28 May 2023


A day trip through Tooele County to see the spring wildflowers in Utah's West Desert.

14 May 2023

The Hatchet Attack of 1933 at 863 E 600 S SLC

Rulon Stevenson in 1929, from the Utionion Yearbook

One sensational event that occurred in the house at 863 E 600 S in my last post occurred in the middle of the night on Nov 13 1933 when 27-year-old Rulon E Stevenson smashed a window with a hatchet and entered the vacant half of the house, which by now was converted into a duplex.

Rulon began hacking the interior woodwork of the parlor and eventually chopped a hole in the partition dividing the duplex. This awakened and terrified the young family living there, Anthony and Caroline Schetselaar, along with their 2 young children.

The Schetselaar family fled the house through a window and Rulon followed them outside the house. A neighbor tried to help and Rulon threw the hatchet at him, which missed its target.

By then, the SLC Police had arrived and taken Rulon into custody. Rulon was placed in the city jail under a “hold for investigation” charge. Soon after, Rulon’s father who was a prominent physician, Dr. Hyrum Stevenson arrived and the SLC Police Night Captain E. E. Brown released Rulon to his father’s custody with only a charge of drunkenness.

In the morning, SLC Chief of Police W. L. Payne changed the charges to second-degree burglary (later dropped) and assault with a deadly weapon. Chief Payne also demoted Captain Brown and transferred him to day duty where there would be more supervision over him.

In Aug 1934, Rulon pleaded guilty to assault and was imposed a 6-month sentence in the Salt Lake County Jail, with 3 months of that suspended. After serving about 2 months in the Salt Lake County Jail, Rulon was granted a reprieve and parole by Utah Governor Henry H. Blood.

A few years later, Rulon moved to San Francisco. The Schetselaar family remained in Salt Lake but soon moved out of this house.

Where the attack happened, The house at 863 E 600 S SLC, Photo taken in Jan 2023.

The Salt Lake Telegram 1933 Nov 14
The Salt Lake Tribune 1933 Nov 15
The Salt Lake Telegram 1934 Aug 11
The Salt Lake Tribune 1934 Oct 5
Deseret News 1934 Sept 5

This Old House Was Built in 1889, Not 1849

The house at 863 E 600 S SLC as it appears today. 

The oldest house listed on the map from my last post was supposedly built in 1849 but my research shows it was actually built in 1889. This house is east of Trolley Square at 863 E 600 South SLC. Not surprisingly, the County Assessor’s data was incorrect and the house was actually built in 1889. However, the county data does tell part of the story of that property…

The house at 863 E 600 S SLC as it appears today.  Several modifications have been made and a large addition on the back.

A photo detail of the house at 863 E 600 S SLC showing where the original brick joins with the new stucco addition. Where the new and old join together.

The house at 863 E 600 S SLC, ca 1930s (?), from SL County Tax Assessor records. Note the upper window.

This house was built by Hyrum S. Laney in 1889; the 1849 date likely comes from when the Laney family originally inhabited this plot of land. It was Hyrum’s parents Isaac and Sarah Laney who arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in Sept 1847.

The Laneys first lived in a small house in the old fort at what is now Pioneer Park. According to Laney family history, they moved from the fort about 1850 (1849?) to the northwest corner of 600 S and 900 E, where they built a log cabin, a grain silo, and some infrastructure for their farm animals. This was the southeasternmost house on the original SLC grid for several years.

Of note, according to family history, Sarah Laney was the first non-indigenous person in the Salt Lake Valley to spin, dye, and weave a piece of cloth on a loom.
Detail of a tablecloth made by Sarah Laney, likely at their property on the corner of 900 S and 600 E. From FamilySearch.

Hyrum, the youngest Laney child, returned to SLC from law school in 1885 and immediately became a prominent lawyer. He built the 1.5-story brick house on the family property for him and his widowed mother to live in. His mother died in 1902 and Hyrum moved out of the house in 1905.

At some point before 1933, the house was turned into a duplex. I’m not sure when the rest of the apartments were added but the house serves as a converted apartment building now. As you can see in the photos a large addition on the back has also been added.

There are several unfortunate events and deaths in, and around, this house but they are too long to detail in this post. They will need to be their own posts…. Coming soon!   (posted here)

Oldest Standing Houses in Salt Lake County, Per Tax Assessor GIS Records

I found some new-to-me, publicly available GIS data showing the oldest standing buildings in Salt Lake County and made this snazzy map. I'm a bit skeptical of some of this data as I've noticed the tax data from the Salt Lake County Assessor is problematic with older homes.  Looks like a field trip to me!  Verification is definitely needed.

04 May 2023

A Lookback at the University of Utah Yearbooks 1907-1981

It's graduation time at the University of Utah! Take a look back at student life at the U as shown in these images from the Utonian Yearbooks, 1907-1981.

Digital copies of the Utonian are archived at the Marriott Library.

I was recently honored to be part of the Salt Lake Ctiy Weekly, City Guide 2023, along with some other amazing people and organizations. Thanks, City Weekly!

02 May 2023

I found a new-to-me photo of Ms. Mignon Barker Richmond, Utah's first Black woman (person?) to graduate from college (Utah State University) and a prominent community worker and human rights activist in SLC.

Mignon at the Stewart School University of Utah, from Utonian Yearbook 1952, page 83.

This photo of Mignon is from the 1952 University of Utah Utonian Yearbook.

It took 27 years after her graduation from college in 1921 for Mignon to be hired for a professional position in her field - and that is the job shown in this image.

In 1948 Mignon was hired by the University of Utah to start the school lunch program for the old Stewart School on campus (the former location of the Anthro building, just south of The Crocker Science Center (The old Natural History Museum) on President's Circle. She held this job for 5 years.

Richmond Park at 444 E 600 South SLC is named for Mignon.

Read more about Mignon's life on the Better Days website: 

Mignon Barker Richmond, courtesy Mignon Mapp from Better Days.