26 August 2021

Native Hawaiian Neighborhood near Warm Springs in Salt Lake City

John W. Kauleinamoku was another early Native Hawaiian to immigrate to Utah. He was also a Mormon convert and came to SLC in 1875 (2 years after Kiha Ka’awa Nebeker) and was the first adult Native Hawaiian to permanently move to Utah making him the de facto leader of the emerging Native Hawaiian community in SLC.

Between 1872 and 1889, about 75 Native Hawaiians (all Mormon converts) settled in SLC. They mostly lived at the edge of town in the Warm Springs area of the Capitol Hill neighborhood, primarily between what is now 200-300 West and Reed and Fern Avenues.

Kauleinamoku’s house was the most well-known and hosted funerals, gatherings, and religious services conducted in Native Hawaiian. Many other Native Hawaiian immigrants lived with Kauleinamoku and his family in his small adobe home. 

The Kauleinamoku house was located at 754 N 300 West and was demolished about 2003 by the SLC Redevelopment Agency (RDA) (along with the Morrison Meat Pie facility); townhomes now occupy the site.

According to research done by Nelson Knight, there are at least 5 homes of early Native Hawaiian settlers that remain standing in the Capitol Hill neighborhood:
  1. Makaula house at 249 W Reed Ave
  2. Salamona Nui Kapiipiigm House at 222 W Fern Ave
  3. Solomona & Raanaana Umi house at 240 W Fern Ave
  4. A.H. Kapukini House at 226 W Fern Ave
  5. Peter Kealakaihomia House at 254 Fern Ave
Most Native Hawaiians had a difficult experience in Utah, primarily stemming from racial prejudice and stereotypes of Pacific Islanders perpetuated by syndicated newspaper stories that described them as cannibals, practitioners of infanticide, and lepers.

In June 1889, 4 Native Hawaiians applied for US Citizenship, but the Utah Supreme Court decided that Native Hawaiians were Polynesian and thus part of the Malay race and were not eligible for citizenship because of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

Largely in response to this ruling, and the general racial prejudices in obtaining work, about 50 of the 75 Native Hawaiians in SLC relocated to the new Hawaiian settlement of Iosepa in Skull Valley in Aug 1889. Most of the other either returned to Hawaii or eventually relocated to Iosepa as well. Kiha Ka’awa Nebeker (see previous post) seems to be an exception to this trend.

Kauleinamoku was also one of the leaders of Iosepa (although the formal Mormon Church leadership positions were all headed by White people, most of whom were previous missionaries to Hawaii).

Kauleinamoku died in 1899 at Iosepa. His grave site is enclosed by an iron fence at the Iosepa Cemetery.
Knight, Nelson. This Old House Solomona & Raanaana Umi Property, Capitol Hill Neighborhood Council Bulletin, Nov 2009.

Knight, Nelson. This Old House: John Henry & Marie Kaoo Makaula House, Capitol Hill Neighborhood Council Bulletin, March 2005.

Kester, Matthew. “Race, Religion, and Citizenship in Mormon Country: Native Hawaiians in Salt Lake City, 1869-1889.” Western Historical Quarterly, vol. 40, no. 1, 2009, pp. 51–76. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40505603

Kester, Matthew. Remembering Iosepa: History, Place, and Religion in the American West. Oxford University Press. 2013.  

18 August 2021

Kiha Ka’awa Nebeker, one of the first Native Hawaiians in Utah and the US

Kiha Ka’awa Nebek.
Image from FindAGrave
Kiha Ka’awa Nebeker was one of the first Native Hawaiians to permanently immigrate from the Sandwich Islands (now known as Hawaii) to the US mainland.

Kiha came to SLC as an 11-year-old child in 1873 along with 2 other children from Hawaii: Kahana Pukahi and Charles Rowan. Kahana was also a Native Hawaiian and Charles, although born in Hawaii, was of English-American descent. 

All 3 children were part of families that had converted to Mormonism and received permission from King Kalakaua to leave Hawaii with the Mormon missionaries. Kahana and Charles lived with William King in Fillmore and Kiha lived with George Nebeker in SLC.

Kiha was adopted by George Nebeker and his 2nd polygamous wife, Maria. Sometimes the term “adopted” can be ambiguous but in this case it seems to be a legitimate integration into the Nebeker family and Kiha used the Nebeker name for the rest of his life.

