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Utah’s Historic Architecture Guide

Why this guide to architecture?

This architectural guide is provided by the Utah State Historic Preservation Office for those who have

Architecture Guide Directory
Building Types
Building Styles

an interest in the historic architecture of Utah. We also developed it to aid consultants in architectural fieldwork. Input for the information came from fieldwork, architectural historians, and published 2uha-coversources. Much of the text and photographs for the earlier buildings comes directly from Thomas Carter and Peter Goss’s Utah’s Historic Architecture, 1847-1940: A Guide.

This guide is not exhaustive, but it covers the most commonly found types and styles of historic architecture in the state–residential, commercial, agricultural and religious.

Although it mostly covers “historic architecture”(more than 50 years old), in order to make it more 3uha-intro4useful for consultants doing architectural survey and inventory, the guide also covers some common examples of more-recent types and styles.

Construction date ranges are estimates only and apply mainly to Utah. Dates in other states or regions vary.

Vernacular architecture

This guide focuses on the buildings we encounter everyday, more commonly known as vernacular 4uha-intro6architecture. Architectural historians debate what really constitutes vernacular architecture or how to best define it. But ultimately, vernacular architecture is the common architecture for any given region and at any given time.

For the most part, vernacular buildings were not formally designed by an architect. In the broader view, however, that is not always the case; architects did design some examples that we consider here to be vernacular.

Type vs. Style

This guide will follow the classification system established in Carter and Goss’s field guide: that is, 5uha-intro1organizing and identifying buildings by both plan type and architectural style.

Essentially, type is the most basic arrangement of the building’s layout, in the floor plan and massing of structural components.

The building’s style is determined by the architectural and ornamental details applied to the basic structure.

Although we may use an example of a building as a particular type in the “type” section, we might also use the same building in the “style” section because of the architectural detail applied to it. In a few categories, the same term is used to denote both a type and a style.

What is considered historic?

Many of the examples covered in this guide have only recently become what we call “of the historic 6uha-intro7era,” meaning they have been around for at least 50 years, which is the age criterion established by the National Register of Historic places. For many of these examples there has not been enough time to study and better understand these buildings, and there is not enough known about them to do further classification and possibly sub-categorization. As our knowledge expands on certain types of architecture, we will update this guide.

This guide will always be a work in progress.

If you have information to add, please contact us.

Research Center

Our Research Center contains a treasure trove of Utah history.

Located in the historic Rio Grande Depot building the Research Center of Utah State Archives and Utah State History provides public access to state holdings. Our staff can help you research historical records and collections from private, public, and government sources. Access to the Research Center and staff assistance are free. Visit the Library and Collections page to see what we have. Also see the joint research page for Utah State Archives and Utah State History collections.

The Research Center is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 


Have a research question? Ask our librarians.

When You Visit

The records and materials in the collections are historic and one of a kind. All books, manuscripts, photographs, maps and records are non-circulating and must be used in the Research Center. Photocopies are generally allowed and available as a self-service. When visiting, patrons must register annually.

Books and photographs regarding general Utah history topics as well as commonly used items such as Polk city directories and yearbooks are available in the Research Center without staff assistance. Other collection items are housed in closed stacks and will need to be requested and pulled by staff.

Records and collections can be pulled prior to a visit to the Research Center but it is not required.

Rules of the Research Center

Due to the historic and unique nature of the records and collections, patrons of the Research Center must adhere to the following rules:

  • No food or drink is allowed in the Research Center.
  • All coats, purses, bags, briefcases etc. must be left in the reception area.
  • Only pencils (not pens), paper, and laptop computers are allowed in the Research Center.
  • Researchers should not mark or write on any research materials.
  • The existing order of documents should be carefully maintained.
  • Researchers should use particular care in handling fragile materials.
  • Scanners are not allowed in the Research Center, cameras by permission only.
  • Research Center Staff may examine all notes and papers as you leave

Copy and Mailing Charges

Research Center staff can make copies for you. See our list of copy charges.

Hours and Location

The Research Center is open  Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

The Research Center in the Rio Grande Depot is located at 300 South Rio Grande Street, Salt Lake City, Utah. Map.


Phone: 801-245-7227. Email:

Digital Resources from the Utah Division of State History

The Utah Division of State History (State History) has many online resources available to the public for research purposes. Some of our current digital resources include:

State History resources digitized in partnership with U of U Marriott Library:

Digital photos:  70,000 historical photos online at

Newspapers:  300,000 newspaper pages scanned and on Utah Digital Newspapers,   These newspapers cover crucial periods of Utah history.

