Friday, August 6, 2021 equals the only real time travel

Newspapers, like the Deseret News, have a wealth of information in their archives.

 HAVE you ever dreamed of traveling through time?

 OLD newspapers are the only known way to do this. offers an almost endless archive of old newspapers from across the country -- and even some foreign entries.

Just search by name or keyword and it is amazing what can be found about parents, relatives and others.

Until the late 1970s, EVERY speeding ticket and fender bender were usually printed in local newspapers. Also, coverage of weddings used to be very detailed with the names of the entire wedding party. 

Some former classmates or friends, who one has lost track of, might be able to be located through old newspapers. At the least, it is almost always possible to find out what they did before the year 2000 or so. (Not everyone is on Facebook.)

You don't have to rely on library shelves for historical information these days, just the Web.

If a person is in their 50s or more, they will especially be excited about what can be found about relatives and friends. Even some of their own accomplishments, that they didn't know were even in a newspaper back in the day, might be discovered.

But be warned! These searches can create some family mysteries that may not be fully solved, because key people involved might have passed on. So, don't wait too long to do newspapers searches.

The author personally found that an uncle had survived a head-on collision with a gasoline tanker; that his great-grandfather constructed the first bridge in Morgan, Utah -- and much more. also offers a free, seven day trial.

                            One of the original Deseret News presses, from the 19th Century.,

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

When Davis County's Bluff Road was gated


BLUFF Road is a prominent north-south corridor road in west Davis County today.

The highway traverses through Syracuse on the south and proceeds into West Point and Clinton.

However, in 1926-1927, during the decade when automobiles began to become popular, the road was gated shut.

According to the Weekly Reflex newspaper of Bountiful on March 11, 1926, Thomas Sessions from Syracuse appeared before the Davis County Commission to complain that despite being "a public road -- the old Bluff road -- was closed by a gate having been built across the road."

The Commission referred to the matter to the Davis County Attorney, with instructions to have the road opened to the public.

The next time this issue came up in any newspaper, it was some 19 months later, in the Dec. 22, 1927 Weekly Reflex. This article stated that Lawrence Corbridge constructed the gate across Bluff Road.

O.W. Willey of Syracuse objected to the road being closed, it blocking access to some of his property. The County Commissioners ordered the road to be county property and that the gate can be opened at any time.

The Bluff Road was one of the key pioneer trails in Davis County in the 19th Century.

                 The monument to Bluff Road's pioneer legacy.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Recalling the old "Pioneer Spring" on Grant Avenue in Ogden

              The artesian well at the north end of Washington Boulevard.

MENTION water springs or wells in the Ogden area and you'll likely hear about the artesian well at the top of Washington Boulevard (still flowing today), or the artesian wells in Ogden Valley that were capped when Pineview Reservoir was constructed (and have been under water ever since).
However, there was a major water well -- "Pioneer Spring" --  in Ogden City and this existed from the time the city was settled and up until some 40 years later, in 1889, when it was capped.
"Reminscences of Dr. Condon: Recalling the old spring in front of the fire station" was a July 22, 1919 headline in the Ogden Daily Standard newspaper. The article's writer, Dr. A.S. Condon noted that this well and the old street names in Ogden disappeared at the same time, when the first "Gentile" (non-Mormon) mayor and city Council came into power in 1889.

           The old Hostess Bakery used to be approximately where the old Ogden Spring was.

This is a view of the vacant property where the old spring might have been on Grant Avenue.

                                    Another view of the old spring property.

