Tag Archives: utah state historical society

66th Annual Utah History Conference

Transportation and Movement

September 27–28, 2018

It’s possible to read Utah history as a story of movement and transportation. The centrality of movement to exploration, industry, and travel—major themes in Utah history—is obvious. Less so is the way movement can be seen on a more conceptual level as a way to evaluate change over space and time: the variation and transformation of the landscape, the flow of ideas and people into and out of the state, the mobility of groups and individuals, the development of transportation-related infrastructure, and the transportation and communication networks connecting the state to regional and national systems.

The flow of ideas and people is now more global than ever before, rendering traditional boundaries that confined physical movement less operable.

This is both a call for papers and a call for community recognition of the centrality of transportation and movement to Utah and the western region. We invite the public, scholars, students, policymakers, and organizations to submit proposals for papers, panels, or multimedia presentations on this theme.

Call for Papers

The Utah Historical State Society, thanks to our generous sponsors, offers the conference free to scholars, writers, educators, students, and the general public. Registration is required.


CONFERENCE SCHEDULE OVERVIEW

Thursday, September 27 
8:30 am–5:00 pm
Workshops
Rio Grande Depot, 300 S. Rio Grande Street, Salt Lake City
State Archives Building, 346 South Rio Grande Street, Salt Lake City

Friday, September 28 
7:45 am – check in and morning refreshment
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Plenary, lunchtime keynote and awards presentation, history and panel sessions
Utah Cultural Celebration Center, 1355 West 3100 South, West Valley



DETAILED CONFERENCE SCHEDULE

Thursday, September 27 – TBA

Friday, September 28 – TBA


Schedule at a Glance – TBA

 

Founding of the Utah Historical Society

The Founding of the Utah State Historical Society

The following text comes verbatim from Glen M. Leonard’s “The Utah State Historical Society, 1897 – 1972” (Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, Number 4, Fall 1972) and Gary Topping’s “One Hundred Years at the Utah State Historical Society” (Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, Number 3, Summer 1972).

[On July 14, 1897, the Deseret Evening News carried] a “Historical Society Call” addressed to the people of Utah and inviting all interested persons to an organizational meeting at the Templeton Hotel on July 22 to form a Utah State Historical Society.[1]

The resulting call of Governor Heber M. Wells brought twenty-seven persons together at the Templeton Hotel on Thursday, July 22, 1987. The Utah State Historical Society was on its way exactly fifty years after the vanguard of pioneer wagons entered the Salt Lake Valley.[2]

Why form a historical society at all and why at that particular time? There is an obvious and simple answer in the interest in history naturally aroused by the pioneer Golden Jubilee. That emotional impetus, the organizers hoped, could be carried through to institutional expression. The “Historical Society Call” began by recognizing that “the ‘Jubilee celebration’ of the advent of the Pioneers [is] an appropriate time for the founding of a society.”[3]

Governor [Heber M.] Wells called the July 22 meeting to order, recognized the fact that the organization was the brainchild of Jerrold R. Letcher, and appointed him chairman.[4]

Letcher’s stated goals for the organization in the “Historical Society Call” have a familiarly modern ring to them, for they anticipate, at least in embryonic form, some of the … major programs in our own day: … the exploration and investigation of aboriginal monuments and remains” (thus anticipating the Antiquities Section); collection and preservation of “manuscripts, documents, papers, and tracts of value” (anticipating the Library); and dissemination of historical information and “inter-change of views and criticisms” through scheduled meetings (anticipating the annual meetings … and perhaps even the Publications Section). Little imagination is required to foresee the Historic Preservation Section developing as an extension into the historical period of the concern for aboriginal sites (though historically the Historic Preservation Section would slightly precede the Antiquities Section).[5]

Participating in the founding rites were the key figures of Utah’s new government, civic leaders, and prominent religious hierarchs. In the slate of thirteen names proposed as officers and board of the initial organization one senses a careful balancing of sectarian, political, suffragist, and geographic interests.[6]

The Society’s earliest annual meetings were lively affairs featuring both music and intellectual stimulation. The first one took place in the Theosophical Hall on West Temple on the evening of January 17, 1898.[7]

[Jerrold R. Letcher] kept the minutes faithfully for eighteen years and provided a thread of continuity during that first period of the Society’s history. These were years in which the officers served as little more than a caretaker government for an organization which everyone agreed had ample reason to exist but no sizeable treasury from which to operate. The only visible activity from 1897 to 1916 was the meeting convened annually on the third Monday of January, often in the Deseret National Bank. … [The] sole purpose of many of those small gatherings was the constitutionally required election of officers.[8]

After the 1918, 1919, and 1920 annual meetings which featured addresses (though only the 1918 meeting included music), the tradition was completely abandoned except for the perfunctory elections, until 1930.[9]

The Society’s hard times following World War I are graphically symbolized by the board minutes themselves. Handsomely typewritten on ledger sheets during Jerrold Letcher’s tenure as recording secretary, they rapidly declined in both content and appearance. When Letcher resigned in 1920 to fill a state position …, his successors sometimes penciled their minutes on odd chunks of scratch paper, and in three instances merely on 3-by-5 index cards.[10]

The Society achieved the status of a state agency in 1917 and received its first state appropriation in that year—two hundred dollars to care for the artifacts from the Hall of Relics. It is hard to overestimate the importance of that achievement. … Becoming a state agency laid the groundwork for shifting the Society’s base of support from a tiny group—wealthy and influential though they were—to the people of Utah themselves. It was the beginning of the democratization of the Society, and that democratic support has been the Society’s greatest strength.[11]

It was obvious from the beginning that if the Society were to fulfill any part of its ambitious goals of assembling a library and manuscript collection and curation of the Hall of Relics artifacts and other material objects, some kind of office or museum space would be required. With both the governor and the secretary of state of Utah present on the Society’s board, it was natural that the possibility of rooms in the future State Capitol, then under discussion, would be considered.[12]

Thus, even though the minutes laconically mention the Society’s first meeting in its new room in the basement of the Capitol on January 17, 1916, the event must have been the occasion for considerable rejoicing. At last, cramped and isolated as its new quarters were, the Society could begin its full role as initially planned.[13]

