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Utah Historical Quarterly Current Issue

Volume 83, Number 4 (Fall Issue):

Published since 1928, the Utah Historical Quarterly is the state’s premier history journal and the source for reliable, engaging Utah history. Join the Historical Society for your own copy.

Each issue of the Utah Historical Quarterly is accompanied with rich web supplements that introduce readers to sources, photos, interviews, and other engaging material. These “extras” are located at

WEB EXTRAS: See here 


John C. Frémont’s 1843–44 Western Expedition and Its Influence on Mormon Settlement in Utah
By Alexander L. Baugh

“Shadowy Figures about Whom Little Is Known”: Artists of the Simpson Expedition, 1858–59
Ephriam D. Dickson III

Love among the Fossils: Earl and Pearl Douglass at Dinosaur National Monument
Susan Rhoades Neel

Modern Wanderings along the Waterpocket Fold: The Diary of Ralph Becker

2015 Index

When John C. Frémont viewed the Great Salt Lake—“the waters of the Inland Sea”—for the first time, his eyes caught hold of dark objects against the water. The next evening the men in his party speculated on what they might find on the islands: flowing springs, wild game, “a tangled wilderness of trees and shrubbery.” All exploration marries, to some degree, reality and imagination, discovery and perception. Such speculation may have reflected the observation of Frémont’s contemporary, Henry David Thoreau, that while “we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable.” They eventually reached one of the islands which turned out to be merely rocky and barren—what Frémont christened Disappointment Island, since it clearly did not satisfy expectations.

Frémont’s explorations established that the Great Salt Lake had no outlet to the sea, and his reports, written in scientific yet romantic prose, introduced readers to the Far West. As our lead article suggests, Frémont’s explorations left a profound influence on the western landscape—and perhaps nowhere more so than in Utah. Brigham Young and LDS leaders pored over the published contents of Frémont’s 1843–44 expedition into the Great Basin. On the basis of the report, the Great Salt Lake Valley became the new Mormon homeland in 1847. Not surprisingly, Frémont sometimes made errors in his reporting, as when he surmised, having only viewed its southern shore, that Utah Lake was a freshwater arm of the Great Salt Lake.

After Frémont, other federal surveyors funded by the U.S. Army—notably Captain Howard Stansbury, First Lieutenant John W. Gunnison, and Captain James H. Simpson—left their mark in Utah. Of these, perhaps less known is Simpson, a topographical engineer charged to identify a new road across the west Utah desert. That route became a portion of the Pony Express and, later, the Lincoln Highway. But, as our second article makes clear, the Simpson expedition was also significant for its photographs and sketches. Neither Simpson’s report nor the accompanying sketches and photographs saw the light of day until published in 1876; until now historians knew next to nothing about Simpson’s artist, H. V. A. Von Beckh, or photographers C. C. Mills and Edward Jagiello.

Our third article carries the theme of exploration and adventure into the twentieth century with the story of Earl and Pearl Douglass. Earl Douglass worked his way from a meager Minnesota childhood to become a scientist for the Carnegie Museum and discover, in 1909, the deposit of fossils that would become Dinosaur National Monument. Along the slow road to these accomplishments, Earl met Pearl Goetschius, whom he married in 1905 after a decade of courtship. Together they founded a homestead in the Uintah Basin called Dinosaur Ranch. They fell in love with the area, and their only son enjoyed a child’s paradise on the ranch. Yet the Douglasses experienced many difficulties on the homestead and in relation to the Carnegie Museum, which would have a keen impact on the family’s life. Not only a tale of outdoor adventure, this article is also a bittersweet account of perseverance throughout a lifetime of trouble and achievement.

Our final piece speaks to the lighter side of exploration and adventure through excerpts of Ralph Becker’s travel diary in the backcountry of Capitol Reef National Park. Later becoming Salt Lake City’s mayor, Becker was a master’s student in geography and planning at the University of Utah when he set out to traverse the entire length of the Waterpocket Fold, a prominent north-to-south geologic uplift, in 1980. Traveling about 170 miles, Becker along the way provides commentary on what he saw and felt, offering us a glimpse into one man’s intimate encounter with Utah’s wild lands.

