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.




Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The 2 former 'Temples of Health' -- Salt Lake and Ogden's Deseret Gymnasiums

                               The Former Deseret Gymnasium in Ogden, 550 25th Street.


ONE of the most exciting developments in Salt Lake City during the early 20th Century was the opening of the Deseret Gymnasium in 1910.
This "Temple of Health," as some referred to it, existed for some 87 years.
AND, not to be outdone, Ogden residents lobbied for their own Deseret Gymnasium and it opened in 1925 (decades even before Ogden had its own spiritual temple).
Salt Lake's Deseret Gymnasium opened its doors on Sept. 20, 1910. Located where the LDS Church Office Building now stands on North Temple Street, the Gym was just east of the Salt Lake Temple. It was part of the old downtown LDS University and used by students and the public.
Its official grand opening featured an orchestra and the facility cost $250,000 (or $6.14 million in 2017 dollar values).
Centerpiece of the Gym was its 30 by 60-foot swimming pool. 
Indeed, the Salt Lake Telegram newspaper stated on Sept. 17, 1910 that an early opening of just the swimming pool proved to be a chaotic and unpredictable affair.
"A mob of more than a thousand attacked the Deseret gymnasium at the rear of the Latter-day Saints' University this morning and for a time it looked as though the doors would be battered down and the building would be taken by a storm," the Telegram reported.
The Gym had advertised that any boy age 7 and up would be admitted free that morning and hence the mob.
"An average of 100 boys and hour were admitted to the pool," the story stated and some 1,500 boys got a free swim that day. The pool was 4.5 to 8.5 feet deep.
Men and women had separate hours of pool usage during the gym's early decades.
The original Gym also contained 6 bowling alleys, a basketball court and much more.
In April of 1911, the Deseret Gymnasium also had athletes put on exhibitions for General Conference visitors, with calisthenics, folk dancing and games (Salt Lake Tribune April 5, 1911).
The Salt Lake Tribune of March 9, 1911 also stated that indoor baseball games had been held inside the Deseret Gym.
In early 1960s, the Salt Lake Deseret Gym was aging and too small. A new, larger Gym was built to the northwest and opened in 1965. It featured a much larger swimming pool and even an indoor track above its main basketball court.
There was also a popular barber shop in the building and many a departing missionary had their hair cut there in the 1960s and early 1970s, before the MTC came along in Provo.
The Salt Lake Deseret Gymnasium closed in 1997 to make way for the new Conference Center, a block north of Temple Square.
-Ogden's Deseret Gymnasium, 550 25th Street, closed in the early 1990s and was sold in 1993 to Total Fitness. 

-Today, such gymnasiums are probably not needed, at least ones operated by the LDS Church, since many private gym/fitness and swimming facilities now exist.

Monday, July 10, 2017

One of the first drownings in the Great Salt Lake

            Davis County 4th graders play in the Great Salt Lake at Antelope Island.


YES, you can drown in the briny, buoyant waters of the Great Salt Lake.
Although the GSL's waters are 3 to 5 times saltier than the ocean and and can't sink -- but "float like the cork" there, you can drown in the water.
Inhaling the water can choke and gag you and the briny water can fill your lungs and stop your breathing.
One of the FIRST, if not the first recorded drownings in the Great Salt Lake happened on Sunday, August 6, 1882.
According to the Ogden Herald newspaper of Aug. 7, 1882, J.D. Farmer, a well-known Salt Lake City businessman, drowned near the Black Rock resort, on the lake's south end. Although his body could not be initially found, his clothing was discovered in one of the bath houses. He could not be located when the day's final train was ready to return to Salt Lake City. People searched for his body, but it was not found until more than four years later.
The Salt Lake Herald newspaper of Oct. 13, 1886 reported than his body was finally found about eight miles west of Garfield, along the shoreline there. The skeleton's size apparently matched Farmer's height.
The Great Salt Lake has an average depth of 14 feet and pockets of it can be about 36 feet deep, depending on lake elevation. 


                     A youth floats like at cork in the Great Salt Lake.

-Although no one can be certain if the first drowning in the Great Salt Lake wasn't the Salt Lake grave robber, John Baptiste, whom Brigham Young exiled to Fremont Island in the spring of 1862. This since he was never found after an escape from the isle, the Salt Lake Herald Newspaper of Nov. 14, 1895 published an account of the robber where "fact and fiction mixed." 
This report was originally published in the Chicago Chronicle newspaper and was simply, "a wild, weird story." It states that Baptiste was exiled on "Church Island" (Antelope Island), when the fact is the location was Fremont Island.
This Chicago story, a forerunner of fake news, spins Church Island as haunted and avoided because Baptiste has turned into a wild man, hairy, old and dangerous. It even acts like the Great Salt Lake is extremely dangerous with many boats sunk and people drowned.
A work of fiction in the 1890s, it would make for a dismal TV movie plot today.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Early Southern Utah: From the Four Corners to Monument Valley to Zion Canyon to the Pine Valley Mountains




By Lynn Arave

FOUR Corners is a popular tourist destination today, but just over a century ago it was still an emerging novelty, yet a very remote spot to visit.
As the junction where the four corners of four states – Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona – meet, this place is unique in America.

