Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Forerunner to FrontRunner: Bamberger Rail Line, S.L. to Ogden

                                                                          Photo by Roger Arave

By Lynn Arave

BEFORE today's  FrontRunner, there was the Bamberger Railroad Line ...
FrontRunner opened on April 26, 2008, after three years of construction (and added more stops in 2012).
The Bamberger basically followed today's I-15 corridor and ran for more than 60 years until 1952, when the popularity of the automobile put it out of business.
After a 56-year gap, FrontRunner came long.
Below is the story of the Bamberger railroad, forerunner of FrontRunner.
The Bamberger Railroad, a 36-mile light rail system, connected Salt Lake City and Ogden with more than 30 major stops until the last car ran in September 1952. 
While the Bamberger wasn't the only trolley transportation system in Utah, it was the first and the most successful. (A 66-mile, Salt Lake to Payson trolley system operated from 1916 to 1946 and there was a "Saltair" line, too.) 
Simon Bamberger, a successful Utah businessman and later the governor, received the first shipment of light rail, near the Union Pacific Railroad Station in Salt Lake City, in 1891. Existing railroads were concerned with through traffic, not with serving small communities as Bamberger was.
The line's original name was the Great Salt Lake and Hot Springs Railway. Not until 1917 was the name changed to the Bamberger Electric Railroad. The line converted from steam power to electricity in 1910, ushering in the "Trolley" era.
Line construction reached Farmington in 1895 and that's when Bamberger purchased the old buildings at Lake Shore Resort and moved them east to a swampy area he turned into a recreational paradise - Lagoon. Free admission to Lagoon was given to all railroad users. Lagoon stimulated railroad use - especially during the summer.
Davis was the only high school in the county while the Bamberger operated, and students used to ride the railroad before school buses were purchased. An extra dozen rail cars were needed to take students to Davis High, and these cars were stored in Kaysville until needed again at the end of the school day. The school district paid the railroad for the students' transportation.
Other steady passengers on the railway were employees of the Davis County School District, the Farmington Courthouse, the Kaysville Brick Co. and Miller Floral. "Hop the Bamberger" was the familiar term used in conjunction with the orange and cream colored cars.

The rail line reached Kaysville in 1903, Layton in 1904, Sunset in 1905 and Ogden in 1908.
The Depression hurt the railroad's business, but it survived. It also lived through the flood of 1923 that wiped out the line through Farmington and Centerville.
World War II was a boon to the Bamberger. The line had exclusive service to Hill Field, (Hill Air Force Base), increasing its passenger service threefold and its freight load by eight times. Passenger service in 1945 was the company's highest with revenues jumping from $413,000 in 1939 to $2 million in 1945.
Normal Bamberger passenger service had been from 6 a.m. to midnight, but the war necessitated service around the clock. Tickets could be purchased by several methods, destination to destination, or by the mile.
According to research by the Kaysville-Layton Historical Society, some passengers used to joke "The Bamberger went 100 mph - 90 up and down and 10 forward."
NOTE: Some of the old track rails for the Bamberger still existed along portions of Ogden's Wall Avenue, well into the 1970s.
Where you could board the Bamberger
Main stops along the Bamberger:
- Ogden, Lincoln Avenue, just north of 24th Street
- Cozydale, 4400 S. 1500 West
- Roy, near 4800 South
- Sunset, 1800 North, just east of I-15
- Arsenal, 1300 North, just east of I-15
- Clearfield, 700 South, east of I-15
- Robbins," 2200 North, I-15, Layton
- Allen, 1000 North, I-15, Layton
- Davis High School, Kaysville
- Lagoon, Farmington
- Glover's Lane, Farmington
- Chase Lane, Centerville
- Centerville, 400 S. 150 West
- Thomas, 100 N. Center, Bountiful
- Bountiful, 200 W. 200 South
- Parkin, 800 N. U-89, North Salt Lake
- Cleverly, 700 N. U-89, North Salt Lake
- Odell, 450 N. U-89, North Salt Lake
- Everett, 1455 N. 700 West, Salt Lake County
- Salt Lake Depot, West Temple and South Temple, on present-day Abravanel Hall site
SOURCES:, by Don Strack and personal interviews.

(-Distilled from a Deseret News article by Lynn Arave on March 27, 1994.)

-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:  

S.L. to Los Angeles: The Most Difficult Wagon Road in American History

         A dirt road near the Beaver Dam Wash today follows where wagons used to roll 160 years ago.