While growing up in SLC during the 1870s, Kiha lived with the Nebekers in an adobe home located at what is now 344 N 500 West (now occupied by railroad tracks). At the time this area of SLC was very rural with few homes and primarily farmland.

In 1885 Kiha married Emma Weinauge, a White woman who was also a Mormon convert.

In Feb 1886 Kiha became a legal US citizen (likely the first Hawaiian to become a citizen).

Both these dates are important because in 1888 Utah passed an anti-miscegenation law banning interracial marriage and in 1889 the Utah Supreme Court banned Native Hawaiians from becoming citizens of the US and legally defined them as belonging to the Malay race.

Emma and their 2nd child both died in 1890 leaving Kiha a single father of a baby boy, Orson.

Kiha remarried about 1900 to a SLC woman of Irish decent, Mattie Graham. The marriage took place in Evanston because Wyoming had repealed its interracial marriage law in 1882 (reinstated 1913).

Kiha and Mattie raised Orson and 4 daughters in SLC. They lived in several different neighborhoods including Millcreek, Murray, and West Temple before moving to what is now the Central 9th area.

In 1919 they rented a house at 809 S Jefferson and lived there until 1921. Until recently, this was the only home of Kiha’s that had not been demolished (Image 3).

In 1925, Kiha and Mattie purchased a house at 154 W 700 South (now demolished). It was the first home that Kiha owned and he was 63 years old when he moved in. 

Kiha died in 1931 at the age of 69 of Pulmanary Tuberculosis. His wife, Mattie, continued to live in their house until her death in 1963.

Kiha Ka'awa Nebeker's house at
809 S Jefferson SLC, June 23 2021.

809 S Jefferson SLC, demolished. Aug 13 2021.

13 August 2021

Cucumbers and Zucchini

My garden is overflowing with cucumbers and zucchini.  After looking on the internet for creative recipes it got me thinking about past ways people prepared these items. 

It turns out, unlike cucumbers, zucchini is a rather recent addition to American gardens.  Originally brought over by Italian immigrants in the 1910s it was commonly known as Italian Squash for a while (Zucchini being too weird a word, I suppose) and was considered an ethnic curiosity to those not of Italian heritage.  

After WWI, Italian foods in America became less stigmatized and more integrated into domestic American gardens and products. Refer to my post about Antonio Ferro, SLC’s Pasta King who saw booming times after WWI and started publishing recipes in local newspapers on how Utahans could prepare spaghetti noodles.

I was even surprised to see that zucchini bread didn’t make it into the American recipe book until the 1970s.   

Since zucchini is a relative newcomer, these older recipes focus on cucumbers.  I also chose not to include any dill or sweet pickle recipes since those are still common today.

Personally, I’m planning on making a spicy pickled relish sometime soon. 

Spanish Fork Press 1910-07-28

 Ogden Evening Standard 1911-07-29

Carbon County News 1914-08-27

 Ogden Daily Standard 1916-03-25

Emery County Progress 1916-07-01

Salt Lake Tribune 1924-09-28

Salt Lake Telegram 1937-09-10

Springville Herald 1964-02-27

 Salt Lake Tribune 1924-09-28

10 August 2021

The First Honey Bees in the Salt Lake Valley

A native male Bumblebee
(maybe Bromus griseocollis)
on a sunflower in downtown SLC, 2020.
Even though it is not a honey bee
it is still a pretty pic!
Honey bees are not native to Utah and were brought in by early Mormon settlers of the Salt Lake Valley. The transportation of the bees prior to the railroad (1869) proved very difficult and few hives survived the journey and even fewer survived Utah’s climate. It took 20 years until successful beehives became sustainable in SLC and Utah.

Non-native bees were introduced to the Salt Lake Valley in 1848. The first wagon train with an inventory including beehives arrived in SLC in Sept 1848, others followed in Sept 1849 and Oct 1849. By 1850, only 10 pounds of honey and beeswax were being produced in SLC indicating at least one (but probably not all) of the hives survived and was producing some honey.

In 1851, Brigham Young called for more bees to be imported to SLC so that the honey could replace the need of making sugar.

