Thursday, May 28, 2015

When death was advocated for dogs and cats in Ogden

Dogs and cats both had rather controversial times in early 20th Century Ogden.
Consider the following:
-“Dogs must keep off the grass or suffer death” was a July 14, 1909 headline in the Standard-Examiner.
“Owners of dogs, beware! All canines which persist in making the public parks and flower beds of the city romping grounds will suffer the penalty of death,” the story stated.
The Board of Park Commissioners made this decree to the dog tax collector, since there had been recent complaints.
“Any dog caught in this act of vandalism in the future will be shot on sight,” the story reported. “Owners of dogs which they value would do well to observe this order and see their dogs do not destroy city property in the future.”
This decree was said to apply also to any collared or licensed dogs, or even pedigreed canines.

-“Dogs are a source of danger to the public” was a Deb. 7, 1914 Standard headline. Citing recent dog attacks, it was also reported that unlicensed dogs are numerous in Ogden City and “a muzzled bulldog, instead of being the rule, according to law, is so rare as to be a curiosity.”
-“Urges killing of all cats. Friend of birds talks at meeting held in Eden was a March 13, 1927 Standard headline.
Dr. H.J. Paul of the University of Utah had proposed an extreme solution -- the extermination of all cats, who destroy 50 million birds nests every year in America.
Paul said that even well fed cats were believed to be destroying four to five bird nests each day. He reported that four states had already adopted laws against cats.
Protection of the sparrow, cowbird, magpie, wren, woodpecker, hawks and owls was especially urged by Paul. Such birds control dangerous insects and rodents.
-“Sewer gives up dogs and cats. Tragedy of two little families is disclosed when employees of the City Engineer’s Department are called to clear a clogged main” was a July 27, 1910 Standard headline.
“A revolting discovery” was made in the sewer pipe om Adams Avenue and 30th Street and on Child Avenue and 29th Street. A dead dog and its litter of dead young were found in the Adams Avenue pipe and a dead cat and half a dozen of her dead kittens were discovered in the Child Avenue pipe.
The animals had been thrown in through the manholes, apparently alive in a sack.
“Strenuous work was done in the nauseating stench and otherwise bad conditions, in clearing the pipes of the accumulation of filth of the past few days,” the report stated.
-Finally, a July 9, 1925 Standard report stated that Ogden City dog pound employees had recently traveled to Salt Lake to see how dogs were being disposed of at the S.L. pound.
Electricity, 110 volts, was being used there to dispose of viscous and unwanted animals. However, the death process took as long as 20 minutes.
The workers returned to Ogden, not sure they liked what they had witnessed.

(-Originally published on May 28-29, 2015, on-line and in print in the Ogden Standard Examiner 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:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

1910: When Lagoon was threatened with closure

AS the largest theme park in the Intermountain West, Utahns probably take Lagoon for granted – always been there, always will be.
However, Lagoon was seriously threatened with closure in its early years, just over a century ago, back in 1910.
By Lynn Arave

“May cut Lagoon into town lots” was an April 27, 1910 headline in the Standard-Examiner.
“’If Lagoon cannot be made to pay with the railroad fare at 50 cents the roundtrip , I will cut the resort up into town lots and sell it,’ said Simon Bamberger, president and general manager of the ‘Lagoon route,’’ this morning,” The Standard story stated.
 “’The fare to Lagoon will be 50 cents this year, he continued. ‘And it will remain at 50 cents for the round trip as long as I own the controlling interest in the road (the railroad line).”’
Bamberger, consider the father of Lagoon, established the resort to draw passengers to his railroad. He was solidly against the train fare being reduced for just Lagoon’s sake, for a business that is open only three months of the year. Railroad traffic was increasing between Salt Lake and Ogden for the sake of other, year-round businesses.
“’I might put it this way,’” Bamberger said. “We are not going to let the ‘tail wag the dog.’ In this case Lagoon is the tail, and I don’t propose that it shall wag the road.’”
In a few weeks Bamberger’s railroad line was also set to be made electric, another advancement in its operation.
Bamberger continued his lecture: “’We think that Lagoon is a beautiful resort, one of the finest, if not the finest in the state. We would like to see it a success. Not only the coming summer, but in many seasons yet to come, but we are not going to try to make it a success at the expense of the rest of the business of the road. If people wish to visit the resort at the added cost, we will be glad to do all in our power to make their visits pleasant. If they do not care to come we will do something else with the resort, but we will not reduce the railroad fare.’”

