Winter 1916-1917

It was the week before Christmas and it just kept snowing every day!  After all the snow, came the wind and the cold.  This created quite a challenge for Yalecrest residents and the entire city of Salt Lake.  What was it like here 100 years ago????   Here is a glimpse from the papers:


The City hired extra laborers to help with the snow.  Unemployed men, and those looking for some extra cash, got work shoveling downtown.  Wagonloads of snow taken from the sidewalks and gutters of the business district would first get deposited on State Street between 100 and 200 South.  Later that snow would be hauled off and dumped into a canal near 13th South or transferred on freight cars to North Salt Lake.  The snow wasn’t removed from the main part of the roads.  The expectation was an upcoming thaw would allow them to “flush” the streets later.  Snow plows drawsnow_and_auto_in_front_of_studebaker_brothers_mar1917n by horses went over the sidewalks in residential areas.

Thaddeus Naylor (the guy that sold us land for Uintah School, whose half-brother would later live at 1715 Harvard Ave) wasn’t very happy with all the snow and congestion in front of his shop on State St.  It made it more difficult for him to sell studebakers.  He threatened the City with injunction proceedings.

Herbert Auerbach (remember Auerbach’s store?) came to the rescue.  He offered his field just north of the City County Building as a big dumping ground for the snow.  This saved the City a big chunk of money… and made business owners on State Street happy.


The long and steady snowfall resulted in the streetcar rails becoming slippery with ice and snow.  By Dec 21st every streetcar line in SLC was experiencing difficulties.  It was becoming the worst storm the City had seen in 42 years.  Initially, the snow was wet and heavy.   Precipitation got lighter, but a full day of winds averaging 30 mph didn’t help.  Huge snowdrifts developed.  The tramway company’s plows and sweeper cars couldn’t keep up.  Travel slowed.  Derailments occurred.  You couldn’t make it up the hill.  Yalecrest’s 15th East streetcar line went out of commission.  Same with the line to Fort Douglas.  Emigration Canyon reported drifts between 15 and 40 feet deep.

They say automobiles contributed to the streetcars’ problems.  As soon as a sweeper car would go by the autos would jump on the tracks, seeing them as their only thoroughfare.  The auto tires would push more snow onto the rails and then pack it down to form ice which could lift the streetcars off the rails.  It was sometimes hard for the sweeper cars to get around the derailed cars.

Yalecrest resident Edward Ashton and a couple other builder/realtor guys approached the City Commissioners insisting that the City help fix the streetcar problems.  The Commissioners wanted to help, but they weren’t sure they could use taxpayer money to aid a private company.  They needed time to look into the matter.  Eventually they did loan City equipment because they believed mass transit was vital to SLC.  One called it “the poor man’s means of transportation.”



It wasn’t until Jan 5th that the City could begin clearing the streets in the neighborhoods… because they had loaned their equipment to the Utah Light & Traction Company.  Even with half-loads on their horse teams, coal distributers said they had an especially hard time getting up the hills on the east side, but said the public was “very charitable in the way of criticism.”



In Utah and across the country people were talking a lot about problems with coal delivery and the fear of a shortage.  The issue in SLC had a lot to do with the recent weather.  It increased demand and caused transportation problems for trains bringing in the coal and for the dealers delivering it.  Some citizens struggled for heat.  Poor people couldn’t afford to buy a lot at once, they had no reserves.  Some wealthier folks didn’t have an immediate need but kept ordering and hoarding it, according to some dealers.  Dealers also blamed the railroads and producers for not giving them enough.  Producers blamed the railroads.  The railroads in turn blamed the dealers saying the dealers got their coal but weren’t distributing it properly.  People were complaining and pointing fingers everywhere… which brought in the State Legislature.  Was the problem with the railroads, the coal producers, the distributers, the City?  How can this problem be avoided in the future?


On Tues morning Jan 9th, Uintah Elementary kids were told to turn around and go back home because there wasn’t enough coal to heat the classrooms.  A truck hauling 4 tons of coal had gotten stuck in a snow drift not far away.

About a week later, the East Bench experienced a blizzard that canceled school for the Uintah
kids and created a very dramatic scene over at East High.   Yalecrest resident and math teacher John Cathcart (1555 E 900 South) along with other teachers and the stronger schoolboys formed “rescue parties” that ventured out into the freezing wind and snow to save the lives of those struggling across two blocks on 13th East between the stalled streetcars and the school.  Part of East High was converted into an emergency room.  Doctors were called to the school.  The doctors phoned the police asking them to “Send out some whiskey.  The children are freezing.”  whiskey

The cops rushed to the school.  Other teachers and students were put to work rubbing snow on the hands, feet and ears of the frozen rescued students.


reservoir_13the_nov1936The City’s water supply began to dwindle after too many nights where the low was in the single digits.  The City Commissioners contemplated a $500 fine(!!) for those caught wasting water, leaving their taps open to prevent their pipes from freezing.  Mayor Ferry put out a proclamation begging good citizens to use water sparingly and not waste it at night.  But two of the City’s reservoirs, including the one on 13th East, went dry because of frozen canyon streams and all the water wasting.  Almost a quarter of the City was without water, homes on East South Temple and in the higher elevations.

If the pipes were empty where you lived, you needed to open your hot water taps to allow steam to escape.  If not, you could have an explosion in your home.  The latter is what happened to Yalecrest resident Royal Wight (932 S. 15th East)  when he was building a fire in his kitchen stove and the heat from the fire forced steam through the frozen water jacket.  Royal was temporarily knocked unconscious when a part of the stove hit him in the head during the explosion.

–Kelly Marinan

Photos:  Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society, all rights reserved.

  • Studebaker Bros Co on State St, Mar 1917.
  • Jeffery Distributing Co coal trucks, Dec 12, 1916.
  • Wasatch Coal Co teams in yard, Feb 1917.
  • Reservoir on 13th East, Nov 1936.

12-20-1916, Salt Lake Herald, “Snowfall Boon to Jobless of City”.
12-21-1916, SL Herald, “T.W. Naylor Protests”.
12-22-1916, SL Herald, “Street Cars Impeded by Heavy Snowfall”.
12-25-1916, SL Tribune, “Traffic Is Delayed by Furious Storms”.
12-27-1916, SL Tribune, “Storm King Hits City Another Knockout Blow”.
12-27-1916, SL Telegram, “Snow Dumped in Field”.
12-28-1916, SL Herald, “Salt Lake Shivers at Six Above”.
12-29-1916, SL Herald, “Mountain of Snow in Auerbach Field Testifies to Storm”.
12-29-1916, SL Telegram, “More Car Lines are Operating; Better Weather Clears Tracks”.
1-1-1917, SL Telegram, “Snowfall Heaviest Since that of 1874”.
1-5-1917, SL Tribune, “Clearing of Snow is Costly to City”.
1-9-1917, SL Tribune, “Snow Holds Back Coal Deliveries”.
1-9-1917, SL Telegram, “School Closed as Fuel Runs Short”.
1-16-1917, SL Telegram, “Corps of Doctors Rush to Aid of School”.
1-17-1917, SL Tribune, “Coal Jams Yards, Railroad Man Says”.
1-17-1917, SL Tribune, “Snow Blast Traps 200 at East High, Students Escape Death in Blizzard”.
1-17-1917, SL Telegram, “Wasting of City Water Deplored”.
1-17-1917, SL Tribune, “Four Hurt when Frozen Pipes Burst”.
1-18-1917, SL Telegram, “Scarcity of Water Imperils City”.

Revisiting a Princeton Porcelain Bathroom

One of KEEP Yalecrests first blog posts was a collage of original bathroom tiles from Princeton Park local historic district  .During the Princeton annual December progressive dinner party one resident unveiled their newly remodeled bathroom. They retained their original tile and complemented it with additional and incredible tile work. The art of tile laying is truly apparent. The collage shows the yellow and black original tile; middle of collage third down from top.


The yellow tile band that capped the top of the decorative black and yellow tile had to be removed and is now topped by the black tile.img_7901

The previously untiled arched shower is now a work of art; proving tile laying is a master craft.





