Saturday, July 12, 2014

When Bear Lake became popular

When did Bear Lake first catch on a summer destination for Ogden area residents?
It was less than two decades after the advent of the automobile in Utah.
“Distance to Bear Lake only 76 miles” was a Sept. 1, 1917 headline in the Ogden Standard-Examiner.
Manager C.H. Wilson of the Utah-Idaho Motor Company made the drive in a six-cylinder, seven-passenger Mitchell automobile.
He drove from Ogden at 9 a.m., by way Beaver Creek and Blacksmith Fork/Hardware Ranch, considered the “Standard” route in that day.( I believe the “Beaver Creek” Canyon  mentioned is the one off today’s U-39, near the South Fork of the Ogden River.  It was 21 miles long.)
 The detailed story also mentioned “the great blue waters of the lake.” His actual destination was “Ideal Beach,” as it was called even back then, at evening time – an all-day journey.
Wilson returned by Logan Canyon, Logan and Brigham City and advocated that state roads should be made to access the lake. Almost all the driving was done on good dirt roads.
“Thrilling dugways and sharp turns” was how Wilson described going through Logan Canyon almost a century ago. In fact, it was reported that passing vehicles at many spots along the narrow canyon roadway was just not feasible.
Almost a year later, Aug. 24, 1918, the Standard published another detailed auto trip report to Bear Lake and back. This trip went through Ogden Canyon, mentioning now vanished key milestones there, like “Watson Flygare Camp,” “Bristol Camp,” “Wildwood” and “Becker Bridge.”

The route then went by way of “The Liberty Dugway” to Paradise, Logan and Logan Canyon.
Ironically, both the Beaver Creek Canyon ("Piss Ant Flat") and the Liberty Dugway routes never got fully paved, or became modern corridors.

-When did Ogden City have its first public tennis courts?
It was the summer of 1922, when the parks of Lester, Liberty and Lorin Farr all received tennis courts, according to a May 10, 1922 Standard report. It was the tennis committee of the Ogden Kiwanis Club that was behind the construction. Ogden had one private tennis club and a few private and school courts previously.

-Lorin Farr Park wasn’t always known by that name. The Standard of July 12, 1918 stated the park was previously called Glenwood Park.
It was a recommendation by the Daughters of the Pioneers for the new name, to honor one of Ogden’s most prominent pioneers.
And, Lester Park wasn’t always identified by that title either. According to a June 14, 1881 Standard report, “Liberty Square” was the original name of that park.

-The greater Ogden area received some of its first location signs in 1927. According to a Sept. 7 Standard report that year, Weber Canyon’s Devil’s Slide, Devil’s Gate and other such touristy spots were finally identified for all travelers to locate and enjoy.

(-Originally published by Lynn Arave in the Ogden Standard-Examiner on July 11, 2014.)

-NOTE: The author, Lynn Arave, is available to speak to groups, clubs, classes or other organizations about Utah history at no charge. He can be contacted by email at:  

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