                                   In 4 states at the same time!

“A Geographical Novelty” was a Feb. 28, 1902 headline in the Coalville Times Newspaper. This article stated that even world-wide, there was not a similar place where four counties met at such a junction.



The Salt Lake Herald Newspaper on Aug. 13, 1902 stated that the Four Corners was located in the midst of desert. Grass for stock was sparse in the area. A Herald article on Sept. 11, 1902 also explained how many Navajos were starving in the Four Corners region, with food shortages.

              Even today, it is barren land around the Four Corners.

The Logan Republican Newspaper of June 8, 1904 said the first shaft type monument had recently been erected at the Four Corners. However, access to the remote place was still difficult, with Mancos, Colorado, some 100 miles distant, being the nearest railroad town to the Four Corners.

                                    Monument Valley

-Still another remote area in southeastern Utah of old was Monument Valley. First referred to in its early days as “Monumental Valley,” (Salt Lake Herald Newspaper of Nov. 1, 1908), it was later referenced as “Monumental Park” too.
The Salt Lake Tribune of Sept. 5, 1915 stated that it required a week of travel from Salt Lake City at that time to even reach the remote location. It was two years later before the first talk of making a regular road to reach the place happened.

-The Henry Mountains further north are another mysterious Utah place. It is often stated that these mountains were among the last to be named ranges in the entire United States.
The first newspaper reference to the Henry Mountains appeared in the Salt Lake Herald of June 18, 1875.
The Henry Mountains were also among the last places to be mapped too. The Richfield Reaper Newspaper of Dec. 30, 1937 stated that the first geological maps of the Henry Mountains were made in 1937.

-Some features in Zion National Park DON’T have the same names they originally had. Back when the place was sometimes referred to as “Little Zion,” a few titles were different.

                The big curve in Zion Canyon, near the former "Raspberry Bend."

For example, a story in the Ephraim Herald Newspaper of Nov. 22, 1919 included an early map of Zion Canyon.
The sharp curve in the canyon just past Weeping Rock was originally called “Raspberry Bend.”
Also, Native American “cliff dwellings” were listed on that map in the Weeping Rock area. These are not marked on maps today. “Mummy Cave” was also nearby and according to the newspaper article was where petrified mummies of early cliff dwellers here were found – several hundred feet above the valley floor. 
In addition, what is called the Great White Throne today had an alternate name in the early 20th Century --  “El Gobernador.”
Plus, today’s “Grotto” area was originally named “Wylie Camp,” a rustic hotel, established in 1917.

              Looking north to St. George and the Pine Valley Mountains.

-The Pine Valley Mountains, north of St. George, are the highest elevations in southwestern Utah. A May 3, 1935 article in the Parowan Times Newspaper stated that the original name for the mountains as “Kaib-a-harur” – meaning “Mountain Standing Still.”
By 1935 there were already elaborate trails in these mountains, which assisted hiking and horseback trips, as well as hunters.
The Washington County Newspaper of June 17, 1926 stated that from “Signal Point,” the highest place in the Pine Valley Mountains at 10,300 feet, “one may from the same spot and with the aid of field glasses, witness people living in snowbound valleys to the north; see men hauling wood on bob-sleds; watch boys skating and observe gangs of men cutting and hauling natural ice 2- inches in thickness. Without moving a step but simply by turning the telescope of the south, one may see children in summer frocks, ladies picking roses from lawns and all classes of gardening in full summer sway.”
That was obviously referring to the elevation difference between Cedar City (5,850 feet above sea level) and St. George (elevation 2,800 feet).

                                       Vermillion Castle.

-“Vermillion Castle,” northeast of Parowan was so named in May of 1935. According to the Parowan Times Newspaper of May 17, 1935, Simon A. Matheson won a $5 prize for calling the forest campground there “Vermillion” in a Parowan Chamber of Commerce contest. He cited the “castle-like cliffs” as the inspiration for the title.
Previously, the area had been called “Five Mile.”
The road to Vermillion was first oiled in the late 1930s. Heavy rains washed out the road as recently as August 8, 1963.





Friday, May 19, 2017

Salt Lake Temple: Most Expensive LDS Temple Ever?


By Lynn Arave

THE next time you enjoy the gothic and symbolic features of the one and only Salt Lake LDS Temple, consider it’s dollar price to build -- $3,469,118.
That was the price given by Elder George Reynolds, a member of the Quorum of the Seventy, back in 1895, to a Philadelphia newspaper, as quoted in the Deseret Weekly News of March 23, 1895.




