Thursday, August 20, 2015

What might have been – A Great Salt Lake resort at Promontory Point

                              Promontory Point as viewed from Fremont Island.

THE early 20th Century featured numerous beach-side resorts around the Great Salt Lake, including the Saltair, Lakeside and Syracuse resorts. However, Ogden never had its own such resort.
“A resort on the lake” was a Nov. 17, 1923 headline in the Standard-Examiner. “Ogden has no lake resort. A few years ago the Southern Pacific Company made a preliminary survey, with the object of establishing a resort at Promontory Point, but met with no encouragement from this end,” the story stated.
“The most attractive beach on the entire shore line of the lake is on Promontory Point, where the rocky point enters the lake and a sandy floor makes for ideal conditions for bathing,” the story continued.
“While waiting for this resort to materialize, Ogden should have a boulevard from the city to the lake shore near Little Mountain, so that among the attractions would be an automobile drive to the Great Salt Lake,” the story concluded.
(As early as April 4, 1912, a Standard editorial had urged, “Ogden should have a lake resort” at Promontory Point.)
Of course this resort never happened, but it was proposed and studied. (And, there was a temporary lake resort, or sorts, for the Ogden area, used in 1905, after the completion of the Lucin Cutoff, also near Promonotory Point.)
Compass Minerals (formerly Great Salt Lake Minerals) has dominated the Little Mountain area (straight west of Ogden’s 12th Street and near the Lucin Cutoff railroad line) for more than four decades, yet there could have been a popular recreational predecessor in the area.
-Little Mountain was in the news a lot in 1923. “Alpine Club visits famous spot on Little Mountain; Flag hoisted at place where Lieut. Fremont and Kit Carson stood 80 years ago to view lake,” was a Sept. 9, 1923 headline in the Standard.
The Alpine Club erected a mound of stone on the historic site of the lake’s first recorded government exploration in 1843 and hosted what was believed to be the first flag seen there in eight decades. A box containing a record book that listed the names of those at the 80th anniversary gathering was also placed there. There was also a proposal for an auto road to the top of Little Mountain.
More historical tidbits:
-Taylor Canyon is famous today as the access to Malan’s Peak and Malan’s Basin. It was also at one time proposed to be an established campground. However, in the summer of 1925 it was also the site of a musical production in what was described as a natural amphitheater at the mouth of the canyon.
Weber College and the Ogden Tabernacle Choir apparently presented an outdoor performance of Joseph Haydn’s “The Creation” there, according to an announcement in the Standard on March 15, 1925. The audience was to be seated in their cars and in a limited number of seats provided, with natural acoustic properties carrying the music for long distances in the area.
-The telephone was a big part of the Ogden area by 1925, according to a Standard story on Feb. 22 of that year. The Mountain States Telephone & Telegraph Company switchboard was handling some 60,000 local calls a day in Ogden then. Another 600 to 700 long distance calls were also being handled back then.
Ogden, with an estimated population of 40,000 then, was believed to have about 7,000 telephones, with 130 persons employed at Mountain States.

 (-Originally published on Aug. 2-21, 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:

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