Alma Clayton

AlmaCroppedYalecrest has always had some impressive men and women working in Education.  One of them was Alma Clayton (1755 Yale Ave).  Alma worked quite a few years for the SLC School District.  He was the only attendance/truant officer for the whole city.    In 1908 SLC schools reported 478 truancy cases, 62 cases of corporal punishment and 81 suspensions.  With more children entering school each year, I’m sure Alma was kept very busy.

At the end of 1909 Alma was pulling in an even $100 a month.  That was the year he helped create a living flag in honor of President Taft’s visit.  The flag was composed of at least 1600 school children.  This sight brought tears to our president’s eyes.

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The Board of Education must have appreciated Alma’s work.  They authorized the purchase of a brand new motorcycle for him.

Alma was also assigned the task of catching the “hungry burglar” who had been sneaking into various schools and cooking himself some scrambled eggs or maybe a custard pudding with coconut frosting.  Sometimes the burglar would do the dishes afterwards.  Sometimes he chose to take a nap in the principal’s office and smoke some cigarettes there. He always left before the janitor got to work in the morning.  (Alma caught him in the cooking act.)

AlmaClayton

Alma spoke at a mass meeting in favor of not abolishing the Juvenile Court.  He said he seldom sent any child to the Court, but having the Court behind him meant a lot to him in his work.  Representatives from Episcopal, Catholic, LDS, Jewish, and Unitarian organizations along with other civic-minded groups, stood with him in support.

Alma lived in his Yalecrest home until he died in 1957.  For over 10 years he was one of 3 Alma’s living on his block.  My guess is that the nearby middle school was named after this Yalecrest man.

–Kelly Marinan

Sources:
SLC Board of Education “Years of Challenge: Public Education in SLC 1890-1965”
SLC Board of Education Minutes, Oct 10, 1911.
Salt Lake Tribune articles:
“About SLC’s Public Schools” Jan 13, 1909.
“Board of Education Has a Busy Meeting” Aug 18, 1909.
“Tears in the Eyes of President Taft” Sept 27, 1909.
“Hungry Burglar is Found in School” Nov 24, 1915.
“Urge Retention of the Juvenile Court” Jan 27, 1917.
Living flag photo used by permission, Utah State Historical Society, all rights reserved.

Miller Bird Refuge and Nature Park

Miller Park Stone Bridge

Amphitheater at Miller ParkStairs

Miller Park located at 1706 East 900 South was dedicated on April 14, 1935.  Yalecrest resident Mrs. Minnie W. Miller, in the memory of her late husband Lee Charles Miller donated approximately 2 acres of land which along with city property and property acquired from The Herrick Construction Company established the Miller Bird Refuge and Nature Park. The park is a four-acre riparian woodland surrounding Red Butte Creek and is a contributing resource in the Yalecrest National Historic District.  The park features a beautiful historic stone bridge, amphitheater as well as stone walls.  The Salt Lake City Parks Department recently restored the park and stabilized the streambed and now more than ever the historic stonework bridge stands out as a shining star in the park.

Should Miller Bird Refuge be designated as an local historic district?  We at K.E.E.P. Yalecrest think so. One look at the beautiful stonework and one can see that YES this park is worthy of designation.

Why preservation is meaningful…

Three out of state generations visiting the house where their grandmother/mother grew up!

Three out-of-state generations visiting the house where their grandmother/mother grew up!

It’s that feeling you get when you know there is a story to be told or heard. It’s when your eyes meet someone else’s or when there’s a hesitation before you leave when you know there’s a question that should be asked for the puzzle pieces to fit together.

In 1998 my oldest daughter was in preschool. I was running late and as I was backing out of my driveway I noticed the couple parked in front of my house staring and pointing and talking. I knew there was something for me to hear or tell this couple. But preschool was starting and I needed to not be that late parent. Although the school was only a few blocks away, by the time I returned the couple was gone. It was a moment I knew I’d regret for the rest of my life. What was the purpose of them being here?

Cut to 2005, once again a car was parked in front of our house and this time two people were actually standing outside and looking at the house. I assumed these were the same people from seven years earlier and walked out front to greet them. The woman introduced herself and her husband to me. She had grown up in the house. And sure enough when I recounted my missed opportunity to visit with them years ago she confirmed it was indeed her. This was my second chance! I invited Bo and Kathy in and we visited and toured the house, she recapturing memories and me getting a glimpse of the past.

In 2013, and in the midst of developing a non-profit revolving around the preservation of the Yalecrest neighborhood, we reached out to those who we knew were supportive of preservation efforts. One of those people was Sue, a long time resident. She had some history books on our neighborhood that she wanted to share so we began emailing each other. In doing so this is the amazing coincidence that occurred. Below is an email I received from Sue;

I was so surprised to learn that you live in the recent award winning home on Princeton. I know the home well. My oldest and best friend who went through East High, Roosevelt Jr. and Uintah school with me lived there. I grew up on the corner of Emigration Street. We walked to and from school together every day usually meeting at the corner of 17th and 13th. In fact, I saw her this fall when we went to an East High reunion together. At that time she told me she drove by her old house (she always does when she’s in town) and the owner was outside. She stopped and he was so friendly and cordial about showing her the updated house. She raved on about how much she liked you and how happy she was it was in such good and loving hands. Little did I know the whole time she was talking about you. I never did see much of her father but I liked her mother ALOT. I remember in the basement her father had his “bar” room for his friends with old fashioned slot machines and a poker table, etc. Kathy and I would sneak down there and look at his Playboys…. never fully trust your children. Thank you for being so kind to my old friend.

This was remarkable to me, but there is more.

Fall 2014. Our yappy little dog escaped and was out front barking his head off. I ran out to get him only to find a group of people standing in the driveway, no wonder he was so upset. The woman out front says, “Jon?” I answered yes. And she said, “It’s Kathy, I grew up in your house.” I went out to greet her, happy to see her on this third time meeting. This visit she had her two daughters and seven grandchildren with her, all from California. She wanted to show them where she grew up. We were thrilled we were home to greet and invite the whole bunch of them in. We pointed out what we had done to the house since her last visit and they went into the back yard. Her grandkids felt awkward at first but eventually settled in and listened to the adult’s stories. Pictures were taken and another visit came to an end.

This is a follow up email sent to us from Robin, Kathy’s daughter: Thanks again for the tour. My mom is still telling everyone about that day and I truly don’t ever remember her being so happy about any single event as that one tour through “her” house. Hopefully one day I will answer the door of my farmhouse to a family who would like to stroll memory lane. Thanks so much Robin.

Reflecting back, this is exactly why K.E.E.P. Yalecrest was formed. To pursue preservation efforts for the properties of our 100 year old neighborhood so that past , present and future generations can enjoy the histories and stories associated with our homes. Afterall, we do not really own them, but are care takers for the next generation to maintain and appreciate them. And pass on the stories. I can only imagine the devastation that Kathy would have felt if she had driven up with her children and grandchildren only to find a demolished childhood home with a new modern oversized, replacement in its place.

–Jon Dewey

Revisiting Drive Strips

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After reading a previous post, ‘Where Have All The Drive Strips Gone?’, I ‘ve been more cognizant of driveway replacements. Interestingly enough the original style double drive strips are making a resurgence. In visiting with residents who have replaced with double strips and asking why the decision was made to replace the way they did, here are some responses:


 

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Two driveways next to each other, cement side by side was way too much concrete. I wanted to keep to the original. Drive strips were there originally, it all supports the era and style.
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 We wanted to do it because it extends the visual greenscape. Cement isn’t very attractive. Plus, drive strips were in keeping with the original style of the home.
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 They are cooler, temperature wise and they are more quiant.
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Another drive strip found...

Another drive strip found…

–Jon Dewey

Beware of Disinformation

An anonymous flyer is floating around the neighborhood, landing on doorsteps before residents awake. Someone not willing to take credit for the scare tactic is spreading their opinions and unsupported claims to scare homeowners on streets where LHD applications are in process.

Always consider the official source of information for Salt Lake City local historic district designations—the Salt Lake City Planning Division. Visit the website or contact the Historic Preservation Program Manager: Michaela Oktay, 801.535.6003

Download flyer PDF 17″x11″

 

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Charlotte Stewart

Charlotte East HS

One of my favorite Yalecrest “neighbors” is Charlotte Stewart, 1709 Harvard Ave.  It’s really hard to write something short and concise about Miss Stewart.

Charlotte was born in Draper in 1884.  Her father, Dr. William M. Stewart, was Dean of Education at the U of U.  Her mother, Sarah E. Taylor, was prominent in educational work and in the Federation of Women’s Clubs.  Charlotte worked as the City Recreation Director and was a leader in physical education for the City’s public schools.  She had an office downtown in the City County Building.

CityCountyBldg

Besides dealing with playgrounds and pools, Charlotte helped create and organize fun activities at Saltair and various City parks:  dance and costume contests, track and field meets, a marble tourney, story telling festivals, snow sculpturing contests, harmonica bands… even a model airplane contest in preparation for Lindbergh’s visit.  She worked on camp facilities in Big Cottonwood and Mueller Park.  She combined art, music and drama at the Nibley Park Water Theater which she helped construct.  From 1917-1933 she would organize 12-17 free public performances for Christmas “Cheer Week.”  She participated on numerous boards and committees and represented us at State and National events.charlotte 1925-06-20

Charlotte spoke to athletic organizations, women’s groups, service and business organizations.  She was involved with the Progressive Education Association, served on the State Woman’s Committee during WWI, was on the general board of the M.I.A. and on the board of directors for the Deseret Gymnasium.  [I could go on!]

Charlotte believed physical education should be compulsory in all states.  She wanted to see 80% of all high school girls going out for athletics.  Charlotte predicted as women got more into exercise they would see their natural beauty and not need all that rouge and lipstick. (SL Telegram 6-27-1925 “S.L. Woman Sees Cosmetics Passing”)

charlotte 1929-06-18

Charlotte was convinced the answer to juvenile delinquency was recreational opportunities.  But, despite a petition by supporters, Charlotte lost her City Rec Director job to a former U of U football star who thought the emphasis needed to be more on adults because “children find their own recreation.” (SL Telegram 3-1-1934, “New Recreation Head Plans Wider Program“)

When high school boys feared they might not get an invitation to the girls’ dance at East High, one wrote to a newspaper advice columnist.  The columnist suggested he take an idea and go talk to Charlotte Stewart. (SL Telegram 3-8-1934, “Challenge to ‘East ‘ Girls for ‘Dates’ Still Undelivered“)

Charlotte 1931Businessman George Mueller had donated Mueller Mountain Park to the City years ago.  When he wrote to complain about the park’s neglect, the new Park Commissioner blamed Mueller’s letter on Charlotte and the Chief of Police.  This led to the following news headline: “Miss Stewart Strikes Back.” (SL Telegram 9-25-1936)  Charlotte is quoted saying the assertions were “asinine, puerile and an insult to intelligent citizenry.

Charlotte even made the news when she paid her parking ticket.   She had scotch-taped 5 dimes to a piece of cardboard and mailed it in just under the wire.  If it had been received a few minutes later it would’ve cost her an extra $1.  (SL Telegram 8-29-1939, “50-Cent Parking Violation Bond Mailed to S.L. Police“)

Charlotte was certainly loved.  East High teachers and girl students threw a nice birthday bash for her.  It included music, toasts and a “fashion show” of women’s gym apparel from 1850-1941!  (SL Telegram 3-4-1941, “East High Group Honors Supervisor for Girls“)

– Kelly Marinan

Note:  Picture of Charlotte Stewart is from the 1934 East High School yearbook.