How Yalecrest Got Laird Park

Laird Park, March 19, 1950    Digital Image ©2016 Utah State Historical Society

This photo of the first slippery slide, swing set, and teeter-totter in Laird Park was taken March 19, 1950.  At that time, only four houses had yet been built on the 1800 block of Princeton, three of which can be seen in the photo.  The 1800 East blocks of Princeton and Laird Avenues were the last two blocks to be developed in the Yalecrest neighborhood, and that occurred mostly in the early 1950’s.  In the distance is the original Bonneville Elementary School on 19th East which was completed in 1949.

Bonneville Elementary 8-4-1949 a

Bonneville Elementary School Construction, August 4, 1949 (Digital Image ©2008 Utah State Historical Society)

In 1950, new  Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps were created for Salt Lake City, coincidentally the same year this Laird Park photo was taken.  Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps are maps that contained information used by insurance companies to determine the liability of buildings, such as the materials used to build them, their proximity to fire departments and other structures, the location of gas lines, and other information.  Sandborn maps are also a great tool for doing historical research.


Laird Park Sanborn Map 1950 362

1950 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map

The houses on Princeton that were built by March 1950 precisely match the houses appearing on the 1950 Sanborn map for the area.  Conversely, the lots for houses not yet built show as empty lots. The photo and map together establish the accuracy of the date of the photo as well as the accuracy of the information appearing on the map.

The parcel of land now known as Laird Park was obtained by Salt Lake City in a land swap between the LDS Church and the city in June 1945.  The land had previously been owned by the LDS Church, and was exchanged for a portion of the west part of Miller Park, located along Red Butte Creek between 9th South and 15th East, owned by the city.

Miller Park Land Exch SL Telegram 4-4-35

Miller Park Creation, Salt Lake Telegram, April 4, 1935

Miller Park was created in 1935, ten years prior to this land exchange, after a large section of land was gifted to the city by Mrs. Minnie W.  Miller.  Mrs. Miller lived on Yalecrest Avenue in a home backing the creek.  She was a renowned rancher and livestock breeder, and gave the land to the city in memory of her deceased husband, Lee Charles Miller, on the condition that it be used as a public nature park and bird refuge.

Miller Park Fireplace 1935

Construction of Rock Fireplace in Miller Park by W.P.A., 1936

Miller Park Land Exch SL Telegram 4-7-44

Bonneville Ward Chapel Build Request, Salt Lake Telegram, April 7, 1944

Over the next decade there was significant development in the area with accompanying population increase.  Membership in the LDS Yalecrest Ward had gotten so large that in 1941, the ward’s boundaries were split along 17th East to create the Bonneville Ward.  There was no suitable available spot within Bonneville Ward’s boundaries between 15th East and 17th East to build a chapel so the ward petitioned the city in 1944 to acquire a portion of the west part of Miller Park to build one.  The upkeep of Miller Park had not been ideal, and after Mrs. Miller reacted favorably to the architectural plans for the proposed church building, she gave her blessing to the city to proceed with the land exchange.  The Church obtained the portion of Miller Park so the Bonneville Ward and Stake Center could be built, and Salt Lake City obtained the parcel of land on the east side of 18th East between Princeton and Laird Avenues, allowing it to become the public city park we know as Laird Park.

Bonneville Stake 10-15-1950 b

Bonneville Ward & Stake Center at the time of its completion, October 15, 1950,                              Digital Image ©2016  Utah State History

Laird Park current

Laird Park Today

I remember the swings and teeter-totter in Laird Park from my childhood years in the 1960’s. By then though, the double slide in the photo had been replaced by a single and perhaps taller metal slide.  My favorite thing to play on there was the spinning merry-go-round-like disk that was obviously installed after the 1950 photo was taken.  I’m not sure now why being spun into a delirium of dizziness was so much fun back then, but it was.  Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of that disk, but I bet that nearly every kid that played on it probably at some time got hurt on it somehow, yet healed quickly and came back to play on it again.   That disk and slide were made of metal and soaked up the hot summer sun sometimes enough to burn my hands and legs, yet I still played on them and came back for more.  Eventually all of those metal park fixtures were deemed too dangerous and replaced with “safer” equipment made largely from plastic and geared toward much younger kids.

The generosity of Minnie W. Miller played a large part in the development of the Yalecrest neighborhood.  Without her gift of land to Salt Lake City in 1935, Yalecrest may have never enjoyed the benefits of having the Bonneville Ward and Stake Center and Laird Park.

This is a 1937 newspaper article about Minnie Williams Viele Miller (1875-1967):

Miller Minnie SL Telegram 7-7-37

Minnie W. Miller, Salt Lake Telegram, July 7, 1937

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Princeton home receives Preservation Utah Award

The owners of a 1938 Cape Cod home located on the 1700 block of Princeton Avenue, in one of Yalecrest’s local historic districts, have been recognized by Preservation Utah ( for their thoughtful and compatible rear addition.


Nominated by K.E.E.P. Yalecrest, the award was presented at the 2018 Heritage Awards Dinner on March 22, 2018. This is the 8th award presented to a Yalecrest home in as many years!


As part of our mission to encourage preservation of Yalecrest homes, K.E.E.P. Yalecrest awards plaques to homeowners for their notable preservation efforts. Additionally we now offer a Centennial Plaque for 100-year-old homes.  If you’re interested in a Centennial Plaque for your 100-year-old home, please contact us so we can work together in celebrating your home.

