16 December 2022

Photos of Black Rock by William Henry Jackson

While perusing the digital collections of the University of New Mexico, I came accross these new to me photos of Black Rock in the Great Salt Lake.  Black Rock is a geologic feature near the present-day Great Salt Lake Marina and State Park. 

These were taken by William Henry Jackson in about 1880.

Black Rock, Great Salt Lake, Utah. Image from UNM.

Black Rock, Great Salt Lake, Utah. Image from UNM

Black Rock, Great Salt Lake, Utah. Image from UNM

View of Great Salt Lake. Image from UNM.

The Centre Theater at 299 S. State Street Salt Lake City

Centre Theater when it was photographed in 1981 by Chester H. Liebs as research for his book Main Street to Miracle Mile. Image from UNM.

: When water flowed down State St during the 1983 flooding of SLC
(photo credit Dave Olson from cinematreasures.org).

History text by Grant Smith from cinematreasures.org:
The Centre Theater was opened on December 24, 1937, with Carole Lombard & Fred MacMurray in “True Confession”. It was considered one of Salt Lake’s finest examples of Art Deco style architecture. One of its most unique features was the 90-foot tower located above the theater. It was built by Paramount Pictures Inc. and Intermountain Theatres. By 1941 it was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary Tracy Barham.

When the Centre Theater opened it had 1,623 seats, but the installation of a 56-foot wide screen in 1959 reduced seating to 1,174.

In 1989, Cineplex Odeon let its lease run out so the owners could demolish the building. A new office tower was built on the site, along with a bland six-screen multiplex.
Centre Theater in 1937. Image from UHDS.

Centre Theater in 1937. Image from UDSH.

As the site appears today, the Broadway Centre from Google Street View, Oct 2022

07 December 2022

Virtual tour of the Tanner House, 1350 S West Temple Salt Lake City

Virtual tour of the Tanner House, 1350 S West Temple SLC, by RealScape Media

RealScape recorded this tour to preserve what they could, as demolition is proposed for this Ballpark gem. Check out that woodwork! 

Here is the link to the full tour.

Tanner House in Ballpark Neighborhood, Salt Lake City

(Reposted from PreservationUtah's Instagram)

Over the past several weeks, many have been very sad to learn that two historic houses in Salt Lake City's Ballpark Neighborhood will likely be demolished in short order and replaced with a condo or apartment building. These houses, 1350 and 1358 South West Temple, both built around 1900, have lent the Ballpark Neighborhood a great deal of character over the past 120 or more years.

1350 is our favorite of these two houses as it has some really wonderful architectural features. It is rare to find houses in Salt Lake that boast gables as ornamented as those found on this house. Imagine the skill required to piece these gables together!

Many know that 1350 served as a home and headquarters for Jerald and Sandra Tanner of Utah Lighthouse Ministries. We tried to uncover the earlier chapters of 1350's history.

The first bit of information we could find on 1350 dated to 1917, when three of its rooms, "newly painted and papered, partly modern" came up for $8 / month rent. The next year, the whole house could be rented for $16/month rent.

By 1922, 1350 S. West Temple sheltered Thomas S. and Olive Van Cott Davis who remained in this house for many years. It is easy to fall in love with the Davis family via records of their comings and goings in local newspapers. While at 1350, the Davis's celebrated the weddings of their children, held DUP camp meetings, showers, and a large variety of other community gatherings. The Davis's stay at 1350 was also filled with tragedy. While living in this house, the family suffered automobile accidents, sicknesses, deaths, and other of life's vicissitudes.

By 1967, 1350 S. West Temple housed Modern Microfilm, the forerunner to the Utah Lighthouse Ministry.

It is no exaggeration to say that a great deal of life has played out at 1350 S. West Temple.

In the very near future, Preservation Utah looks forward to working with the Ballpark Community Council and other invested parties to introduce more of this neighborhood to the National Register of Historic Places and other preservation-centered initiatives. Hopefully, these efforts will help to preserve more of Ballpark's treasures.

