26 November 2020

The Lucin Cut-off Officially Opened on Thanksgiving Day 1903

Midlake Station, Lucin Cut-off, Great Salt Lake vintage postcard

Built by the Southern Pacific Railroad between 1902-1903, the Lucin Cut-off spans the north arm of the Great Salt Lake and was one of the greatest engineering feats of its time.

On Thanksgiving Day, Nov 26 1903, Mr. E. H. Harriman (President of the Southern Pacific Railroad) led 3 special trains composed almost entirely of private cars filled with newspaper reporters and prominent railroad men from across the country.

On that day he formally inspected the cut-off and declared it open for business (although regular trains would not utilize it for several more months).

The special private trains departed Ogden in the morning and arrived at Midlake Station after a 2-hour trip, the trains at one time going as fast as 33 miles per hour.

Although much anticipation was made about the opening ceremonies, which was to including the driving of a golden spike, once Harriman and company arrived at Midlake Station only a group photograph was taken and the band played a couple of patriotic tunes but no speeches were made or other elaborate ceremonies.

The trains resumed their travel west to the Lakeside construction camp where they met with 800 railroad workers who were on their way to Thanksgiving supper. The special visitors and workers stood in a long line to the kitchen and each secured a mince pie, sandwich, and cheese. These prominent citizens and the workers then sat down upon benches, boxes, and barrels and enjoyed their food.

After the little feast at Lakeside, two of the trains continued west and a Thanksgiving dinner was served in the dining car while the party continued to Nevada.

The train containing the Utah group returned to Ogden where a Thanksgiving banquet was served by the Weber Club.

Sources: Ogden Standard, SL Herald, San Francisco Call, all from 1903-11-27


Lucin Cut-off map, 1906. From UDSH.

Thanksgiving Day 1903, Lucin Cut-off. President Harriman
is at the far right with his hand on a post. From Standard Examiner

Lucin Cut-off, September 1903. From UDSH.

24 November 2020

Utah Celery Week

Betty & Calleen Robinson, Centennial Queen showing Utah grown celery, 1947, From UDSH.

For decades SLC sent its famed Utah celery variety to the White House for the President’s annual Thanksgiving dinner.

The SLC area was once a top producer of celery in the USA. The Utah Tall Celery variety was especially well regarded and is now often found in grocery stores and home gardens alike.

The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce established the first annual Utah Celery Day (later expanded to Utah Celery Week) in Dec 1915 to promote the superiority of Utah-grown celery. Utahans were encouraged to send packages of celery to friends and family.

In 1923 Utah Governor Charles Mabey started an annual tradition of sending Utah celery to the White House for the President’s Thanksgiving meal. This was part of an initiative from the White House to receive the finest product from each state to highlight the President’s Thanksgiving.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was said to have particularly enjoyed the Utah celery and even asked for second shipment to be sent in 1941.

Utah celery was sent by Utah governors until 1948, with President Truman being the last to receive a gift of Utah celery.

The Utah celery industry faded at the end of WWII and died, almost overnight, about 1948.

Utah Celery was primarily grown by Japanese farmers living along the Wasatch Front and the Japanese largely failed to return to celery farming after being released from the WWII Japanese internment camps.

Further, much of the Wasatch Front farmland was turned into housing following WWII. Both aspects contributed the the demise of the Utah celery industry.

Sources: SL Telegram 1923-11-27; SL Trib 1941-11-22; SL Trib 1967-11-22. Colorization by PlaybackFM.

Utah Celery Week label, 1927

Celery Farmers Nov 1941, SL Trib Negative Collection. From UDSH.

C.M. Hall and Governor Henry H Blood packing the gift box
for the President’s table. From SL Trib 1939-11-12

Dorthea Stevenson and Lois Denne pack celery which was shipped to
President FDR for the White House Thanksgiving. From SL Trib 1942-11-14

22 November 2020

In 1918, SLC residents largely curtailed Thanksgiving festivities during the Spanish Flu pandemic

Cooks at the Ft Douglas Hospital prepare
for Thanksgiving, SL Trib 1918-11-28.
In Nov 1918, the second wave of the Spanish Flu was spreading throughout SLC and Utah. 

The mass gathering events of the State Fair and LDS General Conference the previous month and the large public gatherings on Armistice Day of November 11 1918 were taking their toll and flu case counts and deaths were on the rise.

