Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The first public Halloween event in Utah was not held until 1885; Pranks, not candy ruled Halloween in the 1930s

               Household Halloween decorations are common today in Utah.

THE first media mention of an October Halloween observance in Utah was probably in the Salt Lake Herald newspaper on Nov. 1, 1877.
"Last evening was Halloween," the story stated, "And among many from the old countries was held in remembrance by indulging in the innocent fireside pastimes so common on the occasion in Britain. Snatch apple, dutch apple, and little amusements that brought back memories of childhood's days were enjoyed by numbers throughout Utah and elsewhere."
-The next mention of Halloween was not until 1885, when the Oct. 30 edition of the Salt Lake Tribune advertised a Halloween party sponsored by the ladies of the Congregational Church of Salt Lake. The notice stressed that this was the first public "Halloween Party" ever given in Utah. Admission was 25 cents a person for the Oct. 31 event, with food, music and fortunes told. "The church  is in need of money," the notice also stated.
Previously, there had been small social gatherings held in Salt Lake homes on Halloween night. For example, the first mention of those was a year prior, in 1884, as the S.L. Herald stated on Nov. 1 of that year.

-JUMP AHEAD more than 50 years to 1939 and Halloween night in Layton, Utah featured little about candy and was mostly about criminal mischief and pranks.
“Halloween pranks, vandalism annoy County citizens” was a  headline in the Davis County Clipper newspaper on  Nov. 3, 1939.
Waxing windows was a very common prank, along with the theft of automobile parts and dumping sugar beets.
In Layton, the porch of one home was badly scorched when youth tossed a signal torch upon it. The homeowner fortunately put out the fire before it set the structure ablaze.
One of the retail stores in Layton posted watchmen on the night of Oct. 31 in front of its large windows to prevent vandals from waxing them. However, “Halloweeners” on horseback used lassos to incapacitate the guards while other juveniles waxed all the store windows.
-In Syracuse, sugar beets in a rail car bound for the Layton processing plant were dumped on the spur line by a group of boys – despite weighing tons. Sheriff’s officers apprehended the juveniles.
-In Centerville, some homes were plastered with fruit and vegetables thrown by pranksters.
“Halloween is a time for pure fun,” the newspaper reported. “But when citizens everywhere have to be on guard to protect their homes and places of business … then it is time for parents and all citizens to unite and educate the youth of today upon the rights of everyone and that these costly depredations must stop.”

                 "Trunk or Treats" events became common in the early 21st Century in Utah, as an                                  alternative to going door-to-door in neighborhoods for candy and treats.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Is there a face visible on the west side of Salt Lake's Ensign Peak?

    There's a face of some sort on the west side of Ensign Peak.           Photograph by Ray Boren

IS there a face on the west side of Ensign Peak, north of downtown Salt Lake City?
Retired Deseret News editor and long-time Capitol Hill neighborhood resident Ray Boren said to him it resembles a St. Bernard dog, not a human face at all.
Looking at Boren's photograph (shown above), there is definitely a face or resemblance of some sort there, probably depends on one's own imagination what it appears to be ...
However, it was a different story a century ago:
"Salt Lake has a 'Great Stone Face'; It's Irish" was a June 26, 1918 headline in the Salt Lake Herald newspaper.
The story credits Miss Mary Elizabeth Downey, State Library organizer, for first noticing the face on the side of the historic Utah mountain peak. Working at the State Capitol Building, she had a clear window view of Ensign Peak, back when there was little housing development to the north.
"I an generally rather dense in seeing such things, but I confess this struck me instantly," Downey told the Herald newspaper. "The fact that the afternoon shadows grow longer, the profile is merely intensified adds to its charm. Tourists would be delighted to be shown this phenomenon of 'The Laughing Irishman.' He is standing guard over Ensign Peak as a sentry and is laughing at us little folk, working like ants in the great city below."

              Ensign Peak as seen from State Street and South Temple Street.

             The view from atop Ensign Peak, looking west toward the "Face" (not visible).

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A look at University of Utah spring traditions in 1918: whitewashing, ducking, track meet and dancing

                                     The block U on the University of Utah campus.

