12 March 2020

The Original Ladies Literary Clubhouse Located at 20 S 300 East

 Exterior of Clubhouse in 1910, 20 S 300 East SLC.
Image from UDSH, Colorization by MyHeritage.

The Ladies Literary Club built their original clubhouse in 1898 after 21 years of planning and raising money. The clubhouse formally opened to its 150 members on January 7 1898.

Located at 20 S. 300 East, the opening was significant as it was the first women’s club located west of the Mississippi River to have its own clubhouse.

Upstairs housed the library and the large hall designed for club meetings and dances. The basement held the reception room, dining room, pantries, dressing rooms, and janitor’s apartment. It was heated by steam and lighted by electricity. A fully modern building for the time.

In 1910, the Ladies were offered $8,250 from the B’nai B’rith Hall Association. A special meeting was held and the Ladies voted to accept the offer netting them $8,000 for which they put towards their new clubhouse, which is still standing, at 850 E. South Temple.

After the purchase, the original clubhouse was renamed B’nai Birth Hall. The property then changed hands for the next few decades and included becoming Miss Lillian Smith School of Dancing in the 1930s and the Seagull Press in the 1950s. The last record I can find of the building still standing is in 1955 when the Seagull Press closed due to illness of its owner.

The building must have soon thereafter been demolished. It is currently a parking lot for the Larkin Mortuary building.

 Interior of Clubhouse in 1904.
Image from UDSH, Colorization by MyHeritage.

Ladies Literary club meeting in 1910.
Image from UDSH, Colorization by MyHeritage.

Sanborn map 1911

Sanborn map 1950.

Google street view of former building location today.

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