The Society in the early 1920s was searching for an identity within the halls of government where it had been provided with a tiny, first floor Capitol office and minimal expenses. It found itself—and inaugurated a new period of significant accomplishment—after almost fading into disorganization. During several years of inattention to the details of staggered terms, the board of control, traditionally elected by the general membership, had come up short two members. Society leaders decided the solution was appointment by the governor; Governor Charles R. Mabey, a friend of history, liked the idea. It would strengthen state control over the policy-making board and tie the Society closer to state government. The change was authorized by the 1925 legislature.[14]

[Starting in 1927 J. Cecil Alter began] the transformation of the Society into a vigorous organization with authentic scholarly standards fulfilling a vitally important function in Utah cultural life. [Encouraged by the businessman-scholar Herbert S. Auerbach, aided by the tireless secretary-manager Marguerite L. Sinclair, and supported by the remarkable self-made historian Dale L. Morgan], Alter started the Utah Historical Quarterly [in 1928], began assembling a serious Utah history library, and secured the first regular appropriation from the state legislature. The modern Historical Society had begun to emerge.[15]

This thirty-two page [Utah Historical Quarterly] fulfilled the Society’s longing to disseminate historical information in a more permanent format than was possible through letters or sporadic lecture meetings.[16]

The Great Depression had so constricted state revenues by 1933 that the legislature was forced to cut the Society’s budget deeply enough to kill the young Quarterly. … In 1939, the legislature was able to appropriate $5,000 for the next biennium, and the Quarterly was resurrected.[17]

The Society … [from 1936 to 1948] moved through three overlapping phases. The creation of a small research library with a generous gift of books from Alter and revival of the Quarterly in 1939, accompanied by a consistent membership effort by Sinclair established the Society on its modern foundation.[18]

Marguerite Sinclair’s office from the early 1940s fulfilled numerous requests to proofread inscriptions written for state highway markers and some inquiries from private history groups seeking verification of their proposed historical markers.[19]

[F]or several years after 1941 the Society was transformed into a historical records office. It chronicled Utah’s participation in World War II, an assignment which diverted it from other planned activities. In the late 1940s an awareness born of New Deal records surveys turned the Society toward its obligation to preserve noncurrent state and county records. An archives program was the hope of board member William R. Palmer, but more pressing challenges faced officers as first J. Cecil Alter moved and then Miss Sinclair married and both resigned.[20]

The first goal of Utah State University history professor Joel E. Ricks when he began an eight-year term as president in 1949 was to find a qualified editor for Society publications. … From a field of a half-dozen candidates, the board selected A. Russell Mortensen. … He was hired September 1, 1950, as an executive secretary-editor, a position renamed “director” midway in his tenure to reflect his strengthened administrative role.[21]

[A. R. Mortensen] was not only the first Ph.D. to lead the Society but also the first person with any academic training in history at all to have been involved in management of the organization.[22]

The task of building a research library was entrusted to John W. James, Jr., librarian from 1952 to 1971. … Professional direction for the library attracted numerous gifts of all kinds and provided a valuable service for Utah historians. Another major program inaugurated during this period was the archives. Despite inadequate funding and substandard housing, Everett L. Cooley charted a solid path for implementing records management and archival programs as state archivist from 1954 to 1960.[23]

The introduction of professionals as administrator, librarian, and archivist created a new image for the Society. Professional advice had been available to the Society for years from historians serving as part-time, unpaid board members; their determination to introduce trained specialists was made possible through a swelling of financial support from the state. The increase was threefold during the Mortensen years. [24]

[In the early 1950s] the library and manuscript collection were extremely modest; the library consisted of about 1,5000 volumes occupying three glass-front bookcases … and the manuscript collection was little more than the WPA Historical Records Survey materials. … Obviously the Historical Society had reached a limit on its growth and would have to move if it were to expand.[25]

The Society’s most critical physical need in the early 1950s was solved … when Dr. Mortensen obtained the Governor’s Mansion.[26]

Occupant Governor J. Bracken Lee … was known to dislike the home’s lack of privacy. … In February 1957, the staff unpacked Society belongings at 603 East South Temple to begin a new era of growth for the Society on its sixtieth anniversary.[27]

The Society by then was already basking in an aura of new popularity. Professionalizing it had brought new respectability in the academic world. Interestingly enough this had also increased acceptance generally among history buffs. Under Dr. Mortensen’s personable leadership, a well-attended annual dinner and bimonthly lecture series were attracting new members and the public; a redesigned Utah Historical Quarterly with its special summer issues helped boost membership threefold to more than eleven hundred by 1958; and generous publicity and an involved board greatly extended public awareness of the Society.[28]

The original bylaws of the Society allowed for the presentation of certificates of honor. The first were granted when Dr. Mortensen introduced the Fellow and Honorary Life Membership awards in 1960. Since that time other award categories have been added to recognize significant contributions in teaching, scholarship, and service.[29]

The Mansion heralded in 1957 as a cure-all for Society space needs swiftly became crowded as archival work multiplied. … A make-shift records center established in four basement rooms of the Capitol in September 1961 expanded the division’s records management services to more state agencies, while the archives itself began filling available corners in the Mansion’s cellar. With the need for an environmentally-controlled building greater than ever in the mid-1960s, state officials worked with the Society in planning for an appropriate solution.[30]

The State Archives ceased to be a part of the Historical Society’s program in 1968 as a result of recommendations made by the so-called Littler Hoover Commission of 1965.[31]

[The Historical Society] retained its traditional functions and has since moved toward an expansion of activities under the legislative mandate to collect, preserve, and publish Utah’s history.[32]

In the 1967 legislation, the Historical Society is “authorized to solicit memberships” and “authorized to receive bequests, gifts, and endowments of money or property.”[33]

That same year [1967], a Division of State History was created as one of seven units under a Department of Development Services.[34]

Housed within the Division of State History, the Historical Society is now a sister program to entities such as the State Historic Preservation Office, the Antiquities program, and Utah History Day. Today, the Utah State Historical Society continues to serve the people of Utah by publishing the Utah Historical Quarterly, hosting the annual history conference and other events, and serving as a vehicle to obtain and preserve artifacts for the state’s collection.