05 December 2022

Salt Lake City in 1962

As usual, while looking for information on something specific I find something else interesting!

Check out these photos from 1962 of SLC. They are a part of the Edmund L. Mitchell collection at the Boston Public Library (link below).

A few of these images are relevant to changes recently announced, and others are just neat to look at.

Beehive House 1962. The LDS Church has recently announced that it plans to renovate the Beehive House, Lion House, and Joseph Smith Memorial Building (old Hotel Utah) in 2023. Per the Church News website, plans are to address structural deficiencies and preservation of aging finishes. As these buildings are local historic landmarks, the SLC Historic Landmark Commission will provide oversite.

Boy Scouts logo in flowers and grass 1962. The LDS Church announced plans to demolish the Boy Scouts building at 525 Foothill Dr. No specific plans for what will replace the building.

South Main Street 1962. I like this image because it shows a walkable downtown and a good view of a historic (now removed) Sanitary Drinking Fountain that was installed in the 1910s (White pillar-looking thing) and a Fire Call Box (Red pillar thing) behind the guy in the forefront.

Detail on fountain and fire call box.

View from State Capitol 1962. This image shows the rebuilding of the historic Salt Lake City Council Hall (now Utah Tourism Office), which was relocated when the Wallace F. Bennett building was constructed. Also, check out that wasted water!

View from State Capitol 1962. Cool looking bus and a nice array of cars.

Direct Link to SLC portion of the Edmund L Mitchell Collection at Boston Public Library: https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/search?f%5Bname_facet_ssim%5D%5B%5D=Mitchell%2C+Edmund+L.%2C+1905-1981&f%5Bsubject_geographic_sim%5D%5B%5D=Salt+Lake+City

26 November 2022

Walking Tour of SLC's Unseen History - University of Utah Lifelong Learning

Join me in April for my tour of Salt Lake City's unseen history. This is a 2 day class (Saturdays) through the University of Utah Lifelong Learning program.

This class focuses on SLC's multi-cultural neighborhoods, specifically the Black American
neighborhoods of Central City and Franklin Avenue (now Edison St) in downtown Salt Lake.

The class is open to everyone, you do not need to be a U of U student.

19 November 2022

Demolition of Salt Lake City Sears

I have been monitoring the progress of the demolition of the old Sears building at 754 S State Street in downtown Salt Lake City.  

This clip is of the last section to be demolished, the part of the building adjacent to State Street.  I filmed it on the morning of Friday, November 18, 2022. This was before the taco carts were set up and they were not present when this event happened.  

I have a few other posts about the Sears building.  

  • The history of the Sears building, including information about the murals. Read that post here.
  • A group of us had permission to enter the old Sears building during the asbestos remediation (before demolition) to look for the old murals and see if they were still there, and if they were if they could be preserved.  They had been removed at least 30 years ago, so no murals were damaged during the current demolition process.  Read about that post here

Demolition of the Sears Building at 754 S State Street in Salt Lake City. This is the last section, adjacent to State Street. This occurred on the morning of Friday, Nov 18, 2022. No taco carts were harmed or present.

YouTube direct link: https://youtu.be/OfpxLox2FFc

11 November 2022

The old Veterans Hospital at 12th Ave and E St is now the Meridien Condos

Old Veterans Hospital in 2022, as Condos
Veterans Hospital ca 1930s. Image from UDSH

This is the old Veterans Hospital at 401 E 12th Avenue (roughly 12th Ave and E Street) in Salt Lake City is now the Meridien Condos at Capitol Park.

Built-in 1932 in a neoclassical style, this 5 ½ story brick building was originally set back from the street on a steep hill and surrounded by park grounds. A smaller 3-story annex was added in 1939.

The newly created Veterans Administration (VA) recognized a need for a hospital in SLC to care for WWI and Spanish-American War veterans Architectural plans were drawn up in 1930 and site selection began.