A century ago, University of Utah students had some unusual traditions.
According to the Salt Lake Herald newspaper of April 13, 1918, the "U Day" at the University of Utah was a busy, mostly outdoor day.
First, the freshman male students, 489, in number that year, hauled brooms, water barrels and sacks up lime up to the "U" symbol on the mountainside. They then proceeded to give the lettering its annual whitewashing.
After completing that task, the freshman men went to the gymnasium where the women students gave them a banquet. Next on Cummings Field, the Freshman class lost to the Sophomore Class in a tug-of-war. This mean the Frosh had a "public ducking."
Later in the day, an annual athletic contest, a track meet competition was held between University Faculty and the Chronicle's editorial staff (student newspaper). The honors mostly went to the writers. However, the usual cross county race was canceled.
The following day, an informal dance was held to climax the "L" celebration at the University.
So it was about a century ago at the U. in Salt Lake City.

Lake Side, between Kaysville and Farmington, the first Great Salt Lake resort

      The Lake Side resort was located a mile or so north of this area, along the Great Salt Lake.

THE first established resort along the shores of the Great Salt Lake is also perhaps the most obscure and forgotten -- "Lake Side."
Located between Farmington and Kaysville, the first mention of the resort was in the June 9, 1870 edition of the Salt Lake Herald newspaper.
The Utah Central Railroad had a "Lake Side Station" in 1870 and passengers from Salt Lake paid $1 for a fare there. Then, it was a half-mile walk west to the actual resort.
John W. Young, a son of Brigham Young, established the resort. (John Young was an apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and later was a First Counselor in the First Presidency.)
Haight's Grove provided shade at Lake Side resort and in 1870, it was another 440 yard walk to the actual Great Salt Lake water.
Lake Side later, in 1872,  became more well known as a stopping point for the steamer, "City of Corrine" as it boated on the lake between there and Lake Point, on the south end of the briny waters. Such a boat cruise lasted three hours (Salt Lake Herald May 8, 1872).
It was a good thing for the boating at Lake Side, because a May 22, 1872 Deseret News story stated that the resort itself had a Marshy bottom" for land. The reporter noted that for 30 or 40 dollars worth of labor, a good trail could be created for passengers walking from the Lake Side train station to the boat ramp.
However, once the reporter caught sight of the City of Corrine Steamer, he stressed how large and streamlined it was, drawing all attention away from the bleak shoreline around the Great Salt Lake.
By July of 1883, the Salt Lake Herald of July 19, 1883 stated that a new pleasure boat offered trips from Lake Side.
The resort's final newspaper mention was in the summer of 1886 in the July 27 issue of the Salt Lake Herald. That was likely its final season and it is probably no coincidence that Simon Bamberger's much better developed "Lake Park" resort a few miles south premiered that summer. (That was the forerunner to Lagoon.)

The boat’s Corrine name was later changed to Garfield, according to the Salt Lake Herald newspaper of July 31, 1910.
This was a large stern wheelboat, really made for use on a river, like the Mississippi, and not so safe on the Great Salt Lake, as passengers were said to attest.
One of the final trips the boat made included some 75 passengers, with a Captain Dorris at the helm. The boat left from the south end of the lake, with the destination being Promontory Point on the north end.
However, a heavy storm struck almost immediately and the captain lost control of the boat. It drifted toward Antelope Island and as darkness set in, all attempts to anchor the boat failed. It was daybreak before boat control was regained. The danger had kept most of the passengers from even eating as the storm was so fierce and the danger so high.

 -And, yes, it is all the "Lake" names of the historic resorts along the Great Salt Lake that make examining them so confusing ...

     Farmington's Buffalo Trail is located slightly south of where the Lake Side resort was located.

Farmington narrowly missed having an Insane Asylum in 1880

                           Looking down a section of Shephard Canyon, lower left.
                                                                                                                Photo by Roger Arave.

