30 June 2020

SLC Offered a Bounty for Rats and Flies

Clipping from The Salt Lake Tribune 1918-01-27

Here is a SLC history tidbit from 100+ years ago.

Starting about 1912, Salt Lake City tried to reduce the proliferation of rat and flies by issuing a bounty.

Initially, 10 cents per dead rat or 100 flies was paid by the SLC Health Department.

Children organized “clean-town clubs” within their school districts and organized squads to exterminate the rodents.

In 1914 the bounty was reduced to 8 cents per rat. The bounty on flies remained at 10 cents per 100 through the spring and then was reduced to 15 cents a pint in the summer.

The Health Department also decided that it would only pay a bounty on house flies and not for cattle or horse flies.

The City appropriated $1,000 for the bounty payments in 1914.

Sources: SL Herald 1913-04-06; SL Telegram 1914-04-30 and 1914-06-18

25 June 2020

Murder-Suicide in 1902: Sarah Brooks

 Illustration of murder scene,
from SL Herald Republican June 26 1902.
Today in History, June 25 1902, Edward Brown Hemsley murdered his ex-wife, Sarah Brooks, and then killed himself at his parents home in Sugar House, Salt Lake City.

Edward B. was a son of prominent Sugar House businessman and Mormon leader, Edward Potter Hemsley, who co-owned the brickmaking facility at what we now know as Brickyard.

Edward B. Hemsley married Sarah Brooks in Nov 1900 when Edward was 24 years old and Sarah was 21 years old. They lived in in Edward’s parents house, the old Hemsley estate located at what is now 1923 S 1200 East. The couple lived in a second story room that was only partially finished and had bare rafters overhead.

By April 1902, Edward B. and Sarah had divorced and Sarah moved back with her father in the Avenues neighborhood of SLC. She attempted many times to call on Edward B. to retrieve her furniture and personal belongings from the Hemsley house but she was never allowed. 

Ultimately, she secured a court order for her property and requested the presence of Salt Lake County Sheriff, George H. Naylor, to keep the peace while she removed her belongings from the house.

She finished packing her belongings about noon on a Wednesday, June 25 1902, when Edward B. and two of his brothers returned to the house on a load of hay. Edward B. made a remark that he wished Sarah “to have everything that is hers” and then went upstairs in the house. Sarah was saying goodbye to Edward’s mother outside the house and next to the wagon full of her belongings. Sarah said that she “wished Edward well in whatever he does.”

Suddenly, Edward B. shot Sarah in the head from an upstairs window, killing her instantly. Sherriff Naylor was only 3 feet from Sarah and looked up at the window to see a smoking shotgun. He ran upstairs and was halfway there when he heard another shot. Sherriff Naylor found Edward B. dead on his back beside the window in a dark pool of his own blood.

Separate funerals were held for the deceased and they were buried in different sections of the Salt Lake City Cemetery, Sarah under her maiden name of Brooks. 

Edward B.’s father would not allow his son to be buried in the family plot so he was buried in one of the potters fields of the SLC Cemetery “where lie the indigent dead.”

The house where the murder-suicide took place was demolished about 1968. An apartment complex now occupies the area at 1923 S 1200 East.

Sources: SL Tribune June 26 1902; SL Herald Republican June 26 1902; SL Herald June 28 1902.
Image of the Edward B. Hemsley and Sarah Brooks about 1901
from SL Herald Republican June 26 1902.

Image of the house ca 1907 at 1923 S 1200 East where the murder-suicide happened 
with Edward B.’s parents and sister, from ancestry user keyray69.

23 June 2020

Abraham Mejia and SLC's First Mexican Restaurant

 Abraham Mejia ca 1900.
rom Ancestry user KMejiaBeplay.
This is Abraham Mejia (1864-1927) who established Salt Lake's first Mexican restaurant (Mexican-owned serving Mexican food).

The Mejia family was one of the first Latino families to take up permanent residence in SLC.

Abraham was born in Veracruz, Mexico and in his twenties he immigrated to the U.S., first settling in Texas (where he married) and Arkansas (where he operated a tamale stand) before moving to SLC in 1903.

If you remember from one of my previous posts, Otto Branning (SLC’s Chili King) established a chili parlor in SLC in 1903. But Branning was from Indiana and was of German descent, so I don’t think he qualifies as the first Mexican restaurant in SLC.