Library Lecture and Education Series continues…

With over 35 people in attendance, the popularity of the K.E.E.P Library lecture education series continues.  Last month, John Lambert from Abstract Masonry Restoration shared his masonry knowledge and experience with historic structures in Yalecrest (est. 1911) and significantly restored iconic buildings in Salt Lake City.

“Do you have cracks in your brick exterior walls?  Missing mortar between bricks?  Missing or loose bricks and mortar on your chimney?”  If you have answered yes, read on.

To read more about Mr. Lambert’s lecture, click here Masonry lecture 110217

The Library lecture series is a free event brought to you by K.E.E.P Yalecrest.  To become a member, to be notified of future events or to donate, visit


K.E.E.P. Yalecrest receives another award!!!

The Utah Division of State History recognized K.E.E.P. Yalecrest at its 65th Annual State History Conference during an awards luncheon on Oct. 11, 2017.  Current and past board members were in attendance to accept the award. It is an honor to be recognized by the State for our accomplishments and continued efforts!









Changes in Bonneville Glen and Miller Park

Sycamore tree-lined streets, beautifully restored street lamps, historically significant architecture, a welcoming supportive neighborhood,  and Miller Park are just some of the incredible amenities we enjoy living in Yalecrest.

There are many changes happening in Bonneville Glen and Miller Park and it is not just the weather…

As some of you may know who frequent the trails of Miller Park and the lower section owned privately by the LDS church known as Bonneville Glen, Red Butte Creek ran its banks in late July and then again in September.  The area experienced significant erosion leaving the viewing platform in shambles and other areas of the park severely damaged.   Several contractors are restoring the area so that we may continue to enjoy the beautiful trails.    The repairs are well under-way especially in the Bonneville Glen area where a new bridge has been placed.  As of yesterday October 26, the viewing platform located on the 900 south entrance to the Park has been completed.

Miller Park is a daily walk for me and my four-legged pals (Max and Theo) and one of the wonderful amenities living in Yalecrest.

It just doesn’t get any better than this.




K.E.E.P Honors Kathy Nielsen, Former Director – Utah Heritage Foundation Historic Homes Tour

K.E.E.P. Membership Fall Octoberfest Event, September 30, 2017

Members of K.E.E.P Yalecrest gathered at the home of Heidi and Scott Ingham on the eve of September 30, to celebrate K.E.E.P’s successes and honor long-time resident of Yalecrest and former Director of Utah Heritage Foundation, Kathy Nielsen.

In her years associated with Preservation Utah, formerly known as Utah Heritage Foundation, Kathy successfully orchestrated the annual Historic Homes Tour, exposing the greater public to neighborhoods of the city with historic significance, notable architecture, and interesting and important residents who helped shape Salt Lake City.  It was quite fitting that Kathy would choose Yalecrest as the final Historic Homes tour of her career.  Kathy has recently retired from Preservation Utah.

Along with celebrating Kathy, Members of K.E.E.P Yalecrest, enjoyed the lovely fall weather, a hearty Octoberfest themed meal, gathered information on upcoming events and most importantly,  learned about encouraging preservation in our own Yalecrest neighborhood.

Upcoming events:

Library Education Series: November 2, 2017, 7-8:45 p.m. Anderson Foothill Library 1135 South 2300 East

John Lambert of Abstract Masonry will discuss repairing your bricks and mortar with specific help for our 80-100-year-old chimneys.

March TBA  Library Education Series welcomes, Cynthia Bee “12 ways to increase Your Curb Appeal”

April TBA Annual K.E.E.P Membership meeting

June TBA First Annual K.E.E.P Garden tour

For more information on these events,  to renew your membership or become a NEW MEMBER, please visit





Fall Walking Tour (2017)

The Board of K.E.E.P. Yalecrest would like to thank all of the tour participants and volunteers who braved the cold and the possible rain/snow forecast to make this year’s Fall Walking Tour such a fun and successful event.  And a big thank you to the home-owners along the route for your kindness and support too.
Much gratitude goes to the following Yalecrest residents for their work on this year’s tour:   Connie Baring-Gould, Katharine Biele, Kim Childs, Jon Dewey, Katherine Fox, Kathleen Garcia, Lisette Gibson, Blair Gordon, Penney Gregerson, Susan Hermance, Virginia Hylton, Kelly Marinan, Lynn Pershing, Libby Peterson, Pat Pia, and Kelly White.
We enjoyed meeting and talking to everyone who attended our event.  Not only did we see current Yalecrest residents, but this year we saw people from as far away as South Dakota!  (Great timing for our out-of-town neighbor friends that once lived in Yalecrest.)  We were pleased meeting folks from the following neighborhoods/cities:  Holladay, Liberty Wells, Murray, Park City, Sandy, Sugar House, The Aves, Wasatch Hollow and “above Foothill.”  These areas have neighborhoods, also rich in history, that are worth protecting and celebrating.
It was a joy meeting one tour participant who knew her parents had grown up in Yalecrest, but did not know where.  She was very happily surprised to discover the childhood home of one of her parents was on the tour.
To the folks from Liberty Wells who surprised some freezing docents with an unexpected gift of coffee and chocolate-covered coffee beans:  that “kindness from strangers” gesture provided warmth in more ways than one.  Thank you.