By Lynn Arave

THE next time you travel from Salt Lake City, or anywhere in Utah, to Los Angeles, appreciate what an easy drive you have in likely an air-conditioned vehicle.
In Mormon Pioneer times of the mid-19th Century, this was likely the most difficult wagon road in the nation.
In fact, that's the subject of a 2001 book, "The Arduous Road: Salt Lake to Los angeles, The Most Difficult Wagon Road in American History," by Leo Lyman and Larry Reese (Lyman Historical Research and Publishing, Victorville, Calif.)

Why today I can leave my home in Layton, Utah at 4:40 a.m., take two hours of stops along the way and reach Anaheim/Disneyland, California by 4 p.m. Pacific time.
It's a 10 hour and 16 minute non-stop drive of some 690 miles from S.L. to Los Angeles today.
In pioneer times, this was a many weeks trip in some dry, harsh territory -- the deserts of southern Nevada and eastern California.
What's perhaps more interesting is that the pioneer routes used didn't always follow near where today's I-15 goes.
That's because pioneer routes followed water sources, not always direct routes.
For example, while today's I-15 does roughly follow where the pioneers from Salt Lake to Parowan, it changes a lot after there.
Pioneer routes turned west past Summit and headed for Antelope Spring, winding down past Veyo and Gunlock -- by passing St. George. (It wasn't until 1857 that a route through St. George was used.)
                                       The forbidding desert.

After there, today's I-15 route was basically followed, with some deviations of 3-5 miles to the north or south. Next, the route to Las Vegas is pretty close for both routes.
However, it is from Vegas on where the route really changes.
Wagon parties headed northwest for several springs and were at times 30 miles north of today's I-15 in different areas.
 Pioneers missed Jean, Nevada and did not climb that steep hill outside Stateline into California. The old-timers also bypassed Baker, California completely. 
The two roads connect again just north of Barstow.
The pioneer route also didn't descent into the Los Angeles Basin by way of Cajon Pass, as I-15 does today. Wagon routes went down further south by way of Coyote-Crowder Canyon.

-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:  

Salt Lake Cemetery is Alive with History

By Lynn Arave
IT could well be the largest municipal-owned graveyard in America. At 250 acres and containing at least 105,000 occupied graves, the Salt Lake City Cemetery is big enough to warrant its own extensive street system, a grid separate from the rest of town.
Located at 200 N. N St. (about 950 East), this is the state's oldest cemetery and has been around since 1848 -- about a year after the Mormon pioneers arrived in the valley.
Jeff Johnson, state archivist, is an expert on the cemetery and said cemetery officials refer to it as the nation's largest municipal graveyard, though he's never found any firm reference to prove or disprove that claim.
He said the pioneers buried their dead that first year of 1847 just west of Pioneer Park -- where they lived in a fort then -- in graves uncovered about two years ago by some construction work. Those are the state's oldest known grave sites outside of Indian burial grounds.
The first person buried near Pioneer Park was a child who drowned in August 1847.
The current cemetery site in the Avenues area was selected specifically because it was away from any water sources. Johnson said the pioneers didn't want water to be contaminated by graves.
Originally, the cemetery was just dirt and weeds, a barren and dry field. Some called it an ugly place for a cemetery. It wasn't until the turn of the century that it began to be treated as a Victorian park. That's when people built homes near the cemetery and irrigation water became available there.
The first two burials in the city cemetery are of two children. George B. Wallace died on Aug. 14, 1848, and his sister, Mary, died on Sept. 27, 1848. Both are buried in a section northeast of Grand Avenue and Main.
Johnson said adjacent cemeteries -- three Jewish graveyards and the Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery -- make the Salt Lake burial area even larger.
By some accounts, the cemetery may contain almost 114,000 graves, but Tania Tully of the Utah State Historical Society believes there are closer to 105,000 occupied graves there. 
Despite its huge size, the Salt Lake City Cemetery looks smaller than it is, with large trees and bushes breaking up the landscape.
The cemetery is a great place for a history lesson, too.
"It gives you a connection with the past," Johnson said
Some of the state's most famous people are buried here. You can find some governors of Utah, a few prophets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other VIPs.
Many headstones tell a short story of their own.