Each of the stories in this issue belongs to a larger history of exploration. They reveal the deep human impulse to forge new trails or trace and reimagine existing ones, whether in a physical or metaphorical sense.


Paul Reeve, Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness. Reviewed by Christine Talbot

Armando Solórzano, We Remember, We Celebrate, We Believe: Latinos in Utah. Reviewed by Jennifer Macias

Douglas D. Alder, comp., Honoring Juanita Brooks: A Compilation of 30 Annual Presentations from the Juanita Brooks Lecture Series, 1984–2014. Reviewed by Gary Topping

Charles Caldwell Hawley, A Kennecott Story: Three Mines, Four Men, and One Hundred Years, 1897–1997. Reviewed by Philip F. Notarianni

Paula Kelly Harline, The Polygamous Wives Writing Club: From the Diaries of Mormon Pioneer Women. Reviewed by Jeff Nichols

Elwin C. Robison with W. Randall Dixon, Gathering as One: The History of the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. Reviewed by Emily Utt


David Vaughan Mason, Brigham Young: Sovereign in America

Monte Bona, ed., Legends, Lore, and True Tales in Mormon Country

Gary Kimball, Life under China Bridge and Other Stories of Minorities in Old Park City




Historic Salt Lake City Apartments of the Early Twentieth Century

Text and Photographs by Lisa-Michele Church

Salt Lake City contains many beautiful examples of early twentieth-century apartment buildings constructed to house a growing urban population. With whimsical names such as Piccadilly, Peter Pan or Waldorf, these buildings beckoned to Utahns interested in a new approach to residential life. Apartments became places of beginnings and endings for the young couple starting out, a single woman with her first job, an immigrant family new to the area, or a widow no longer able to care for her home. Apartments were a stage on which the rest of your life came into view. As one resident put it, “You moved in with a suitcase, and out with a truck.”

The buildings were designed with style and architectural flair. Residents could enjoy amenities such as electric stoves, night watchmen, elegant entryways, and, for some, Murphy “disappearing” beds. Local families, including the Coveys, Downings, and Sampsons, constructed many of the complexes. Monthly rents ranged from $30 to $50. The last of the distinctive buildings was built in the 1930s; after World War II, people preferred cozy bungalows in the suburbs.  But about half of the original 180 apartment houses are still standing as a vivid illustration of the boldness with which Salt Lake City entered the twentieth century.

The following photo gallery features a few of these buildings. Download a self-guided walking tour brochure to see the historic apartments buildings at your own pace.

1 Pauline

Pauline. The Pauline was built at 278 East 100 South in 1904. This is a “walk up” design where each apartment has its own entrance landing and balcony. Note the cut sandstone foundation, iron railing balconies, and brick details.

2 Woodruff

The Woodruff, located at 235 South 200 East, was built in 1908 and contained 51 units. The building advertised to “young men looking for desirable apartments close to their work.” There was a café, The building featured steam heat, hot water, telephone, gas range, a dresser, buffet, and Murphy bed. Tenants had the option of choosing the color of their walls. A night watchman and janitor were assigned to the apartment, and a café was an added amenity to residents.

3 Woodruff detail

Note the lovely lamp posts, now gone, and the bold entrance. Abraham Gross and his wife, Vera, were typical residents in the 1930s, living in unit 60 and raising their young son, Jerome. Abe and Vera were Polish immigrants; he worked as a cattle buyer. When Abe was killed tragically in a 1935 train accident, Vera and Jerome moved out and the apartment stood vacant for two years.