[1] Topping, Gary, “One Hundred Years at the Utah State Historical Society,” Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, Number 3, Summer 1972, pages 203 – 204.

[2] Leonard, Glen M., “The Utah State Historical Society, 1897 – 1972,” Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, Number 4, Fall 1972, page 301.

[3] Topping, “One Hundred Years at the Utah State Historical Society,” 206.

[4] Ibid, 210.

[5] Ibid, 209-210.

[6] Leonard, “The Utah State Historical Society, 1897-1972,” 301.

[7] Topping, “One Hundred Years at the Utah State Historical Society,” 213-214.

[8] Leonard, “The Utah State Historical Society, 1897-1972,” 304.

[9] Topping, “One Hundred Years at the Utah State Historical Society,” 218-219.

[10] Ibid, 219.

[11] Ibid, 219.

[12] Ibid, 219-220.

[13] Ibid, 220.

[14] Leonard, “The Utah State Historical Society, 1897 – 1972,” 304.

[15] Topping, “One Hundred Years at the Utah State Historical Society,” 224.

[16] Leonard, “The Utah State Historical Society, 1897 – 1972,” 304-305.

[17] Topping, “One Hundred Years at the Utah State Historical Society,” 226.

[18] Leonard, “The Utah State Historical Society, 1897 – 1972,” 317.

[19] Ibid, 315.

[20] Ibid, 307.

[21] Ibid, 307 – 308.

[22] Topping, “One Hundred Years at the Utah State Historical Society, 1897 – 1972,” 239.

[23] Leonard, “The Utah State Historical Society, 1897 – 1972,” 308

[24] Ibid, 308.

[25] Topping, “One Hundred Years at the Utah State Historical Society, 1897 – 1972,” 242.

[26] Leonard, “The Utah State Historical Society, 1897 – 1972,” 308.

[27] Ibid, 309.

[28] Ibid, 309.

[29] Ibid, 318.

[30] Ibid, 311.

[31] Topping, “One Hundred Years at the Utah State Historical Society,” 261.

[32] Leonard, “The Utah State Historical Society, 1897 – 1972,” 334.

[33] “Laws of the State of Utah,” 12th Regular Session of the Legislature of the State of Utah, Jan. 8 to March 8, 1917, 478.

[34] Leonard, “The Utah State Historical Society, 1897 – 1972,” 311.

Utah World War I Commission

April 2017 marks the centennial of America’s entry into World War I, a defining conflict of the modern era.

To commemorate the sacrifice and involvement of Utahns in the Great War, the Utah WWI Commission will provide information and resources to the public.

News

Utah’s World War I Monuments, which details WWI memorials throughout the state, is available for free as a PDF.

Grants

The commission is offering small grants to encourage Utahns to recognize the impact of WWI in their communities.

Contact vjacobson@utah.gov for more information.

Events

April 14, 2018, 2:00 p.m.
“How They Fought: Guns, Grenades, Gas, Bayonets and Rifles”: living history demonstration by Chip Guarente
Chapman Branch Library, Salt Lake City

May 19, 2018, 10:00 a.m. 
Re-dedication of the Chapman Branch Library with color guard by men in WWI uniforms

May 28, 2018
Utah Chapter of the Association of the United States Army will conduct a Memorial Day Ceremony honoring WWI veterans at the Fort Douglas Military Cemetery.
Fort Douglas Military Cemetery, Salt Lake City

Event listings will be updated regularly. If you know of a WWI-related event in Utah, email us at vjacobson@utah.gov.

Resources

This informational poster was created by Christina Epperson. Click here for a larger version.

Educational resources: Curriculum and more, searchable by grade level, subject, and type

1914-1918-online: International Encyclopedia of the First World War

Utah and World War I: special issue of Utah Historical Quarterly

Utah and the Great War: The Beehive State and the World War I Experience, ed. by Allan Kent Powell: a collection of essays exploring the complexity of WWI and its impact on Utahns.

State Legislature’s Resolution (PDF)

Governor’s Declaration, April 2017 (PDF)

Utah in the World War, by Noble Warrum: published under the auspices of the Utah Council of Defense in 1924.

The Great War, from American Experience

National WWI Museum and Memorial

NHD National History Day Teaching World War I: Resource to connect teachers and students to the best sources for the 100th anniversary of WWI. Includes Middle School and High School lesson modules.

 

Archives/Special Collections

LDS Church History Library: (PDF list of WWI related collections)

State Historical Society: (PDF list of Historical Society Collections relating to WWI)

University of Utah: (PDF list of WWI related items/collections held in Special Collections)

Utah State University: (PDF list of WWI related items/collections held in Special Collections)

 

 

Utah Historical Quarterly Current Issue


Volume 85, Number 4 (Fall 2017 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 history.utah.gov/uhqextras.

WEB EXTRAS: See here 


IN THIS ISSUE


Utah is often known as the Crossroads of the West, and, however overused that name may
be, it’s an apt term to describe the state’s cultural and geographic position in the American
West. A crossroad is a place of intersection, but it also is “a central meeting place” or “a crucial
point especially where a decision must be made.” For Native peoples in the Great Basin
and the Colorado Plateau, a web of migration and trade routes contributed to an exchange
of people, goods, and ideas. Since Dominguez and Escalante’s expedition in 1776–1777, these
groups had to deal with how the arrival and ambition of Europeans and Americans shifted
the dynamic of power in the region. Missionaries, explorers, trappers, and overland migrants
passed through, and in some cases lingered, on the way to somewhere else. When Latterday
Saints decided on the eastern edge of the Great Basin as the place to plant their settlements,
the land had already been traversed by generations of Native peoples, as well as by
entrepreneurial trappers who relied on indigenous knowledge and who brought concrete
cartographic knowledge of the American Far West. Faint mule trails, wagon ruts, and even
the course of modern transportation corridors constitute evidence etched into the landscape
of generational movement and travels.