Originally it was thought that the VA hospital should be located close to Fort Douglas but the VA decided on a residential area high on the North Bench (the Avenues) which provided cooling canyon breezes and was situated above the city smog.

Postcard showing the Salt Lake City Veterans Hospital

Postcard showing the Salt Lake City Veterans Hospital

More than 3 city blocks were purchased and construction was completed in June 1932.  The first patient, WWI vet Oliver J. Hunter, was admitted on July 1, 1932. Once fully opened, the hospital provided beds for 104 patients.

Built during the Great Depression, the hospital was seen as a method to provide good jobs to hard-hit Utahns, both during and after construction. Later the Works Progress Administration (WPA) provided labor tending to the grounds surrounding the hospital.

The hospital boasted state-of-the-art facilities including dentist care, an x-ray department, surgery, dining rooms, and a dietary kitchen. During WWII, the focus of the Veterans Hospital became vocational rehabilitation and physical therapy.

Veterans Hospital group, Christmas Day 1942. Image from UDSH.

Returning Soldiers from WWII greatly outpaced the SLC Veterans Hospital and the US Army opened the much larger Bushnell Hospital in Brigham City in 1942. And in 1946 SLC was approved for a new VA facility with construction work starting in 1950 on part of the Fort Douglas Military reservation; this new VA Hospital was opened in 1952 and is the current main campus of the SLC VA hospital system at 500 Foothill Blvd.

In 1962 the old Veterans Hospital in the Avenues neighborhood was closed to patients and was soon declared surplus. In December 1964 the property was purchased by the LDS Church and used the old hospital as an annex to its Primary Children’s Hospital. The LDS Church sold it in 1987 to IHC Hospitals Inc and when the new Primary Children Hospital was built in 1990.

Most of the land (28 acres) surrounding the old Veterans Hospital was subdivided and sold to developers. The hospital and a few surrounding acres were retained and the building was used intermittently but was primarily vacant for 16 years.

Veterans Hospital as it looked in 1996, Image from NRHP file, National Archives.

Veterans Hospital as it looked in 1996, Image from NRHP file, National Archives.

Veterans Hospital as it looked in 1996, Image from NRHP file, National Archives.

Veterans Hospital as it looked in 1996, Image from NRHP file, National Archives.

Veterans Hospital as it looked in 1996, Image from NRHP file, National Archives.

Veterans Hospital as it looked in 1996, Image from NRHP file, National Archives.

In 2004 it was purchased by Pembroke Capitol Park and converted to luxury condominiums through historic adaptive reuse, done by Hogan Construction at a cost of $20M. The interior was gutted, an underground parking structure was added, and the exterior was preserved. The condo conversion was completed in 2008.

Images of the renovation, from Hogan Construction.

Images of the renovation, from Hogan Construction.

Images of the renovation, from Hogan Construction.

Images of the renovation, from Hogan Construction.

In 1988 the building was shown in the movie Halloween 4 as Smiths Grove Sanitarium.

Of Note:
It is likely that the Veterans Hospital on 12th Avenue was segregated. The Tuskegee Hospital for Sick and Injured Colored World War Veterans in Tuskegee Alabama opened in 1923 and was the only Black Veterans hospital until 1954.

During the 1920s and 1930s, the Veterans Administration allowed hospitals to choose their segregation status based on local and regional practices, which for Salt Lake City would mean Black Soldiers would be in a separate ward or not allowed at all. My guess is the latter.

President Truman desegregated the US military through Executive Order 9981 but the VA kept most hospitals segregated in some form through 1953. On July 28, 1954, the VA formally announced that segregation had been eliminated at all VA hospitals.

So far, I’ve only seen white men as patients in the 1940 Census. Write a comment if you know of any specifics on the SLC Veterans Hospital policy on segregation.