SLC had closed the schools, churches, clubs, and theaters and had limited the number of people in stores and on public transportation.

Restrictions were still in place on Thanksgiving, Nov 28 1918. All public gatherings that would normally be celebrated had to be cancelled including church services, club gatherings, and all sporting events.

Even the 13th Annual Newsboys Thanksgiving hosted by Russel L. Tracy of the Tracy Loan and Trust Company (and now know for Tracy Aviary) was cancelled for 1918.

The large public institutions such as the jails, orphanages, and hospitals still provided a festive feast for their residents but mostly Thanksgiving was celebrated on a smaller scale in people’s homes.

Churches adapted to the situation and many pastors prepared and sent out a program for people to observe within their own homes including Bible readings or a short sermon read by members of the family.

Charity organizations were still active and delivered turkeys, geese, ducks, roasts, vegetables, and pies to needy families in SLC. The ducks having been donated by the Elks’ Lodge from their recent hunting expedition.

The Fort Douglas Military Hospital, which was one of the isolation hospitals for flu victims, planned a large feast which included more than 200 ducks and turkeys.

However, because of the high price of turkeys in 1918, the County Jail provided chicken and the State Prison provided pork with all the normal Thanksgiving fixings.

Sources: SL Trib 1918-11-28, Des News 1918-11-30

15 November 2020

Cranberry Pie, Vintage Recipe

“Stuffing Face” courtesy South Wood County (Milwaukee) Historical Museum. Colorization by playback.fm

Thanksgiving is coming up and maybe you want to try something a little different this year.

Take some inspiration from 1931 and try making this easy cranberry pie. I made it a few years ago and I think it turned out pretty well, especially considering that I am a terrible baker.

This recipe appeared in Louise Bennett Weaver’s (1889-1949) syndicated newspaper column “Helping the Homemaker” which was printed in 1920s and 1930s. Louise was the Home editor for the Associated Press Feature Service; in SLC her column appeared in the Salt Lake Telegram.

Cranberry Pie Recipe:

4 cups cranberries
2 cups sugar
2 Tablespoon flour
1-4 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 Tablespoon water
3 Tablespoon butter

Carefully look over berries. Add sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon. Pour into an unbaked crust fitted into a deep pie pan. Add water and dot with butter. Cover criss-cross fashion with one-third inch strips of unbaked pastry. Bake in moderate oven 35 minutes. This popular pie should be served on the day it is baked.

Source of recipe: SL Telegram 1931-11-27

Cranberry Pie Recipe, from SL Telegram 1931-11-27

Louise Bennett Weaver, from The Journal (Logan UT) 1928-08-14

My cranberry pie

12 November 2020

Naval Sciences Building, University of Utah

Naval Sciences Building in Aug 2019

This is the Naval Sciences Building at the University of Utah located at 110 S 1452 East SLC.

In the fall of 1945 the University of Utah accepted a Navy V-12 ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) Unit and in accepting that unit the "U" became obligated to construct this building, the 3rd in the USA to be built under the V-12 Navy College Training Program. The program aimed to produce additional commissioned officers in the Navy during WWII. 

This Art Deco Style building was designed by A. B. Paulson, who also designed the Villa Theater on Highland Drive and the LDS 12th Ward at 630 E 100 S.

The Naval Sciences Building was completed and in operation by June 1947. About half of the building consists of a large room designed to simulate a Navy Destroyer in which was placed a 16-ton 5-inch anti-aircraft gun removed from the battleship USS Colorado. Other simulated rooms included a ships bridge, operations room, and radio room. A small arms range was (and still is) in the basement.

In addition to other Naval artifacts, the ship’s bell from the USS Utah which was destroyed during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, is on display in the building.

The bell was donated in 1961 to the Utah State Historical Society and was transferred to the Naval Sciences Building in 1966 where it was on display for decades outside and in front of the building.

In 2017 the bell was cleaned and conserved by the Naval History and Heritage Command and returned to the Naval Sciences Building where it now resides inside the lobby.

Sources: Deseret News 1947-04-12; University of Utah Board of Regents minutes 1945-1947; USHPO building file.

Naval Sciences Building in Aug 2019

Naval Sciences Building in Aug 2019

Naval Sciences Building in Aug 2019

Interior showing simulated bridge and deck of a Navy Destroyer,
including the anti-aircraft gun from USS Colorado. 1947. From UDSH.