4 Altadena

The Altadena, at 310 South 300 East, was built in 1905 at a cost of $21,000 by the Octavius Sampson family. The Sampsons originally named it Vivian Flats but changed the name a few years later to match that of their baby daughter. Typical residents included sisters, Annette and Martha Rustad, Norwegian immigrants who worked as seamstresses in Salt Lake department stores. They lived at the Altadena for many years; neither ever married.

5 Altadena detail

The entrance doors at the Altadena are especially detailed. Both buildings feature pediments, Tuscan columns, dentillated cornices and accented cornerstones.

6 Sampson

The Sampson building is at 276 East 300 South, around the corner from the Altadena. It contained seven “walk up” units. The Altadena and Sampson Apartments are almost identical plans. Both buildings have red brick, white trim, substantial balconies, and oak doors. One luxury item was an elevator at the back of the building.

7 Elise

The Elise, at 561 East 100 South, features a massive columned entrance with decorative iron railings and balconies.

8 Elise detail

The detail on the Elise columns is striking. The building was built in 1914 and contains eight “walk up” units.

9 Hillcrest

The Hillcrest is located at 155 East First Avenue and was built in 1915. It joined other apartment buildings financed by the Covey family, including the Covey Flats (now LaFrance), Buckingham, Kensington, New Hillcrest, and Covey. All were built by W.C.A. Vissing, a popular apartment contractor of the time and member of the Covey family.

10 Buckingham

The u-shaped court of the Buckingham (241 East South Temple) is echoed in the other Covey-designed buildings. All were carefully landscaped with generous courtyards and flower beds.

11 Ruby

The Ruby, at 435 East 200 South, was built in 1912. It contains 21 “walk up” units and beautiful wood framed doors and windows. The detailed brick work is also remarkable.

12 Ruby too

One resident of the Ruby, Sadie Baldwin, worked as a dressmaker earning $720 per year in 1940. Sadie was a young widow with three children to raise.

13 Embassy

The Embassy was built at 130 South 300 East in 1926. It contains 31 units using a double-loaded corridor plan where each room opens off a central corridor, and few have balconies. This plan type was a particularly efficient use of Salt Lake City’s deep lots, and was common in the buildings built after World War I. It is currently called the Pauline Downs.

14 Embassy detail

Most early apartment buildings used bold signs to attract attention and convey style. The Embassy sign is no exception. The Embassy was built, along with two adjacent apartment buildings, by Bessie P. Downing and her husband, Hardy. Hardy was a famous tandem bike racer and boxing promoter. Bessie lived in this building and managed it until Hardy’s passing.

15 Embassy Arms

The Embassy Arms was a little fancier than the Embassy, with its French door balconies and elaborate stone entrance. It was built by the Downings next to the Embassy, at 120 South 300 East, in 1930. Note the stone “D” over the sign; it was originally named the Downing Deluxe.

16 Embassy Arms too

These French door balconies were unusual in a double loaded corridor plan. Note the brickwork and stone accents.

17 Spencer Stewart

The Spencer Stewart, at 740 East 300 South, was built in 1926 and included 29 units. It was advertised in the 1935 Salt Lake Telegram for its “three rooms, electric refrigerators and ranges, furnished or unfurnished, disappearing beds, nice large rooms, moderate rent.”

18 Stratton

The Stratton was built in 1927 as part of a building boom where at least ten new apartment buildings appeared on the downtown skyline. It is located at 49 South 400 East and features some castellation along the roofline, two balconies, and an imposing entrance.

19 Peter Pan

The Peter Pan is located at 445 East 300 South. It is notable for its tile roofs, brick detailing and lovely sign. The building was built in 1927.

20 Peter Pan detail

The name signs on the early apartment buildings were often neon and included colorful metal designs.

21 Bell Wines

The Bell Wines apartments were built in 1927 by a married couple, Hazel Bell and Stanley Wines, who combined their surnames. It is located at 530 East 100 South. The building is evocative of a southern plantation home, with a center porch and tall columns around a courtyard.