The post–Civil War era saw a dramatic rise in transportation technology in the West, as
railroad lines spanned the continent. Railroad men and financiers—not to be outdone by one
another—pushed lines into territories where demand had not yet coalesced. Their large corporations,
which were heavily subsidized by the American people, came to symbolize the
grandeur of the age and American progress itself. Utahns needed railroads in the same way
they needed other technologies like irrigation to move water about the landscape. For Mormons,
the arrival of the transcontinental line in 1869 signaled the loss of political and economic
hegemony in the Great Basin. Other lines soon followed, and no history of the state or region
is complete without following them—a veritable spider web showing prominent nineteenthcentury
destinations. Since railroads needed water and fuel, stations and towns cropped up
in part to provide that service. Other communities serviced the trains, some of which had a
striking impermanence on the landscape. But the threads of connection created by railroads
had a more lasting impact. Transcontinentals and the lines they inspired became part of a
network that helped to connect Utah and the American West with the rest of the country and
the neighboring nations of Canada and Mexico.

If railroads became the major arteries of the West’s nineteenth-century transportation
system, roads provided the connective tissue. Roads follow preexisting routes. Like water,
they tend to follow the easiest path—through valleys, canyons, and low-level mountain
passes—although some Utah routes cross the roughest terrain imaginable. They facilitate
movement, curating how one travels across the landscape just as an exhibition curates historical
information. Most roads are fixtures; others have outlasted their original economic or cultural
purpose and have been reclaimed by the land. Before becoming a physical presence on
the land, roads existed in imagination, revealing much about how generations, then and now,
thought about the land and acted on it. As such, roads, like railroads, are cultural sponges—artifacts
of earlier times. They are similar to what Wallace Stegner wrote of Dinosaur National
Monument in eastern Utah, as “a palimpsest of human history, speculation, rumor, fantasy,
ambition, science, controversy, and conflicting plans for use”—as “marks of human passage.”

Thinking about these “marks of human passage” is the design of this issue, a reprint of four exceptional essays previously published in the Quarterly. We begin with Dale L. Morgan’s lively essay “Utah before the Mormons,” originally delivered as a keynote address at the 1967
annual meeting of the Utah State Historical Society and subsequently published in the January
1968 issue. Morgan plays with time scale “to translate historical time into terms we can individually
find meaningful” by tracing the events prior to the Mormon’s arrival in 1847 by using
1967—the year of his address—as a baseline. We can play the same game: Morgan delivered the
keynote half a century ago, a longer time span than any of the major events he describes between
1805 and 1847. But the first half of the nineteenth century is chronicled here by one
of the West’s accomplished and knowledgeable authorities, who provides a sweeping evaluation
of the people, groups, and ideas that made an imprint on the region that became Utah. That world of explorers, trappers, and overland emigrants was marked by constant movement.

Our next selection comes from the pen of Robert Utley, an acclaimed historian of the
West. “The Dash to Promontory,” published in April 1961, is the product of a different kind of
“dash” in the years leading up to the centennial of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad:
the effort of the National Park Service, with the help of assiduous locals such as Bernice
Gibbs Anderson, to establish the significance of the Golden Spike site for its eventual
inclusion to the National Park System. Utley’s reflection on Promontory is followed by Doris
R. Dant’s “Bridge: A Railroading Community on the Great Salt Lake,” published in winter
1985. Dant, formerly an associate professor of linguistics at Brigham Young University, paints
a rich portrait of life in a town that owed its sole existence to the railroad. Like other forms
of movement, the community’s lifespan on the Great Salt Lake was short lived, and as we see
from Dant’s postscript, the town and its history now exist only in memory.

Another classic essay reprinted here is “Nine Mile: Eastern Utah’s Forgotten Road” by Edward
Geary, published in the winter 1981 issue. His familiarity with the locale and, like Dant,
his considerable literary talents combine to make a pleasurable read: part history, part personal
history, Geary’s article blends the canyon’s regional history with the experiences of
his own grandfather driving the rough canyon road a century earlier. One virtue of the essay
is the sense of place, Geary’s attention to Nine Mile as “one of the most colorful and little-
known areas in Utah” that “does not quite belong to any of the state’s usually recognized
regions.” This canyon, he argues, was central to the region’s development even though modern
infrastructure and memory have obscured that fact.

Our final offering is a new selection on a welcome subject, the archaeology of the transcontinental
railroad grade in Box Elder County, Utah, and especially the evidence of Chinese
rail workers. “Rolling to the 150th” explores the story of Promontory after the driving of the
Golden Spike on May 10, 1869, and the archaeological efforts to reconstruct the area’s past
in anticipation of the sesquicentennial of 1869. In so doing, this article provides a fascinating
coda to Robert Utley’s prelude to the events of May 1869.

The classic articles reprinted in this issue are nearly verbatim reproductions of their originally
published forms, with only minor necessary editorial changes. The major difference is
with images: some are duplicates; others are new, from our collection. We are pleased that
each piece is followed by a postscript either from the authors or, in the case of Dale Morgan’s
essay, from Richard L. Saunders, dean of the library at Southern Utah University and the
foremost scholar of Morgan’s life and work. We thank Bob Utley, Ed Geary, and Doris Dant for
returning to their essays after many years and offering commentary to a new generation of
readers.

These essays offer a sampling of the work published in the Quarterly over the years and remind
us of important themes that have graced the journal’s pages. It’s appropriate to return
to them a second time for inspiration, for, as the postscripts suggest, these articles still have
something to offer. From them we have case studies that show how attention to movement
and transportation in Utah history offers a sweep of topography and terrain—the physical
space—and of systems and networks that originated in the nineteenth century. On a more
granular scale, the concept of movement allows us to reflect on experience and memory: from
one man’s experience nearly freezing to death on a freight run through Nine Mile Canyon to a
woman’s memories growing up surrounded by the sights and sounds of diesel engines.

The essays are only a start, a few selections from the region’s nineteenth-century history.
The possibilities inherent in the ideas of movement and transportation potentially force us
to reconsider Utah history. The centrality of movement to exploration, industry, and travel—
major themes in Utah history—is obvious. Less so is the way movement can be seen on a more
conceptual level as a way to evaluate change over space and time: the variation and transformation
of the landscape, the flow of ideas and people into and out of the state, the mobility
of groups and individuals, the development of transportation-related infrastructure, and the
transportation and communication networks connecting the state to regional and national
systems. The flow of ideas and people is now more global than ever before, rendering traditional
boundaries that confined physical movement less operable.

