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Historic Preservation – National Register


Salt Palace

The National Register recognizes places that matter to Americans.

The National Register of Historic Places is the official federal list of properties that are significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, or engineering.

Places may be listed individually, as part of an Historic District, or as part of a multiple property or statewide thematic category.

Utah’s historic properties are frequently added to the National Register of Historic Places. Recent nominations to the National Register that are currently under review include:

To see historic properties in Utah that were recently approved for the National Register, click here.

To search all historic properties in Utah, click here.


Utah Designed: History, Landscape, and the Urban Built Environment

A Symposium  

Save the Date:
Friday, May 13, 2016, 9–4 p.m.
Salt Lake City Public Library
Nancy Tessman Auditorium
210 East 400 South

We invite practitioners of history, historic preservation, urban planning, land and water management, and other related fields to join us for a free symposium about the Greater Salt Lake landscape and built environment.

This one day, interdisciplinary event aims to examine the historical dimensions, design elements, power relationships, and legal and bureaucratic scaffolding that have shaped Utah’s capital city and urban corridor.

We will consider the role of ideas, laws, bureaucracies, and intellectual designs on urban design and transportation; the impact of architecture and design on political, cultural, racial, and other power structures; the design, alteration, management, destruction, regulation, and sustainability of a valued natural resource on the landscape; and the challenges and promises of re-imagining and recreating a place where we live, work, and play.

Keynote Address: to be announced


Transportation and Urban Design: A discussion of the factors—such as laws, technology, population growth, economic pressures, and underlying assumptions—that have affected the development of Utah’s contemporary and historic transportation systems.

Architecture and Power: A discussion of the power dynamics reflected in historic and modern architecture. The panel will juxtapose the Salt Lake Temple and the City Hall Building, the LDS Conference Center and the Salt Lake City Library, City Creek and the Gateway—buildings and campuses that visually and geographically reflect religious and secular forces at play in Utah’s capital city.

Water and the Unsustainable Landscape: An exploration of the role of a dwindling natural resource on the built environment. From the lofty Wasatch Mountains to the Great Salt Lake, water has shaped and dictated human interaction on the eastern edge of the Great Basin, contributing to large-scale and, in some cases, unsustainable manipulation of the landscape.

This symposium, presented by the Utah State Historical Society and Utah Historical Quarterly, is free and open to the public but registration is requested. There is a cost for parking in the library parking garage.

The program acknowledges the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service and the dedication of Utah’s State Capital building, and the fiftieth anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act.

RSVP here

For additional information, contact the editors of Utah Historical Quarterly: Jedediah Rogers ( or Holly George (



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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




Digital Encoding Forms

Digital Archaeology Records Submissions

In the interim period leading up to the rollout of a statewide new archaeological site recording system the Utah SHPO is offering an additional avenue to submit IMACS encoded data.  This will negate the need for a paper encoding form submission.  Until the new site recording system is fully adopted Utah SHPO will continue to require IMACS encoded data be submitted as part of all SHPO submission packets.  For this interim period, we welcome the digital submission of this encoded data in our defined .csv (or .xls) format.  Please download the .csv file and instructional spreadsheet.  Fieldnames should not be changed.   One example record is included in the .csv file – please delete this record prior to future population.

Population of this .csv file follows the existing encoded data specifications with data entered into a spreadsheet row instead of a paper form.  We feel this process should be straightforward.  Please direct any questions to

The resulting file will be submitted on portable media (CD or DVD likely) and delivered as part of your SHPO submission packet.  Preferable this media will also include pertinent shapefiles and PDFs of the report and site form following the proposed 2012 BLM Digital Data Standards.

Tax Credit Forms

Historic Tax Credit Approvals

Do you have a current Utah State Historic Tax Credit project underway? Are you finishing your project and need the final forms? See below for forms.

Historic Preservation Tax Credit Application

Part 3 – Request for Final Approval form

Remember that your project should be complete by December 31, 2015 in order to claim the credit on your 2016 taxes.

Interested in Historic Tax Credits? Find out more.

NHPA 50 Year Anniversary

Join the nationwide celebration for the 50th Anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) in 2016. This Act transformed the face of communities throughout the United States and Utah by establishing a framework and incentives to preserve historic buildings, landscapes, and archaeological sites.  Coordinated through, the nationwide celebration is designed to inform and engage all ages and backgrounds in this significant law’s effects on local communities and history. Since 1966, the NHPA has shaped preservation efforts on America’s history and culture while generating positive social and economic impacts. In 2015, the Utah State Historic Preservation Office (formed in 1973) gathered stakeholders to organize a year of events and to gather engaging stories and media for the celebration.

This website is a portal to a year of events and activities that cover all corners of Utah.

Events Calendar     Media     Preservation Apps     Links     Partners


Shipwreck at the Great Salt Lake