By Lynn Arave

Factor in the inflation and even in 1916 dollars (the furthest back an on-line government inflation calculator goes), that price equals at least $86,559,450 in 2017 dollars.
(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hasn’t revealed the actual costs of any temples for many decades now.)
However, in contrast the San Diego Temple, which opened in 1993, was reported by the Los Angeles Times to have cost an estimated $24 million. (That’s $40.6 million in 2017 dollars.)

                                                             San Diego Temple.

And, the original Ogden Temple, that opened in 1972, cost $4.29 million (or some $25 million in today’s dollars.)
Note that the Salt Lake Temple required some 40 years to build – far more than any other temple. Also, some volunteer, unpaid labor was used back then, or the price over four decades likely would have been much more, likely $100 millon plus.
Furthermore, Elder Reynolds in that 1895 article stated that exact costs of the temple were impossible. Still, he said about the Salt Lake Temple’s construction:



“In the early stages the progress was slow and very expensive, for it took four yoke of oxen four days to bring a single stone from the quarry twenty miles distant.”
He said some estimated it cost $100 for every stone cut, moved by oxen to the temple site and then laid in place. He also stressed that metal and other materials were very expensive to obtain, especially until the railroad came long.

                                                        Pencil drawing by Steve Arave

Utah's own 'Noah's Ark'

                                                   Photographs by Ravell Call and Lynn Arave

By Lynn Arave

THE  search for Noah's ark has sparked many an ambitious expedition or documentary over the years. However, some 40 miles from Zion National Park is Utah's own Noah's Ark, as officially named on government maps.
Of course, this isn't the real ark, but it's intriguing nevertheless -- especially with its red color. 
It is located about five miles southeast of Parowan on the south side of First Left Hand Canyon at an elevation of 8,592 feet above sea level.
Approaching 1,000 feet in length, this red rock formation is about twice the estimated length of the biblical boat, which is commonly said to be at least 300 cubits (a cubit is commonly believed to be 18 inches long), or about 550 feet long and 45 feet high.



There's a signed trail starting in the Vermilion Picnic Area that leads to a closer view of Noah's Ark. However, the view from the road and picnic area is not bad.
Although signs say the trail is 1 mile long one-way, it is closer to 1.5 miles long. It climbs steeply in places, starting from an elevation of 6,927 feet above sea level and topping out at 8,037 feet — for a total climb of 1,110 feet.
There is some shade along this trail, but it is not one to do in the heat of a summer day.

The trail ends on a small plateau that also offers a view of the Little Salt Lake and the surrounding area.
There's also Grand Castle, a kingly sort of red rock formation to the north of Noah's Ark. To the west and near the canyon floor is Vermilion Castle.
The Dixie National Forest has no additional information available on the Noah's Ark Trail.
Bruce Matheson, a longtime resident of Parowan, said the formation is a landmark for all locals in the canyons. He doesn't know where the name came from. Its origin is not mentioned in the history books, and it is just assumed that some early settler starting calling it Noah's Ark and the name stuck.
"The Parowan area has some of the most gorgeous rock formations around," Matheson said. "The colors are very vivid."
He's heard of a few men over the years who have managed to get to the top of Noah's Ark, though it looks to be a steep and risky climb.
Mike Ward, who lives in Paragonah, says Noah's Ark and the surrounding area are spectacular.
"The whole area is a stunner," he reported in an e-mail to the Deseret Morning News.
He said Second Left Hand Canyon, to the south, is his favorite — especially since it has a mountain bike trail that connects with Brian Head.
• To reach the Noah's Ark Trail, go south on I-15 to Parowan (Exit 75) and go through town, turning left (east) off Main Street onto state Route 143. Turn left after about one mile and go east into First Left Hand Canyon, which heads to Yankee Meadows. (This is a paved, narrow road with 13 percent grades, if you continue past Vermilion.)
Watch the signs and turn into Vermilion Picnic Area and drive the dirt road loop, looking for the signed trailhead. There are restrooms in the picnic area.
• The Parowan Canyon area is also home to a slew of other oddly shaped features. For example, there's Free Thought Canyon; Valentine Peak (where the sun rises each Feb. 14 perfectly lined with its summit); Squaw Hollow; Hole in the Rock; Billy West Canyon; and Yankee Meadows.
-From  a Deseret News article on Nov. 8, 2007, by Lynn Arave.
                                Looking west from the Noah's Ark area

'Other' Utah Monsters (and Not the Bear Lake Monster or Bigfoot) ...


By Lynn Arave

Tales of the Bear Lake Monster and even periodic sightings of Bigfoot dominate the monster scene in Utah. However, the Beehive State has also had reports over the decades of OTHER monsters.