This well was on Grant Avenue, in front of the City's first fire station and just across the street to the west. It was located between 25th and 26th Streets. The liberal leaders of Ogden believed the well to primarily be surface water and this a health hazard to residents.
Condon stated that the first attempt to cap the well with some sort of material failed and the water flowed back to the surface. The second time cement was used and this forced the well to flow into the Weber River (though that meant it had to travel over two blocks west, across Lincoln and Wall Avenue and the railroad yard to reach that river) Did Condon just assume the spring drained back into the aquifer? Perhaps). It's grave is neglected and unmarked, Condon stressed.
"So passed into the land of shadows a venerated friend loved by everybody, even its enemies for I have often heard them speak kindly of it," Condon wrote in his recollection.
Condon admitted that in the 19th Century impure water caused plenty of disease and sickness and even "empty cradles" in Ogden. The absence of sewers many many a shallow well was contaminated.
"The pure waters of Pioneer Spring offered a scanty supply for a large village, but did its best to fulfill the requirements. Crowds armed with pitcher and pail surrounded the faithful old spring in early morning and evening," Condon wrote.
Essentially, Condon stated that Ogden's new liberal leaders simply "ordained that the old order of things should give way to a new dispensation."
And, that reason was why the spring was capped and also why Ogden's streets were renamed after the U.S. Presidents, instead of local leaders and leaders of the dominant religion in town.

The mystery of Utah’s ‘Mountain of Christ’: Monte Cristo

                         Monte Cristo Peak, center, 9,148 feet above sea level.

MANY decades before a viable seasonal highway (U-39) traversed its heights, the Monte Cristo Mountains, about 40 miles northwest of Ogden, generated mystery and fascination.
Hundreds of miners had passed below, to the northwest when the La Plata mines were in their 1890s heyday, but even the height of Monte Cristo was unknown in the early 20th Century.
“A grand trip to ‘Old Monte,’ Near but unknown solitude and grandeur in the Monte Christo (sic) Mountains” was an August 26, 1908 headline in the Logan Republican newspaper.
“It is distinctly a region of scenery and scenery on a scale of grandeur obtainable in very few places,” the story stated, dubbing it Utah’s “Garden of the Gods.”
“You may drive all day and meet no one, see no signs of habitation, unless it be a lone sheep herder’s tent,” the story stated, saying sheep men call the area “Old Monte” and that its greatest charm is solitude and being cut off from the world of humanity.
The Ogden Standard-Examiner of Aug. 11, 1910 also reported on the mystery of Monte Cristo. It stated that a party of Ogdenites were going to travel there to ascertain the height of the tallest peak there, Monte Cristo. Rumors had for several decades since the La Plata mining boon below, believed the summit to be between 11,000 and 13,000 feet above sea level.

                           The Monte Cristo Mountains as seen from Snowbasin.

The Monte Cristo mountains are where four Utah counties – Weber, Rich, Cache and Morgan all intersect and where the nearest towns are Huntsville or Woodruff, both about 22 bird-flying miles in any straight direction.
The Salt Lake Tribune of Aug. 18, 1910 reported on the group’s findings: “The height of the mountain which many in the party had been led to believe was inaccessible and one of the highest in the state, was found to be 8,950 feet above sea level.”
(Modern measurements have upped that elevation to 9,148 feet above sea level.)

                                   Monte Cristo and Utah Highway 39 in late May.

-Who gave the mountains and tallest peak their religious name, Monte Cristo, is also a mystery for the ages. According to the book, “Utah Place Names,” by John W. Van Cott, there are three different claims for the name’s origin:
1. Miners returning from California though the range resembled the Monte Cristo Mountains of California; 2. The name could have been given by early French-Canadian trappers; and 3. One of the early road builders in the area carried a copy of the book, “The Count of Monte Cristo,” which he read to his co-workers at night around the campfire.
However, since the 1908 Logan Republican story spotlighted to remoteness of the area – and no road was mentioned, but the name Monte was there – that leaves only credence for the first two origins.
(Note: “Monte Cristo” also means “Mountain of Christ” in Spanish.)


-The Salt Lake Herald of July 11, 1909 outlined the report of one of the first known automobile trip to visit the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. This Woolley Automobiling Party went from Salt Lake City to Kanab/Fredonia and required 39 hours and 20 minutes of driving the 430 total miles before looking down at Bright Angel Creek from the Rim.
-The Ogden Bay Waterfowl Management Area was the first federally funded waterfowl management area in the United States, according to the Davis County Clipper of Nov. 26, 1976.
This area is located west of Hooper and is located on the delta of the Weber River, near where it dumps into the Great Salt Lake. Development there began in 1937 and includes 16,700 acres. The Hoard Slough portion to the south was developed 21 years later in 1958.