We hope that intimate stories of movement and transportation, combined with attention
to broader trends and analysis, will continue to be shared. This issue marks the Utah State
Historical Society’s commitment to this theme, culminating with the 66th Annual Utah History
Conference to be held September 27–28, 2018. This is both a call for papers and a call
for community recognition of the centrality of transportation and movement to Utah and the
western region.

 


CLASSIC REPRINTS

Utah Before the Mormons (Winter 1968)
By Dale L. Morgan. Postscript: Dale Morgan and the Elements of Utah History, by Richard Saunders

The Dash to Promontory (April 1961)
By Robert M. Utley. Postscript: The Golden Spike and Me, by the author

Nine Mile: Eastern Utah’s Forgotten Road (Winter 1981)
By Edward A. Geary. Postscript: No Longer Forgotten Road, by the author

Bridge: A Railroading Community on the Great Salt Lake (Winter 1985)
By Doris R. Dant. Postscript: Bridge, an Extreme Example of Railroad Control, by the author

DEPARTMENTS

Rolling to the 150th: Sesquicentennial of the Transcontinental Railroad
By Christopher W. Merritt, Michael R. Polk, Ken Cannon, Michael Sheehan, Glenn Stelter, and Ray Kelsey


BOOK REVIEWS

Robert S. McPherson and Susan Rhoades Neel, Mapping the Four Corners: Narrating the Hayden Survey of 1875. Reviewed by John L. Kessell

Laurie J. Bryant, A Modest Homestead: Life in Small Adobe Homes in Salt Lake City, 1850-1897. Reviewed by Robert A. Young

Silvio Manno, Charcoal and Blood: Italian Immigrants in Eureka, Nevada, and the Fish Creek Massacre. Reviewed by Nancy J. Taniguchi

Kerry William Bate, The Women: A Family Story. Reviewed by Richard Neitzel Holzapfel


 

 

News from Salt Lake, 1847-1849: A Conversation with Andrew H. Hedges

We spoke with Andrew H. Hedges about his article in the Utah Historical Quarterly (Summer 2016), “News from Salt Lake, 1847-1849,” detailing the flow of information into and out of the Great Basin in the first years after Mormon settlement.

UHQ Summer 2016 Web Extras

Polygamy, A Play in Four Acts: Full Transcript

Kenneth L. Cannon II, “Mormons on Broadway, 1914 Style"

Read the full transcript of Polygamy, A Play in Four Acts, by Harvey O'Higgins and Harriet Ford. The transcript is courtesy of Kenneth L. Cannon II.

 


News from Salt Lake, 1847-1849: A Conversation with Andrew H. Hedges

Andrew H. Hedges, "News from Salt Lake, 1847-1849"

We spoke with Dr. Hedges about his research on multi-faceted newspaper coverage of the Salt Lake Valley in the first years of Mormon settlement. Listen to our conversation here.

 


Utah's NASA Bid: A Confidential Report

Eric G. Swedin, "Utah's Spaceport: A Failed Dream" 

Utah presented a compelling case to be used as NASA’s operational site, but the decision to use solid-fuel boosters on the space shuttle made this impossible. See here for the March 21, 1971, confidential report of Utah's Spaceport Committee, housed at the Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.

 


Remembering the Circleville Massacre

Circleville Massacre Memorial Dedication, April 22, 2016 

We provide a bibliography with links to secondary and primary sources used to construct the massacre's narratives

 


 

 

Gardo House: Photo Gallery

 

 

 

The Gardo House in about 1892, when the home was occupied by the Keeley Institute.

The Gardo House in about 1892, when the home was occupied by the Keeley Institute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


In 1916, Harry Shipler, commissioned to photograph the Gardo House, produced sixty images of the house's interior and exterior. Here is his photo of a table set for sixteen in the dining room. His photos here and on the next pages illustrate the elegance and opulence for which the mansion was famous.

In 1916, Harry Shipler, commissioned to photograph the Gardo House, produced sixty images of the house's interior and exterior. Here is his photo of a table set for sixteen in the dining room. His photos here and on the next pages illustrate the elegance and opulence for which the mansion was famous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The front hallway, looking toward the doors of the entry vestibule. Note the fine leaded glass windows and elaborate black walnut staircase with its octagonal newel post. In reporting the demolition of the house in 1921, the Deseret News explained that these elements were to be salvaged from the house, but if they were saved, what became of them is unknown. Shipler photo.

The front hallway, looking toward the doors of the entry vestibule. Note the fine leaded glass windows and elaborate black walnut staircase with its octagonal newel post. In reporting the demolition of the house in 1921, the Deseret News explained that these elements were to be salvaged from the house, but if they were saved, what became of them is unknown. Shipler photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Drawing Room (or Main Parlor), looking toward the Music Room.

The Drawing Room (or Main Parlor), looking toward the Music Room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Steinway piano, nicknamed the Aida, decorated with scenes from Verdi's famous opera. Shipler photo.

The Steinway piano, nicknamed the Aida, decorated with scenes from Verdi's famous opera. Shipler photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Shipler identified this room as the Den. On the author's floor plan it is labeled as the "Conservatory" and is looking toward the "Fountain House." The furnishings and decor in this room reflect the popularity of exotic Middle Eastern styles among wealthy Americans in the early part of the century.

Shipler identified this room as the Den. On the author's floor plan it is labeled as the "Conservatory" and is looking toward the "Fountain House." The furnishings and decor in this room reflect the popularity of exotic Middle Eastern styles among wealthy Americans in the early part of the century.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Library (or Office)

The Library (or Office)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Hallway on the second floor. (Note the photographs of Indians exhibited on the wall. The Holmeses were participants in the popular twentieth-century fascination with fading Native American cultures.)

The Hallway on the second floor. (Note the photographs of Indians exhibited on the wall. The Holmeses were participants in the popular twentieth-century fascination with fading Native American cultures.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Billiard Room in the basement of the house, furnished with a billiard table and a card table.