Here are some of these other beasts:

-Flying serpent terrifies early Ogden Valley residents:  “A veritable Eden. The serpent is at his old tricks again” was a July 23, 1894 report in the Ogden Standard-Examiner.
This was from the Eden of Weber County, in Ogden Valley. On the previous Friday evening about sundown, “a number of Eden’s reliable men” claimed they spotted a “monster serpent,” 100 feet long and 18 inches in diameter,  flying through the air and swooping down near Wilbur’s Store, at the corner of Independence Park.


                  An aerial view of the Eden and Huntsville area from Mount Ogden.

They estimated it was moving at 36-40 mph and soon disappeared over the mountains in the direction of Middle Fork Canyon – apparently never to be spotted again.
A serpent in Biblically named Eden, just this side of Paradise (north side in Cache County). Who knew?

- Flying creature shocks trainmen: The mother of a son who worked for Union Pacific told this chilling tale --
 In about 2005, the son and another U.P. engineer were railroading their usual route from Ogden to Elko, Nev.
Both men claimed to have clearly spotted a flying creature zip in front of the train and speed away. It was clear and massive, kind of like a giant jellyfish.
Both men were shocked, never having seen anything like that in decades of driving trains.
This happened out by Lakeside, along the border of the west side of the Great Salt Lake.
They also claimed they spotted the same flying creature on their return trip to Ogden in the same area.
They said it was a living entity, not some drone or aircraft.

-Giant snake in the Oquirrh Mountains: The December 25, 1873 issue of the Deseret News contains the tale of a monster snake in the right-hand fork of Coon's Canyon, southwest of Salt Lake City. A man, Edward R. Walker, was felling timber on a high peak south of Black rock when a deer an by. Walker grabbed his rifle and decided to pursue. A mile later the sound of a shrill whistle and hiss interrupted his chase.
"He saw approaching him, at a very rapid rate, a serpent, which he judged was between thirty and forty feet long, and about 10 inches through the body. The reptile's head was raised fully six feet from the ground and his jaws were open fifteen or eighteen inches wide, with fangs growing from both upper and lower jaw," Walker's report stated.

                             The north end of the Oquirrh Mountains.

The snake chased him and soon Walker stumbled and felt the weight of the monster's body gliding over his body. Then, the snake seemed to become frightened and slid off at a tremendous rate towards the ridge of the mountain. Walker said the snake was yellow in color and covered with scales. He said he would never set foot in that canyon again, despite having had years of experience in the mountains.

-'Gorilla' Man attacks woman and S.L. Street" was a Dec. 18, 1931 headline in the Salt Lake Telegram newspaper. This beast ripped the woman's clothes off after violently hurling her to the ground. The woman said the man was frothing at the mouth, mumbling insanely, had an iron grip and was walking in an ape-like manner with shaggy hair. The attack took place at State Street and Downington Avenue. Police believe this same man molested a dozen small girls on the City's west side previously, but were unable to locate him. No more "sightings" of him were ever reported.



Kodachtrome Basin:: A wonderland of pale spires, cliffs and arches


By Lynn Arave

MILLIONS of years ago, springs and spouting geysers welled upward in an area not unlike portions of today's Yellowstone National Park. Over time the source of these waters dried up; the sediment-filled spouts solidified, surrounded by a landscape of Entrada sandstone. More eons passed, and while the softer sandstone eroded away grain by grain, the plugs of these mineral faucets - made of harder stuff - proved more resilient.

Today, frozen in time, they're a geologic phenomenon and a centerpiece of Kodachrome Basin State Park, a sparsely visited wonderland of pale spires (those ancient cores), cliffs and arches - such as the spectacular Grosvenor - carved in the region's malleable sunset-colored sandstones.For many years the area, known as both Thorley's Pasture (for rancher Tom Thorley) and Thorny Pasture (for the cactus there), and for a time as Chimney Rocks, was a popular local attraction - especially after a better dirt road made access easier in the 1930s.

Kodachrome leaped to national notoriety when it was featured in the September 1949 issue of National Geographic magazine in an article by writer-photographer Jack Breed about south-central Utah proclaiming the "First Motor Sortie Into Escalanteland." The expedition into a basically unsettled area of the Colorado Plateau involved 15 adventurers, three Jeeps, two trucks and 35 horses. Because of the "astonishing variety of contrasting colors in the formations," they applied the name "Kodachrome Flat" to the area.

For some time there was talk that Kodak, which owned the term "Kodachrome" for its slide film, opposed such use of its product's name. Eventually, however, that proved not to be the case, and today Kodachrome Basin has Kodak's blessing. (In fact, official park brochures used to list Kodak as the "official film" of the state park.)

The state of Utah bought land for the preserve in 1962. But the first real improvements - a campground and ranger residence - weren't built until 1974. In 1988, modern restrooms and hot showers were added.
The park had only 1,000 visitors per year in its early days, but by 1992, visits had multiplied to 64,000.
The naming of neighboring Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in the mide-1990s raised interest in Kodachrome too.

