SOME 123 years ago in Ogden it was actually a crime to have a business open on Sunday.
“The Reed hotel barber was arrested yesterday for keeping his shop open on Sunday. He will have a hearing this morning,” as quoted from the Sept. 30, 1891 Ogden Standard-Examiner.
(The Reed Hotel, 2510 Washington Boulevard, was the forerunner to today’s Bigelow-Ben Lomond Hotel.)
That Sunday closing law would vanish less than 15 years later and then only it was only the serving of alcoholic beverages that was strictly controlled on the first day of the week.
However, as recent at 62 years ago, there was a failed move to re-instate Ogden’s Sunday closing law for businesses. An August 9, 1952 headline in the Standard stated: “Ogden Council studies Sunday closing law.”
But, back to the late 19th Century, one of the most widespread of crimes in Utah and most of the nation then was pickpocketing.
“Chris Tolman, one of the most noted pickpockets in San Francisco, was arrested a few days ago but was allowed to depart if he left Ogden behind him. This he did in good shape,” a Sept. 30, 1891 Standard article stated.
Indeed, there were warning signs posted around Salt Lake’s Temple Square in the early 20th Century, warning of possible pickpockets.
-Other Ogden historical tidbits of note:
-Ogden’s first anti-spitting law was enacted in November of 1898.
-“Dead horse caused considerable uproar” was an August 14, 1909 story in the Standard. A horse, dead for a week, and left in lower Strong’s Canyon was causing residents to leave their homes and worry about drinking water contamination.
The animal had been sick and put to pasture in that area. The Health Department ordered the Call Brothers, who own a stable at 354 23rd Street, to remove the body and have it cremated.
-Although the winter of 1948-1949 was the most severe of all in Northern Utah for the 20th Century, the winter of 1898-1899 was also an awful season. “The heavy mountain snows” was a March 15, 1899 headline in the Standard. The report stated that canyons such as Waterfall, Strong’s, Coldwater, Taylor and Wheeler were filled with record icy snow, 20 to 50 feet deep. Fears of flooding in the South Fork of the Ogden River were also present.
-Wildfires are also not a modern disaster. “Birds and rabbits perish in flames sweeping hillside” was an August 27, 1926 Standard headline. A fire then in the south slope of Strong’s Canyon was two miles wide and reaching the head of Birth Creek. The fire’s cause was unknown, but Boy Scouts armed with shovels from troop numbers 2, 16, 20 and 24 helped turn the flames away from farm and home properties in the area.
(-Written by Lynn Arave and originally published in the Ogden Standard Examiner, April 25, 2014.)
-NOTE: The author, Lynn Arave, is available to speak to groups, clubs, classes or other organizations about Utah history at no charge. He can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org