For example, remember Orrin Porter Rockwell, the Utah version of Wyatt Earp? This legendary Utah lawman is buried in the Salt Lake Cemetery, and visiting his grave is the closest you'll come nowadays to meeting him.
Rockwell was buried there on June 9, 1878.
"He was brave and loyal to his faith. True to the Prophet Jos. Smith. A promise made him by the prophet. Through obedience it was fulfilled," says Rockwell's epitaph.
His marker is an 8-foot-tall pyramid-like structure. It can be found by going north up Main Street in the cemetery to 280 North. There, turn right (east) and go about 100 feet, to the second pine tree on the south side of the narrow road. Rockwell's marker is next to that second tree.
In fact, some of the state's oldest graves are found in this same area, located on the northeast corner of Main Street and Grand Avenue and also adjacent sections. Some are crumbling or unreadable, but they all offer a historic flavor.
Here are some of the other prominent graves you'll find in just this one small area:
Martha Hughes Cannon, the nation's first state legislator, is buried 40 yards south of Rockwell.
John M. Bernhisel, pioneer, statesman and physician, was buried here on Sept. 19, 1887.
Besides such well-known people, there are also some intriguing headstones of lesser-known Utah pioneers found here. For example:
Anthony Woodward Ivins and Elizabeth A. Snow are buried in a grave with a huge old log positioned on top of the marker. They both died in the 1930s.
"A most perfect woman" is also buried in this historic area of the cemetery. Sarepta Blodgett Heywood, who died Dec. 4, 1881, has that heading as her epitaph.
The grave of Sarah F. Tanner, wife of John W. Tanner, is one of those heartbreaker monuments. It reads: "Farewell my dear wife, I bid you adieu, and this our dear babe, I have laid here by you. May heaven's kind angels guard o'er your grave until from its power you are eventually saved." She died on Oct. 14, 1863 -- while bearing a child who died two days later and who is also buried there.
-Take the 14 former presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ten are buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. Set aside about an hour for a walking or driving tour, and you can find all 10 graves.
                          Brigham Young's grave is in downtown SLC.

Those missing from the Salt Lake cemetery are Joseph Smith, who was laid to rest in Nauvoo, Ill.; Brigham Young, who was buried at his private cemetery in downtown Salt Lake City; Lorenzo Snow, who was buried in Brigham City; and Ezra Taft Benson, who was buried in southeastern Idaho.
Presidents John Taylor and Heber J. Grant have stately monuments marking their graves, each one about 25 feet high. Markers for others such as Presidents Harold B. Lee and Wilford Woodruff are much smaller.
Also buried in the Salt Lake Cemetery are many other LDS general authorities. For example, the gravestone of Elder Richard L. Evans, an apostle, contains perhaps the most appropriate epitaph of all — "May peace be with you. This day . . . and always." That comment always concluded his narrations of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's "Spoken Word" broadcasts.
Jedediah Grant, first mayor of Salt Lake City and counselor to Brigham Young, is also buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery, as is former U.S. Sen. Frank E. Moss, to name a few.
The claim to fame of the Clarkston Cemetery in Cache County is the grave of Martin Harris, one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon.
Kaysville Cemetery boasts former Utah governor Henry H. 

Blood; Provo Cemetery has TV inventor Philo T. 

Farnsworth; and Parowan has former Utah Gov. Scott M. 


(-Compiled from two articles by Lynn Arave in the Deseret 

News, one from May 29, 1999 and another from May 24, 


-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:  

Lucin Cutoff -- Still Needed as a Railroad Shortcut

                                            Railroads love straight tracks.