The desert climate and slickrock also make the Kodachrome vicinity a great place to visit in late fall or early spring, when many other Utah state parks are too cold for a comfortable visit. 

The park can also have a wide temperature range in a single day because of its 5,800-foot elevation. 
There are at least 67 chimneylike "sand pipes" in the Kodachrome area. Such spires, found nowhere else in the world, are up to 52 meters high. The most significant are found in the Grand Parade area near the campground.

Chimney Rock, a giant thumb rising from the plateau, is one of the most popular scenic attractions. A dirt road leads to the formation about a mile from the campground on the park's east side. The short but bumpy ride can be quite a sight, as in late summer when sightseers pass through a gigantic field of blooming sunflowers.

Grosvenor Arch, about 10 miles southeast of Kodachrome, is perhaps the area's most famous formation - and deservedly so.

A beautiful and impressive stone rainbow on the lip of a soft-orange mesa, Grosvenor (pronounced Grove-nor) was named by the National Geographic expedition in 1949 in honor of the society's president, Gilbert Grosvenor. The arch, with a 99-foot span, tops out at 152 feet above the ground.

Breed described the arch in his 1949 article:

"This striking natural bridge is carved of creamy rock, a rarity in a land of brilliant reds. Actually it is a double arch, with the larger span on the end of a buttress that cuts from the main sandstone butte."
A smaller arch within the state park bears Tom Shakespeare's name. The former manager of the park discovered it in the 1970s while looking for a coyote den. His name was selected over options like "Tom Thumb's Arch" as a result of a local contest. A side road on the way to Chimney Rock leads to the Shakespeare trailhead, where a sandy, 600-yard trail leads to the arch.

Hiking is a popular park pastime. Besides the Shakespeare Arch trail, visitors can explore the Panorama, Eagle View and Angels Palace trails. Panorama is the longest round trip at 3 miles.

A visit to Kodachrome can be a pleasant, half-day jaunt or a camping and hiking destination. The state park offers a modicum of solitude - a quality that's now just a memory in the region's other, more-crowded national and state parks.
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- TO REACH KODACHROME: Kodachrome Basin State Park is south of Cannonville, off U-12, one of Utah's "scenic byways." The park is about 290 miles from Salt Lake City. 

Calf Creek -- Predicted for national park status back in 1930

CALF CREEK, a wondrous southern Utah waterfall was "discovered" in about 1930 and Garfield County residents thought the landmark deserved National Park status.
Calf Creek is located between the Utah towns of Boulder and Escalante, off Highway 12. The popular lower falls features an approximate 130-foot water drop of the Escalante River, while the upper falls is about 90 feet high.
According to the book, "Utah Place Names," the box-like canyon of the lower falls, was used to almost naturally hold calves in place, presumably during the early 20th Century.
A Garfield County newspaper report from May 9, 1930 praised the completion of a new road through the area, where cars "can go up the grade in second gear." Still, the rest of the road in the area was reported as rough and dangerous.
Notwithstanding, the newspaper reported stated: "Then, about three-fourths of a mile above camping grounds is a most wondrous side canyon, called 'Calf Creek,' which is sufficient in grandeur that there is an application to have it designated as a national park. The marvelous waterfall is a 136 feet in height, sending its silvery sprays over most beautiful ferns. The formation of canyon and all compose a spectacle which is not an exaggeration when called a scenic paradise."
Of course, the national park status didn't easily come to pass. Calf Creek was designated as a National Recreation Area on Aug. 31, 1963.
A $2 user fee began in July of 1975, based on the popularity of the area.
Calf Creek was part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, created in 1996, and so it did finally gain national status.
Today, a 2.5-mile long trail along the river leads to the lower Calf Creek falls, while a slickrock slope takes more rustic hikers to the upper falls, still not readily marked along the roadside.

NOTE: Some maps erroneously list Calf Creek Recreation Area as California Creek Recreation area.



The first pioneer swim in the Great Salt Lake; John Muir’s ‘bath’ in its briny waters


                       Layton fourth-graders playing in the Great Salt Lake at Antelope Island.



By Lynn Arave

A significant number of Northern Utah residents have probably never waded or taken a dip in the Great Salt Lake.
However, some of the first group of Mormon Pioneers wasted little time in heading out to swim in the briny lake waters, just three days after entering the Great Salt Lake Valley.
According to Milton R. Hunter in his 1956 book, “Utah in Her Western Setting,” on July 27, 1847, eight Mormon Apostles and six other pioneers traveled southwest to the south end of the Great Salt Lake. They called the place “Black Rock” and ate lunch and swam in the lake there. The rock rose some 50 feet above the lake’s waters.
Orson Pratt reported: “We cannot sink in this water. We roll and float on the surface like a dry log. I think the Salt Lake is one of the wonders of the world.”


                  Great Salt Lake foam, near the shore qt Antelope Island.