Back when Davis County was temporarily ‘lost’ and Sandy was terrorized

DAVIS County was “lost” temporarily in May of 1892.
“County mark lost” was a May 13, 1892 headline in the Davis County Clipper. On May 6 of that year, “the stone that indicates the division line between Salt Lake and Davis counties was pulled up and moved into the middle of the wagon road,” the Clipper reported.
On May 9. Davis County road supervisor John Parkins heard about the vandalism and he headed south from Farmington to the border line, hoping to reset the block. However, he found that the block was no longer in sight.
“But after a three-hour search succeeded in finding it under some weeds on the inside of the stone wall on the lower side of the road, about four or five hundred yards north of where it stood,” the Clipper stated.
He surmised that the large stone had been taken on cart to that distant location. He also found two cigarettes at the scene and noticed that the wagon had done a U-turn to head back to Salt Lake County after dropping off the stone.
The stone was replaced and Davis County was back to normal.
-“Terrorizes citizens of Sandy” was a March 2, 1893 headline in the Clipper.
“A few days ago a crowd of Salt Lake toughs, thugs and jailbirds, headed by Hyrum Cassady, who had recently escaped from the city prison, descended upon the peaceful village of Sandy and began stealing right and left,” the Clipper stated.
Their thefts were quiet at first, but after they procured a keg of beer, they became reckless.
“Three of them went into the co-op. store and stole two pair of pants and it was decided to make a general raid on the town that night,” the newspaper reported.
One of the thugs’ own betrayed them and warned some citizens of their plans. That man was beaten and driven out of town.
“By this time it was rumored that the gang intended to set fire to buildings and the little town was wild with excitement. The citizens organized, and after quite a battle, succeeded in arresting five of the fellows, who were locked in a freight car,” the Clipper account stated.
The Sheriff was then sent for and he and his officers captured another three or four of the men. They were now holding the whole gang, but these thugs set fire to the railcar and cut a big hole in the side of it.
The eight criminals were finally contained and when brought to court, the leader was sentenced to six months in jail and a $15 fine. The other seven men received lesser sentences, ranging down to just two months in jail.
Some considered this the toughest gang ever arrested in one roundup in the area.
-“Tramps and grasshoppers” was an Aug. 10, 1893 Clipper editorial by Jed Brown of Bountiful. He maintained that the Bountiful area had never before had so many idle men or tramps walking around.
“They steal our vegetables and fruits and have feasts on our hard earnings,” Brown stated. “We should surely have an officer closer than we have to look after our interests.”

                                                      Buffalo on Antelope Island.

-The Clipper newspaper also had an item in its Aug. 3, 1892 edition on “How buffaloes were slaughtered.”
During an annual migration for food, buffalo herds were simply unstoppable and if an animal fell, it was trampled to death by the bison behind.
So, lazy hunters eventually realized that they didn’t have to always just shoot buffalo. All they had to do was frighten a herd in the direction of a ravine, “where if the front ranks halted they would be pushed over by the thousands.”
The article, taken from “Our Animal Friends” publication, concluded with “It was reckless, wholesale slaughter of noble animals and accounts partly for the scarcity of the buffalo in later years.”

Killing Old Ephraim didn't stop Logan Canyon sheep deaths in the 1920s


            The monument, near Old Eph's final stand, complete with a plaque.