  • Salt Lake Telegram:  1867, 1902, 1907-1912, 1914-1949
  • Ephraim Enterprise:  1891-1972
  • Inter-Mountain Republican: 1906-1909
  • Manti Messenger:  1893-1973
  • Salt Lake Herald:  1870-1920

Archaeological site records: 35,000 records online, available for licensed archaeologists

Publications: 47,000 pages online at

Complete copies of these periodicals:

  • Utah Historical Quarterly—scholarly  journal published since 1928
  • Beehive History—magazine with short, interesting stories published from 1974-2002
  • History Blazer—brief history anecdotes published as part of Utah’s centennial celebration, 1995-1996
  • Utah Archaeology—annual professional journal published by State History and partners
  • Antiquities Section Selected Papers—a monograph series examining the prehistoric cultures of Utah
  • Utah Preservation—historic preservation magazine published annually 1997-2007

Complete copies of these books:

  • 29 Centennial County Histories—A volume on each county published as part of Utah’s centennial celebration
  • A Way of Seeing: Discovering the Art of Building in Spring City, Utah
  • Brigham Street
  • Building by the Railyard
  • Carbon County: Eastern Utah’s Industrialized Island
  • Corinne—The Gentile Capital of Utah
  • Emery County: Reflections on Its Past and Future
  • First 100 Years: A History of the Salt Lake Tribune
  • Historic Buildings of Downtown Salt Lake City
  • Let ‘Em Holler: A Political Biography of J. Bracken Lee
  • Not by Bread Alone: The Journal of Martha Spence Heywood
  • Of Work and Romance: Discovering Utah’s Barns
  • On the Ragged Edge: The Life and Times of Dudley Leavitt
  • San Juan County, Utah: People, Resources, and History
  • The Architecture of Fort Douglas, Utah, 1862-1995
  • The Avenues of Salt Lake City
  • The Peoples of Utah
  • Utah’s Historic Architecture, 1847-1940

Other State History digital resources:

Cemeteries and burials:  information on nearly 600,000 deceased persons online at . This database was named by Family Tree magazine as one of 2013’s best state-run genealogy websites. Visitors may also go to directly.

Information on researching and rehabilitating historic buildings at

Catalogs and indexes to research library, manuscripts, phone directories, newspapers, and yearbooks at

Markers and monuments:  text from historical markers statewide at

Sister Agency Resources Digitized by Marriott Library

  • State Fine Art Collection
  • State Folk Art Collection
  • Utah American Indian Digital Archive:  Articles, books, documents, oral histories, photographs, and maps on Utah’s tribes at
  • Microfiche:  6,000 sheets of microfiche for State Library
  • Utah State Bulletin:  digitized and online at State Library

1948’s Unforgettable Winter

To view this video in full screen mode, click the icon in the bottom right of the screen

Do you have your own story of the winter of 1948-1949? Send it to us! Send your memories to

Winter’s fun (right?). But sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.

Salt Lake City Main Street 1949 covered in snow

Salt Lake City Main Street, 1949

In 1948-49, the most severe winter on record beat up the West. Even Las Vegas got 17 inches of snow. Though other winters saw more snow, wind, extreme cold, and little thawing made the snow pile up. And up. And up. Think about that next time you want to complain about winter!

Three days of ferocious snow

Early in January 1949, a vicious three-day blizzard broke windows, damaged roofs, and blew snowdrifts six to ten feet high on roads and streets. After that the temperature fell to below zero. The drifts crusted so hard that snowplow crews struggled to remove them. Sardine Canyon, between Brigham City and Cache Valley, stayed closed for a month. People got stranded, even in Salt Lake City–18 families in Salt Lake’s Canyon Rim area had to be dug out.

Livestock starved and froze. The state launched “Operation Haylift,” dropping bales of hay from military cargo planes. The Sons of Utah Pioneers, perhaps thinking of the next year’s hunt, lobbied for the state to also feed deer, pheasants, ducks, and quail. Meanwhile, skaters took advantage of strong ice at the Liberty Park pond, and children played on the huge snowdrifts.

Another blizzard

Snow Plows in Utah, 1948

Snow Plows in Utah, 1948

On January 15, another blizzard struck, bringing more minus temperatures. Some people had a novel–and irrational–idea: The city should truck in salt water from the Great Salt Lake or water from hot springs to melt the snow on the streets.