TALES of a mysterious monster lurking in the briny waters of the Great Salt Lake have been around since 1877. But if a century plus of running trains across the north end of the lake proves anything, it's that the real monster there is simply the lake itself.
When the Golden Spike was driven at Promontory on May 10, 1869, it heralded an unprecedented era of transcontinental railroad transportation. However, it was apparent a few years later that the Promontory Mountains created the worst railroad bottleneck in the entire nation.
Something had to be done. More than a century ago, work started on the Lucin Cutoff, a revolutionary railroad causeway and trestle that spans nearly 20 miles of Great Salt Lake water and mud flat and creates a much-needed shortcut, even today.
But during those 110-plus years of rails across the lake, its monstrous, heavy waters have consistently battered the man-made shortcut. Salt has coated workers, equipment and machines white, sometimes shorting out electric signals and even halting locomotives with its unusual mineral water.
There had been occasional problems with the soft and hungry lake bottom swallowing up Paul-Bunyan-size posts and 20-ton rocks when the original trestle was built in 1902, but there were also significant sinkage problems in the 1920s, the late 1950s and even as recently as 2000.
The wet years of the mid-1980s forced the railroad to sometimes dump several trainloads of rock a day along the tracks to protect them from record-high lake waters.
In short, the Lucin Cutoff has been a maintenance nightmare. It ended up cutting almost 50 miles off most freight train trips through the area. The former trestle was also considered to be the longest, straightest, most level stretch of track ever built. The cutoff was named after the town of Lucin, west of the Great Salt Lake.
In addition to eliminating 2.2 percent grades to Promontory, 1,500 feet higher than the lake, all the curves in the Promontory route that could turn a train 11 times were avoided.
Lee Witten, librarian/archivist for Ogden's Union Station, said this Southern Pacific trestle was an engineering marvel of its age and was at one time the longest such span in the world.
Even conductors had a problem at times, if they had to get out of the train and the wind was blowing and making waves.
"Your uniform would quickly turn white," Richard L. Couturier, 63, of Kaysville, a retired Union Pacific conductor of 42 years, said.
He said if enough lake spray was hitting the tracks, sometimes the locomotive engine would even fizzle out.
"You'd have to wait until it dried out," he said.
Another danger along the trestle was the possibility of fire. One in November 1957 destroyed a 600-foot portion of the trestle and it had to be replaced. Two trains collided along the trestle in 1904, killing 26 people. But the most famous accident on the trestle came on New Year's Eve 1944, when two trains collided, killing 48 people and injuring 79 others.
Couturier said almost three dozen trains a day traversed the Lucin Cutoff in the 1960s. Today, the traffic is about six freight trains a day in each direction. Passengers trains have bypassed Lucin since the mid-1980s, going through Salt Lake City and along the south side of the lake shore.
Speed limits were 20 mph for freight and 30 mph for passenger trains on the trestle, taking 15 to 20 minutes to cross the lake. For the causeway, speed limits are 40 to 60 mph, traversing the lake in as little as 12 minutes.
"The sunsets and sunrises were out of this world," Couturier said of his numerous Lucin crossings. He also said Hill Air Force's bombing range is southwest of the causeway and that would produce its own great show at times.
Couturier said the trestle decking was rotted out by the early 1970s. Its era had ended.
Today a dirt-and-rock causeway has replaced the trestle. In fact, the trestle's wood has now almost all been salvaged by a wood company, Trestlewood.
Daniel B. Kuhn, rail planner and historian for UDOT, said passengers across the Lucin Cutoff at night felt they were riding across the ocean and could not see very many city lights. He also recalls an experience riding Amtrakacross the cutoff eastbound in 1983 when rising lake waters had just washed out a portion of the causeway. The train had to back up all the way to Nevada and divert passengers by bus from there.
The Lucin Cutoff history clearly illustrates how man has 

failed to tame the Great Salt Lake completely, even in the 

21st century.

SOURCESL"Tale of the Lucin," by David Peterson and, by Don Strack.

(-Originally published in the Deseret News, by Lynn Arave, on Dec. 26, 2002.)

The Great Depression Shifted Utah's Economy

By Lynn Arave

The Federal government replaced Wall Street as the keystone in Utah's economy during the Great Depression (1929-39), according to Brigham Young University professor Thomas G. Alexander.
In a Utah State Archives brown bag lunch lecture in March of 1999 at the White Memorial Chapel in Salt Lake City, he said the Great Depression and the accompanying major assistance from the federal government changed the sort of colony Utah was."It became a colony of the federal government and not Wall Street," Alexander told an audience of some 80 people.

