Thursday, February 4, 2016

From a residence to a funeral home to restaurants and shops

       The Little Taste of Britain restaurant and other shops on Layton's Main Street in 2016.

EVOLUTION is the name of the game for most businesses.

What exists on one site today, may not have been the case decades, or even just a few years ago. Many locations sport a colorful history of occupants.
One site on Layton, Utah's Main Street is a prime example of this.
Located at 1095 North Main Street, the Little Taste of Britain restaurant anchors some other adjacent businesses in "The Cottage at Layton" strip mall, west of Shopko.
El Mate, an international market, Soda Crazy, a soft drink outlet, Jarochos Mexican Food and even an income tax preparation office are all located in the small strip mall. The basement property is currently looking for a tenant.

Let's trace the evolution of this property:
In the early 1950s, the north end of this business property was the home of Ray and Mary Dawson. 
"The Dawson home was a real show place in its time," according to Bill Sanders, director of the Layton Heritage Museum.
(These Dawsons were the parents of Davis High Coach John Dawson, a legendary prep sports mentor, who passed away in 2010.)
Ray Dawson died in about 1960, while mowing the large lawn that surrounded his home at 1095 North Main.
Shortly thereafter, his widow sold the property to the Layton Union Mortuary.
This Union Mortuary was an extension of the Bountiful Union Mortuary, 295 North Main, in Bountiful That mortuary began as an offshoot of Union Furniture Company in about 1933 under the leadership of Merrill Holbrook. It was first called Union Mortuary in 1934 in a Davis County Clipper newspaper article of Aug. 10 that year.
The Davis Clipper of June 9, 1937 reported that George W. Graham, an undertaker, was moving back to Layton, his former home. That was the year when Graham started a funeral home in Layton, located perhaps on South Main Street. This was a branch of Bountiful's Union Mortuary.
"New Mortuary Open" was a March 31, 1961 headline in the Davis County Clipper. This article mentioned a public open house on April 1-2 for the Union Mortuary, now at 1095 North Main Street., on three acres of ground in an 11,000-plus-square-foot building. The facility boasted six viewing rooms, a chapel, a four-car garage and an apartment.
Layton Union Mortuary operated from 1961 to 1972. Bodies were prepared for burial in the basement. There was also a furnace for cremations.
Gerald Thomson and his family lived in the apartment section of the funeral home for some years, until they built their own residence about a block to the west.
Merrill Holbrook, president of Union Mortuary, died on Jan. 14, 1972. Soon after, the Bountiful location was sold to Russon Brothers and became their funeral home, the first one outside of Salt Lake County, for that company.
The Layton Union Mortuary soon closed.
(Eventually Layton attracted two other mortuaries -- Lindquist's and Myers -- on the east side of town.)
Some years later, perhaps the late 1970s, Carlos Produce leased the former funeral home building and operated for more than a decade there, selling fruit and vegetables. A lot of their produce was stored in the basement.
The property was eventually converted into a strip mall with various suites. Little Taste of Britain opened there in 2008, but many other small businesses came and went before that, and after that time. For example, there was a private club/restaurant, the Empress Club, located there for some years too, long before Little Taste of Britain came along.

Layton: A bustling city built on two “Hills”

                     Hill Air Force Base, as seen from southeast Layton.

By Lynn Arave

MODERN Layton City is a community that has truly been built on two “Hills” – Hill Air Force Base and the Layton Hills Mall --  to become Davis County’s largest town, as well as a regional shopping hub.
-First there was “Hill Field.”
According to the “History of Hill Air Force Base,” by the Ogden Air logistics History Office, there was an intense competition in the 1930s between Salt Lake and Ogden for location of the new “Army Air Force Base” (precursor to the United States Air Force).
Northern Utah, as an air base in the Intermountain area, had been rated a suitable location for an air mail terminal back in 1934, during the U.S. Army’s failed Air Mail experiment.
However, in the end, it was geography, not lobbying that tilted in favor of the Ogden area. Weber Canyon, “the largest hole in the Wasatch Front,” was a very attractive natural asset. The winds kept the canyon’s mouth and area mostly free of fog and early airplane pilots had followed the canyon as a landmark, that also boasted high visibility.
The former “Sand ridge,” a plateau north of Layton City, was selected as the best location for an air base.
The U.S. Congress approved $8 million in July of 1939 to establish the Ogden Air Depot. Six months later, in December, the War Department selected the name “Hill Field,” in honor of the late Major Ployer Hill, who had perished in an experimental aircraft accident in 1935.
An official groundbreaking was held on Jan. 12, 1940 and the facility was built and expanded from there.
Surprisingly, the main gate to Hill, the “South Gate” (also ironically on a high hill/plateau in the area) emptied into Layton, not Ogden.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, many additional aircraft were transferred to Hill from the west coast, for additional protection.

It was the presence of Hill Air Force Base that weaned Layton from an agricultural base into a more urban setting. Layton’s population soared by 435 percent, from 646 in 1940, to 3,457 in 1950, mainly because of Hill.
New housing also boomed in Layton because of Hill. The Layton Trailer Park, with 300 units opened in 1942; Sahara Village, with 400 units came by 1944; Hillcrest Village, on the west corner of today’s South Gate, opened in 1942 and could house 2,500 residents.
Layton also experienced a business boom in 1946, following World War II, with its expanded population.
By 1947, the Army Air Corps became the U.S. Air Force and Hill was renamed Hill Air Force Base.
While Hill’s workforce was some 22,000 in 1943, it was reduced to just over 3,000 in 1946, following World War II’s end. Yet, new contracts, responsibilities and the Korean War increased employment steadily after that.
Hill had 11,864 military and civilian personnel in 1954; by 1966 the total was 18,436 and by 1986 it was 21,775, all as Utah’s largest single employer – all on the doorstep of Layton City.
According to the latest Hill AFB economic impact statement, there are now 23,969 total personnel within Hill Air Force Base, including 8,606 military and dependents and 12,363 civilians. Hill AFB has an annual federal payroll of $1.23 billion and annual expenditures of $907 million. Annually, Hill AFB creates approximately $1.19 billion in jobs created with a total of $3.32 billion in total annual economic impact.

-The Layton Hills Mall is Layton’s other significant “hill.”
“Work set to begin on Layton Hills Mall” was an Aug. 4, 1978 headline in the Davis County Clipper.
The Mall was then described as a mammoth indoor shopping center with some surrounding businesses, conveniently next to I-15. It opened after more than two years of construction.
Some of the land eventually developed into the Layton Hills Mall used to be the old 20-acre Layton Trailer Park.
The Layton Hills Mall opened in the spring of 1980 and was renovated in 1996.
Today it has more than 100 stores, with three anchor tenants and more than 576,000-square-feet of retail floor space.
The Layton Hills Mall, though not on an actual “hill,” has over the decades attracted many more businesses to Layton. “Restaurant Row,” Layton’s famed cluster of eateries, grew out of the Mall’s success. Layton had only two “sit down” restaurants in 1983,” but thanks to the Mall it boasts dozens and dozens today.
In addition to the Mall, Smith’s Food and Drug constructed its regional offices, plus dough/dairy plants and a distribution warehouse in Layton in the late 1970s in Layton.

-Additional reference source:

(-Originally published in the Layton City newsletter.)

Recalling the Layton, Utah flood of 1984

    Minor flood damage at the mouth of Adams Canyon is reminiscent of the significant damage northward,  on  Valley View Drive in the spring of 1984.

By Lynn Arave

IN the spring of 1984, Layton City residents along Valley View Drive (east of Highway 89) suffered a disastrous mudslide that destroyed one home and damaged several others. The water, mud and debris caused more than $250,000 in damages (almost $600,000 in today’s dollar value), displaced seven families, prompted the temporary evacuation of almost 150 more and put mud 10 feet deep on Valley View Drive.
This all happened during the record flood years for Northern Utah – 1983-1984 – when there was heavy snowfall and a wet/cool spring. When it finally did warm up in mid-May, there was too much melting snow in the Wasatch Mountains.
It was May 17, 1984, 6:15 a.m. and Layton resident Tom Jacques fortunately spotted the mudflow coming down the mountainside, adding more rocks, mud, trees and brush as it moved, according to the Davis County Clipper on May 23, 1984.
Unlike area floods in the 1930s, this one didn’t come down the middle fork of Kays Creek. It came down what was known as “Lightning Canyon,” or “No Name Canyon.” This mud flow was 60 feet wide and five feet deep.
Jacques became a modern Paul Revere, of sorts, and yelled “Get out! Get out! It’s a mudslide” as loud as he could to all of his neighbors. Luckily no one was hurt.
Neighbors were the first to arrive with shovels, drinks, food and encouraging words. Next came members of the neighborhood emergency preparedness team under the direction of Bill Jaques. Many volunteers were from the local LDS Ward. The third group to help was organized through Layton City and Davis County emergency preparedness efforts. Some 500 people worked for three days to clean up the area.
Walt “Waldo” Miller, an affected Layton resident, later reflected on the lesson the mudslide taught:
“There’s not a trace of bitterness with any of our neighbors,” he told Doneta Gatherum of the Clipper. “We’ve all learned the big lesson. It’s our families and neighbors that count, not material possessions.”
The CBS news show, “On the Road,” with Charles Kuralt, spent five days filming in Layton after the disaster.
“Water’s gone: Cleanup’s not” was an Aug. 8, 1984 headline in the Davis County Clipper that outlined the long term repair and preventative efforts.
Secondary water was cut off to the area for most of the summer. Besides the damage to homes, considerable landscaping needed to be redone.
A flood channel and debris basin were later added to hopefully prevent a similar disaster in the future.
Sadly, there was no federal relief money available to those families affected and no homeowner insurance covered mudslide damage either. A special citizen committee organized a trust fund to help those needing the most financial assistance.
-Later, there were landslides in 1998 on Sunset Drive and again in 2001 on Heather Drive within Layton City’s boundaries, further highlighting a vulnerability to nature and a need to always be as prepared as possible.

(Sources: Davis County Clipper, Ogden Standard-Examiner. Originally published in the Layton City newsletter.)

1915: When David O. McKay’s stolen car ended up in Layton

                       David O. McKay in the 1960s as president of the LDS Church.

"JOY riders ditch an auto for horse and buggy” was a May 5, 1915 headline in the Ogden Standard-Examiner.
An automobile belonging to David O. McKay, 38, an apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was reported stolen in Ogden the day prior.
The auto was found in Layton, near the train depot.
It was believed that the same thieves who stole Elder McKay’s car and took a joy ride, abandoned it in Layton. The thieves then stole a horse and buggy belonging to a night watchman at the depot, so they could return to Ogden.

(-From the Layton, Utah web site.)