Monday, January 9, 2017

Eden Park: Forgotten, short-lived, Bountiful, Utah Resort of 1894

EDEN PARK, in Bountiful, is the most forgotten Utah resort of the 19th Century. It was also the most short-lived recreational spot of its era, lasting just a single season.
The first mention of Eden Park was in June of 1894.
The Salt Lake Tribune of June 12, 1894 reported that a naming contest was held and “Eden Park” was chosen to be the new resort’s title.
Constructed by Simon Bamberger, manager of the Great Salt Lake and Hot Springs Railroad (later simply called the Bamberger Railroad), “Bamberger’s Park” and such titles as “Bamdale” were also suggested for the resort’s name. Eden Park officially opened on June 16, 1894 and was designed to drive more traffic to Bamberger’s railroad, as it expanded northward.
The Tribune of June 13, 1894 stated that music, dancing a bowery, refreshments and night-time illumination were the key features of the three-acre Eden Park.
The Davis County Clipper newspaper of June 14, 1894, described Eden Park as a pleasure resort near Stoker Station, featuring picnicking, fruit and shade trees, plus a new drinking water artesian well. From Salt Lake City, it was 35 cents for a roundtrip train ride and admission to the park for adults. (It was 20 cents for children). There were six roundtrip passenger trains a day, requiring about 30 minutes each way.
The Davis County Clipper Newspaper on June 21, 1894 reported:
“The indications are that before the summer has past that Eden Park will be among the foremost of Utah’s pleasure resorts. Last Saturday the evening train for Salt Lake was made of six coaches all of which were crowded ….. A band from Salt Lake plays in the pavilion each afternoon. A force of men are still at work completing and beautifying the park.”
(Few, if any photographs of Eden Park exist.)
The Salt Lake Tribune of June 24, 1894 reported that a grand masquerade ball was to be held there on June 26 that year. Some 400 patrons a day were stated as visiting the resort each day. There were also swings and a baseball field there. Professor Peterson’s Orchestra often played there too.
The Tribune of July 3 that year stated that barbequed oxen was to be  a holiday food highlight there.
The Salt Lake Herald of Aug. 7, 1894 said that an Eden Park road race was scheduled to go from Salt Lake City to the Park and that an observatory train would shadow the footrace.
The Davis County Clipper on Sept. 12, 1952 looked back at the resort and stated that it was located at the bottom of Barton Creek, on the east side of the railroad tracks.
The Davis Clipper of March 28, 1895 reported that the Eden Park pavilion had been moved that month to a hot springs. (The nearest two hot springs were on Beck Street in Salt Lake.)
So, the Bountiful garden resort lasted just a single season in 1894.
As Simon Bamberger moved his decade old Lake Park resort in west Farmington northeastward to its current site by a Lagoon in 1895, that spelled doom for Eden Park. At an approximate half-way point between Salt Lake and Ogden, Lagoon resort was an ideal location and was Bamberger’s focus thereafter. Lagoon opened in July of 1986.
A shrinking Great Salt Lake had meant the briny water was a full mile from Lake Park resort’s facilities by 1895, making it unappealing to lake bathers, who wanted to “float like a cork” in the salt-laden waters. (Only Saltair resort survived into the 20th Century along the Great Salt Lake.)
Notwithstanding the receding lake waters, Lake Park had always had a mud problem along its shore. The Salt Lake Herald of July 31, 1910 reported that no amount of gravel, sand or fill could overcome that vexing problem either.

In that era of the late 19th Century/early 20th Century, “resorts” were not the thrill ride dominated parks they are today. They were basically shady picnicking areas with tables, dancing, music and sporting activities. Lagoon didn’t receive its first ride (beyond the "Shoot the Chutes" activity of slidding wooden sleds down an incline and into lake water) until 1906, when the carousel arrived. The wooden roller coaster didn’t come along until 1921, same year as the opening of a cement swimming pool.

                            Lagoon's original cemented swimming pool.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Lost Rhodes Gold Mine: Evolving Myth, or The Real Deal?

                    The gold-plated Angel Moroni statue, atop the Salt Lake LDS Temple.