Lagoon did close during World War II, thanks to gas rationing and the war effort, in the 1943, 1944 and 1945 seasons.

Other historical tidbits:
-“Waiter threw eggs at customer” was a July 24, 1910 Standard headline. A man entered a downtown Ogden cafĂ© in a big hurry, ordering hard-boiled eggs, and wanting to catch the next street car.
However, when the car came by, the man rushed out, just as the waiter came with the eggs. The waiter rushed out with the sack of eggs, also boarded the trolley and threw the eggs at the customer. He dodged the volley, but they hit another passenger in the back of the head.
“Dutch Henry,” the waiter, was charged with assault and battery by police.
-“Entertainment spoiled by bad behavior” was a Standard headline on April 4, 1909. Ogden High sophomores presented a play, “The Romancers” to a packed audience at the Fifth Ward Amusement Hall.
However, there apparently being no teachers or principals present, the schoolmates in the audience pelted the players with vegetables and fruit. They also belted out a chorus of cat calls.
The cast, featuring Leah Pardoe, Albert Moore, Fitch Kinney, Eugene Pratt, George Reeves, Eugene Carr and others, continued to perform as best they could.
-Two boys ordered to get out of town” was a June 25, 1909 Standard headline. Two boys were arrested for possessing a pair of allegedly stolen shoes. The boys claimed they found the shoes on a public lawn. The charges were dropped and the boys were ordered to get out of town, since chances for proving anything to the contrary were slim.

 (-Originally published on-line and in print on May 21-22, 2015 by Lynn Arave in the Ogden Standard-Examiner.)

-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, May 19, 2015

Sardine Canyon: Utah’s Biggest Fish Story?

                       Today's Sardine Summit, looking north, along Highway 89.

By Lynn Arave

THOUSANDS of people a day motor along at 55 mph on the four-lane Highway 89/91 through what is almost always referred to as Sardine Canyon, the main passageway between Brigham City and Cache Valley/Logan. How that fishy moniker has been affixed to a mountainous area devoid of any truly narrow geography, or fishing areas begs an investigation of history.
That’s especially the case, since today’s highway does not even travel through the original Sardine Canyon of pioneer times. So, first, a true geographical sketch of the area is in order.
Although place names can eventually become what the general populace keeps calling something, today’s “Sardine Canyon” is not the original Sardine Canyon of pioneer times.
Technically speaking, Highway 89/91, an approximate 18-mile stretch from Box Elder to Cache County, traverses three separate canyons – none of them named Sardine by official U.S. Geological Survey designation, or State of Utah highway maps.
1. The highway departs Brigham City and travels east and north through Box Elder Canyon to the community of Mantua.
2.  Next, traveling steeply uphill is Dry Canyon, ending at Sardine Summit (5,899 foot elevation).
3.  After a steep downhill segment to Dry Lake, Wellsville Canyon completes the trilogy of canyons into Cache Valley.
It is today’s populace and news media who favor calling all three canyons by the one “Sardine Canyon” name that overshadows any geography lesson or official maps.
The road alignment through the area has changed significantly over the decades. The first Mormon settlers on the way to Cache County in the fall of 1856 likely traveled about the same route to Sardine Summit and to about Dry Lake as we do today. However, then – presumably because of water sources and a more gradual route – headed directly east to Sardine Spring. Then, they followed the original Sardine Canyon northeast into Cache Valley and near today’s Hyrum Reservoir and Mount Sterling Cemetery. That was the original path into Cache Valley.
The first real road in the area went through the side canyon that begins just north of Sardine Summit, following part of the original pioneer route, but then headed east along today’s Mt. Pisgah Road and into McMurdle Hollow and then into the community of Hyrum.
The first newspaper mention of the “Sardine Canyon” name, that could be located, was from Logan in the fall of 1880. A map from Sept. 4, 1878 in the Cache County Surveyor’s Office, also uses the name Sardine Canyon. (In 1878, there was a side route possible through Wellsville Canyon, instead of Sardine, but that was only considered a secondary route at the time.
A 1915 newspaper article described the experience of driving a Studebaker “light six” model through the northern section of the route south into Box Elder County. Mr. L.E. Dresbach drove the automobile, loaded with five people. It was previously “regarded as impossible” to make such a trip in an automobile.
“To Paradise and then west over the Sardine Canyon road practically in high gear and at the rate of 25 miles per hour until the top of the cutoff was reached,” it was reported in the newspaper.