And another, big-time!

Then on January 22 the mother of all blizzards roared in. Wind-whipped snow and slides closed roads all over the state. In Millard County, where the snow drifted as high as the telephone wires, a couple of men spent 36 hours stranded in a truck waiting for a snowplow to dig them out. Avalanches trapped skiers at Alta and Brighton–though a few decided to simply ski down Little Cottonwood Canyon to the valley.

A TRULY big chill

After the storm quit, the cold air hit: -25 degrees in Salt Lake City. Woodruff reached -45. Schools all over the Wasatch Front closed because gas supplies could not meet the demand. Coal companies could not deliver coal, and Utah Power and Light cut the power to its generators. The big freeze continued for several days, and then again on February 5, headlines read: “New Blizzard Throttles Utah.” And so it went, snowing all the way into April. The one thaw came in late February, and it brought its own miseries: flooding. An ice jam dammed a canal, flooding houses around 800 West and between 1300 and 1700 South.

Yep, it was a hard winter, but people rose to the occasion. They did what needed to be done. And many were heroic in their efforts to help others get through a bitter cold time.

From Mark Eubank

We asked meteorologist Mark Eubank if 1948-49 was the snowiest winter on record. It was not. Here is what he said:

First, let’s talk about WHEN we get the snow.

Winter is a specific period comprising three months or about 90 days. Meteorologically, winter includes the months of December, January, and February. Since it can also snow in the Fall and in the Spring we have a snowfall year, which typically runs from September through May. So when we say a certain season was extra snowy, we need to define the time period.

Most people tend to think of the “winter” season (December thru February) when they remember stormy years. I think that is true because much of the Spring snow melts quickly.

Winners of the “Most Snow” award:

Here is a list showing the top five “winters” and the top five “snowfall years.”

Snowiest Utah “Winters” Snowiest Utah “Snowfall Years”


     Snowfall                      Sep-Jun       Snowfall























The top two snowfall years had heavy Winter snows PLUS a lot of snow in Fall and Spring.

The Winter of 1992-93 was exceptional. In fact, it ranks at number one, plus there was a lot of snow in the Fall.

Cold + snow is what we remember

The reason the Winter of 1948-49 is so noteworthy is because the snowfall was accompanied with exceptional cold! In fact, 1948-49 is the combined coldest-snowiest Winter ever measured in Utah. That combination kept the snow around for most of the Winter, and in addition the wind blew the snow into huge drifts.

Winters in Utah can be cold and dry, or cold and wet. Or they can be warm and dry or warm and wet. The warm and wet Winters are quickly forgotten, but the cold and wet Winters are the ones that leave lasting impressions.

While the Winter of 1992-93 was the snowiest, it didn’t even rank in the top 15 for cold.

Winners of the “coldest” weather award:

Coldest Utah Winters

  Dec-Feb   Snowfall Avg Temp























Post by Kristen Rogers-Iversen, Associate Director, State History

Cemeteries & Burials

Children's Angel Monument SLC CemeteryThe Utah State Cemeteries and Burials database is available to the public. The information found within this searchable database is voluntarily given by the individual cemeteries. We work with all cemeteries throughout the state to centralize burial information and make it available to the public.

**Please note: If you find an error in the database, please contact the cemetery to make the correction in the official record. We do not maintain their files and each cemetery sexton has different policies related to updates.

burials bar

Grave at Salt Lake City Cemetery


Search for a person buried in Utah.




Rockville Cemetery entrance

Washington County Historical Society


Find a cemetery in Utah, or view a list of cemeteries.  Please note not all cemeteries listed have provided burial data.






Search death certificates from 1904-1964 (outside web site)





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The Utah Cemeteries and Burials Database is recognized by Family Tree Magazine as one of the Best State Websites for family history research.

General Information

  • We give small grants to cemeteries to help them digitize sexton records.
  • Private groups and individuals sometimes offer to survey a cemetery. If you would like to do this, please see our tips for cemetery volunteers.
  • We do not offer copies of files submitted by the cemeteries. For official records please contact the individual cemeteries.