The Deseret News on July 27, 1907 also examined that first pioneer lake swim on its 60th anniversary and stated that a man could sit in the lake’s waters as a man sits in a rocking chair – suspended upward. The first pioneers in the water also reported the waters to be so warm that no one wanted to retreat from the lake.
Pratt further described the water as fully saturated with salt, “its specific gravity as such to buoy us up in a remarkable manner, the water was very transparent; the bottom is sandy.”
After bathing, the pioneer group gathered a cup of white salt from the lakeshore rocks and also discovered a fresh water spring nearby, though it was somewhat brackish in taste.
The tradition soon became that a part of the Fourth of July celebration in Salt Lake City was to go west and swim in the briny waters of the lake. The Deseret News reported this happening on July 4, 1851.
Eventually, the first Utah railroad would transport bathers to Black Rock. Soon, a bowery was built at nearby Garfield Beach and row boats would take swimmers out to Black Rock, where the water was deeper for proper bathing.
Black Rock opened as a Great Salt Lake resort by H.J. Faust in 1876, but it soon fell into disrepair. Alonzo Hyde, son-in-law of LDS Church President John Taylor, and David John Taylor, the president's son, took over Black Rock in 1880. It was located a few miles northeast of Lake Point. Heber C. Kimball's old ranch house there was turned into a hotel, and the resort had swings and a merry-go-round, pulled by a horse.
Yet a much larger and grander resort, Saltair, opened about a mile to the east in 1893 and captured most of the headlines and crowds. In the GSL’s heyday, eight different lakeshore resorts were operating, offering “floating like a cork.”


-Famous naturalist John Muir visited and bathed in the Great Salt Lake on a cool and windy day in early May of 1877.
“Great Salt Lake. America’s Dead Sea poetically pictured by a Naturalist. Prof. Muir’s bath at Lake Point” was the newspaper’s headline.
Muir was alone on the south shore during his “swim” and assumed that was because cooler spring weather didn’t attract the crowds that the summer season did.
In Muir’s own poetic writing, here is a summary of his experience in the waters of the Great Salt Lake, as recorded in the Salt Lake Herald newspaper of June 27, 1877:
 “When the north wind blows bathing in Salt Lake is a glorious baptism, for then it is all wildly awake with waves, blooming like a prairie in snowy crystal foam. Plunging confidently into the midst of the grand uproar you are hugged and welcomed and swim without effort, rocking and whirling up and down and round in delightful rhythm while the wind sings in chorus and the cool, fragrant brine searches every fibre of your body, and at the end of your excursion you are tossed ashore with a glad God-speed, braced and salted and clean as a saint.”

-What did Muir think of the Wasatch Mountains? His own description from that 1877 visit compared it to his Yosemite: “The mountains rise into the cool sky, furrowed with canons almost Yosemtic in grandeur and filled with a glorious profusion of flowers and trees. Lovers of science, lovers of wilderness, lovers of pure rest will find here more than they ever may hope for.”

-What did Muir think of Mormons? His own words: “As
for the Mormons one meets, however their doctrines
may be regarded, they will be found as rich in human
kindness as any people in all the broad land, while
the dark mysteries that cloud their earlier history will vanish from the mind as completely as when we bathe in the fountain azure of the Sierra.”
The Salt Lake Herald of Sept. 9, 1877 also made miraculous claims about the Great Salt Lake’s healing powers, which may have also contributed to the briny water’s extreme popularity in the late 19th Century. The newspaper claimed the lake’s waters cured skin diseases, eased sore eyes and cleaned out the nose and throat. “Great Salt Lake is beginning to take rank as a watering place … Hundreds of the afflicted are testing its curative powers….” the newspaper reported.

(-This story was originally published in the Deseret News on July 11, 2017.)




A History of All 8 former Great Salt Lake Bathing Resorts

     The south shore of the Great Salt Lake, as viewed from Antelope Island's highest point.


By Lynn Arave


PIONEERS and early settlers were fanatically attracted to the Great Salt Lake, a vastly salty body of water with no outlet -- and where bathers could "float like a cork."
Bathing resorts along the GSL sprang up starting in 1870, with 8 different locations in its heyday, but none have survived the decades.
The lake's fickle habit of greatly shrinking and then enlarging played havoc on the beach fronts of the resorts over the years.
The public also soon favored fresh water swimming, or hot springs over a briny experience. 
And, the popularity of the automobile also meant that Utahns could drive to the mountains, out of state -- basically to places not rigidly set by railroad travel only. (Most GSL lake resorts had railroad access and were even created to drive passenger traffic to the rails.)
One key confusing element of the former Great Salt Lake resorts was the overuse of the term "Lake" in resort titles. This led to plenty of historical confusion over the years and some resorts had their histories incorrectly mixed-up with other resorts.
For example, Lake Side in Kaysville is sometimes confused with Lake Park in Farmington. The local history book, "Layton, Utah," by the Kaysville-Layton Historical Society (1985) somehow managed to confused Lake Side with Lake Park. This is significant because Lake Park eventually moved eastward and became Lagoon Amusement Park, the largest such establishment in the Intermountain West.