                                Kennecott's Bingham Canyon Mine.
He said that meant mining and agriculture -- extractive industries -- were no longer the cornerstones of the economy in the Beehive State.
Utah received $57 million in federal funds for public works projects in the Depression -- a lot of money in those days, $342 spent for every Utah resident -- and 270 percent greater than the national state per capita average.
Alexander credits strong lobbying efforts by Utah Gov. Henry H. Blood and former Gov. George H. Dern, then secretary of war, for the federal funding.
Utah's unemployment rate in 1933 was 36 percent vs. the national rate of 25 percent.
"People who had always worked searched hopelessly for jobs . . . People were frustrated by the harsh conditions," Alexander said.
Many women also lost their jobs as employers tried to retain more men on their payrolls.
Some areas were harder hit than others. For example, in 1932 half the families in Smithfield, Cache County, were on welfare.
Utah looked increasingly like a Third World country.
Thanks to that federal money, people went back to work in Utah on public works projects, and by the mid-1930s the unemployment rate had dropped below the U.S. average.
However, since states were supposed to provide some matching funding for the federal money, Utah started its first-ever sales tax.
"It was supposed to be an emergency tax," Alexander said, except it took on a life of its own and never went away.
The infusion of construction projects also helped spur on private businesses.
"The federal government was a pump primer for the state of Utah," he said.
The LDS Church also established its own welfare program during the Great Depression, and a bartering system also appeared in various communities.
Strangely, Alexander said, movie attendance increased during the Depression. He believes this was because of such bonuses as Thursday being grocery giveaway night in movie houses.
Even more surprising, he said, Utahns temporarily shifted from support of the Republican to the Democratic party in the Depression.
By 1942, Utah's per capita income was higher than the U.S. average, something that hasn't happened since because of all the federal defense plants built in Utah for World War II.
He said federal expenditures aren't as important in Utah today because the economy has diversified. But the Great Depression had a severe and lasting impact that permanently transformed the economy of Utah.

-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:  

The Green River: Another Place 'no one knew'

                                          Flaming Gorge.
GLEN Canyon isn't the only place "no one knew."
In northeastern Utah, the lost canyons of the Green River also fall into that category, thanks to 502-foot-high Flaming Gorge Dam.
Roy Webb, a University of Utah archivist, said few seem to care or realize what lies below Flaming Gorge Reservoir. "Glen Canyon was not the only place no one knew," he said.
Speaking on the "Lost Canyons of the Green River" at the Western History Association's 48th annual conference in 2008 at Salt Lake City, he outlined some of what has been buried in the cold waters.
"The Green (River) is now unfortunately forever changed," he said, noting the reservoir was completed by 1964, after construction began in 1958.
Lost was the town of Linwood, Utah; the Buckboard Hotel (built in 1912 in between Linwood and Green River, Wyo.); Ashley Falls, a legendary river rapid; Beehive Rock; the lowlands of Carter Creek and much of the wildlife and trees in the river bottoms.
Webb said deer, bear, many birds and other wildlife all lived at the river level, now covered by the dam's waters. Essentially, the greatest beauty of the canyon seemed to be in those bottomlands, he said.
Much of the timber was salvaged before President John F. Kennedy activated the dam's generators by remote control from Salt Lake City on Sept. 27, 1963.

When asked why no one seems to care about the losses at Flaming Gorge, Webb mentioned three reasons: the area was less accessible than Glen Canyon; the Forest Service controlled much of the area and the dam was powerfully supported by Utah and Colorado governments.
The government's view was turning the natural menace of the Colorado River there into a natural resource, he said.
Today, Flaming Gorge is a playground for millions, with river running, boating and fishing. He also noted that the area is "where river running started in Utah."
Of many open stretches of water downstream from the dam, Webb said little has changed in the 165 years since John C. Fremont and Kit Carson first explored there.
"It's just as unknown as 1843," he said.
Two other historians, James M. Anton and Steven L. Gerber, also spoke on the history of Green River country Thursday.
Both noted how the area was extremely inaccessible and yet it attracted many characters from outlaws hiding out to cattle and sheep ranchers. Unlike most of Utah, it was non-Mormons who settled there independently and not in groups.
Anton, a professor at Southern Utah University, said no one lives in the Desolation Canyon area of the Green River today. Only river runners frequent the area, meaning its greatest population was in the past.
"The canyon in fact became more desolate," he said of modern times. "The landscape became a playground."
"In my view, it was doomed from the beginning," Gerber said of ranching residences in Desolation Canyon.

Utah's Quirky Place Names

                  "Schoolmarm's Bloomers Arch"? It could have been ...

UTAH definitely has its share of quirky place names: Tooele (is that Tool or Two-lee?), Carcass Canyon, the Confusion Mountains . . . Joe and His Dog?
But if some of the monikers bestowed by early settlers had caught on, the state would have some even weirder names on its maps.