22 Bell Wines too

The building contains 30 units opening off a long hallway. One early resident, Eva Harmer, became engaged to her sweetheart, Blaine Allan, while living here in 1934. She was alarmed when she discovered she had dropped her engagement ring down the apartment’s sink. Fortunately, city water officials blocked off the pipes until the ring could be found.

23 Annie Laurie

The Annie Laurie, located at 326 East 100 South, and its sister building, the Lorna Doone, were both built in 1928 by the Bowers Investment Company at a cost of $80,000 each. The Lorna Doone has 33 units and the Annie Laurie has 30.

25 Lorna Doone

The Lorna Doone, at 320 East 100 South, shared an interior block parking lot with the other nearby apartments. Between the two sister buildings is a landscaped courtyard.

24 Lorna Doone detail

Both buildings feature elaborate gargoyles and ornaments at the entrance and on the roofline.

26 Armista

The Armista, located at 55 East 100 South, is a substantial building of stone and brick with little ornamentation. Its doorway features beautiful lamps. Herrick and Company built it with 30 units in 1927. Its name was later changed to the Waldorf Apartments. A 1927 Salt Lake Tribune ad read: “$40.00 to $42.00. One of the most modernly equipped and conveniently located apartments in the city.”

27 Piccardy

The Piccardy, at 115 South 300 East, was built in 1930. It has 40 units: five one-bedroom and five studios on each floor. It features Jacobethan styling, twisting columns at the entrance and some leaded glass windows.

28 Piccardy detail

Acanthus leaf trim and original light fixtures adorn the Piccardy entrance.

29 Los Gables

The Los Gables is one of the largest apartments of the early period with 80 units. It was built at 135 South 300 East in 1929. Note the imposing stone work and arched doorways.

30 Los Gables detail

The Los Gables also features inset stone pieces and timber accents.

31 Piccadilly

The Piccadilly is a typical double-loaded corridor plan, built in 1929 at 24 South 500 East.

32 Piccadilly detail

The doorway at the Piccadilly features the original light fixture and decorative sign.

33 Bigelow

The Bigelow apartments were built in 1930 at 223 South 400 East, containing 30 units. A 1940 ad read: “2 r[oo]m modern, lots of space, light, all electric, good service, exclusive.”

34 Premier

The Premier was built at 27 South 800 East in 1931 for $50,000. The site features an unusually large front courtyard with lush landscaping. Note the upright metal sign on the roof.

35 Premier detail

The Premier entrances have striking stone work and wrought iron gates.

36 Chateau Normandie

The Chateau Normandie, 63 South 400 East, was built in 1931. It is a rare example of a “walk up” design built at the end of this apartment era. It has stately trees and extensive timber accents.

37 Chateau Normandie detail

The windows at the Chateau Normandie are extensively decorated.

38 Eastcliff Westcliff

The East Cliff and West Cliff buildings sit together on 200 South between 400 East and 500 East. They were built in 1927–28 and originally named the Cummings apartments.

39 Mayflower

The Mayflower, at 1283 East South Temple, is one of the largest and most elegant apartment buildings of the first half of the twentieth century. Built in 1929 from a design by the architect Slack Winburn, each floor has only five 2,600-square-foot units. Arches and ivy adorn the exterior.

40 Knickerbocker

The Knickerbocker apartment building at 1280 East South Temple was built in 1911 by W.C.A. Vissing. It has a large carved cornice and massive columns with iron railing balconies.

41 Castle Heights

The Castle Heights apartment building opened in January, 1931 to great acclaim. A Salt Lake Tribune ad dated January 18, 1931, read: “Every kitchen in this ultra modern apartment house is equipped with a genuine Frigidaire unit.” It still stands at 141 East First Avenue. Note the stone work, arched entrance, and neon sign.



Utah History Podcasts

Check out our collection of audio files from various events and programs of Utah State History.

Utah StateTelephoneOperator_edge History Brown Bag Presentations

Utah State History hosts a collection of Brown Bags every year. We recently began recording these presentations so you can listen and not miss a thing.

