Dancing Around the Maypole in Yalecrest

Last year, we made a post about Hollywood motion picture actress Muriel Goodspeed who grew up at 1559 Harvard Avenue.  We wanted to revisit Muriel briefly because today is the 100 year anniversary of her birth.  She was born May 1, 1917 to Alvin and LaVon Goodspeed.  1559 Harvard was built in 1917, so it also 100 years old this year. The Goodspeeds moved in to their brand new home with infant Muriel soon after it was built.

With a May Day birthday, Muriel had several birthday parties with a maypole on the front lawn and coverage on the newspaper society page.  Last year’s post included a photo of Muriel’s 8th birthday maypole in 1925.  Since then we have discovered this photo, taken at Muriel’s 11th birthday party on May 1, 1928.

1559 Harvard Maypole 5-2-1928

Besides dancing around the Maypole, the party included a miniature orchestra and a contest of dolls brought to the party by Muriel’s guests.  Muriel’s doll, “Miss Utah,” was named “Queen of the May” and at 6 o’clock, a special radio program was presented that included Maypole dance music.  The Salt Lake Telegram news story provided a list of all the party guests.

1559 Harvard 1928 Maypole articleUnfortunately, none of the names of the party guests are matched with the faces of the children in the photo, not even Muriel’s.  Perhaps someone will be able to identify some of the children.  Please post a comment if you do.  Following are close-ups of the same photo, zoomed-in to see the faces more clearly.

1559 Harvard Maypole 5-2-1928 a1559 Harvard Maypole 5-2-1928 b

It is likely that most of the children in the photos lived in the neighborhood.  Following are the names of the party guests from the newspaper article.  I have added the addresses of some of the children that I have learned from other research.

Guests:  Clella Young, Louise Shuster, Lucille Rich, Lois Gill, Beth Rich, Elda Garfield, Phyllis Done, Bernadine Devinny, Katherine La Con, Betty Fowlks, Katherine Johnson, Robenia Hooper (1511 Harvard), Adele Squires (1604 Harvard), Jeanette Taylor, Eleanor Barlow (1572 Harvard), Katherine Moffat (1560 Harvard), Frances Rogers (1452 Gilmer),  Katherine Peterson, Louise Johnson, Edna Glazier, Ruth Greenwood, Belva Stevenson, Verna McMurdie, Mary Dean Wardrop, Myrtle Black, Peggy Pearsall (1554 Harvard), Helen Davis, Mildred Houck, Mary Alice Baker, Emilie Seigle, Bernice Smith.

Marjorie Carruthers, Ruby Wardenburg, Betty Peery (1435 Yale), Delina Perry, Betsy Ross Young, Mary Snow, Helen Gabbie, Helen Hagen, Erma Hickman, Elaine Hickman, Betty Davis, Meryl Romney (1337 Gilmer or 1442 Princeton) (sister of future Michigan Governor George Romney and aunt of Mitt Romney), Joyce Livingston, Shirley Price (1536 Harvard), Marjorie Selley (1503 Harvard),  Arlow Lesler, Veda Adams, Ruth Snow, Luana Gowans, Marilla Barlow (1572 Harvard), Elaine Openshaw, Jane Rawlins (1506 Harvard), Leo Francis Bachle, Sterling Devinny, Elman Snow, Neco Vancina, and LeRoy Nesbitt.

Kim Childs

 

 

Harvard Avenue Contributions to Motion Pictures and Beauty Pageants

The Prairie School bungalow at 1559 Harvard Avenue was built 99 years ago in 1917. Alvin and LaVon Goodspeed were its first owners and moved in that year, just a few months after the birth of their daughter Muriel on May Day, May 1, 1917.  Alvin was a traveling salesman and LaVon was a granddaughter of LDS Prophet Lorenzo Snow.  Muriel’s eighth birthday party on May Day 1925 was reported in the Salt Lake Telegram and featured a May Pole on the front lawn. As a child, Muriel showed great talent singing and dancing so her parents enrolled her at age 8 in the Theodore Kosloff Dance Studio in Los Angeles.

1559 Harvard 5-1-1925Maypole 1925 1559

After graduating from East High School in 1934, LaVon and Muriel moved to Los Angeles to give Muriel  her chance to star in Hollywood motion pictures.  In 1936, she appeared in the first “Flash Gordon” movie serials starring Buster Crabbe and Jean Rogers.

Muriel Goodspeed and Jean Rogers in "Flash Gordon"

Muriel Goodspeed and Jean Rogers in “Flash Gordon”

Muriel Goodspeed Zona Flash Gordon 1

 

Muriel Goodspeed & other Flash Gordon characters1

    Muriel Goodspeed and other cast members of   “Flash Gordon,” 1936

Muriel in "Flash Gordon," 1936

Muriel in “Flash Gordon,” 1936

 

 

 

Muriel Miss America 1938

Muriel Goodspeed, left, 2nd Runner-Up to Miss America 1938

In August 1938, Muriel earned the title Miss Utah and a month later won the Miss America talent competition to become second runner-up to Miss America, 1938.

Muriel hasn’t been the only Harvard Avenue resident to be crowned Miss Utah.

Loi-Anne Bailey, daughter of Loile and Anna Bailey, long-time residents of 1553 Harvard Avenue, became Miss Utah 1964 and competed in the 1964 Miss America Pageant.

 

Bitter Sweet 1

    Muriel Goodspeed, Jeanette MacDonald and Pamela Randall in Noel Coward’s “Bitter Sweet,” 1940

Muriel Goodspeed became the vocal backup and understudy to Jeanette MacDonald and went on to appear in the 1940 Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald musical, “Bitter Sweet,” and the 1943 film “Presenting Lily Mars,” starring Judy Garland and Van Heflin.  She traveled with other celebrities on the World War II Bond Tours.

Married for sixty years, Muriel had three children.  After raising them, she continued teaching music lessons for many years to many piano students in Southern California. She produced and performed in many local musical shows into her mid-eighties.  Muriel died in 2005 at the age of 87.

Centennial – Harold B. Lamb House

The Harold B. Lamb house at 1327 Michigan Avenue, a distinctive two-story home of the Prairie School design, was built during the last half of 1915 and has therefore just reached its 100th birthday. Susanna Bransford Emery Holmes, whose massive fortune in silver mining earned her the title, “Utah’s Silver Queen,” financed the home’s building for her nephew Harold Bransford Lamb, the son of Susanna’s sister, Viola Bransford Lamb. Viola died after giving birth to Harold in 1886, and Susanna took in Harold to raise as her own. Harold and his family moved into the house when it was new.  He died nine years later of appendicitis. He was only 38 years old. The old photo of the house, from the Shipler Commercial Photographers Collection of the Utah State Historical Society, was taken February 9, 1916, 100 years ago. The new photo was taken February 9, 2016.

— Kim Childs