14 May 2023

The Hatchet Attack of 1933 at 863 E 600 S SLC

Rulon Stevenson in 1929, from the Utionion Yearbook

One sensational event that occurred in the house at 863 E 600 S in my last post occurred in the middle of the night on Nov 13 1933 when 27-year-old Rulon E Stevenson smashed a window with a hatchet and entered the vacant half of the house, which by now was converted into a duplex.

Rulon began hacking the interior woodwork of the parlor and eventually chopped a hole in the partition dividing the duplex. This awakened and terrified the young family living there, Anthony and Caroline Schetselaar, along with their 2 young children.

The Schetselaar family fled the house through a window and Rulon followed them outside the house. A neighbor tried to help and Rulon threw the hatchet at him, which missed its target.

By then, the SLC Police had arrived and taken Rulon into custody. Rulon was placed in the city jail under a “hold for investigation” charge. Soon after, Rulon’s father who was a prominent physician, Dr. Hyrum Stevenson arrived and the SLC Police Night Captain E. E. Brown released Rulon to his father’s custody with only a charge of drunkenness.

In the morning, SLC Chief of Police W. L. Payne changed the charges to second-degree burglary (later dropped) and assault with a deadly weapon. Chief Payne also demoted Captain Brown and transferred him to day duty where there would be more supervision over him.

In Aug 1934, Rulon pleaded guilty to assault and was imposed a 6-month sentence in the Salt Lake County Jail, with 3 months of that suspended. After serving about 2 months in the Salt Lake County Jail, Rulon was granted a reprieve and parole by Utah Governor Henry H. Blood.

A few years later, Rulon moved to San Francisco. The Schetselaar family remained in Salt Lake but soon moved out of this house.

Where the attack happened, The house at 863 E 600 S SLC, Photo taken in Jan 2023.

The Salt Lake Telegram 1933 Nov 14
The Salt Lake Tribune 1933 Nov 15
The Salt Lake Telegram 1934 Aug 11
The Salt Lake Tribune 1934 Oct 5
Deseret News 1934 Sept 5

This Old House Was Built in 1889, Not 1849

The house at 863 E 600 S SLC as it appears today. 

The oldest house listed on the map from my last post was supposedly built in 1849 but my research shows it was actually built in 1889. This house is east of Trolley Square at 863 E 600 South SLC. Not surprisingly, the County Assessor’s data was incorrect and the house was actually built in 1889. However, the county data does tell part of the story of that property…

The house at 863 E 600 S SLC as it appears today.  Several modifications have been made and a large addition on the back.

A photo detail of the house at 863 E 600 S SLC showing where the original brick joins with the new stucco addition. Where the new and old join together.

The house at 863 E 600 S SLC, ca 1930s (?), from SL County Tax Assessor records. Note the upper window.

This house was built by Hyrum S. Laney in 1889; the 1849 date likely comes from when the Laney family originally inhabited this plot of land. It was Hyrum’s parents Isaac and Sarah Laney who arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in Sept 1847.

The Laneys first lived in a small house in the old fort at what is now Pioneer Park. According to Laney family history, they moved from the fort about 1850 (1849?) to the northwest corner of 600 S and 900 E, where they built a log cabin, a grain silo, and some infrastructure for their farm animals. This was the southeasternmost house on the original SLC grid for several years.

Of note, according to family history, Sarah Laney was the first non-indigenous person in the Salt Lake Valley to spin, dye, and weave a piece of cloth on a loom.
Detail of a tablecloth made by Sarah Laney, likely at their property on the corner of 900 S and 600 E. From FamilySearch.

Hyrum, the youngest Laney child, returned to SLC from law school in 1885 and immediately became a prominent lawyer. He built the 1.5-story brick house on the family property for him and his widowed mother to live in. His mother died in 1902 and Hyrum moved out of the house in 1905.

At some point before 1933, the house was turned into a duplex. I’m not sure when the rest of the apartments were added but the house serves as a converted apartment building now. As you can see in the photos a large addition on the back has also been added.

There are several unfortunate events and deaths in, and around, this house but they are too long to detail in this post. They will need to be their own posts…. Coming soon!   (posted here)

Oldest Standing Houses in Salt Lake County, Per Tax Assessor GIS Records

I found some new-to-me, publicly available GIS data showing the oldest standing buildings in Salt Lake County and made this snazzy map. I'm a bit skeptical of some of this data as I've noticed the tax data from the Salt Lake County Assessor is problematic with older homes.  Looks like a field trip to me!  Verification is definitely needed.

Yikes, I'm bad at updating!

I'm 5 months into 2023 and I have not posted any of my 2023 articles, Yikes! I am very behind. I will be posting (archiving) my articles from my Instagram here ASAP!

Image by flatart on Freepik

16 December 2022

Photos of Black Rock by William Henry Jackson

While perusing the digital collections of the University of New Mexico, I came accross these new to me photos of Black Rock in the Great Salt Lake.  Black Rock is a geologic feature near the present-day Great Salt Lake Marina and State Park. 

These were taken by William Henry Jackson in about 1880.

Black Rock, Great Salt Lake, Utah. Image from UNM.

Black Rock, Great Salt Lake, Utah. Image from UNM

Black Rock, Great Salt Lake, Utah. Image from UNM

View of Great Salt Lake. Image from UNM.

The Centre Theater at 299 S. State Street Salt Lake City

Centre Theater when it was photographed in 1981 by Chester H. Liebs as research for his book Main Street to Miracle Mile. Image from UNM.

: When water flowed down State St during the 1983 flooding of SLC
(photo credit Dave Olson from cinematreasures.org).

History text by Grant Smith from cinematreasures.org:
The Centre Theater was opened on December 24, 1937, with Carole Lombard & Fred MacMurray in “True Confession”. It was considered one of Salt Lake’s finest examples of Art Deco style architecture. One of its most unique features was the 90-foot tower located above the theater. It was built by Paramount Pictures Inc. and Intermountain Theatres. By 1941 it was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary Tracy Barham.

When the Centre Theater opened it had 1,623 seats, but the installation of a 56-foot wide screen in 1959 reduced seating to 1,174.

In 1989, Cineplex Odeon let its lease run out so the owners could demolish the building. A new office tower was built on the site, along with a bland six-screen multiplex.
Centre Theater in 1937. Image from UHDS.

Centre Theater in 1937. Image from UDSH.

As the site appears today, the Broadway Centre from Google Street View, Oct 2022