Monday, January 30, 2017

Ruby's Inn: An Area Destination since 1916 -- even before Bryce Canyon

                                 Bryce Canyon National Park.

By Lynn Arave

LOOK closely at the official Utah State Highway map and you'll spot Ruby's Inn -- a commercial establishment -- listed prominently, like any city or town. That's a rarity on such a map, but there's a reason for that -- this Inn has been around since 1916 and even predates nearby Bryce Canyon National Park by seven years.
By the time Bryce Canyon was a National Monument in 1923 (or National Park in 1928), Ruby's Inn was already well established and serving as a focal point for the area.
Given its legacy, the first newspaper mention of Ruby's was NOT for anything relating to Bryce Canyon, but for an area Halloween party on Oct. 31, 1924. The Garfield County News on Nov. 7, 1924 stated that the event was a big success.
The Garfield County News of Jan. 16, 1925 described Ruby's as a "homelike headquarters for the weary traveler" and a "wonderful resort."
In that era, Ruby's not only had plenty of water for visitors, but also cabins, food and even a dancing hall. It was also in 1925 when the resort received its first electric lighting system.
By the spring of 1925, Ruby's had a U.S. Post Office, a monster porch for relaxation, supplies, campground and even access to horses and guides to explore the area.
In July of 1925, the Panquitch Orchestra even played at Ruby's Inn and attracted a large crowd.
It was Ruby Syrett and his wife who started Ruby's. and their descendants still operate the business.
Ruby's Inn was the most popular destination in the area, though as the decades went by, the place became more and more synonymous with Bryce Canyon National Park.
 Indeed, you HAD to travel past Ruby's Inn to enter Bryce Canyon and that's how it remains today. 
Yes, Bryce Canyon does have its own inside-the-park accommodations available, but Ruby's was there first and is literally just a few hundred yards north of the Bryce Canyon entrance.
Today Ruby's has expanded to have an RV Park, a seasonal rodeo, ATV rentals and more. In the summer, its work staff expands top some 600 employees, the largest in the county.
A tragic fire in 1984 destroyed the lodge and erased some of the Ruby's Inn history, but it was rebuilt and even expanded after that.




-As a kid growing up in the 1960s, my Bryce Canyon visit memories include images of Ruby's Inn, as the two seemed linked. Decades later, when I took my own children to Bryce, was complete without a stop at Ruby's.

-Then, a few years ago, my wife had inherited this huge old roll-top desk from her late father. It took up so much space and was unused, that I reluctantly convinced her to sell it through an on-line ad. As the desk was hauled way, my wife shed a few tears. Yet, surprisingly a member of the Syrett family purchased it to use in his office at Ruby's Inn, almost 300 miles distant from my Northern Utah home. So, even my family now has a link of sorts to this historic place.




    



Thursday, January 26, 2017

A 19th Century Look at the Oquirrh Mountains

              The north end of the Oquirrh Mountains, as they appear from West Valley City.


By Lynn Arave

OFTEN forgotten mountains in Northern Utah are the Oquirrh Range. Rising to just over 9,000 feet, these mountains are the home to Kennecott Copper's huge open pit mine, to a variety of FM radio and TV transmitters and plenty of wildlife. These mountains are also often a "rain shadow" in meteorological terms to the Salt Lake Valley, tempering its total precipitation received.
But where did the Oquirrh name come from?
The first newspaper mention of the Oquirrh Mountains was in the March 2, 1864 issue of the Deseret News. That report stated Oquirrh was "the Indian name of the range on the west side of the G.S.L. Valley." It also proclaimed recent mining for lead and silver in those mountains.
The Salt Lake Herald Newspaper of Nov. 19, 1874 noted that the Utah Western Railroad had named one of its locomotives "Oquirrh."
The Salt Lake Tribune of May 28, 1878 stated that there was a local group, named the Oquirrh Club, so the Native American name became a fixture, through it was not nearly as popular as "Deseret."
The Salt Lake Herald on May 28, 1879 reported the exploration of several caves at the north end of the Oquirrh range. The larger of the two caves even had pioneer names carved into its interior walls, dating back to 1862. The larger cave, called "Giant's Cave," boasted a 10-foot-square opening and was almost 200 feet deep. The smaller, unnamed cave was only about 50 feet long.
The Salt Lake Telegram of Dec. 27, 1948 published a reader's research on the name Oquirrh. It did not dispute that the common held belief of that word meaning "Shining Mountains," but stated that Native Americans also had several alternate meanings to that word -- "Grassy Hills," "Yellow Mountains" and even "Black Mountains." 