The Billiard Room in the basement of the house, furnished with a billiard table and a card table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Mr. and Mrs. Holmes relaxing in the shade of the southwest porch in July 1916.

Mr. and Mrs. Holmes relaxing in the shade of the southwest porch in July 1916.


The interior of the Art Gallery was lit by large skylights, leaving wall space for exhibiting the Holmeses' art collection. The gallery also included a small stage for performances. Note the large portraits of Susannah and Colonel Holmes on the wall at the left. The exterior view shows the gallery from the north side.

The interior of the Art Gallery was lit by large skylights, leaving wall space for exhibiting the Holmeses' art collection. The gallery also included a small stage for performances. Note the large portraits of Susannah and Colonel Holmes on the wall at the left. The exterior view shows the gallery from the north side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Red Cross moved into the Gardo House in 1917. At the opening reception, Governor Spry delivered a speech from the front porch.

The Red Cross moved into the Gardo House in 1917. At the opening reception, Governor Spry delivered a speech from the front porch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A large flag hung from the tower of the Gardo House during World War I when the Red Cross occupied the mansion.

A large flag hung from the tower of the Gardo House during World War I when the Red Cross occupied the mansion.

 

 

 


A shipment being loaded in front of the Juvenile Instructor office on South Temple, 1914; the LDS Church Historian's Office, the Gardo House, and the Alta Club can be seen in the background.

A shipment being loaded in front of the Juvenile Instructor office on South Temple, 1914; the LDS Church Historian's Office, the Gardo House, and the Alta Club can be seen in the background.


Looking across the front lawn of the Gardo House toward the Hotel Utah, July 1916; the LDS church offices on the right were still were still under construction when this photo was taken.

Looking across the front lawn of the Gardo House toward the Hotel Utah, July 1916; the LDS church offices on the right were still were still under construction when this photo was taken.


 

Construction on the new Federal Reserve Bank, which replaced the Gardo House, in 1926. The commercial district of the city had grown and ultimately swallowed up the mansion.

Construction on the new Federal Reserve Bank, which replaced the Gardo House, in 1926. The commercial district of the city had grown and ultimately swallowed up the mansion.


The completed Federal Reserve Bank. The Eagle Gate Plaza now stands on the site.

The completed Federal Reserve Bank. The Eagle Gate Plaza now stands on the site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

State Facts

Utah was the 45th state to enter the United States (January 4, 1896). Today with a population of approximately 2,233,169 (est. 2000), Utah ranks as the 34th most populous state in the United States. 76% percent (2000) of the population lives along the Wasatch front, where resources are most plentiful (Salt Lake, Davis, Utah and Weber Counties).

State Name
The state of Utah is named after the Utes, an American Indian tribe.

Land area---84,916 sq. mi.; 65% is owned by the federal government.

Highest and Lowest Point
Kings Peak, 13,528 ft. (Uinta Mountains, Duchesne Co. - NE part of state)
Beaver Dam Wash, 2,350 ft. (Near St. George, Washington Co. SW part of state)

Great Salt Lake
Area 1,060,000 acres
Average elevation 4,200 ft.
Highest elevation (1986) 4,211.85 ft.
Lowest elevation (1963) 4,191 ft.

The web link below allows access to information about specific cities or locations in Utah, such as elevation, longitude/latitude, roads, zip codes, phone prefixes and related historical information. Satellite images and other geographic information can also be obtained.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Alice the Elephant: Alice was supposedly the first elephant to calve in North America. She first arrived in Salt Lake City around 1918 and resided in the Liberty Park Zoo. She was later moved to Hogle Zoo when that facility opened.

American Fork:

American Fork

Avalanches:

Geology

Physical Geography of Utah

Camp Floyd: The camp was built by troops sent to Utah by President Buchanen as a response to reports of rebellion in the territory. This event would come to be known as the "Utah War." The camp was completed on November 9, 1858 and named after the Secretary of War at that time, John B. Floyd. The camp was located in Cedar Valley near the present-day community of Fairfield. Its name was changed to Camp Crittenden in 1860, and the site was abandoned in 1861 after the start of the U. S. Civil War.

Camp Floyd

CCC in Utah: The Civilian Conservation Corps was created in 1933 by President Roosevelt as one of his New Deal programs that would help lift the country out of its economic depression. The program ran from 1933 to 1942 and employed more than 22,000 Utah citizens that would have otherwise been out of work. The program also pumped over $52,000,000.00 into the Utah economy. In its nine year run the CCC had 116 camps in the state and these camps performed a variety of tasks. They built roads, bridges, canals and reservoirs. They also worked on soil erosion and fire suppression. For more information

Civilian Conservation Corps

The Civilian Conservation Corps Was A Boon To Utah

Coon Chicken Inn: The Coon Chicken Inn was a national restaurant chain. The Salt Lake City restaurant was located on Highland Drive and 2900 South. It was opened in 1924 by M. L. Graham and his wife, Adelaide. The restaurant closed in the 1950s. Today, the physical decor of the restaurant would be considered highly offensive.

Donner Party: The Donner Party was originally part of a larger wagon train that crossed the plains in 1846. The wagon train broke into two groups near Fort Bridger and the group led by Jacob Donner and James Reed took the southern route that had been promoted by Lansford Hastings but had never actually been used by wagons. The Hastings route went across the Wasatch Mountains and south of the Great Salt Lake. It proved to be extremely difficult and a number of animals and wagons were lost. By the time the Donner Party reached the Sierra Nevada Mountains they were too exhausted to make the crossing and were caught by early winter snowstorms. Thirty-five people died before rescue parties could arrive in the early months of 1847.

The Donner Party

Emigration Canyon:

Pinecrest Inn: The Pinecrest Inn was built around 1914--1915 in response to people's demands for comfortable accommodations when visiting the canyon and deciding to stay over night. The area was a popular weekend and holiday retreat for the people of Salt Lake during the early 1900s. The inn was described as having all the modern conveniences of the day. It had about 75 rooms, steam heat, and electric lighting. It also had a large ballroom that was very popular with the inn's guests. The inn was declared a fire hazard in 1949 and sold for salvage according to a Salt Lake Tribune article, dated Feb. 27, 1949. Today, a new Pinecrest Inn sits in the canyon. It was built in 1914 by Wilbur S. Henderson as a private residence and was later converted to a bed and breakfast inn.