How about "The Schoolmarm's Bloomers" as unofficial state symbol?
Would you consider settling down in lovely E.T. City, Frogtown, Neversweat, Ragtown or Sober City?
And obviously, the Unknown Mountains couldn't hold that name for long.
"We do have some unusual names," said Tracy Cayford, communications director for the Utah Travel Council. "The mixture is really interesting."
Delicate Arch is certainly a more P.R.-savvy name for that popular attraction in Arches National Park. But to early cowboys, the natural feature that graces thousands of Utah license plates (and many a coffee-table book) was known indelicately as the Schoolmarm's Bloomers. It also had other nicknames, such as "Cowboy Chaps" and "Mary's Bloomers."
Fairfield, west of Utah Lake in Utah County, can be thankful it is no longer Frogtown. Austin in Sevier County also was once known as Frog Town, for the plentiful amphibians in the nearby Sevier River.
Sevier County's Vermillion, too, can bless the stars that it has outgrown the name of Neversweat, a reference to its high summer heat and humidity.
"Ragtown" was the original name for Magna (which also, for some reason, surrendered its attractive second title, "Pleasant Green"). And "Sober City" was first applied, tongue in cheek, to Gusher in Uintah County because, it is said, of the residents' drunkenness.
The Henry Mountains in Garfield County were the last mountain range in the country to be named in 1869. Earlier they were listed as the Unknown Mountains.
Cayford said many of Utah's more unusual names stem from the state's extensive pioneer heritage.
"The major destinations for tourists here are pretty self-explanatory," Cayford said. "Some in the outlying areas require explanations."
The book "Utah Place Names," by John W. Van Cott, is a most complete directory to the state's communities and landscapes.
Here are some other surprising place-name origins:
  • Adventure. Now there's a hometown with an inviting name. Or is it? Utah's Adventure, founded in 1860 along the Virgin River, is now a ghost town. Residents felt it adventurous to live there, what with flooding and other desert conditions. It was abandoned and Rockville was founded — upriver — after the town was flooded.
  • Baptist Draw, in Emery County, received its name when early settler Joe Swasey "baptized" his dog by tossing it into one of the draw's water pockets.
  • Bottle Hollow, Uintah County, was so named because it was a mile-long dump for empty liquor bottles of U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort Duchesne in the 1880s.
  • China Lake in Summit County got its name either after a Chinese man and his mule drowned in it or because it was said you could sink down to China before reaching the bottom of the deep lake.
  • Deadman Ridge, Garfield County, got the title after Myron Shurts was killed by lightning there in 1912.
  • And Beaver County's Gorilla Ridge received that name after prospectors in the area saw an unshaven miner they thought to be a gorilla.
  • (-From a Deseret News article by Lynn Arave on Dec. 25, 2000.)

-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:  

When the Speed Limit was Only 35 Everywhere...

THE next time you feel confined or restrained by a 45 mph speed limit, you should be aware that more than 60 years ago the maximum speed limit anywhere in Utah was only 35 mph.
On Oct. 28, 1942, a "Patriotic Speed Limit" of 35 mph was announced in an attempt to conserve gasoline and save on tires during World War II, according to the official history of the Utah Highway Patrol.

Enforcement began on Nov. 10, 1942. Many cars were operating with unsafe tires because people were unable to buy new ones.
The speed regulation resulted from a report following an engineering study of vehicle tires by the National Safety Council with the cooperation of the UHP and at the request of the Utah Highway Traffic Advisory Committee to the War Department.
The study showed 46 percent of cars driven by war workers had at least one tire with the tread worn smooth; 23 percent with at least two tires worn smooth; and 11 percent with at least three.
The study also indicated at least 40 percent of all the cars on Utah streets and highways had at least one smooth tire.
Because of the low speed limit, patrolman Russ Cederlund was featured on the cover of the November 1942 issue of the national magazine Public Safety. Cederlund and Matt Haslam of the state road shop were shown in a photograph replacing a 50 mph sign with a 35 mph sign.
Because all of Utah's 40 mph, 50 mph and 60 mph signs were reflectorized, all of them had to be replaced. The old signs were stored in anticipation that the speed limit would be raised following the war — and it was.
The low speed limit also did more than just save in gasoline and tires -- it also helped ease traffic problems. In Layton, for example, that city experienced significant population growth and thus more vehicles on the road -- thanks to so many military personnel in the area and their families. Layton City's history notes that the 35 mph limit made the roads safer there, though slower.
Also, despite a 5 percent increase in motor vehicles from 1941 to 1943, Utah had a significant decrease in accidents, injuries and fatalities — a testament to lower speeds increasing safety.
Auto accidents in Utah decreased 35 percent from 1941 to 1943, while fatalities dropped by almost 50 percent.
However, the 35 mph speed limit was a hindrance to long trips through the state. Whereas a drive from Salt Lake City to St. George took about 5¼ hours (non-stop) at 60 mph, the 35 mph speed required nearly nine hours.
It should also be noted that the U.S. had a national maximum speed limit of 55 mph from 1973 to 1987 to conserve gasoline. That was a decrease from a maximum of 70 mph.
Today, the Isle of Man in the United Kingdom and the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh are the only places in the world without posted speed limits. Montana also experimented with some "no speed limit" freeways in the 1990s, but led to more severe freeway accidents than before. Just more than half of Germany's autobahn lacks posted speed limits.