Transporting beehives by wagon was risky and often beehives were damaged in accidents or high temperatures melted the honeycomb and killed the bees. Even after a beehive is established there are expected losses from diseases and predators and additional bees are required. Additional bees can be obtained by importing them or by having hives healthy enough to divide, both of which were a challenge to early SLC beekeepers.

By 1860 Brigham Young was discouraged about the Salt Lake Valley ever being able to support honey bees.

In 1863, William D. Roberts of Provo was able to transport 2 beehives from California, only 1 of which fully survived the journey and was able to produce honey. The Deseret News was overjoyed and declared these were “the first bees to live.” Roberts began importing bees from Los Angeles and selling them in Utah for $100 per hive (~$2,700 today).

By 1866 the bees in Utah (and specifically those owned by Brigham Young) were doing better and were swarming (naturally dividing). The transcontinental railroad of 1869 made transportation faster and easier and Roberts quickly utilized it for his business bringing 135 hives back to Utah in April 1870 in a single trip.

After 1870 beekeeping became more widespread and sustainable throughout Utah.

Source and Thanks:
Thanks to J. Michael Hunter’s article in the 2020 Utah Historical Quarterly Vol 88 No 3 (Summer 2020) titled “Laying the Foundation for Utah’s Beekeeping Success 1848-1888.”

I’ve been interested in how the honey bee was imported to Utah for several years now but after finding only a few snippets of info I realized it was going to be a daunting task to thoroughly research it. Thanks much for taking on this task!

You can read the full article for FREE on issuu!

06 August 2021

Salt Lakers Reaction to the Atomic Bombs and V-J Day 1945

Today and Sunday, August 6 and 9 are the anniversaries of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

University of Utah Physics professor
Dr. Thomas J. Parmley, Des News 1945-08-07

The reaction of Salt Lakers to this news followed 3 broad sequences as the understanding of the situation unfolded over the next couple weeks. People asked themselves: 1) What is this new technology?; 2) What does it mean for the war?; 3) What does it mean for me?

The first announcement of the bombing was made by President Truman on Aug 6, 16 hours after the bombing of Hiroshima. He specifically identified Hiroshima as “an important Japanese Army base” and he explained the technology staying “It is the atomic bomb. It is harnessing the basic power of the universe.”
The next day, Aug 7, the local newspapers scrambled to explain atomic energy. The Deseret News interviewed #UofU Physics Professor Dr. Thomas J. Parmley (Image 1) but also sought to balance the science with comments from David O. McKay of the LDS Church who said “Let us hope that the discovery of the atomic bomb will result in the ending of all wars, so that nations and people of this world may not be exterminated.”
Illustration of atomic theory, SL Trib Aug 7 1945

By Aug 8 very little seemed to have changed for Americans in the War. The USSR had declared war on Japan but it seemed that the war was going to continue.

Aug 9, news came that a second and larger atomic bomb had been dropped on Nagasaki. People were uncertain what this meant for the war. As with Hiroshima, very few details were released to the American public about the bombs, the destruction, and the impact on the Japanese people.

Aug 10, President Truman called on Japan to surrender or be destroyed by atomic bombing saying “We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan’s power to make war.”

Although talks of surrender were underway, there was still uncertainty around the war.

It wasn’t until Tues Aug 14 when a Tokyo radio station broadcast Emperor Hirohito’s surrender and headlines ran in the US newspapers with the announcement that Japan Surrenders! (On Aug 15 a ceasefire was formally implemented.)
SL Tribune headline. From SL Trib 1945-08-14

With the headline of “Japan Surrenders!” on the Aug 14, 1945, Salt Lake Tribune, spontaneous celebrations started all along Main Street with Salt Lakers celebrating Victory over Japan (V-J) Day. The official V-J Day would not be declared until Aug 15 but people were just too excited not to celebrate immediately.

Streamers were thrown out of office windows, cars packed downtown with their horns blaring, Strong’s military band played music, and people danced in the street.

On Aug 15, President Truman announced a 2-day national holiday for V-J Day. Celebrations continued but people were also encouraged to attend church services. Most businesses closed for the holiday- including State Liquor stores so as not to encourage rowdiness. 

 V-J Day Celebration in SLC, note Tribune headline.
From UDSH.

Crowds on Main Street, V-J Day Celebration.
From UDSH. 