          A previous version of the old road to Logan, into the true Sardine Canyon.

Later, in the 1920s, the next version of road started about 1,000 feet north of the original pioneer route. This road wound around the ridge east of Dry Lake. It is still visible while driving along U.S. 89/91 today. The road, the first alignment to be paved through the area, eventually intersected the original Sardine Canyon. Portions of this road are still paved, but weather is eroding away the asphalt and sections have been removed.
According to newspaper reports, the second version of the route to Cache Valley opened in September of 1924, was 24-feet wide and had a maximum grade of 6 percent. It cost $200,000 to construct this nine-mile section of road, between Mantua and Wellsville.
This road was also a landmark for the west, marking the completion of the last link of a highway from Grand Canyon National Park, to Zion National Park and north to Yellowstone National Park.

                    One of the old side roads off Highway 89 today.

Furthermore, the road with its compact dirt composition and lower grades, was open in winter much more often than the original highway through the area. This meant Cache Valley was not isolated for months during the snow season, but more like weeks.
“Hundreds of ‘autoists’ who already traveled over the new road are high in their praise” of the new gravel/hard dirt road, the newspaper reported.
By the following month, the county believed it had solved the snow blockage problem in Sardine Canyon by constructing a special cabin for a winter patrolman who would live there in the winter and have a ‘two-ton tractor” to plow the snow.
Despite all the initial praise for the second “Sardine” alignment, there were serious travel problems in later years. For example, in January of 1949, this road was closed for a full month. The winter of 1948-49 was northern Utah’s combined snowiest/coldest winter season on record.
(Even today’s modern “Sardine Canyon” route can be plagued by snow and ice. In fact, Sardine Canyon often makes the news, because of periodic winter accidents reported there.)
The third and final alignment is today's road, built in the 1950s and opened in 1960. It was constructed in part, because of the shortcomings that the previous road’s closures experienced in the winter of 1949. It traverses down from Sardine Summit on a straight shot to Dry Lake and offers a much shorter and smoother route to Cache Valley than its two predecessors, exiting the canyon into Wellsville.
By the early 21st Century, this highway had been widened from two lanes to four.
Now, having established the three variations in the roads through the area, the examination can now return to the original query of the name origin of Sardine Canyon and its three possible origins:
1. In the fall of 1856 the first settlers on the way to Cache Valley stopped near a spring 1.5 miles east of what is now known as Dry Lake today. It is here that one of the legends claim these pioneers ate a sardine can lunch here and hence the name of the greater area almost 160 years later. Furthermore, some variations of this legend claim that these settlers left the sardine can, or cans by the trail near Sardine Spring and so later travelers spotted them and the name was born.
However, did cans of sardines exist in 1856? Could they have traveled west?
“I think it’s possible,” the webmaster of, out of California, stated of cans of sardines existing in Utah in 1856. “I can’t think of why a settler would not have wanted to bring a case of sardines with them if they were traveling by horse and wagon. Canned sardines keep very well.”
Furthermore, it was indicated that while tin cans were around in 1856, sardines were not canned in the USA until after that year. So, they would have had to have come from Europe and would thus be much more rare, than a few decades later.
(Also, “what if” the pioneers had eaten a different sort of lunch in the area? How does "Tuna Canyon,"  or "Steak Canyon" sound?)
Still, the railroad didn’t reach Utah until 14 years later in 1869. And so, all of the Mormon pioneers prior to the iron horse had to walk, horse and wagon or handcart some 1,300 miles to Salt Lake City. Thus, if a pioneer possessed one more cans or sardines and brought them along, would they have kept them unopened and uneaten for all 1,300 miles and even weeks or months after before a future 80-plus mile trek from Salt Lake to the Cache Valley? They might have saved them in reserve, or as a delicacy for as long as possible, though it seems that after several hard winters during the Mormon pioneers’ early years, all the canned sardines would have been used.
2. Did the first pioneer settlers headed for Cache County believe one of the canyons in the area between Brigham City and Logan was particularly tight or narrow and hence the sardine name?
Certainly today’s U.S. 89/91 highway alignment offers no unusually narrow sections. In fact, that’s the main reason why many have pondered where the sardine name came from, given the lack of geological support.
 However, while the original Sardine Canyon is narrower than today’s version, it does not appear ‘sardine’ narrow.
An approximate 1910 photograph of the original Sardine Canyon is contained in the on-line archives of Utah State University. This picture shows how the stream dominates the canyon at the time, though the canyon itself is not particularly narrow, lacking steep walls.