The highest posted speed limits in the world are 80 mph or 130 kph, and Utah has some 80 mph speed zones currently on I-15 in Southern Utah.
(-Updated and originally published in the Deseret News by Lynn Arave on Feb. 17, 2009.)

-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:  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Utah Geography 101 Quiz

OK, so you know Utah's nickname is the Beehive State and that it was the 45th state to enter the Union.
But how much do you know about Utah's vast and varied geography? Its mountains, lakes and deserts?
Here's a pop quiz on Utah geography (with a little history mixed in).

Part I
(Each correct answer is worth three points)
1. Where did the name for Kings Peak, Utah's tallest summit, originate?
2. What is the second-tallest summit in the state?
3. What is the tallest summit in the Wasatch Mountains?
4. What is the state's tallest mountain outside the Uintas?
5. Salt Lake County's tallest mountain is?
6. What Utah city has the highest elevation?
7. What Utah city has the lowest elevation?
8. Downtown Salt Lake City's elevation, within 200 feet, is what?
9. What paved road has the highest elevation?
10. The steepest paved state road in Utah is?
11. What is the state's lowest point?
12. What is Weber County's tallest summit?
13. Peter Sinks, near Logan Canyon, recorded Utah's coldest temperature. What area recorded the second-coldest?
14. Delicate Arch may be Utah's most famous, but what is the largest?
15. What county is South Weber in?
16. Utah's tallest year-round waterfall is?
17. The sheerest cliff in Utah is?
18. The Wah Wah Mountains straddle three counties. Name one.
19. A town named, in a backward way, for Utah's geographic center is?
20. Bryce Canyon National Park isn't a canyon at all. What is it?

Part II
(Each correct answer is worth two points)
1. Based on vertical rise (the elevation difference from city floor to a nearby mountain top), the Utah town with the greatest elevation difference is:
a. St. George
b. Moab
c. Nephi
d. Salt Lake City
2. Salt Lake City was originally called:
a. Lake City
b. Salt City
c. Great Salt Lake City
d. Deseret
3. Deseret means:
a. desert
b. honey bee
c. promised land
d. Mormon
4. What area received the most precipitation in a single water year?
a. Logan Canyon
b. Kings Peak
c. Little Cottonwood Canyon
d. Provo Canyon
5. What location received the least amount of precipitation in a single water year?
a. St. George
b. Delta
c. Callao
d. Wendover
6. What town had the lowest-recorded temperature?
a. Logan
b. Woodruff
c. Randolph
d. Alta
7. What city had the highest-recorded temperature?
a. Hanksville
b. St. George
c. Salt Lake City
d. Moab
8. The deepest known cave in Utah is:
a. Danger Cave
b. Logan Cave
c. Cache Cave
d. Neff's Cave
9. The oldest living thing in Utah is:
a. The Limber pine
b. The Jardine juniper
c. The Ashley Joshua
d. The Ute Stump
10. The Utah lake with the highest elevation is:
a. Upper Red Castle Lake
b. Mirror Lake
c. Moon Lake
d. Granddaddy Lake
11. "Wahsatch" is located in what county?
a. Wasatch
b. Summit
c. Morgan
d. Rich
12. The main river that cuts through Zion National Park is:
a. Sevier
b. Paria
c. Virgin
d. Kolob
13. Utah's largest county by land area is:
a. Box Elder
b. San Juan
c. Tooele
d. Millard
14. Utah's smallest county by land area is:
a. Davis
b. Weber
c. Morgan
d. Daggett
15. Utah's total area in square miles (rounded off to the nearest thousand) is:
a. 85,000
b. 100,000
c. 50,000
d. 95,000
16. Davis County's highest point is:
a. Francis Peak
b. Bountiful Peak
c. Thurston Peak
d. Layton Peak
17. The deepest spot in the Great Salt Lake (at an average 4,200-foot lake elevation) is:
a. 25-30 feet deep
b. 30-35 feet deep
c. 35-40 feet deep
d. 40-45 feet deep
18. Bear Lake's average maximum depth (when the lake is full) is:
a. 90-100 feet
b. 150-160 feet
c. 190-210 feet
d. 220-250 feet
19. Utah's state borders are not defined by straight lines. Utah's most crooked border is:
a. Its north border
b. Its south border
c. Its west border
d. The lower half of its east border
20. The "Subway" is located in which Utah national park?
a. Bryce Canyon
b. Zion
c. Capitol Reef
d. Arches