Listen to a mix of brown bags presented by a mix of lay and professional historians.


News_WagonUtah Historical Quarterly Web Extras

Early Utah Women Inventors: A Conversation with Christine Cooper-Rompato  – UHQ Summer 2015

Folklore and History: A Conversation with Steve Siporin – UHQ Spring 2015

Sounds of the Cathedral – UHQ Winter 2015

An Interview with Noel Carmack and Connell O’Donovan on the 1855 murder of Isaac Whitehouse in Parowan, Utah, and the Art of Historical Storytelling – UHQ Fall 2014

Hist.ConfSlider2015 State History Conference “Deep Roots: Many Voices”

Listen to select sessions from the 2015 State History Conference


Veterans Utah History Project


Where were you when WWII ended?

The Division of State History and the Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs have joined together on the Veterans Utah History Project.

Whether you are a WWII veteran and want to document and share your experiences and memories or you want to volunteer to interview a WWII veteran there are opportunities to participate.

Visit the Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs website to learn more and get involved to collect, document and archive this important part of our history.

Utah Historical Quarterly Web Extras

First published in 1928, the Utah Historical Quarterly, the state’s official history journal, features articles, essays, and book reviews and notices on all aspects of the Beehive State’s history. Since 2014, current issues are now accompanied by rich online supplements.

In the digital medium, we are able to do more than can be done in print: reproduce UHQ articles and essays accompanied with expanded photos, maps, and bibliographies, and publish photo galleries, primary sources, oral histories, podcast interviews, and other special features suitable for the web. See below for the current supplements and an archive of previous online content.

Click here for information on becoming a member of the Utah State Historical Society and receiving your own copy of the Utah Historical Quarterly. UHQ back issues are available online through a searchable database.


2015FallUHQUHQ Fall 2015

John C. Frémont and the Mormons: A Conversation with Alexander L. Baugh

Photographs and Drawings from the Simpson Expedition, 1858-59

Susan Rhoades Neel on Earl and Pearl Douglass

Reflections on the Waterpocket Fold and Greater Capitol Reef, by Ralph Becker

Haldane “Buzz” Holmstrom on the Colorado River: A Gallery



UHQ Summer 2015

A Conversation with Marshall E. Bowen on Russian Molokans in Box Elder County, Utah

The Hill Creek Extension: A Portfolio of Primary Documents

Early Utah Women Inventors: A Conversation with Christine Cooper-Rompato

The Carol Carlisle Summer Wedding Dress Collection: A Photo Gallery

Ute and Shoshone Vocabularies


2015SpringUHQUHQ Spring 2015

Almon Babbitt and Early Utah Politics: A Portfolio of Documents
Introduced and transcribed by Bruce Worthen

Folklore and History: An Interview with Steve Siporin

Southeastern Utah Missile Launches

Extended Photo Gallery of the Green River Launch Complex


2015WinterUHQUHQ Winter 2015

UHQ Interviews: Utah Historiography
Conversations with Gary Topping on Utah Historiography and with Robert Parson on S. George Ellsworth

Charcoal Kilns: A Photo Gallery
Photos and captions by Douglas H. Page Jr.

Gallery of Female Imagery in Advertisements

Sounds of the Cathedral


2014FallUHQUHQ Fall 2014

Mormon and Federal Indian Policy: A Portfolio of Primary Documents

Mormon and Federal Indian Policy: A Portfolio of Primary Documents
Transcribed by Brent Rogers

An Interview with Noel Carmack and Connell O’Donovan on the 1855 murder of Isaac Whitehouse in Parowan, Utah, and the Art of Historical Storytelling

Water: Records in the Utah State Historical Society and the Utah State Archives

Ute Photographs


2014SummerUHQUHQ Summer 2014

Previous UHQ Cover Designs

The Making and Unmaking of Utah
By Jared Farmer

Race with the Sun
By Carl Kuntze

Memoirs: An Annotated Bibliography
Compiled by Caitlin Shirts