09 July 2020

Hyland Exchange Building, 847 S 800 East

Hyland Exchange Building in 2014
This is the Hyland Exchange Building located in the 9th and 9th neighborhood of SLC.

Yesterday (July 8 2020) the SLC Planning Commission approved zoning amendments that will allow for the development the Telegraph Exchange Lofts: 6 residential lofts within this building and 17 additional new units to be built after the demolition of 3 adjacent buildings (including 2 homes to the north built in the 1890s).

Located at 847 S. 800 East SLC, the building was constructed between 1911-1912 by the Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Co (MST&T).

The Hyland Exchange building debuted in 1912 as a 2.5 story building with the half-story being a rooftop garden for use by the female operators when they were off duty. Later, in 1916 this rooftop garden was enclosed and made into rest quarters. In 1926, a large rear addition was added.

By 1939, SLC telephone infrastructure was largely outdated handling over 325K calls per day making SLC one of the largest hand-operated exchanges in the world, mostly because other cities had already converted to automated dialing.

In response, MST&T constructed a new $3M initiative to automate SLC telephone dialing which included several new specialized buildings and replacing operators with automated switching equipment.

In Oct 1949, the LDS Church purchased the building and used it for a Regional Bishops’ Storehouse. In 1988 the building was still in use as the LDS Church Deseret Soap Co.

Several years ago, the property was purchased by ClearWater homes.

The Hyland Exchange building is within a National Historic District so rehab of the building will qualify for tax credits.

But, the building is not part of a local SLC Historic District and it is not a Local Historic Landmark building so there is no legal requirement for the current owners to preserve or reuse this or any other building in their new housing project.

Hyland Exchange Building in 2020

Hyland Exchange Building in 1912. From UDSH.

 Interior with women operating switchboard in 1927. From UDSH.

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