Answers to Part I
1. Kings Peak was named for Clarence King, a geologist and surveyor in the Uinta Mountains from 1868-1871.
2. South Kings Peak. The peak is less than a mile from Kings Peak and is 14 feet shorter. (South Kings was believed to be Utah's highest until 1966.)
3. Mount Nebo. (The mountain's northernmost peak — it has three — stands at 11,928 feet above sea level.)
4. Mount Peale in the La Sal Mountains southeast of Moab measures 12,721 feet above sea level.
5. The western summit of the American Fork Twin Peaks (above the Snowbird tram) is 11,489 feet above sea level. (The eastern summit of American Fork Twin Peaks tops out at 11,433 feet above sea level.)
6. Brian Head (9,600 feet above sea level).
7. St. George (2,880 feet above sea level).

                                    Pencil drawing by Steve Arave.

8. The Salt Lake Temple sits at 4,340 feet above sea level.
9. The Mirror Lake Highway (U-150) crosses Bald Mountain Pass at the 10,759-foot elevation.

10. U-143, from Parowan to Cedar Breaks National Monument has a 13 percent maximum grade.
11. Beaver Dam Wash, southwest of St. George (2,350 feet above sea level).
12. Willard Peak, on the Box Elder County line (9,764 feet above sea level).
13. The Middle Sinks area of upper Logan Canyon recorded 64 degrees below zero on Jan. 18, 1984. Peter Sinks bottomed out at 69 degrees below zero on Feb. 1, 1985.
                         Middle Sinks area of upper Logan Canyon.

14. Kolob Arch, with a span of 310 feet, in Zion National Park. (Landscape Arch in Arches National Park measures 306-feet across.)
15. South Weber is in Davis County.
16. Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon, with a 430-foot drop in two sections and an overall cascade of 604 feet.
17. Notch Peak, Millard County, has a 5,000-foot drop of almost 90 degrees on its west face.
18. Beaver, Iron and Millard
19. Levan
20. Bryce Canyon is an amphitheater — not a canyon — hollowed out of the Pink Cliffs by time, moisture and wind.

Answers to Part II
1. a. From Moab, at 4,000 feet, to Mount Peale, at 12,721 feet, has the greatest elevation difference at 8,721 feet.
2. c
3. b
4. c. The top of Little Cottonwood Canyon received 98.3 inches of moisture during 1983-84.
5. c. Callao, south of Wendover, had 0.71 of an inch of moisture during the 1952-53 water year.
6. b. Woodruff had a 50-degree below zero reading on Feb. 6, 1899.
7. b. St. George hit 117 degrees on July 5, 1985.
8. d. Neff's Cave, on lower Mount Olympus, is 1,170 feet deep.
9. b. The Jardine juniper in Logan Canyon is believed to be 3,200 to 3,500 years old.
10. a. Upper Red Castle Lake in the High Uintas is 11,600 feet above sea level.
11. b
12. c
13. b (7,725 square miles)
14. a (Although the county is 620 square miles, approximately 268 square miles of it is usable land. The rest is in the Great Salt Lake).
15. a (85,000 square miles).
16. c (9,706 feet above sea level).
17. b
18. c
19. d
20. b
75-100: You're a geography whiz
60-74: You're very knowledgeable
45-59: Good score
30-44: You need to study a Utah map
Under 30: Sign up for Utah Geography 101

SOURCES: Utah State Highway maps; U.S. Forest Service maps; Deseret Morning News Archives; the National Weather Service;;
(-Originally published in the Deseret News, April 30, 2004, by Lynn Arave.)

-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: