Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Oaks of Ogden Canyon began in 1903, not 1907

                            The Oaks restaurant sign today.

THE Oaks is a delightful little restaurant in Ogden Canyon, Utah. It is definitely the OLDEST operating business in Ogden Canyon.
However, the place's own history sells itself short and contains some inaccuracies.
The Oaks is stated as having begun in 1907 in a history that's on the restaurant's own menus and also on the restaurant's walls.
Yet, "The Oak's Summer Resort, A pleasant retreat in Ogden Canyon discovered by City officials today" was a June 10, 1903 headline in the Ogden Standard Examiner.
That means the place started AT LEAST four years earlier.
A group of Ogden leaders on a retreat found themselves "seated beneath the shady trees at 'The Oaks,' as beautiful, clean and neat a spot as can be found anywhere in the canyon, conducted by Potter Bros.  of Ogden, Ginger ale, lemonade and soda water,with an occasional stick in it, can be procured here at the usual prices," according to the Standard story.
The City leaders also noticed how well the grounds were kept at The Oaks, at a feast there "on short notice" and also discovered "At this resort, no one under the influence of liquor can be served."
The Ogden City leaders noted in the story that "the greatest trouble in the canyon is from the outing parties that take with them more liquor than the parties can well navigate with."

         The Ogden River is just a step away from some of the tables at The Oaks today.

-In the July 31, 1903 Standard-Examiner was a report of some Ogden sisters who picnicked at The Oaks.
-On Aug. 6, 1903, the first outing of the Ogden Automobile Club was a drive to The Oaks and a banquet there, according to the Standard-Examiner. There were tables and meals served in 1903 at The Oaks..
-The Standard-Examiner of Sept. 5, 1905 stated that a boxer, Mike Schreck, was getting in shape for a big fight and was training at The Oaks.
-The Standard of Sept. 12, 1905 reported that it was the Canyon Resort Company that operated The Oaks and the business was making plans for a new restaurant and cottages. Plans also included a new system of roads through the place and a trail up the mountainside.  

                                 This view of a craggy mountain is visible at The Oaks.

-"Big time at The Oaks. Celebration at Ogden Canyon a huge success. Great crowd gathered at the popular resort and they had the time of their lives" was an Aug. 20, 1907 Standard headline. (So, it may be that The Oaks hit is stride in popularity in 1907, though).  "Valley Day" was some sort of Ogden Valley celebration and that was what was being celebrated at The Oaks. Residents from Eden, Liberty and Huntsville attended.
(The Standard of Aug. 5, 1904 had also reported "Valley Day" being celebrate at The Oaks that year too.) 
-A Japanese official visited Ogden in the summer of 1908 and had a special reception and dinner at The Oaks, according to the Standard-Examiner of Aug. 13, 1908.
-"Lightning hits The Oaks Resort" was a Sept. 1, 1909 headline in the Standard-Examiner. A resort guest, Miss Bertha Parkinson, was struck by lightning at about 5 p.m. on Aug. 31 as a storm rolled by. The efforts of a Dr. Woolley and others are credited in saving her, as she was believed to have taken the full force of the bolt and was seemingly dead for a time.
-The June 26, 1910 Standard-Examiner stated that The Oaks had improved its camping grounds, erected some new cottages and was still famous for the chicken and trout dinners served in its cafe.
-The Oak's own history states that the original Oaks was about a mile from its current location and built by C.S. Potter. It doesn't say if that was east or west, though. It was in 1933 that The Oaks moved to its current location -- higher ground -- to avoid frequent flooding from the Ogden River.
The Oaks was purchased in 1981 by Keith and Belinda Rounkles. They renovated the place into a full service eatery, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
-In 1994, the Rounkles purchased 120 surrounding acres to ensure that the area remains the same, private and secluded retreat, except for the busy highway nearby.

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