Sitting at the north end of the Oquirrh Mountains is Kennecott's Garfield Smokestack, which rises 1,215 feet, or just 35 feet lower than the main frame of the Empire State Building. Although this stack is the tallest free-standing structure west of the Mississippi, it is dwarfed by the nearby height of the Oquirrh Mountains, which rise more than 3,500 feet above it.

Antelope Island in 1882 -- No Buffalo and Different Geographical Names



                            The Frary Peak summit, highest point, looking south on Antelope Island.


By Lynn Arave

IMAGINE Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake with no buffalo, only wild horses and cattle, plus with only boat access and even some different names in use. Plus, there’s also the tale of a mysterious early settler on the Island.
-Miles Goodyear wasn’t the only white settler who lived in Northern Utah when the Mormon Pioneers arrived in 1847. There was another, far lesser known man.
Daddy Stump was living on Antelope Island when the Mormon Pioneers started exploring the Isle in 1848. That’s also the first mention of the man.

                     A pair of dead trees serve as sentinels on the east side of the Isle.


Stump, believed to be a mountain man and perhaps also known as a bear killer, had built a small cabin and had a small orchard of peaches on Antelope Island.
The LDS Improvement Era Magazine from 1907 mentions Stump twice in its volume 10 contents. First, he is called an old mountain man. Secondly, several Mormon Pioneers reported that Stump’s rustic camp was located in a little canyon near a spring of water on the south end of the Island. Stump is referred to as an “old trapper.”
The somewhat mysterious Stump was not mentioned by government explorer John C. Fremont and crew during their expedition of the Island in 1843. Thus, Stump may have only been in Utah a few years before the Pioneers.
A history of Fielding Garr (first Mormon settler on Antelope Island in 1849) on WikiTree.com quotes a visit to Daddy Stump’s camp by Brigham Young on Antelope Island:
“In 1856 Brigham Young visited Antelope island. ‘The time was pleasantly spent in driving over the Island and in visiting places of interest-bathing, boating and inspecting their horses and sheep. Old Daddy Stump's mountain home was visited. They drove their carriage as near to it as possible and walked the remainder of the way. Everything was found just as the old man had left it …”



                                  The central east side of Antelope Island.
Some sources indicate that Stump, a solitary man, may have left Antelope Island by 1849, after the Fielding Garr Ranch was established there by the Mormon Pioneers.
It is also generally accepted that he is believed to have disappeared six years later, in 1856 – with the assumption that he was killed by Indians that year in Cache Valley.
The book, “History of Utah,” by Orson F. Whitney, also very briefly mentions Stump as taking cattle to Cache Valley and that most of his herd died there (presumably from a harsh winter). Whitney mentions that others also lost most of their cattle there too that same winter.




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


Today, Stump is forgotten by most history books – except for perhaps a mention in a single line. His only remaining legacy is that a ridge on the south end of Antelope Island is honored with his name and that Antelope Island State Park periodically hosts a seasonal hike, called the “Daddy Stump History Tour.”
-The Salt Lake Herald newspaper of July 30, 1882 carried a report on a group of Salt Lake residents who spent a week vacationing on Antelope Island that summer.
The story stated that the group had to board the "yacht Maud" to reach the island, which had a dual name back then, also being often called "Church Island," since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held ownership of it then.
In fact, at one time in the 19th Century, the LDS Church had some 70,000 sheep grazing on the Island.



                          Buffalo in an early spring on Antelope Island.


And, even on the island itself, a reference was made to "Alma Peak," a point on the island that obviously eventually gained a different permanent title. (Alma was the name of a prophet in the Book of Mormon.)
"There surely is something in the air on the island, which makes the flintiest heart soften ..." the article reported on an almost magical quality to the place.
The group of Salt Lake residents spent their week horseback riding all over the island; reading, sun bathing, swimming in the Great Salt Lake -- and even singing at night.
"But someday in the near future, it will become one of Utah's attractions," the article proclaimed of Antelope Island.
-Buffalo first came to Antelope Island in 1923 for a movie set.
-Some 87 years after the Salt Lake Herald story on Antelope Island, in 1969, the State of Utah opened a portion of Antelope Island (the north end) as a state park after a seven-mile causeway was constructed across the Great Salt Lake to the Island. In 1981, the State of Utah purchased the entire island for a state park.


       The landscape on the west side of Antelope Island is even more rugged than the east side.

Monday, January 9, 2017

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

By Lynn Arave

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 the 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.