3. Did the presence of tiny, sardine-like fish spotted in a stream along the original Sardine Canyon inspire the canyon’s name?
Several professors of aquatic ecology at Utah State University lended support to this claim.
“I have heard anecdotally that they (Cache Valley’s first settlers) saw whitefish (“Prosopium williamsoni”), which could resemble a sardine to the general public and which were likely abundant in these areas (and still are in the Logan River),” Phaedra Budy, professor and Aqautic Research Ecologist in the Department of Ecology Center, Watershed Sciences, at Utah State University, stated.
Charles P. Hawkins, another professor in that Department at USU, agrees, especially if the water source is perennial, so that it can support naturally occurring fish.
The first pioneers might have passed by as many as three different springs in Sardine Canyon – Sardine Spring (which was the source of year-round water and spawned a stream; “The Pothole Spring” further east; and Hall Spring, a little further north. In addition, South Grove Spring is located about 1,200 feet north of Sardine Spring and feeds into Sardine Canyon.
Also, since at least 1960, there has been a manmade ditch draining Sardine Spring, with some underground piping. The original Sardine Canyon was homesteaded by James and Margaret Bradshaw in the late 1800s. They had a camp with milk cows and made butter near Sardine Spring. The land there is now owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is part of the Wellsville Stake welfare farm grazing area.
So, overall, legends No. 1 and No. 3 – appear to be the most plausible. In fact, could it be that the pioneer lunch of sardines, their discarded cans along the trail, plus later glimpses of small, sardine-size fish in streams to the east of today’s modern highway, all have combined to cement the Sardine Canyon name? That’s the most likely conclusion.
Also, it should be noted that only one other officially named “Sardine Canyon” exists in the United States. Strangely, it is also in northern Utah, located as a side canyon on the south side of Ogden Canyon, just southeast of today’s Alaskan Inn (formerly the site of the Hermitage).
This other Sardine Canyon is extremely narrow and since its beginning is elevated several dozen feet above the canyon’s paved highway, it is likely often not noticed by travelers. Since no other sardine canyon name exists in the U.S., could these two canyons be connected somehow? After all, what are the odds that both would end up in Utah and be only some 30 air miles apart?
John W. Van Cott, who authored “Utah Place Names,” cross referenced the name origin of Sardine Peak to Sardine Canyon in Cache County,  Why he did this is unknown. (Van Cott died in 2006.) Sardine Park (elevation 7,485 feet) connects to the other Sardine Canyon in Weber County, There are also two other sardine-nicknamed places in that Weber County area, Just north of Snow Basin Resort –“Little Sardine Peak” (elevation 5,970) if often referenced. Also, “Sardine Hill” (elevation 5,461) is nearby. Today, this Weber County “sardine” area has its own high popularity, with a popular mountain biking loop through the area.

 “Utah Place Names”; U.S. Geological Survey, “Mount Pisgah, Utah” quadrangle map; Standard-Examiner Archives; Deseret News Archives; Logan Daily Herald Archives; Logan Leader Archives; Box Elder News Archives; Utah State History Archives.

(-Originally published in the Ogden Standard-Examiner, by Lynn Arave online and in print, on May 19-20, 2015.