Image of training scenarios 1948-1955, from “Utonian” yearbook.

Image of training scenarios 1948-1955, from “Utonian” yearbook.

Image of training scenarios 1948-1955, from “Utonian” yearbook.

Image of training scenarios 1948-1955, from “Utonian” yearbook.

Image of training scenarios 1948-1955, from “Utonian” yearbook.

10 November 2020

Historic LDS 15th Ward Chapel, 915 W 100 South

LDS 15th Ward Chapel, 915 W 100 South. The "For Sale" sign as it appears in Oct 2020.

Is demolition in its future? 

The Historic LDS 15th Ward Chapel is listed for sale and it is advertised as an “opportunity zone” with potential for multi-family housing.

This Gothic style chapel is located at 915 W 100 South in the Poplar Grove neighborhood of SLC.

It was constructed in 1904 after the Oregon Short Line Railroad purchased and demolished the original 15th ward chapel (the ‘Old Granary’) to build the Union Pacific Depot (located in the Gateway).

Brothers Edward T. Ashton and George S. Ashton supervised construction of this building. The Ashton Brothers were responsible for building thousands of homes on the west and south sides of SLC and furnished the stone for the State Capitol, University of Utah Administration Building, and many others.

In 1929 an amusement hall addition was added to the west side of the building.

About 1969 the LDS Church sold the property, and it was turned into a recording studio run by LA East Studios where the music for hundreds of films have been recorded. In addition several renowned musicians including Keb' Mo, Eminem, Elton John, and B.B. King have recorded in this studio.

Currently, this building has no historic protections as it is not located in a local historic district nor is it a local historic landmark.

Sources: 15th Ward Memories by Mary Barraclough; SL Telegram 1923-02-20; Des News 1974-02-09.

Update Feb 2021:  The Utah Art Alliance has purchased the building and plans to convert the building into a community center named The Art Castle.

07 November 2020

Now Demolished: Historic Duplex at 435-437 S 400 East

Duplex at 435-437 S 400 East, Oct 14 2020 
This missing middle apartment conversion complex at 435-437 S 400 East SLC was demolished this past week (Nov 2020).

This once stately duplex was built in 1901 by brothers Charles and Lorin Morrison. Charles lived on the north side at 435 with his wife Lucy and his daughter Lucile. Lorin lived on the south at 437 with his wife Kate, son Lorin, and daughter Laura.

The Morrison brothers were originally from Black Brook NY and traveled west to seek their fortune. In the 1880s the Morrisons ended up in Frisco, a now abandoned mining town in Beaver County, UT, where they lived for 20 years. Lucy Morrison recalled that for years she was one of the few women living in Frisco and it was a wild time with 25 saloons, claim jumpers, and cowboy gun fights.

By 1901, the Morrison brothers were in their mid-40s and settled in SLC while still earning profits from their many mining interests. Politics and clubs did not interest the brothers and they were primarily homebodies; Lorin was described as “a man of domestic tastes, his whole life is wrapped up in his home, and his beautiful residence…is frequently the scene of delightful house parties… He is an indefatigable worker and when his work is done he seeks the quietude of his own fireside.” The residence stayed in the Morrison family for decades.

About the early 1940s the property was converted into a 10-unit apartment complex. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s it provided low cost housing for young families.

During WWII, R. F. Langdon, an Army Private, said he felt fortunate to be able to find and afford a small apartment here where he, his wife, and his 2-year old daughter could all live together. At the time, many apartments did not allow children and this building was one of the few that allowed one child per couple. Many young families lived here.

By the late 1960s newspaper ads for the building listed “Adults only” and retired persons were the preferred tenant. In 1978 SLC mandated that this apartment, and other low-budget complexes, must comply with the fire code and a stairwell was added to the back.

A 37 apt unit complex with retail named “The Jasmine” will soon be built.

Images: 1-3) Oct 14 2020. 4) Demo Nov 7 2020. 5) Lorin Morrison

Oct 14 2020

Oct 14 2020

Demolition as it appeared Nov 7 2020

Lorin N. Morrison who lived at 437 S 400 East 

Update July 2021:
The new apartment building is nearing completion and is named "Sola 37 Apartments" at 435 S 400 East SLC.