Source: History of the VA in 100 Objects: number 11.   https://www.va.gov/HISTORY/100_Objects/Index.asp


  • Salt Lake Telegram Nov 6 1931
  • Salt Lake Tribune July 2 1932
  • Salt Lake Tribune July 8 1932
  • Salt Lake Telegram July 14 1932
  • Deseret News Sept 14 1932
  • Salt Lake Telegram Sept 9 1933
  • Salt Lake Tribune July 6 1947
  • Deseret News Oct 7 2005
  • Salt Lake Tribune Aug 10 2006
  • Veterans Hospital NRHP File, NPS
  • History of the VA in 100 Objects: number 11

10 November 2022

Autumn in Salt Lake City

An autumn day with a skiff of snow at the SLC City and County building. If only that white truck didn't park there this morning, it's a bit distracting from the overall motif, oh well.

Salt Lake City and County Building, 451 S State St. Nov 2022. 

31 October 2022

Happy Halloween


Happy Halloween. Enjoy some of the spooky houses I've seen while I've been out and about.

30 October 2022

Tragedy at King Corner, 300 South and 600 East

Thomas G. Wimmer house at 601 E 300 S, Salt Lake City. An inverted photoshopped view to make it look more spooky. 601 E 300 S.

One of the creepy old houses I was able to explore recently was this large house at 601 East 300 South, Salt Lake City.  This post is primarily on the basement experience, which is super creepy. 

There are lots of ghost stories and unexplained events that have occurred here, one of which is the ghostly presence of an angry solitary man, sometimes inhabiting the basement. Recent happenings include burst lightbulbs and generally cold and confined feelings of people who visit the basement.

I don’t know how ghosts work; but, when researching the history of this house I came across a history of a solitary man with an unfortunate ending.

The house is formally known as the Thomas G Wimmer house (built about 1900) but that story comes later. Before the house was built it was property owned by the Charles H. and Louisa King family.

1898 Sanborn map showing King Corner
600 East and 300 South, Salt Lake City
1911 Sanborn map showing King Corner
600 East and 300 South, Salt Lake City
Modern aerial image showing King Corner
600 East and 300 South, Salt Lake City

Charles was a Mormon convert from England who crossed the plains in a wagon train and arrived in SLC in October 1852 at the age of 35. When Charles was 40 he married 18-year-old Louisa, also from England, and they immediately started their family, of which William Charles King was the 3rd of 8 kids.

William (who also went by Charles W) lived his entire life in the small adobe family home on a large corner lot on the NE side of the corner of 600 E and 300 S, known as King Corner.

He seemed to be a responsible and studious individual and was in regular employment by George M. Scott & Co (a store primarily for mining items) since he was a boy.

By the time William was 26 he was working as an accounts collector and was in high standing with his employer, his accounts were in good order. He was unmarried, which was unusual at his age but nothing too concerning. Unfortunately, William suffered from depression and his family indicated he had been despondent for many years.

After returning home in the early morning hours of Wed, Oct 8, 1890, William shot himself in the head above his right ear. His mother found his stiff body a few yards away from the family’s home as she gathered the morning paper, around 7am. William’s father recalled hearing something like a gunshot around 2am but paid no attention to it.

The coroner officially stated his cause of death was a pistol shot wound in the head inflicted by his own hand during a spell of despondency.

William Charles King (Feb 8 1864 to Oct 8 1890). Born and died in Salt Lake City on his family's plot of land, 267 South 600 East. He is buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. 

Stairs to the basement at 601 E 300 S 

Storage shelf in the basement which was the primary area of ghostly encounters when I visited in Oct 2022. 601 E 300 S.

Closed off coal shaft in the basement,
with wallpapered plaster remnants,601 E 300 S.

Wallpaper in the basement, 601 E 300 S.

Spooky window, 601 E 300 S

Normal view of Thomas G. Wimmer house at 601 E 300 S. Salt Lake City. viewed from 300 South.


  • Records on ancestry.com
  • Salt Lake Tribune, March 30 1890
  • Deseret News, Oct 8 1890
  • Salt Lake Herald, Oct 10 1890
  • Salt Lake Times, Oct 8 1890
  • Salt Lake Herald, May 9 1899