An oral history collected by one of Abraham’s grandchildren states that Abraham Mejia and Otto Branning were initially friends, and it was Branning who suggested that Abraham and his family move to SLC. It was Abraham who taught Branning how to make chili and tamales but Branning ousted Abraham out of the business and they became competitors.

By 1904 Abraham was making a name for himself and operating a lunch stand in front of the St Elmo Hotel on Main Street. He was known for his chili-con-carne, tamales, and oyster cocktail. In 1907 he operated the Eagle Gate CafĂ© at 44 E 100 South where he “guarantees to serve nothing but genuine Mexican dishes, short orders and all kinds of sandwiches.”

Abraham worked in the restaurant business off and on throughout the remainder of his life. In addition to running restaurants, he also served as an interpreter for the SLC courts and honorary Mexican consul. He died at his home in SLC in 1927.

Sources: The History Blazer Aug 1996; Mejia family records on ancestry.com
Abraham Mejia’s restaurant in SLC, early 1900s, possibly on
Commercial Street (now Regent St). From Ancestry user KMejiaBeplay.

Advertisement for Abraham Mejia's restaurant. From 1909 SLC Directory.

Update Jan 2021: Check out this SLC History Minute about Abraham Mejia

22 June 2020

Coon Chicken Inn Restaurant, 2960 S Highland Drive

Vintage postcard of Coon Chicken Inn, ca 1940.

Another cringe-worthy part of SLC’s past: Coon Chicken Inn Restaurant which was renowned for its use of racial slurs in its name and menu items.

Located at 2960 S. Highland Drive, the restaurant was established in 1925 by Adelaide and Maxon L. Graham.

The restaurant employed Black people as wait staff and cooks, but they were not necessarily welcome as customers.

It was originally a small restaurant but in July 1927 some paper napkins caught fire and spread through the grease-soaked kitchen, destroying most of building.

Following the fire, Maxon, mostly as a publicity stunt, announced that he would rebuild and reopen the restaurant in 10 days. The restaurant was enlarged and it became a huge building with a dance floor and an orchestra.

At this time Maxon also added the famous (and infamously racist) caricature “Coon head” as a gimmick to attract travelers in the new age of roadside restaurants, novelty architecture, and automobile convenience.

This 12-foot-tall caricature of a Black man wearing a porters cap with the words “Coon Chicken Inn” spelled out on teeth framed by huge red lips. Customers would enter the restaurant through the middle of the mouth.

At the time, this caricature proved very popular it became the symbol of the restaurant and was used in all advertisements.

In 1929 the Grahams further expanded their business and opened another Coon Chicken Inn in Seattle Washington and the following year they opened another in Portland, Oregon.

The restaurants continued to be successful through the 1940s. However, after World War II racial sentiments began to change and protests against the restaurants and the associated caricature increased.

The Grahams closed the Coon Chicken Inn restaurants in Seattle and Portland in 1949 and leased the buildings to others. The SLC restaurant remained open until 1957.

A Chuck-O-Ramma restaurant took over the building once the SLC Coon Chicken Inn restaurant closed. Today, the building has been demolished.

Images: 1) Postcard
2) SLC restaurant ca. 1930 from @utahhistory_collections
3-4) menu from @utahhistory_collections

The SLC location of Coon Chicken Inn,
2960 S Highland Drive. ca 1930. From UDSH.

Image of a plate from Coon Chicken Inn. From UDSH.

Image of menu from Coon Chicken Inn. From UDSH.

Image of menu from Coon Chicken Inn. From UDSH.

Image of menu from Coon Chicken Inn. From UDSH.

Meeting at Coon Chicken Inn, showing interior. From UDSH.

19 June 2020

Elnora Dudley: Queen of the 1898 Emancipation Day

Elnora Dudley 1898 from UDSH.
colorization done by colourise.sg
This is Elnora Dudley (1883-1956) who was crowned the queen of the SLC Emancipation Day celebration of 1898.

Today is Juneteeth, a holiday that will be widely celebrated this year. The Utah Legislature only officially recognized it in 2016. Historically in Utah (until about 1940), Juneteenth was not commonly observed. Rather, Sept 22, which is Emancipation Day, was celebrated by SLC’s African American community.

The first SLC Emancipation Day was celebrated Sept 22 1892, the 30th anniversary of Lincoln’s initial proclamation. Each SLC Emancipation Day featured a parade, speakers, music, and a banquet. The local newspapers made note that this was the first time people of color would parade the streets of SLC.

The 1898 Emancipation Day celebration, of which Elnora was crowned queen, was even more special as it also celebrated the return of the 24th Infantry (Buffalo Soldiers) to Fort Douglas from their recent deployment to Cuba.

Elnora was crowned queen after the parade was completed. She was dressed in white silk and her crown was adorned with pearls. She expressed thankfulness toward Abraham Lincoln and then read the Emancipation Proclamation.

Elnora was the only child of Willis and Mary Ella Dudley. She was born in Tennessee and came to SLC as a child with her parents, about 1892. Her father worked as a porter while her mother ran a small boarding house. Elnora was a talented pianist and often played at community celebrations and weddings.

Elnora never married and she and her mother lived together renting out extra rooms in their home and occasionally working as maids for local hotels. They rented a home in Central City for 22 years and in 1935, 4 years after her mother’s death, Elnora was able to purchase the house for $2,800. Elnora continued to live in her house and rent out extra rooms until her death in 1956. Upon her death her house and all the contents, including her beloved piano, was sold at auction to settle her estate.

16 June 2020

How Tom and Josie Found a Loophole in Utah's Interracial Marriage Law in 1907

News clipping headline from
The Salt Lake Herald Jan 6 1907
This is the story of Josie and Tom Sun who in 1907 found a loophole in Utah’s ban on interracial marriage.

Their marriage made headlines across Utah but this clipping from the Jan 6 1907 edition of the Salt Lake Herald certainly used the most racist language to describe the union.

According to newspaper articles printed at the time, Tom and Josie were schoolmate sweethearts when they both lived in San Francisco (but Tom was nearly 10 years her senior so maybe not so much) and the two corresponded quite often, even after Josie and her parents moved to Seattle. When Josie turned 18 they decided to marry.

Tom was of Chinese descent (records conflict on if he was born in China or California) while Josie was African American, described as an “octoroon” (a dated term meaning one-eighth black by descent) and as a "Negress."

Laws prohibiting interracial marriage were common in the U.S. The couple was turned away by 4 different states (California, Oregon, Washington, Montana) citing miscegenation laws.

When they arrived in Salt Lake City, the County Clerk initially turned them away, but Tom had secured an attorney and soon the Salt Lake County Attorney’s office was involved.

The Utah law prohibited Asians and Whites from marring and Blacks and Whites from marrying but the law was silent on Asians and Blacks marrying. So, the County Attorney said the couple could marry under Utah law and they married that day, Jan 5 1907.

Life was pretty good for the couple for a short time. They were respectable people, purchased a house at 208 E 800 South SLC, and had a daughter, Susie.

But life soon became difficult: Susie was a colic baby (and Josie being 19!), Tom was away to Nevada, and then Tom went bankrupt. Josie even gave up her baby for adoption once but soon changed her mind and got Susie back.

The last record I could find on Josie was in 1914 when she was sentenced to 14 days in jail for vagrancy on Ogden’s 25th Street.

The last record I could find of Tom was his death certificate in 1937 when he died at the County Hospital in Roy, Utah, with no known relatives.

Whatever happened to Susie Sun is a bit of a mystery. The 1910 census is the only record I could find of her. My guess (but I have no evidence) is that she was given up for adoption again to the same local Black family she was originally given to. Her last name probably changed and I lost track of her in the records.

14 June 2020

Dr Edward Hashimoto Became Known as the Ambidextrous Irishman Following the Bombing of Pearl Harbor

The Ambidextrous Irishman - Dr. Edward Hashimoto ca. 1980s.
Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah
Continued from previous post

In 1911, E.D. and Lois’s only child, Edward Ichiro Hashimoto was born, he often went by the name “Eddie” and became a physician practicing family medicine out of this home and teaching gross anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine for 53 years.

E.D. died in 1936, before WWII, leaving his widow and his son living in the house through the war years.

Eddie and Lois were not subject to Japanese relocation policies during WWII and continued owning and living in their house.

In his oral history, Dr. Eddie said if his father were still alive his father would certainly have been interred because he was such as prominent Japanese businessman. Dr. Eddie was working for the University of Utah at the time of the war and said he was under the protective wing of the University. The University even obtained a waiver from the draft for Dr. Eddie because he was the University’s only teacher of anatomy at the time.

Dr. Eddie tells a story about him returning to teach anatomy the day after Pearl Harbor. He entered his classroom and said “What are you fellows staring at? I’m Irish. I was home in Dublin at the time!” Everyone laughed and moved on. Dr. Hashimoto was also known for drawing human figures with both hands simultaneously and became known as the “Ambidextrous Irishman.”

Dr. Eddie said he wasn’t really affected by the prejudices during WWII. Only one time was he wrongly detained for fear that he might sabotage a water pump. But he promptly called his friend the Utah Attorney General and was immediately released with an apology.

Dr. Eddie saw many patients out of his medical office in the basement of his home. He died in 1987. The house continues to be owned by the Hashimoto family.

Sources: Peoples of Utah; Japanese Americans in Utah; Oral Histories of Hashimoto family; SL Herald June 3 1909.

Young Dr. Hashimoto in his car on 1200 East, 1926.
(Duplex in background is 302-304 S. 1200 East).
From the book Japanese Americans in Utah. 

Party at the Hashimoto house 1926. From Marriott Library, University of Utah.

E.D. Hashimoto and his Japanese Style House at 315 S 1200 East SLC

Hashimoto family house located at 315 S 1200 East SLC

This is the Hashimoto family house located at 315 S 1200 East SLC. It was designed by architect A. J. Hamilton in 1909 for Edward Daigoro Hashimoto (1875-1936) and his family.

E.D. Hashimoto was the nephew of Yozo Yashimoto (see previous post) who brought him over from Japan when E.D. was 15. He was immediately sent to work as a cook for the railroad in Montana. He didn’t last long: first, he didn’t know how to cook, and second, the Yellow Peril Vigilantes drove out and killed most Asians working the railroad. E.D. hid from the vigilantes and then walked to SLC.

In 1902 he established the E. D. Hashimoto company at 163 W South Temple. By then he was known as “Daigoro Sama” (Great Man) to the Japanese and “E.D.” to American business associates. Like his uncle, E.D.’s company supplied Japanese labor, food, and clothing and ran his business out of SLC's old Japantown.

E.D. was involved in other business opportunities including mining, board of directors of Tracy Collins Trust and Bank, and started Red Feather Bus Line which is now Grayhound Bus Lines. He also supplied Mexican labor and was an honorary Mexican consul in Utah.

E.D. built the family house in 1909. E.D. wanted a Japanese-style house on the exterior, hence the curved roofs and shoji-style windows, but the inside was entirely Western and was furnished with Mormon antiques by his wife Lois.

Many dignitaries were hosted in his home including President Taft who visited SLC in Sept 1909. And he often hosted Governor Spry.

The Hashimoto story continues in the next post.

Sources: Peoples of Utah; Japanese Americans in Utah; Oral Histories of Hashimoto family; SL Herald June 3 1909.
E.D. Hashimoto in 1914. From Men of Affairs in Utah.

12 June 2020

Yozo Hashimoto's Changed Headstone

This headstone of Yozo Hashimoto (1851-1914) in the Salt Lake City Cemetery has an interesting past.

Yozo was one of the early Japanese immigrants to Utah and was a successful businessman. He supplied Japanese labor workers throughout the Intermountain West in the late 1800s.

One of the individuals he brought over from Japan was his nephew, Edward Daigoro Hashimoto (more on him in another post).

Yozo’s funeral was well attended by the SLC Japanese community and a large headstone was installed when he was interred in the City Cemetery.

The headstone featured a “swastika” symbol common in Japanese and Buddhist culture.

Decades later, on a Memorial Day during WWII, Yozo’s great nephew Dr. Ed I. Hashimoto, son of Edward Daigoro Hashimoto, noticed Yozo’s headstone had been tipped over. In his oral history, Dr. Ed Hashimoto said he presumed it was done by a bunch of kids because of the Nazi takeover of the traditional Buddhist symbol.

Dr. Ed Hashimoto, then the only living patriarch of the SLC Hashimoto family, decided to “erase the swastika” so the headstone would no longer be subject to vandalism.

His modification to the symbol is how the headstone remains today.

Funeral of Yozo Hashimoto 1914, from UDSH.
Detail of the Yozo Hashimoto’s headstone as it appears today.

11 June 2020

Nazi Symbol on Headstone in Fort Douglas Cemetery

Headstone as it appears today, soon after Memorial Day 2020

Veterans Affairs recently announced that they will be removing this WWII grave marker from a German POW buried in the Fort Douglas Cemetery. 

There are only three headstones with swastikas in US military cemeteries, this one at Fort Douglas and two at Fort Sam Houston. All 3 are scheduled for removal

After removal, the VA plans to store the headstones in the National Cemetery Administration History Collection where they will be preserved.