THE killing of the legendary gigantic marauding grizzly bear known as "Old Ephraim" in Logan Canyon actually didn't stop the demise of sheep by bears for ranchers afterward.
For some time after Eph's demise, sheep were still being lost to bears.
Indeed, "Raid on grave of fallen monarch avenged by bears" was a Sept. 13, 1924 headline in the Deseret News.
(The story of Old Ephraim's death is well chronicled previously in this blog. See "Old Ephraim: Utah’s most legendary bear," July 16, 2015.)
This 1924 Deseret News story, just over a year after Old Ephraim was killed, stated that after Logan boy scouts had raided the gravesite of the famous bear, sheep killings got worse.
"The bears have been worse since the scouts were up here digging in Old Ephraim's grave than they have ever been before we came into this county with sheep." That was a quote from Frank Clark. who was the one who killed Old Eph on Aug. 21, 1923, talking about sheep deaths a year later in the summer of 1924.
"Contrary to bear habits and former history, the bears have been raiding the herds and killing heavily in the daytime, as well as at night," the Deseret News story reported.
Clark said that in just a week of the summer of 1924, he lost 10 sheep to bears in the same section where old Eph roamed.
"It seems that Old Ephraim's followers are still loyal," the 1924 Deseret News story concluded.
A Logan boy scout troop had visited the grave of Old Ephraim in the summer of 1924. They dug up the grave, took bones as souvenirs and the skull was sent to the Smithsonian. The skull has since been returned to Utah and is on exhibit at Utah State University.

Hill Field: From wind-swept flat to teeming city in 4 years; Plus, Francis Peak history

                                      A past HILL AFB air show.

"TEEMING City thrives on what was only wind-swept flat four years ago" was a headline in the Ogden Standard-Examiner of Feb. 7, 1943.
"Ogden air depot at Hill Field stands as a monument to the ingenuity, industry and determination of the people of Utah," the story stated. Counter to the former wind-swept land, there now exists there, "a city comprised of huge repair hangars and shops, humming with activity; great warehouses with hundreds of thousands of air corps supply items; administrative office buildings covering many acres; miles of track over which are shunted hundreds of freight cars every day."

                           Hill AFB from the southeast Layton bench.

The Standard's description continued: "Like any other modern city, Hill Field has many schools, theatres, a chapel, living quarters consisting of both civilian and military barracks, a fire station, cafeterias, utilities, including gas, water and electrical installations, a well-developed police organization, and its own transportation system. ... The physical growth of Hill Field has been prodigious..."
-Nine months later, another newspaper reported on the same transition of former open land in northern Utah: "One time farm area now industrialized," was a headline in the Salt Lake Tribune of Nov. 7, 1943.
The article continued, "Farmers who used to till the soil on a vast expanse of valley land in northern Davis County never thought more about industrial plants or anything which was a very far cry from agriculture."
"Today they gaze at the $22,000,000 rambling air service command headquarters called Hill Field," The Tribune stated.
The article said thousands of workers now work at the base.
(In fact, the area was at one time part of what was called "The Sandridge," a sandy area that was more for dry farming on pioneer times.)
"Hill Field existed as an idea as far back as 1935 ... Sheltered by high mountains, far enough inland to minimize chances of enemy attack, easily accessible by rail and not too far from the Pacific coast," the Tribune story said.
The stated Hill Field was then the nerve center for 12 sub depots in eight states, all of which are controlled and supplied by Hill Field.
"Only 12 miles from Ogden and 30 miles from Salt Lake City, Hill Field grew up in the midst of what was to become one of the most acute labor shortage areas in the war industrialized west," the story stated.

-MORE HISTORY: Another government installation in Northern Utah is the lofty radar station atop Francis Peak in Davis County. "Francis Peak radar unit to begin test basis May 31. Highest radar site in nation" was a May 28, 1959 headline in the Weekly Reflex newspaper. At a cost of $1.5 million, the facility at more than 9,500 feet above sea level is operated by the FAA. It originally included a Utah Air National Guard facility too.
The facility initially had the radar power to see aircraft 100 miles distant and was manned 24 hours a day.
Although a dirt road to Francis Peak was roughed in by 1938, through the efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Reflex newspaper of June 16, 1960 reported that the Utah National Guard was improving that 5-mile section of road that summer.

                                                Top, center, the Francis Peak radar station.