UTAH is full of myths and legends. from the Bear Lake Monster, to Bigfoot and various haunted places, yet none is more mysterious than the lost Rhodes Gold Mine.
This mine was supposedly used to gain the gold to coat the Angel Moroni statue, on the top of the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Most common beliefs are that the mine is either in the Uinta Mountains, or on the Ute Indian Reservation, near Ouray.
Some even tie the mine into the Spanish and legendary Aztec gold mine lore.
Over the decades, some have scoffed that the mine even exists at all. A report in the Salt Lake Tribune of May 24, 1896 was written by an unnamed man who knew Thomas Rhodes well and provided his own memories of the man and mining.
The story states that Rhodes had brought to Utah some $50,000 in gold dust that he had secured in California. Then, years later he was on Strawberry Creek in the Uinta Mountains and noticed some similarities between the rocks there and the ones he had found gold at in California. Rhodes then panned the stream and found a little gold there.
After returning to Salt Lake City, he told LDS Church President Brigham Young about the gold and he urged Rhodes to keep the knowledge of any mines hidden.
That's because President Young didn't want an influx of people to the area, nor any disruption in the Mormon Pioneers' stock raising and agricultural interests.
"And it is evident that he (Rhodes) latterly lost confidence in the importance of his find, as he had opportunities to determine its extensiveness," the article stated.
The article also stressed that Rhodes never claimed any great knowledge of finding or mining gold.\
"The 'Rhodes' mine is only a companion myth of the "Spanish" mine at Springville, the Kanosh legend of Spanards working the Horn silver, the Mexican shaft in City Creek Canyon, etc.," the article concluded.
Thus, to this man, the Rhodes mine was never a mine, merely a little gold panning that evolved into a gold mine legend decades later.

-"Rich land of the Utes" was an Oct. 11, 1897 headline in the Salt Lake Herald newspaper. Regarding the Rhodes mine, this article stated:
"It is on the Uintah reservation that the famous Rhodes mine is located. Everyone in Utah is familiar with the story of Rhodes' life, who for years left home in the spring with a pack animal and regularly returned in the fall with several thousand dollars in gold. The secret of this hidden wealth was transmitted on the decease of the father to his eldest son who in turn died and left it to his younger brother, the man who is at present associated with FWC Hatherbruck in the endeavor to obtain the Indian's consent to a lease. Operations along this line have been temporarily suspended for the reason that Hatherbruck has been subpoenaed as a witness before a court at Provo City."

-A Feb. 6, 1902 story in the Eastern Utah Advocate newspaper strongly hinted that the Rhodes mine was a myth. It cited how many cowboys and sheepherders have roamed the territory, where the mine is supposed to be, and have only found copper -- and no gold.
The article then cited the Wasatch Wave newspaper that stated:
"It claims that an older settler said that Rhodes secured his gold dust in California in the early days -- brought it back to Utah and cached it out in the hills. About once a year he would visit his treasure box, and upon his return with gold, people were led to believe he secured it on the reservation."

-Notwithstanding such scoffing, the Utah Mining Review of Oct. 30, 1903 reported that the Rhodes mine had been found by the Florence Mining Company. Since no more was ever reported on that discovery, it was obviously proven wrong.

-Also, the lost Rhodes mine was reported found much more recently, in 1958. The Uintah Basin Standard newspaper of July 10, 1958 carried the headline, "Lost Rhodes Gold mine believed found by Bullock Mining Co." Again, with no future reports, that was also proven false in time. (The same newspaper had hinted at the possibility of a big gold strike in an Aug. 15, 1957 article, during a year when 25 mining claims were filed in Duchesne County.)

-So the legend of this gold mine, as many similar gold mines in the West, refuses to cease. Has the Rhodes tale evolved from simple gold panning, or from Rhodes' own possible cache of California gold into a full blown lost gold mine? Or, is it the real deal with an authentic lost gold mine out there ... Who can tell?

Great Salt Lake, 1877: 'A Monster Story"

     The Great Salt Lake, as seen from the northern tip of Fremont Island toward Promontory Point.

DOES the Great Salt Lake harbor a large monster?
If it does, he rarely gets out. The ONLY time he was ever seen was on the night of July 8th of 1877.
According to the Salt Lake Herald newspaper of July 13, 1877, a group of men saw the beast near Monument Point and fled, far away.
Bear Lake, straddling the Utah-Idaho border has had its share of monster tales, but the GSL has just a single story.
Monument Point, where the monster was supposedly seen, is in the extreme northwest corner of the Great Salt Lake. (That's also northwest of Promontory Point.)
The men reported seeing : "a huge mass of hide and fin rapidly approaching and when within a few yards of the shore it raised its enormous head and uttered a terrible bellow."
The men fled to the mountains and did not return until the next morning. Then, they reported finding some overturned rocks, torn up ground and tracks on the shore.
One of the men, J.H. McNeil, said the beast had to be some 75 feet long and was like an alligator or crocodile, only much larger.
The men were night employees at Barnes and Company's salt boilers.
The men had also reported hearing strange noises from the lake just before the encounter.
The newspaper report stated many claimed the sighting to be a hoax, but that McNeil "is a man who veracity cannot be impeached."
-Unlike Bear Lake, the Great Salt Lake is a very shallow body of water. At Monument Point, the lake is only two to four feet deep anywhere near the shore -- and that's when the GSL is at its average elevation of 4,200 feet above sea level. (As of late 2016, the area where this sighting took place is dry, with the lake being down 7 or 8 feet from average.)

