus has gone to prepare. Particularly do Thou bless the stranger in Philadelphia, whom I never saw, but who sent me gold, with a request that I should pray for him in Jerusalem. Now, O Lord, let blessings come upon him from an unexpected quarter, and let his basket be filled, and his storehouse abound with plenty, and let not the good things of the earth be his only portion, but let him be found among those to whom it shall be said, `Thou hast been faithful over a few things, and I will make thee ruler over many.’