FARMINGTON, Utah is the capital of Davis County, but it narrowly missed becoming the home to the territory's insane Asylum back in 1880.
According to the Deseret News of June 30, 1880, there had been some strong consideration given to locating the asylum near the mouth of Shepherd's Canyon in Farmington.
The story states that there was a desirable property available at Shepherd's for a reasonable cost. It was also within a mile of the Utah Central Railroad line.
A government vote actually passed to locate the asylum in Farmington. However, many Salt Lake City residents protested the location and so the vote was reconsidered.
In the end, the  Insane Asylum was located in Provo.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

'Great Bear Story: Bruin run down to Death by an Engine

                                     Modern railroad tracks.

IT was bear vs. train in early January of 1893.

According to the Ogden Standard Newspaper of January 4, 1893, a train running from the Golden Spike area of Promontory to Ogden, Utah was operated by Engineer Alexander and "struck something with terrible force but cleared the tracks without going into the ditch. The night air was filled with heartrending screams of pain but as it was quite dark and the cab had become suddenly filled with dust and gravel, nothing could be seen by the engineer or his fireman. The locomotive was backed up as near as possible to the place where the accident occurred. The cries had ceased and a careful search failed to disclose the whereabouts of the injured creature. As nothing more could be done the run in to Ogden was made without accident."
The story reported that on the return trip the Engineer "was surprised to see hanging up at the Blue Creek section house a magnificent silver tip bear.
Workers had found the massive bear lying near the track. The account stated it weighed some 1,500 pounds.
"The hide is being cured and will be used by Alexander as a rug to remind him of his narrow escape," the story stated.
This was also likely the same bear that attacked cattle in the Clear Creek mountains in the past two years.

The seldom mentioned Lake Monsters of Stansbury Island and Panguitch Lake

TALES of the Bear Lake Monster are well-known in Utah, but how about the Stansbury Lake Monster of the Great Salt Lake and the Panguitch Lake Monster?
These are two separate lake creatures, who in the past generated their own legends.

The Stansbury Island Monster:
"Monster that Swims and Flies sighted on Stansbury Island Shores" was a July 30, 1903 headline in the Salt Lake Telegram newspaper.
Martin Gilbert and John Barry were two Utah hunters who claimed to spot the creature, which they said was some 65 feet long, with an alligator-like head, spiny scales all over its body and wings than spanned 100 feet.
The men saw the creature fly and eat a horse whole. They shot at it, though all that did was mean some salt crystals rained down on them, as if the monster had armor of crystal salt.
They tracked the creature to a cave, but dared no enter inside. Soon, the creature flew away and when it came back about an hour later, it had the mangled horse in its mouth. After eating, it entered the lake waters and swam northward until it disappeared.

Although the Herald newspaper reported the initial report with no skepticism, the following day was different -- The Herald Newspaper on Aug. 1, 1903, reported: "The monster, the two hunters described carried enough salt encrusted on its body for every person who read their tale to have accepted the story with several grains of salt. However,t he impression that one of the imaginative nimrods in none other than Walt McDougall, who writes strange animal stories and draws wonderful pictures for the children, is growing daily. -- Editor the Telegram."

-And those two references were all there was to the Stansbury creature.

The Panguitch Lake Monster:
The Salt Lake Herald of  Sept. 21, 1878 carried the headline, "A Lake Legend: The Monster of Panguitch Lake: What the Indians say of Him, His Coming and His Going."
The story recount a lengthy Native American tale of the lake monster where the beast killed a hundred Indian maidens. One warrior vowed vengeance and eventually stormed the lake with thousands of warriors. The beast fled southward in a great flood and was eventually swallowed up in the Earth at the sink of tghe Sevier River.

A July 4, 1891 story in the Deseret Weekly newspaper stated that Panguitch Lake cannot boast of it monsters, like Bear Lake, because it has none.

-In addition to the monsters already mentioned, there are tales of a Sevier Lake Monster (since that's where the Panguitch Lake Monster supposedly went, though in recent decades there is NO water there); there is also the tale of a Utah Lake Monster and also the report of a sea monster on the north end of the Great Salt Lake.

-Add all the sea monsters up, 10 at Bear Lake in the initial report and those recounted here and there are at least 15 total monsters in 5 different bodies of water.