Crowds on Main Street, V-J Day Celebration.
From UDSH. 

Crowds on Main Street, V-J Day Celebration.
From UDSH. 

 Aug 15 also saw the beginning of the end of wartime rationing. Gasoline and canned fruits/veggies were immediately available without ration cards. In response, Salt Lakers swarmed the local gas stations and people started taking pleasure rides up through the canyons again.
Gasoline rations end. From SL Trib 1945-08-16

Motorists ride through Parleys Canyon, From SL Trib 1945-08-17

Rationing ends on canned fruits From SL Trib 1945-08-16

Once the celebrations subsided people began wondering what the end of the war meant for them personally. A Q&A was printed in the newspapers with Washington DC’s answers to common questions such as when will troops return, when will rationing end, will rent control continue, how will war surplus be distributed, will returning troops get their jobs back, etc. 
The last street car line, From Des News 1945-08-18

Locally, people wondered about their wartime jobs and what would happen with large employers such as Geneva Steel. Northern Utah had experienced an economic boom during WWII with the building of military installations, hospitals, and industrial plants and people wondered without the war dollars would the local economy fall back into a depression.

 One thing was certain, with the war over things were about the change. One of the first anticipated changes of SLC was the elimination of the City’s electric street cars in favor of personal automobiles.

Without the rationing of rubber, gasoline, and metals people could return to using their personal automobiles. Some people specifically commented that they were looking forward to not needing to walk or rely on public transportation anymore.

05 August 2021

Salt Lake City's Main Street in 1945

Salt Lake City's Main Street in 1945.
Colorization done by hotpot. Original image from UDSH.

This image is SLC Main Street in 1945. 

A preview for tomorrow’s post and a tie-in to yesterday’s post.

All the buildings in view are still there- although they are all proposed for demolition as part of the SLC RDA [$0 deal] 150 Main St Apartments project.  

Starting from the left, the businesses in view are:

  • 156 S Main is the Mullett-Kelly clothing store, now @twistedrootsut.
  • 154 S Main is the Mayflower Cafe with its prominent sign and of course the murals inside by Florence Truelson (yesterday’s post); this space is now occupied by Ary's Barbershop
  • 152 S Main is the Fife Co, a men’s clothing store, and is now Southam Gallery.
  • 150 S Main is Shapiro's, now Beckett & Robb.
  • 148 S Main is the Utah Theater, at the time of this image they were showing the films ‘A Bell for Adano’ and ‘The Frozen Ghost.’ This building is now known as the Utah Arts Building/savetheutahpantages

04 August 2021

Florence Truelson and her House of the Seven Crooked Gables

Truelson’s House of the Seven Gables,
from Deseret News 1944-03-31
The House of the 7 Crooked Gables was the unusual home of Salt Lake City artist Florence Truelson (1901-1958).

Truelson was an artist with little formal training but had amassed praise at a national level for her natural talent.

During the Great Depression she worked for the WPA and consequently many of her illustrations of Utah pioneer life are now archived in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

She was also well known for painting the Landing of the Pilgrims mural in the Mayflower Café at 154 S Main. The mural is still there and is now Ary's Barbershop which is likely to be demolished along with the Utah Pantages Theater.

In her later years, it was her house on the extreme westside of Salt Lake City that became well known. As her mental illness progressed (her death certificate indicates she suffered schizophrenia with paranoia) she became more recluse, preferring isolation from strangers which she enforced with a shotgun.

She designed and built her own small house located at 1978 W 100 South (about where Orange Street Corrections Center sits just off the I-80 and I-215W interchange) and adjacent to the old Brighton Canal. This whole area was demolished for the interstate.
Florence Truelson in 1928
when she was 26. From
Goodwin’s Weekly 1928-07-14
Her home was built about 1939 from found pieces of mismatched and unpainted boards. The house was 2 stories supported by cut tree trunks and had a few small windows. The home had a dirt floor, no lights, and no running water. Entry to the second story was through a trap door and ladder and on the southeast corner of the house was single story room with a “widows walk” around the roof. Inside the home was a grand piano bolted into a section of stone flooring.

In 1944 she abandoned her home leaving for Los Angeles (where she may have stayed with relatives). She left numerous paintings in her house which slowly deteriorated from the leaky roof and damp surroundings.