(In addition, if you were to believe some of these mixed-up histories, you would surmise wrongly that Lagoon started in 1870 and not 16 years later in 1886.)

Note also that the Lake Shore resort is also sometimes confused with the Syracuse resort.

      Davis County 4th graders playing in the Great Salt Lake at Antelope Island, reminiscent of yesteryear.

One big void in the 8 lake resorts' geography was a lack of any GSL resort that Ogden, Utah's second largest city at the time, could lay claim to. However, Ogden had plans for such a resort to be built in the Promonory Point/Little Mountain area, directly west of today's 12th Street in Ogden. However, that dream never became a reality, though it was promoted heavily from 1912-1923.

-Here are some capsule historical glances at all 8 of the former Great Salt Lake resorts of yesteryear:


1. Lake Side was located southwest of Kaysville (but close to the Farmington border) and opened in June of 1870. It was probably the first-ever standard attraction along the lake's shore.

It monopolized the resort trade for several years with numerous church and family outings. John W. Young, third son of Brigham Young, built it. This Young had part ownership in the Utah Central Railroad.

A key highlight of the resort was that it eventually featured a 25-cent ride on the City of Corinne, a steamboat, going to Lake Point on the south shore. This former commercial ship on the lake took tourists during the 1872 season only on excursions. The boat could carry 100 passengers and even boasted its own live band.
In the 1882 season, Lake Side provided some 30,000 "baths" in the Great Salt Lake.

It is unclear exactly when this resort vanished, but it's certain the low lake level of the early 1890s would have closed it. More likely, the popularity of the much larger Lake Park, which opened to the south 16 years later, in 1886, would have killed it.

2. Lake Point was started during 1870 - about the same time as Lake Side. It was built by Dr. Jeter Clinton and offered sandy beaches. By 1874, it had a dining hall and dancing room, plus 40 hotel rooms.

On July 4, 1876, some 1,500 people visited the resort.

Today's Lake Point Junction, along I-80, is the only ghost left of the resort. It likely fell victim to Saltair's popularity by or before 1890.

3. Black Rock was opened by H.J. Faust in 1876, but this resort didn't catch on either. It soon fell into disrepair, something quickly possible along the lake's shores, given the corrosive salt water, winds and storms.

Alonzo Hyde, son-in-law of LDS Church President John Taylor, and David John Taylor, the president's son, took over Black Rock in 1880. It was located a few miles northeast of Lake Point. The resort was named for the large black rock monolith that's in or along the lake, depending on its level.

Heber C. Kimball's old ranch house was turned into a hotel, and the resort had swings and a merry-go-round, pulled by a horse.

But a much larger and grander resort, Saltair, opened in 1893 and put Black Rock out of business by the mid-1890s.

Black Rock was resurrected in 1933, but that didn't last either.

At Sunset Beach in 1934, still another small report was operating for a short time on the lake's south shore, but couldn't compete with Saltair either.

4. Lake Shore was described as a modest little resort. It opened in 1879 and was located a few miles southwest of where Lake Park (Lagoon's forerunner) would be. George O. Chase was one of the owners.

Like Lake Side, little is known about Lake Shore. It had some dressing rooms, but that apparently was it. Lake Shore was described as being 15 miles north of Salt Lake City and reached by the Central Railroad system.

Again, the establishment of the larger Lake Park in 1886 and the receding lake level would have doomed Lake Shore by 1890 or sooner.

5. Garfield Beach began in 1881, two miles southwest of Black Rock. It capitalized on service via the steamboat from Lake Side. The boat was renamed "General Garfield," in honor of James A. Garfield taking a ride on it. The boat was anchored semi-permanently offshore of the resort.

In 1887, Garfield resort was purchased by the Utah and Nevada Railroad. Some $100,000 in improvements were added, including 200 bathhouses with showers, a restaurant, race track and bowling alley. It was then called "Utah's great sanitarium resort," and 84,000 total people visited Garfield that year.

Five years later, it was still going strong, and the Union Pacific Railroad purchased it and spent another $150,000 in upgrades. It was the lake's first resort to have an electric generator and lights.

A fire destroyed it (the steamboat too) in 1904, and despite rumors it would be rebuilt, it never was.




6. Lake Park started on July 15, 1886, between Lake Side and Lake Shore. Railroad magnate Simon Bamberger (later Utah's first-ever Democratic governor) built the resort with a $100,00 investment, as a proven way to increase passenger traffic on his trains.

It was promoted as one of the "most attractive watering places in the West." Some 53,000 people visited Lake Park in its first season.