Tile work in the 1920’s and 30’s was a selling point for Yalecrest homes; below is an ad from Albert Toronto who designed and built several homes in Princeton Park.


Deconstruction Salvage Seminar

Back in November we held a seminar on recycling and reusing materials when remodeling your home while gaining federal tax credits. The seminar was presented by Daniel Salmon of Material Resourcers. Deconstruction is a green alternative that involves the strategic dismantling and salvage of a structures useful materials. Salvaged materials are donated through a local non-profit helping improve our community while keeping useful materials out of the landfill. For the property owner it means lower disposal costs, a significant tax deduction, and doing the right thing. For those of you who were not able to attend you can get the information from the seminar on our resources page under other helpful resources. Deconstruction Seminar

November 10th Event > The Role of Deconstruction Salvage, Recycling and Reusing Daniel Salmon of Material Resourcers Thursday November 10th, 7:00 p.m., Anderson-Foothill Library


Reuse and Recycle.  It’s good for the environment, helps to preserve dwindling natural resources and can provide tax benefits to the homeowner.

Deconstruction Salvage

Are you planning on doing some remodeling?  Deconstruction Salvage is a great way to reuse and recycle.  Learn how you can benefit from this approach in lieu of dumping waste in the landfill all while obtaining federal tax credits.

7:00 – 8:45 pm
Anderson-Foothill Library
1135 S. 2100 East, Salt Lake City, UT  84108

Presented by Daniel Salmon of Material Resourcers

See you there!
Lynn Kennard Pershing, Ph.D.
K.E.E.P. Yalecrest Education Director

Annual Historic Homes Walking Tour 2016

Our fourth annual walking tour focuses on the streets of Yale and Yalecrest.
Artwork Courtesy of Bonneville Elementary Art Students

Historic Homes
Walking Tour

Please join us for the fourth annual K.E.E.P. Yalecrest Walking Tour highlighting local history and selected homes in the Yalecrest National Historic District, Salt Lake City.

Saturday, October 22nd

Start times from 11am – 1pm

Meet on the grassy island on Yalecrest Avenue and 1600 East

This year’s Yalecrest tour will concentrate on the unique architecture and early residents of the homes on the 1500-1700 East block of Yale and Yalecrest, including a few homes on Military Drive.

Journey on your own terms, with docents stationed along the streets providing information on the earliest residents, architects, and builders of these unique homes.   Hear the stories of some of the earliest residents including Minnie Viele Miller who lived at 1607 Yalecrest and donated the land for Miller Park and see the newly restored street lamp where the streets of Yale and Yalecrest converge.

This is a self-paced walking tour of exteriors only. It is roughly 3 blocks long, generally heading east up Yale and Yalecrest looping back around via Military Drive.  You will not need to remain with a guided group.

$5 suggested donation; free to members of K.E.E.P. Yalecrest. 
Join today or at the tour.

See you Saturday the 22nd!


The Naming of Laird Ave and a Snelgrove connection!


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)


Annual KEEP Yalecrest Yardsale-August 20

Our annual yard sale fundraiser is scheduled for August 20th. Donate and recycle your unneeded home goods.
Our annual yard sale is a successful fundraiser, helping our organization fulfill its mission. 

Stuff Wanted

Dear Friends,

Just a reminder that we’re having another yard sale and we need your donations.  For those that have donated – thank you very much for your generous contributions.  For those that would like to donate but haven’t yet – there is still time.

WHEN: Saturday, August 20th  |  8 a.m. – noon
WHERE: 1068 South 1700 East
WHY: Fundraiser for non-profit K.E.E.P. Yalecrest

Please recycle by giving items you’re no longer using, helping us with preparation, and/or stopping by and shopping! And don’t forget, we’re now a 501c3 non-profit organization.

We can take your items now—please contact us to arrange a drop off: or call/text 801.556.3106

If you have large items that need to be picked up, please let us know.

This has been a very successful event for us the last three years, providing funding for the restoration and installation of the original Yale/Yalecrest streetlamp as well as other community projects.

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K.E.E.P. Yalecrest

1193 South 1300 East

Salt Lake CityUT 84105

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