At some point Truelson returned to Utah and she was committed to the Utah State Mental Hospital in Provo. In 1958 she wandered off (escaped?) from the hospital and her skeletal remains were found 9 months later in Slate Canyon.

Listen to Demolished Salt Lake Podcast episode 10 to see what life was like in the Asylum.

Sources: SL Herald 1918-12-30; Goodwins Weekly 1928-07-14; SL Trib 1937-12-22; Des News 1944-03-31; SL Telegram 1944-03-31; Daily Herald 1959-04-06  

Florence Truelson while working for the WPA.
From Deseret News 1937-03-24

Mayflower Café mural by Florence Truelson. From UDSH.
Florence Truelson’s The Kiss 1924.
Florence Truelson’s Patchwork Quilt, National Gallery of Art.

Florence Truelson’s painting owned by SL County.
This one is reportedly owned by Salt Lake County and is on
display on the 4th floor of the County’s north building.
Per Artists of Utah.

01 August 2021

Helen Blazes and her Brothel at 7 Victoria Alley

 Helen Blazes brothel at 7 Victoria Alley
from SL Herald 1902-12-18
One of SLC’s more famous, and successful, brothel Madams was Helen Blazes. Of course, that was not her real name.

Her real name was Lillie. The history of her life is a bit spotty but there are glimpses with some good detail.

Lillie probably grew up in Ohio, lived through the Civil War, and married Dr. Leander “Lee” Hutchison when she was 19 in 1877. The following year she gave birth to her only(?) child, Blanche Hutchison. Lillie followed her husband to Kentucky where he earned his medical degree and then the family relocated to Olathe, Kansas where her brothers-in-law ran a newspaper.

The Olathe newspapers often wrote about Lillie and she was referred to as "Mrs Dr Hutchison." She seemed to have a respectable life and attended church. Her husband had a problem with alcohol and after a few years in Olathe, Lillie left him.

The next 10 years of Lillie’s life are unknown but by 1892 she was 33 years old and running a brothel house in SLC using the name Helen Blazes. Her young teenage daughter, Blanche, was living away from both parents and staying with relatives in Denver, Colorado. Perhaps Lillie decided to operate in SLC as it was close to her daughter but far enough away that Blanche would be shielded from the stigma.
Sanborn Map 1898

Lillie, now Helen Blazes, moved her business often, at times being on Main St, Franklin Ave (now Edison St), South Temple, and State St. In 1897 she moved to her famous location at 7 Victoria Alley.

Victoria Alley was a midblock alley between Main and State Streets and 200-300 South with a barely noticeable narrow 12-foot entrance located at 232 S State Street. This area is now wide open and occupied by the Gallivan Center; Helen Blazes brothel was about where the Gallivan Center stage is now located.

Helen Blazes catered to higher class clients and often served wine and fine liquors instead of the standard beer. 

When Belle London opened the Stockade in 1908 (see previous posts) Helen Blazes quickly closed her business and retired at the age of 49. She announced to the papers that Helen Blazes was off to Europe and would never return to SLC.

In reality, she stayed in SLC and started going by her legal name: Lillie Dreyfuss. She rented a modest house at 669 S Main St for the next several decades. She was often recognized as Helen Blazes and was the target of several burglaries in which diamond jewelry was stolen, one burglary was of several diamond rings and earrings worth $4K (~$110K today).

A few months after one of these home invasion robberies in which she was bound and gagged; Lillie Dreyfuss (aka Helen Blazes) shot herself in the heart on June 23 1932 at the age of 73. She left a note saying “I am through with life” and was found by her maid the next morning. 

Her daughter and sole heir settled her affairs and buried her mother, Lillie Dreyfuss, at Wasatch Lawn Cemetery.

Sources: Olathe Mirror 1882-03-30; Olathe Gazette 1882-11-30; SL Herald 1892-07-07; SL Trib 1897-02-22; SL Herald 1900-03-28; SL Herald 1908-02-07; SL Telegram 1909-06-17; Ogden Daily Standard 1913-09-20; SL Trib 1932-06-25; SL Trib 1932-06-30; Ancestry.com

Main Street and 700 South, from UDSH

Lillie T. Dreyfuss gravesite at Wasatch Lawn Cemetery, from findagrave