Based on 1886 lake levels, it was probably located 1.7 miles west of today's Lagoon. It boasted an open-air dancing pavilion, a small Victorian-style hotel and a string of cabanas along the beach -- some 120 acres in all.

A sailboat racing and rowing club also had headquarters at Lake Park.


           A view of where Lake Park resort was, just grass and salt today.

By 1895, the resort was suffering from low water levels. What once was lake shore was now blue-colored mud. Guests had to walk a third of a mile or more to reach the water.

Bamberger decided to move the resort inland to a swampy area. Five of the resort's original buildings were moved.


     Another view of where Lake Park used to be, just a bird mecca and horse ranch today. 

The park reopened as "Lagoon" on July 12, 1896. That relocation, away from fickle lake levels, to another lake - a small fresh-water one - proved wise. The result is today's Lagoon - the largest amusement park between the Midwest and California.



                     The old Syracuse Resort in a Utah Historical Society photograph.
7. Syracuse Resort opened on July 4, 1887, when 13 train cars of bathers and a total of 2,000 people turned out. A train line from Ogden ended at the 93-acre resort.

It was built by Daniel C. Adams and Fred Kiesel right where today's causeway to Antelope Island begins along 1700 South, west of the Syracuse city limits.

It was described as "an oasis in the desert." Unique among lake resorts, it had a grove of trees, transplanted from Weber Canyon, and boweries. Boat excursions were also offered to nearby lake islands. It had 70 bathhouses.


       The train access to the Syracuse Resort ion a Utah Historical Society photograph.
A picnic area in the shade of the trees was 400 yards from the lake shore. That area was also used for outdoor LDS Church conferences in the area. A horse-driven streetcar traveled between the picnic area and bathhouses.

Syracuse Resort even staged bicycle races on a nearby dirt track. Artesian wells and water tanks served the resort.


                   A view today of where the Syracuse resort used to be.

It had a dance pavilion, suspended on pilings, but later some slipped and the dance floor warped.

Trains were known to sometimes strand people at the resort. For example, on July 8, 1889, a group from Ogden had to spend the night there when the night's only train left early.


This LDS Chapel, on 4500 West, near the gate to Antelope Island State Park, was where the east end of the Syracuse bathing resort used to be.

Syracuse Resort closed in 1892 from a twofold problem - a dispute over ownership of the land and the receding waters of the lake that left it mired in mud.
Area industries used the railroad tracks for some decades, but they are now also long since removed and there is no trace of the old resort to be found today.

8. Saltair, the lake's last legendary resort, was also its most elegant and popular. Only it was grand enough to have the magic to survive past the early 1900s.

It opened on Memorial Day 1893 at a cost of $350,000. It was built over the lake itself on 2,500 10-inch wooden pilings. It originally had 1,000 bathhouses.

Some 10,000 people came out for its official June 8, 1893, dedication. Its main hall was similar in size and shape to the Mormon Tabernacle. It boasted a 50-cent train ride from Salt Lake and the ticket also included Saltair admission.

Saltair eventually became a world-class resort and wanted to be the "Coney Island of the West."

In the early 1900s, this was a popular place for church groups, though the resort struggled with whether or not to sell alcohol on site. (The LDS Church owned half of the Saltair Beach Co.'s original shares.)

By 1906, the resort was sold to a group of private investors.

Its overall annual attendance went from 250,000 in 1906 to 450,000 in 1919.

The resort seemed a magnet for natural disasters, too. Two windstorms in 1910 destroyed 200 bathhouses and other structures.


                                      The south end of Saltair III today.

A large fire in 1925 caused $500,000 damage, with insurance only covering $100,000 of it. However, 21/2 months after the fire, Saltair was open again. Another fire struck in 1931, damaging its coaster and amusement rides.

By then, Saltair had a tunnel of love, six bowling alleys, a Ferris wheel, fish pond, fun house, pool halls, penny arcade, photo gallery, shooting gallery and roller skating rink. It was described as the "biggest amusement value in the world" during the 1930s.

Saltair was also billed as having the world's largest dance floor, where 5,000 people could fox trot at once in the open-air hall.

However, Saltair continued to be plagued by disasters. In 1932, a windstorm killed two construction workers. In 1939, a fire destroyed its pier.

The resort closed from 1944 to 1945, during World War II, because of gas rationing and other problems. Yet another fire damaged it in 1955 and destroyed many bathhouses. A freak wind gust destroyed its roller coaster in 1957. By 1959, the state of Utah had taken possession of the crumbling resort and closed it.

The abandoned resort burned to the ground in November 1970.

In 1983, Wally Wright spent $3 million to build a new Saltair resort about a mile west of the original resort site.

However, within a year the lake level was rising and the new Saltair was struggling to survive. Saltair III is still there, but only as a specter of the old "Lady of the Lake" that existed there in the early part of the century.

-From a Deseret News article by Lynn Arave on March 29, 1998.