For cemeteries wishing to submit data, please refer to our submission guidelines, and contact Amy Barry 801-245-7247 for more us bar

For information about the Cemeteries and Burials Database, contact:

Amy Barry
Fax: 801-533-3503

For grant information, contact:

Debbie Dahl
Fax: 801-533-3503

Preservation Pro Update: October 22, 2013

Utah Division of State History
Preservation Pro Update
October 22nd, 2013

This memo is intended to update Preservation Pro users and our agency partners on what the archaeology records staff has been working on and completed during the recent months.

General Stats:

  • Archaeological report spatial data uploaded August-September 2013: 310
  • Archaeological site spatial data uploaded August-September: 464
  • Site forms scanned in August-September: 1800 (focused on Uintah County).

Site Form Access Bug

We’ve received numerous reports concerning issues accessing site forms scans- thank you for the feedback.  Our IT staff is reportedly exploring the issue and searching for a solution.  In the interim, if you are needing one or two site forms from counties already scanned (BE, BO, CA, DA, DC, DV, GR, IN, UN) please contact archrecords and we’ll see what we can do.  We encourage anyone experiencing the issue to “report a bug” via the feedback tab to escalate the issue.

Site form scanning update:

We are currently working on scanning Uintah County.  This county was chosen due to the high traffic these records are receiving.  We are over 50% complete with that county.  Our Department recently purchased a high volume scanner to expedite the project.  We currently have nine counties (BE, BO, CA, CB, DA, DC, DV, GR, and IN) scanned.

Additional Preservation Pro development update: 

Last month we were finally able to get a ‘landownership’ identifier added to the system.  We hope it’s been of use.  If you have other functionality you’d like to see added please use the “report request feature” in the feedback tab.

Preservation Pro and the Proposed “New IMACS”

We are currently preparing for the potential rollout of new site recording standards and forms in Utah.  Given the large changes to the form, and our software and financial constraints, we’ll be significantly modifying the data we retain in Preservation Pro.  Our focus will be on providing digital site forms (pdf) and basic tabular data on every submitted site.  In working with key agencies we feel this will add more value to the system.  More information is coming- but if you have questions please feel free to contact us.

New Records Email Address:

For those of you who haven’t heard, we’ve recently launched a new email address for records needs:  This is a group email address that we hope will provide quicker and better service for records needs.  Please update your email address book.

Send us your shapefiles!

Thank you to all who have generously responded to our requests for spatial data.  We continue to accept digital spatial data as an addition to your usual paper-based submission packet.  A CD or other portable media attached to the report is best (addressed to us), but we can be flexible on other the delivery methods.  We know such submissions were discouraged in the past, but change is here!

Selected Glossary of Real Estate Terms

(Used in Property Records/Title Abstracts)

Bargain and Sale Deed (B&S Deed)     
Deed that conveys the land described therein, but without any warranties whatsoever.

An instrument in writing that, when executed by the grantor and delivered to the grantee, conveys the described real estate from the one to the other.  Generic “deeds” are not commonly used; “warranty deeds” are more common (see below).

The right, privilege, or interest that one party has in the land of another; an encumbrance or limitation on the property.  It is extinguished by release, abandonment, or when the necessity no longer exists (e.g., right-of-way for road, driveway, etc.).

A person to whom real estate is conveyed; a buyer.

A person who conveys real estate by deed; a seller.

A written legal document created to effect the rights and liabilities of the parties (e.g., deed, mortgage, lien, etc.).

A special encumbrance; a charge against property whereby property is made security for the payment of a debt or charges such as a judgment, a mortgage or taxes; a lien is an asset and therefore may be assigned.  Often used by suppliers and contractors who have not been paid.

Lis Pendens
Suit pending.  Usually recorded in order to give notice of pending litigation to potential buyers or lenders.

Mayor’s Deed (MD)
Deed given under the original dispersal of the property in a town by the mayor.

Mortgage (Mtge)
A written instrument recognized by law by which real property is pledged to secure a debt or obligation; a lien on real property.

Quitclaim Deed (QCD)
Deed given when the grantee already has, or claims, complete or partial title to the premises and grantor has a possible interest that otherwise would constitute a cloud upon the title. (Not used for conveyance purposes.)

A measure of length containing 16-1/2 feet.  A term often used in older legal descriptions of property.  Another archaic term is “chain,” which is 100 feet.

Sheriff’s Deed
A deed given when property is sold by court order to satisfy a judgment.

Tax Deed
A deed given by the tax collector to the county and which terminates all rights of redemption.

Tax Sale
Sale of property after a period of nonpayment of taxes.

Tax Title
The title by which one holds lands purchased at a tax sale.