Paul Eilert was 38 years old when he died of cancer in 1944 at Bushnell Army Hospital. He was the first WWII German POW to die in Utah. That may be why his headstone is so unique as he died before there was an official Army policy in place for WWII POW headstones.

The headstone was privately purchased by other German POWs who pooled their meager earnings of 80 cents per day to purchase it. With full permission of the US Army, donations totaling $275 were used to purchase the headstone.

Not much is known about Eilert’s life before or during the war. Most of what is known about him is from his death certificate. He was an unmarried factory worker in Berlin before the war. He attained the rank of Corporal in the German Army.

There seems to be some confusion if the engraving on the headstone is that of a Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves (a high-level Nazi award) or is an Iron Cross (equivalent of today’s US Army Bronze Star award for heroism in battle). Most recent newspaper articles refer to it as a Knight’s Cross but the SL Tribune article from 1944 when he was buried calls it an Iron Cross.

Sources: MilitaryTimes June 1 2020; SL Trib May 25 2020; SL Trib Oct 6 1944; Splinters of a Nation by A.K. Powell.

Headstone as it appears today, soon after Memorial Day 2020

Headstone when it was installed, SL Trib Oct 6 1944

03 June 2020

New Rose Garden at Salt Lake Regional Medical Center

In 1990 the former Rose Garden at Holy Cross Hospital, now Salt Lake Regional Medical Center, (see previous post) was revived on a smaller scale thanks to the work of Sister Olivia Marie and Jean Bradshaw and with a financial gift from Mr. and Mrs. O.C. Tanner.

The new garden was dedicated to the memory of the 200 sisters of the Holy Cross who have served the hospital since 1875. The 1990 garden features 600 rose bushes of 60 varieties. It also has a fountain with the names of the Sisters who have served at Holy Cross.

The 30 year old "new" rose garden is located on 100 South between 1000 and 1100 East.

SLC Once Home to a Large Municipal Rose Garden

Rose garden in early 1950s. From Deseret News
Jun 15 1952 and SL Tribune June 15 1951.
June is National Rose Month and Salt Lake City used to be home to one of the largest municipal rose gardens in the United States between 1937-1973.

The rose garden was located in the northeast quadrant of the Holy Cross Hospital block (now Salt Lake Regional Medical Center) where a parking structure and a medical office building now stand along South Temple between 1000 East and 1100 East.

The rose garden came into being May 25 1937 and was a partnership among the Utah Rose Society, the Exchange Club, the Salt Lake City Parks, and Holy Cross Hospital. The garden started off with 600 rose bushes within 2 acres and eventually grew to more than 7,000 bushes, 400 varieties from around the world, and 3.5 acres. Several of the rose beds were given as a memorial to deceased relatives or friends.

The garden was enclosed with a wrought iron fence with climbing roses (a portion of this fence remains South Temple) and also featured several trellises, benches, walking paths, and a sundial.

The garden was one of the primary tourist attractions of SLC with up to 500 visitors per day and much more than that on the garden’s annual opening day each June. Each June the Utah Rose Society paid its “rent” to Holy Cross Hospital for use of the land for the garden, a dozen roses were clipped from the garden and presented as “payment” to the Sisters of the Holy Cross.

The last rose rent was paid on June 4 1972. Holy Cross Hospital was expanding and needed the land for a parking lot and Moreau Hall for their nursing school. In spring 1973, the City and the Utah Rose Society transferred the rose garden to its new home in Sugar House Park, behind the Garden Center building in the northeast section of the park. About 2,000 of the most vigorous roses were transplanted.

The Sugar House Park Rose Garden remained until just recently. In 2016 the City Weekly described it as having “all but lost the battle with weeds… Hundreds of rose bushes from Holy Cross Hospital, now just a few survive alongside a fancy, white arbor, which has the effect of making the six, weed choked beds, even more abject.” 

In 2020 the rose garden was replaced completely with a food garden operated by Wasatch Community Gardens. The once white trellis has been repurposed (and repainted black) to mark the entrance of the new garden.

The rose garden at Holy Cross Hospital was revived (although much smaller) in 1990. Continue to the next post about the new rose garden.
Marie Shields of the Utah Rose Society paying the rose rent. SL Trib June 24 1957.

Location of rose garden, 1950 Sanborn map.

New Wasatch Community Garden, food garden, being constructed in Sugar House Park, June 2020. The arching trellis is from the original Sugar House rose garden and has been painted black from its original white.