1904: A Plan to Raise the Great Salt Lake Level with Dikes

           Taylor Arave stands next to landlocked buoy in 2008, in front of Fremont Island.

"PLAN to raise Salt Lake's level" was an April 28, 1904 headline in the Salt Lake Tribune. In that era, the lake's level had been dropping. In fact, Lagoon resort had abandoned its lake shore location about eight years prior (and moved inland), because of a diminished GSL.
The 1904 plan was to built dikes between Antelope Island and Fremont Island, thus creating two sections of the lake. Then, the 20 percent of the lake on the east side, could be fed with fresh water from streams.
This plan was the brainchild of Salt Lake resident John E. Dooly.
By 1920, Dooly was advocating that such dikes could help create a lakeside resort, complete with summer cottages nearby. He even envisioned a railroad line running all around the dikes, to showcase the beauty of the area (according to the Deseret News on Feb. 21, 1910).
Jump ahead two more decades and there was another plan for dikes to freshen the eastern side of the Great Salt Lake yet again (Salt Lake Telegram newspaper, June 20, 1930).
In later years, the idea also came too, but it was never attempted.
In late 2016, the lake level is near its lowest ever level, not just from drought, but because so much previous lake inflow is withheld for residential and business use.
Thus, if any of these dike ideas had been implemented decades ago, the eastern side of the lake could still be mostly a dust bowl, as it is today.
-Still, a causeway road was built to Antelope Island in the early 1960s and despite washing out various times over the years, it is still in use today.

A 1950s plan to dike the eastern side of the Great Salt Lake.

Main Roads in Arches National Park not fully paved until the 1990s.

ARCHES National Park was a late bloomer, as far as paved road access goes.
Dr. J.W. Williams and other Moab residents were credited with the first automobile ride into Arches in 1936 -- and they only reached the Balanced Rock and Windows area. They took a very rough path, basically what a jeep trail would be called today.
It wasn't until 1948 that the State of Utah spend $16,000 to improve the road into Arches -- and even then this was an unpaved road -- and only to Balanced Rock and the Windows formations (according to Times Independent Newspaper, Oct. 22, 1947 and April 22, 1948).
It wasn't until the summer of 1957 that the 9.2 miles of road from State Highway 191 to Windows was paved, at a cost of $700,000.
It was still an unpaved road northward from there, to the Devil's Garden.
This section was probably improved and paved by the late 1960s.
However, the side road to Wolf Ranch and the Delicate Arch trailhead was unpaved until the early 1990s.

Where the 'Delicate Arch' Name originated from; Plus, the Arche's Trail History

WE take the Delicate Arch name for granted today. This is no ordinary arch. It has not only become the symbol for Arches National Park (home to more than 2,000 stone arches), but also for the entire State of Utah at times.
The FIRST time the name Delicate Arch was used is likely in the Times Independent newspaper on January 8, 1934. The author was Frank Beckwith, an archaeologist with Arches National Monument.
He stated, "This is by far the most delicately chiseled arch in the entire area."
It was the local Times newspaper that subheaded the section for this statement with, "A beautiful Delicate Arch."
Likely, from there the name blossomed and was soon the official title of the natural feature.
Previously, this park icon was originally called "The Chaps" by area cowboys. "Bloomer's" was another nickname for the feature as well.
-The trail to Delicate Arch also used to be an ordeal, requiring the use of ladders. It wasn't until the spring of 1953 that the trail was reworked to its present configuration.
This new trail followed a seam in the rocks.
A Times Independent newspaper report from May 25, 1950 explained that it took some local Girl Scouts half a day to reach Delicate Arch. On returning to Wolf Ranch, the girls were tired and sunburned.

Before Arches National Park -- A Vast Cattle Domain

                              The Wolf Cabin in Arches National Park.

LONG before Arches National Park came along, this area north of Moab, Utah was a huge cattle ranching area. Early settlers were simply not impressed with scenery when they had to make a living in harsh desert territory.
The Wolf Ranch, just west of Delicate Arch and near the trailhead to the famous arch, was the most famous of these cattle ranches.
This ranch came along in 1898 and was about 150 acres in size, operated by Civil War Veteran John Wesley Wolf.
According to the Times Independent Newspaper of Aug. 3, 1967, a flood in the Salt Wash of Arches in 1906 washed Wolf's first cabin away and he had to build another away from the main drainage.
After Wolf sold out and left, sheep were grazed in the area. Also, horses ran free in the area.

                            The desolate Salt River Wash area.

It wasn't until 1936 when the Arches area was seen by more than cowboys and ranchers. That's because horseback or a jolting wagon ride were the only ways to access the area before that.
Dr. J.W. Williams and other Moab residents were credited with the first automobile ride into Arches in 1936 -- and they only reached the Balanced Rock and Windows area.