Trust Deed (TD)
A conveyance of real estate to a third person to be held for the benefit of a beneficiary, which is ordinarily repayment of a loan made to the trustor; similar to a mortgage.

Warranty Deed (WD)
The most common type of deed used to transfer property.  It contains a covenant that the grantor will protect the grantee against any claimant; contains covenants of title against encumbrances and of quiet enjoyment.

Utah Historical Quarterly Summer 2014

Volume 82, Number 2 (Summer Issue):

Utah’s history is more diverse than you think! Check out the Summer 2014 issue of the Utah Historical Quarterly to learn more about where Utah has been, and how we’ve come to where we are today. Join the Historical Society for your own copy.



Cover of the UHQ Summer 2014

This Was the Place: The Making and Unmaking of Utah
By Jared Farmer

William Hope Harvey and the Ogden Mardi Gras
By Val Holley

A Personal Tribute to the “Real” Historic Twenty-Fifth Street
By Fred Seppi

Conquering the Black Ridge: The Communitarian Road in Pioneer Utah
By Todd Compton

The Palmer and Driggs Collections at Southern Utah University
By Janet Seegmiller

The history of Utah—and the very human desire to understand the past—has kept the staff of Utah Historical Quarterly busy for more than eighty-five years. As the new director of the Division of State History and as the editor of the Quarterly, I see Utah’s history as Tip O’Neill saw politics: it’s all local. In other words, the success of the Quarterly is tied to our ability to understand, listen, and respond to you, the reader, and to the citizens of Utah.

With this in mind, during the last year we have reached out to Utah’s leaders, to our readers, and to the broad history-loving community in Utah, and we have decided to make some changes to UHQ. In addition to long research articles—which will always constitute the bulk of the Quarterly—we will periodically publish essays, primary documents, updates from archives around the state, and a historic image spotlight, among other features. This issue, for instance, includes information about two valuable collections at Southern Utah University and a charming photograph from a party held in the midst of the Great Depression. Most noticeably, the Quarterly has a fresh, new graphic design. Throughout its long history, UHQ has gone through several redesigns, the last in 2000; a gallery of representative covers is available online (see below).

The Summer 2014 issue of UHQ also marks our first effort to present a mixture of web and print material, with an extended version of Jared Farmer’s essay, “The Making and Unmaking of Utah.” The online version of this piece contains nearly one hundred images that support Farmer’s text and tell stories in a way that print cannot match. Look for web extras at the end of this and other articles. This is a humble beginning to what we hope will become a robust online resource for those who love accessible, thoughtful history.

We have reorganized the Quarterly’s office into two equal and complementary sections. Dr. Holly George will remain largely responsible for print content, and Dr. Jedediah S. Rogers—who joined UHQ’s staff as this issue went to press—will pursue digital content. Both sides of the Quarterly will be offered as a seamless reading experience.

Though much is changing with UHQ, much will stay the same. We remain especially committed to publishing peer-reviewed articles that explore the breadth and depth of Utah’s past. For instance, in addition to the pieces mentioned above, this issue features three articles that offer something of a variation on the theme of the “making of Utah.” In our second article, Val Holley tells the story of William Hope Harvey, a booster determined to draw attention to Ogden by mounting a lavish Mardi Gras celebration there in 1890. The third article carries the history of Ogden forward to the mid-twentieth century, with the reminiscences of Fred Seppi about his childhood experience of watching life on Twenty-Fifth Street. Finally, Todd Compton describes the struggles of nineteenth-century pioneers to build a road through the Black Ridge area of southern Utah.

Web extra: View UHQ’s past graphic designs at


John L. Kessell
Miera y Pacheco: A Renaissance Spaniard in Eighteenth-Century New Mexico
Reviewed by Steven K. Madsen

Allan Kent Powell, ed.
Nels Anderson’s World War I Diary

Reviewed by Douglas D. Alder

Robert S. McPherson, Jim Dandy, and Sarah E. Burak
Navajo Tradition, Mormon Life: The Autobiography and Teachings of Jim Dandy
Reviewed by Farina King

Linda Scarangella McNenly
Native Performers in Wild West Shows: From Buffalo Bill to Euro Disney
Reviewed by Robert S. McPherson

Allen V. Parkham and Steven R. Evans
Lewis and Clark among the Nez Perce: Strangers in the Land of the Nimiipuu
Reviewed by John D. Barton