Emigration Canyon Railroad Served SLC Builders' Needs

John D. Fitzgerald: Mr. Fitzgerald was born in Price, Utah in 1906 and died in Florida at the age of 82. His first published work was titled Papa Married a Marmon. However, he is best known for his series of children's books titled The Great Brain.

Five Largest Cities in Utah: Current Population of Five Largest Cities: The five largest Utah cities and their populations are as follows: Salt Lake City---181,743, West Valley City---108,896, Provo---105,166, Sandy---88,418, Orem---84,324.

Ghost Towns: We normally think of ghost towns as communities that sprang up overnight when lucky prospectors discovered rich ore deposits and then faded away when the market prices fell or the mineral deposits played out. However, this isn't the case for all Utah ghost towns. The town of Iosepa in Tooele County is an interesting example. It was established in 1889 by Mormon converts from the Hawaiian Islands. 1200 acres were purchased in Skull Valley and the Church built homes, a school, and a chapel. The citizens did their best to make Iosepa a success but they had difficulty adapting to the harsh conditions. Water was scarce and farm production was inconsistent at best. Iosepa was also hit by cases of leprosy, which took a number of its residents. The town held few opportunities for young people and many left looking for work in larger cities and towns. Unable to hold onto its residents the town finally collapsed in 1917.

Iosepa

The Virgin River Doused Cotton Mission Settlers' Hopes

When the Fabulous Horn Silver Mine Caved In

Gilgal Gardens: Gilgal Gardens is located at 452 South 800 East in Salt Lake City. The garden was the creation of Thomas Battersby Child, Jr. and expresses his religious and philosophical beliefs. Mr. Child began the garden in 1945 and continued working on and creating new sculptures for it until 1963. Recently, Salt Lake purchased the garden and made it a city park.

Governors of Utah:

Utah's State Governors

The Territorial Governors of Utah

Granite Paper Mill: The mill is located at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon and was built between 1880--1882 by the Mormon church. It was an attempt by the church to end dependence on outside sources for paper. The mill began producing paper in 1883 and could produce up to five tons in a single day. In 1892 the mill was leased to the Granite Paper Mills Company but burned down a year later without ever having reached its full potential. The building never operated as paper mill again, but in 1927 it was partially rebuilt and used for dances up into the 1940s.

Joe Hill: Joe Hill was a Swedish immigrant who came to the United States in 1902. He worked various jobs upon his arrival and became an active member in the labor movement of the early 20th century. He joined the IWW and wrote a number of songs that described the harsh reality of the American laborer. In 1913 he arrived in Utah and began working in the mines of Park City. In 1914 he was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to death for the murder of John A. Morrison. His case stirred emotions and caused heated debates but all efforts to save his life were unsuccessful. He died on November 19, 1915.

Socialist Women and Joe Hill

Joe Hill

A Page from Police History

Johnston's Army: Albert Sydney Johnston commanded the forces that made up the Utah Expedition. In 1857 President Buchanen sent 2,500 troops to the Utah Territory after receiving reports from territorial officials that a rebellion had broken out. The army spent the winter near Fort Bridger and was reinforced by another 3,000 men. The troops entered Salt Lake City on June 26, 1858 and traveled on to a site in Cedar Valley where they established Camp Floyd. Earlier, an agreement had been reached between Mormon leaders and federal officials, which allowed for the creation of this camp and accepted the presence of federal troops in the territory. The outbreak of the Civil War forced the reassignment of the troops and the abandonment of the camp.

Albert Sydney Johnston

Kearns/St. Anne's Orphanage:The Building was constructed through a $50,000 donation made by Mrs. Jennie Kearns in 1899. The building was designed by Carl M. Neuhausen and completed in 1900. It replaced an earlier building that had opened in 1891. The building served as an orphanage until 1953 and then reopened as St. Ann's school in 1955.

Thomas Kearns

Midwives:

Hospitals and Health Crazes Engrossed Utahns in the late 1800s

Jobs in 1900

Mines: American Fork: American Fork is located in Utah County. Mining began in this area in 1868. The American Fork Mining District was established in 1870 and between the years 1870 and 1876 mining operations in the district produced four million dollars worth of minerals. Silver, lead, and gold deposits were all mined in the district.

Park City: Park City is located in Summit County. The first mining claim recorded in the Park City mining district was the Young American lode in 1869. Park City was incorporated in 1884 after its growth was given a significant push by the development of the Ontario mine. Other mines in the area were the Pinon, the Walker, and the Buckeye. Hard times in the mining industry had reduced economic activity in Park City to a trickle by the 1950s but by the 1960s Park City began to thrive again as it developed into a resort community.

Ophir: Soldiers from Colonel Patrick Connor's command were the first to see the potential mining wealth in this Tooele County location in the late 1860's. After the first mineral deposits were discovered numerous mining claims were established, such as the Silveropolis, Chloride Point, the Antelope, and the Shamrock. Mining wealth brought rapid growth in the 1870s and 80s but as the mining business slowed the town's promising future faded.

Mining

Mining and Railroads

Mining Districts:

Geology of Utah

Silver in the Beehive State

Mine Disasters:

Scofield: The Scofield Mine disaster occurred on May 1, 1900. The official death toll was listed at 200 but it was believed to be higher. The explosion in Winter Quarters Number 4 mine was the result of igniting coal dust. The Pleasant Valley Coal Company provided financial assistance to victim's families.

The Scofield Mine Disaster In 1900 Was Utah's Worst

Castle Gate: The Castle Gate Mine disaster occurred on March 8, 1924. 172 people were killed in the Utah Fuel Company's Number 2 mine. Two explosions were caused by open flames in worker headlamps and coal dust, which had not been adequately watered down.

