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Category Archives: Research History

Artifacts Collection

Have you ever been in the presence of an artifact and felt transported in time? If you know their story, artifacts can become a tangible bridge to the past.
State History has over 31,000 artifacts in its collection and has implemented a new artifacts catalog to provide greater accessibility. Click on the link to begin exploring the collection and stay up to date as we add new objects.

Utah Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month celebrates Utah’s rich archaeological and historical resources with a month of lectures and hands-on learning. Statewide events include:

  • Open house at the Natural History Museum of Utah with educational activities for (kids and adults
  • Hands-on experiences
  • Lectures and paper presentations
  • Tours of archaeological and historical sites

Printable version of the events calendar is available!

Please note: Updates occur regularly, but may take up to 48 hours to appear. Please note: Jumps may land slightly below their marker. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

Do you have an event? Please email and fill out the Archaeology and Historic Preservation Event Form


Golden Spike National Historic Site

  • Transcontinental Celebration (148th Anniversary)
    Date & Time: Wednesday, May 10 (9am to 5pm)
    Location: Golden Spike National Historic Site, 32 miles west of Brigham City
    For More Information (contact info): 435-471-2209, ext 29
    Sponsors/Organizations: National Park Service

    Admission Cost: Free
    Event Description: Golden Spike National Historic Site will celebrate the 148th anniversary of the completion of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad on Wednesday, May 10th, 2017.  Events marking the May 10th occasion include the recreation of the historic “champagne photo”, a performance by Box Elder High School Band, traditional anniversary program, a re-enactment of the original 1869 ceremony, and locomotive steam demonstrations. This year’s keynote speaker will be Jimmy Chen, Professor of Computer Science & Information Systems, and Utah Advisor of Overseas Community Affairs Council, Republic of China (Taiwan). Full calendar of events can be found here: Press Release




  • Archaeology Day
    Date & Time: Saturday, May 6 (10am to 2pm)
    Location: Museum of Anthropology, Old Main RM 252, Utah State University
    For More Information (contact info): Molly Cannon,
    USU Museum of Anthropology
    Admission Cost: Free
    Event Description: Join the World Explorers Club at the USU Museum of Anthropology. Come explore the wonders of Archaeology with us! Try out our mini dig site, learn about major discoveries in archaeology, and hear “Tech Talks” every half hour showing off the technology used by archaeologists.


  • Hyrum Hydro-Electric Power Plant Tour
    Date & Time: Wednesday, May 10, 6-8pm
    Location: Blacksmith Fork Canyon
    For More Information (contact info): Jami J. Van Huss,, 435-245-0208
    Hyrum Museum
    Admission Cost: Free
    Event Description: Visit Hyrum City’s hydro-electric plant in Blacksmith Fork Canyon! Hyrum Power Superintendent Matt Draper will briefly discuss the history of electricity in Hyrum (one of Cache Valley’s first electrified cities) and the work inovlved with keeping the lights on. Come and see how water is turned into electricty.

  • Guided Tours of Historic Hyrum
    Date & Time: Saturday, May 13 (11am to 1pm)
    Location: Meet at Hyrum Museum, 50 West Main
    For More Information (contact info): Jami J. Van Huss,, 435-245-0208
    Hyrum Museum
    Admission Cost: Free
    Event Description: Guided tours of historic Hyrum will begin at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. Meet at the museum fifteen minutes prior to your tour time. Since there is limited seating on the bus, please sign-up ahead of time at the museum. Tours will last 35–45 minutes and will be based off the Historic Tour of Hyrum, Utah booklet, which will be provided to all participants. Additional booklets will be available at the museum for those interested in driving themselves. More tour times may be added if needed.


Remembering Joe Hill

Joe Hill

Joe HillJoe Hill was a Swedish immigrant who became a labor organizer and gifted songwriter for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, more commonly known as the Wobblies), during the early twentieth century.  An itinerant laborer who wandered throughout the country, Hill was convicted of murder by a Salt Lake City court in 1915 and sentenced to death.  An international public outcry ensued, and Hill’s case became a touchstone for the labor movement. Letters and telegrams poured in demanding that Utah Governor William Spry secure Hill’s release. Helen Keller, President Woodrow Wilson, and the Swedish ambassador were among the hundreds who implored the governor to stay the execution. Spry refused to intervene, and Hill died by firing squad on November Governor Spry19, 1915. Awaiting his execution, Hill wrote to IWW president “Big Bill” Haywood: “Don’t waste time mourning. Organize!” These words would inspire protesters and workers for decades to come.  2015 marks the 100th anniversary of Hill’s death. Hill’s trial and execution remain controversial today.

Salt Lake Tribune Cover November 19, 1915

Salt Lake Tribune November 19, 1915 Governor Spry’s reply

Salt Lake Tribune Cover November 20, 2015

Salt Lake Tribune cover November 21, 1915

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 or “every day” 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 Cory Jensen.

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. 

The Research Center will be closed Friday, October 19th for the Conference of Inter-Mountain Archivists’ Fall Caucus.




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

The Unforgettable Winter of 1948

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

Winter is fun—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!

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.

Yes, it was a hard winter, but people rose to the occasion. 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, Former Associate Director, State History

Cemeteries & Burials

Angel Monument


          General Information

The 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.


contact us bar

For information about the Cemeteries and Burials Database, contact:

Amy Barry

For grant information, contact:

Alena Franco