-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:

Friday, May 15, 2015

When toes made news in Ogden

EVERY so often an old Standard-Examiner headline comes across as odd, unique and almost outrageous.
The latest curiosity: “Girls with shapely toes” was an eye-catching headline in the Standard on Jan. 5, 1911.
“The young ladies of Riverdale will give a ‘shadow and toe’ dance at the Riverdale Amusement hall, the evening of January 13,” the report stated. “Prizes will be offered for the nicest and oddest looking couple.”
At this dance, young ladies are concealed behind a screen, with only their toes exposed to view.
“The young gallant must select his partner by the toes. He may get this choice or he may get the homeliest girl in the hall. The uncertainty adds interest to the dance,” the story concluded.
In other historical notes:
-“Hot lunches being served in country schools” was a Dec. 11, 1919 Standard headline.
This was the first time eight schools in Weber County had offered hot meals to students – and the primary reason why is surprisingly opposite to a situation in today’s schools: “A survey of children of the county schools discloses the fact that a large percentage is underweight,” the story stated.
The innovation of a hot lunch is expected to be a possible remedy to that situation of many students being five to seven pounds underweight.
-“Object to aliens doing city work” was May 2, 1911 Standard headline. Almost a full century before today’s controversy with illegal aliens, there was apparently a smaller such problem in the Ogden area.
Aliens, primarily Greeks or Italians, were being employed at the time to work in Ogden City Parks and that didn’t sit well with the City Council. It voted that only taxpayers and citizens of the country would be employed from then on.
-Plain City is to celebrate” was a March 13, 1911 Standard headline. On March 17, the 52nd anniversary of when the first pioneers arrived in Plain City was to be celebrated with a banquet.
The “latest innovation,“ a moving picture show, was also promised for the event.

(-Originally published on-line and in print in the Ogden Standard-Examiner, May 14-15. 2015, 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:

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The former hobo ‘jungle’ around Ogden

“HOBOES are caught in the jungles” was a June 13, 1911 headline in the Standard-Examiner.
This was NOT an international story. It was about Weber County some 104 years ago.
In 1911, the Ogden area had a so-called “jungle district” in the Wilson Lane area, west of town, full of what the story described as “undesirable visitors” (or hoboes).
This story stated that these weren’t hardened criminals, but at night some of them would raid chicken coops and gardens in the area.
Some of the hoboes then got arrested and her put on chain gangs which repaired roads in the county.
“The sheriff is of the opinion that the road work will have something to do with eliminating the hobo from the city,” the story stated.
Apart from hoboes, in 1911, the Standard also often referred to the Wilson Lane area as its own separate community of homes, in the same sense as Riverdale, Hooper or North Ogden.
In other historical tidbits:
-“Wild girl of the woods is found,” was an Aug. 11, 1905 Standard headline. “Is arrested with three boys in the brush. Was living like an animal. Was half clothed and tells disconnected story.”
Grace Witcherily, a young girl, was found by police along the Weber River, west of town. She said she had been led after a circus in town. Men working on the Sand Ridge Cutoff, likely in the area of today’s west 30-31st Streets, had provided her some food and clothing.
It was believed her mother was in Salt Lake City and efforts were made to find her.

                  Summit of Ensign Peak, north of Salt Lake City

-Ensign Peak, straight north of downtown Salt Lake City, is one of Utah’s most historic mountains. It was perhaps the first mountain climbed by the Mormon Pioneers after their arrival. An Aug. 9, 1908 story in the Salt Lake Herald talked about plans to develop Peak as a park.
The story also mentioned that on the left side of the Peak was “The Cave,” or “Cave Comfort” as it was called. It also said “Tally Ho Ridge” was located right behind the Peak and it led to higher mountain tops.
It also said there was once “Maiden Falls” was located in one the hollows around the Peak. However, that feature was destroyed by vandals. “Rain Cave” was also located nearby and was graced by same spring water.
Far below Ensign Peak was what was called “The Narrows,” a gully with a large sand pit. In that era, cattle roamed the area, north of where the State Capitol Building would open in 1916.
The story mentioned the great views of the valley from the mound-shaped peak, which was about 1,000 feet above the valley floor. Brigham Young was the first to talk of a possible park being made there. However, it would not be until 1996 that a park was finally established there, complete with a set trail to the 5,414-foot above sea level summit.

(-Originally published on-line and in-print in the Ogden Standard-Examiner on May 7-8, 2015, 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: