Originally, Laird Ave was listed as Edith Ave. Land records and personal history accounts lend credence to Edward Laird (1852-1925) as the source of the current street name, Laird Avenue.
According to the local paper, he was involved in a number of real estate transfers in 1907 and 1908 in a subdivision named, “Laird”. Those lots were located at what is now Laird Avenue between 9th and 10th East. All these land transfers occurred immediately before the street named “Laird Avenue” first appeared in the city directory in 1908. Therefore, there is credence that the street was named after Edward Laird. A relative, William Naylor, was likely also invested in that land, as the name of one of the dead-end courts that runs north off of 13th South just east of 9th East is named “Naylor Court.”
Edward Laird was born in Scotland in 1852 and died in Salt Lake in 1925 at the age of 73. Edward was a child of four when his family immigrated as handcart pioneers in the infamous Willie Handcart Company of 1856 where more than a hundred of the pioneers perished in frigid Wyoming. Edward Laird’s family however arrived unscathed. Living first in Spanish Fork, then Heber City, Edward grew up accustomed to hard work on his father’s farm but never attended school. While camping in Park City, Edward found some silver ore. Edward and his brother had their camp ground assayed and sold their claim (which is now Silver King) for $1500. With this money, Edward purchased land in Parley’s Canyon (now Mountain Dell), began raising sheep and hauling silver ore from Park City to Salt Lake. A little farther down the canyon was the Hardy Station, a halfway house run by the Hardy family. It was in the Hardy home that Edward met Valeria Ann Flint.
When grown, Laird homesteaded land in Parley’s Canyon at Mountain Dell and became a successful sheep farmer. He owned water rights of Parley’s Canyon Creek and sold some of them to Salt Lake City in 1900 during a severe water drought. Thereafter, he relocated to Salt Lake City and started buying real estate in Salt Lake City. He bought a property near 1st South and 5th West and eventually started Rio Grande Lumber Company there. He also had ownership in Sugarhouse Lumber Company, which was located on 21st South near 12th East. Later, he joined with Misters Ashton and Jenkins of the Ashton-Jenkins Company, who developed much of Yalecrest. He later became a vice-president of the Ashton-Jenkins Company.
The family moved to 840 East Twelfth South (later becoming 840 East 2100 South), after selling their property in Mountain Dell in Parley’s Canyon. He and his wife, Valeria Ann Flint Laird had eight children, five daughters and three sons. The sons continued with the sheep farming part of the family business and moved to Dubois, Idaho. Edward also owned much of the block around his house and that’s why there are other family members showing in the Polk directories living at the other addresses, 817 and 820 East Twelfth South.
Edward Laird (1852-1925) 1922 50th Wedding Anniversary of Edward Laird and Valeria Laird with their children.
Back row left is Fidella Laird Snelgrove, wife of Charles Rich Snelgrove
Laird and Snelgrove Families
Edward’s youngest daughter, Fidella married Charles Rich Snelgrove, who in 1929 created Snelgrove’s Ice Cream Company. After the deaths of Edward and Valeria in 1925 and 1930 respectively, Charles and Fidella lived in his parents house at 840 E. 1200 South (changed later to 840 E 2100 South) in Sugarhouse. The year before Valeria died, she allowed Charles and Fidella to open their ice cream business up the street at one of their properties at 1055 E. 2100 South. Eventually, sometime after 1940, the houses at 820 and 840 E. 2100 South were razed to make room for the Snelgrove factory and main store with the iconic giant spinning ice-cream cone sign at 850 E. 2100 South. The oldest son of Charles Rich Snelgrove (husband to Fidella Laird, the youngest daughter of Edward Laird) was Charles Laird Snelgrove. He worked with his father and later ultimately took over ownership and expanded the ice cream business throughout Salt Lake City (compiled by Kim Childs, KEEPYalecrest)