Castle Gate Mine Disaster

Dream Mine: The Dream Mine was founded by John H. Koyle and is located in Utah County. As a young man, Mr. Koyle became known as someone who could see into the future. In 1894 he had the vision that would lead him to develop the Dream Mine. He believed that a life form not of this earth had come to him and instructed him to open a mine in a mountain to the east of his home. The financial success of the mine was to be spread to others and not used for his own benefit. In his vision he also received all the information necessary to operate the mine. Over time, Mr. Koyle was able to gather enough people who believed in his vision that in 1909 he formed the Koyle Mining Company. His work with the mine caused a conflict with the LDS Church, of which he was a member. He was removed from positions of authority and eventually excommunicated. He died in 1949 without experiencing any success with his work in the mine.

Dream Mine

Mormon Mint/Coins: The mint was located in Salt Lake City on the northeast corner of South Temple and Main. It first started producing coins in November 1848. The coins were made from gold that had been brought to Utah from California by members of the Mormon Battalion and other members of the church. The dies were made by John Kay and the stamps were engraved by Robert Campbell. Production stopped in December of 1848 because of equipment problems. Replacement parts arrived and production began again in September 1849 and ran through 1851. The coins were made into $2.50, 5.00, 10.00, and 20.00 denominations. Coins were also produced in 1860. They were made of gold and worth $5.00 a piece. In 1861 Governor Cummings issued an order stopping all future production of coins in the territory.

Coins and Currency

Spanish Doubloons & Mormon Gold Mormon Coins Supplant The Bartering System

Ophir: Soldiers from Colonel Patrick Connor's command were the first to see the potential mining wealth in this Tooele County location in the late 1860s. After the first mineral deposits were discovered numerous mining claims were established, such as the Silveropolis, Chloride Point, the Antelope, and the Shamrock. Mining wealth brought rapid growth in the 1870s and 80s but as the mining business slowed the town's promising future faded.

Orchards: The planting of fruit trees and the creation of orchards first began with the arrival of the Mormon pioneers. These men and women planted a variety of fruit trees in order to determine what would grow best for their location. Initially, fruit production was for home consumption only and very little ever made its way into the settlements for sale. It wasn't until the late 1800s and early 1900s that efforts were made to create a system that would turn the growing of fruit into a commercially successful industry. The creation of the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station at Utah State University and the State Board of Horticulture are two examples of these efforts. They worked with farmers to improve production technology and set quality standards for fruit sent to market. Due to these efforts Utah saw a dramatic increase in fruit production in the years prior to World War I. The success farmers experienced created problems, however. Overproduction caused a decrease in demand and the industry went into a decline. Orchards disappeared from the Utah landscape and it would take years for the industry to rebound. Counties along the Wasatch Front are the leading fruit producers in the state and cherries, apples, and peaches are the most popular crops harvested.

Park City: Park City is located in Summit County. The first mining claim recorded in the Park City mining district was the Young American lode in 1869. Park City was incorporated in 1884 after its growth was given a significant push by the development of the Ontario mine. Other mines in the area were the Pinon, the Walker, and the Buckeye. Hard times in the mining industry had reduced economic activity in Park City to a trickle by the 1950s but by the 1960s Park City began to thrive again as it developed into a resort community.

Park City

History of Park City

Pioneer Trails:

Trails, Utah Historic

Mormon Trail Series

Mormon Trail Exhibit

Pony Express Riders: The Pony Express began in April 1860 with the intention of carrying mail from Missouri to California in ten days. There were 190 stations along the route and riders rode between 75 and 125 miles. It ended in October 1861 because of heavy financial losses and the completion of a telegraph line to California. A list of riders can be found in the Pony Express Riders Subject File at Utah State Historical Society.

The Pony Express Added A Colorful Chapter In Utah History

Pony Express in Utah

Road Names:
Redwood Road: There are a number of stories surrounding Redwood Road and how it received its name. The most credible appears to be that Redwood road was at first used as a surveying line to lay out plots for the west side of the valley. Redwood stakes were used by the Territorial Surveyor to mark the line.

Everett Ruess: Everett Ruess was a young artist that disappeared in Southern Utah in 1934. He had made a number of trips alone through the area using the surrounding environment as inspiration for his art. However, something happened on his last trip and a mystery was born. His burro was discovered in early 1935 and a possible campsite has also been uncovered.

Everett Ruess

Salt Content and Water Level of the Great Salt Lake: The salt content of the lake varies according to how much water there is. The average elevation of the lake is 4,200 feet. It reached it highest recorded elevation in 1986 at 4,211.85 feet and its lowest in 1963 at 4,191 feet.

Great Salt Lake

State Symbols:

State Symbols

Snow Levels: Snow totals will vary according to the location but in some areas of the Wasatch Mountains the total can reach 40 to 50 feet.

Tallest Building in Salt Lake City: The tallest building in Salt Lake City is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Church Office Building.

Tallest Peak: The tallest peak in Utah is Kings Peak, 13,528 feet. It is located in Duchesne County and is part of the Uinta Mountains.

Theaters:

Theater in Utah

Salt Lake Theatre: The theater was built in 1861 on the northeast corner of
State Street and First South. The main architect was William H. Folsom. The
theater served a number of different functions in the community. Stage
productions, political conventions, and formal dances were all held inside its
walls. The building was demolished in 1928.

Grand Theater: The theater was located at 121 East 2nd South. The name was
later changed to the Hippodrome. Fire destroyed the building in the 1920s.

Women's Suffrage: The Utah Territorial Legislature granted women the right to vote in 1870. However, in 1887 that right was taken away with the passage of the Edmunds-Tucker act by the U.S. Congress. Utah women were very active in the suffrage movement and in 1889 they formed their own organization which had ties to the National Woman Suffrage Association. In the mid 1890's with statehood on the horizon Utah women began to see positive results from their efforts. In 1894 they were able to pressure both the Democratic and Republican parties into taking favorable positions in their party platforms concerning suffrage. In 1895 they set their sights on the Constitutional Convention. Many of the leading women in the movement had connections to important religious and community leaders and with their support they were able to convince enough of the convention delegates to include a section in the Utah Constitution returning the right to vote to the women of Utah.

Martha Hughes Cannon, America's First Woman State Senator

Women's Suffrage in Utah

Woman Suffrage Dominated Politics in Utah

Ruth May Fox, Forgotten Suffragist