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:

SNOW REMOVAL

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.

STREETCARS

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.”

COAL

jeffery_distributing_co_trucks_and_trailers_dec12_1916

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.”

wasatch_coal_co_teams_in_yard_feb1917

 

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?

OUR SCHOOLS

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.

OUR WATER SUPPLY

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.

Sources:
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”.

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Celebrating History (2016)

K.E.E.P.’s History Committee continues to learn and have fun.  I thought I’d share on our more recent activities.

Auditorium4AwardsIn April we helped judge student-produced documentaries for the Utah History Day State Competition.  The top winners in various categories will be competing this month in Washington D.C. at the National History Day Contest.  It was a great pleasure to meet youth so enthusiastic about history and so darn INCREDIBLY SMART and TALENTED!  Go, Utah!

In May we dropped in at the Salt Lake County Archives during their 30 Year Anniversary Celebration… where we chatted with more history-loving folks and received a nice tour.  We greatly appreciate the help they have given us.  And it was nice meeting others that also enjoy utilizing the SLCo Archives.  (Have you ever seen chattel mortgage records?  They have them.)
archives-30         Archives Event

We know not everyone can attend K.E.E.P.’s one-day Walking Tour events.  So… we decided to put the tour into a new format and try taking it on the road to share with more people.  Our “Tour on Tour” participants have hailed from Sarah Daft, Parklane, St. Joseph’s Villa, Chateau Brickyard and Brookdale.  It’s been fun!

Parklane  RidingWithV

StJoesVillaEvery time we do a presentation or a ride-along, we hear questions and comments that either make us chuckle, teach us something, or have us doing more research to find the answers to improve our tour.   Speaking of which– for those that missed it last October (and those curious about how the tour has changed)

Please Join Us!
Thursday – June 16th
6:30pm – Foothill Library
for a slideshow presentation that will take you on
our Yalecrest Oldest Homes Tour.
–Kelly Marinan

Same but Different – Signs of Spring

This photo was taken in the 1930’s on the 1700 block of Harvard Ave.

Gone are the skate keys, longs skirts and cool retro hats.  But the kids are still here.  You can see them wearing helmets as they move down the sidewalks skating or riding their bikes.  You might also see them on razors, skateboards, and even motorized scooters and hoverboards!

–Kelly Marinan

Photo: Courtesy of K. Lewis

K.E.E.P. Yalecrest Garners Award!

2016 Heritage Award for KEEP YalecrestOn March 31, 2016 K.E.E.P. Yalecrest received the 2016 Heritage Award for Organization from the Utah Heritage Foundation. It was a privilege and honor to accept this at their annual banquet. Additionally we were asked and honored to be presenters at their annual preservation conference.

The awards announcement and news coverage: Preservation conference encourages, honors restoration of Utah’s historic buildings _ The Salt Lake Tribune:2016 UHF Awards invite (2)2016 UHF Awards invite

UHF KEEP Award 9

Accepting the award, original board members and supporters.

UHF KEEP Award 8

 

UHF intro for KEEP

Listing for our presentation in the conference program

The Naylor Home

1715 Harvard (30's and 2013)

This Period Revival home on Harvard Ave was built in 1929 by the Doxey-Layton Company.  Graham Doxey (of Doxey Real Estate) and Howard Layton (of Layton Construction) were Yalecrest residents that joined together to build and sell homes.

William and Emily Naylor were the first owners and long time residents.  The 1940 census has 6 adults living in the home:  William E. and his wife Emily, their 3 adult children (Audrey, Evelyn and William J.) and Emily’s mom (Mary James).  Mr. Naylor was his own boss working in the grocery store business.  Mrs Naylor and her mother came from Ireland.  Audrey had graduated from college and was working as a school teacher.  Evelyn was employed as a stenographer.  And William J. was in his 1st year of college and working as a grocery store clerk.

Mr Naylor passed away in 1966 at the age of 84.  For at least 20 years he owned and operated Dickinson’s Market (2nd S. near 7th East, now a parking lot).  The family lived in the back of the store for a couple years.  Mr Naylor was well-respected in the community.  He served as president of the Salt Lake Retail Butcher’s and Grocer’s Association, was a captain in the Utah National Guard, served as board director in at least 3 organizations, worked in the government’s War Assets Administration, and later entered the real estate business.

Emily James Naylor immigrated to the the U.S. when she was a teenager.  She lived to be 95.  The home stayed in the Naylor family for more than 55 years.  Their eldest daughter Audrey (born in 1906) was still living here in the late 1980’s.

——- Connection to early SLC history:

Naylor Brothers AdWilliam E. Naylor was a direct descendent of the “Naylor Brothers.”  The Naylor brothers consisted of Thomas (1826-1872), William (1835-1918) and George (1837-1922).

The brothers were born in England where they joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  They came to Utah with the early Mormon settlers, most likely with the 1852 John S. Higbee Company.George Naylor photo

The Naylor Brothers manufactured some of the first wagons built in Utah.  Together they were skilled blacksmiths, woodworkers and mechanics.

William E. Naylor was one of the sons of George Naylor and his 2nd wife Fanny Wiscombe.

As the popularity of wagons and carriages began to dwindle, George Naylor started selling Studebakers.  At one time SLC boasted a Studebaker showroom in the Naylor Building (100 S. block of State Street).

–Kelly Marinan

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.

Living_Flag_in_Distance

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.

Lynwood and Afton Fish

Lynwood Fish was one of Yalecrest’s WWI vets.  He and his wife Afton (Warburton) married in 1921.  They had a home on the 1700 block of Harvard Ave for almost 60 years!

Lynwood (who preferred to be called Len or L.L.) suffered a serious head injury on the battlefield in France. When he came home he thought he could do carpentry work on construction jobs with his father, but discovered he couldn’t stand on a stool without getting dizzy.  As a vet he was eligible for rehabilitation training, so he went to school to become an architectural draftsman.

The Fish’s bought a Doxey-Layton lot on Yalecrest Ave near 1800 East, but decided to swap it for another lot on Harvard Ave.  Len said there was an understanding that if you bought a lot from Doxey-Layton then when it came time to build, they got to be your builder.  Together Len and Afton poured through architectural magazines and housing brochures until Afton picked out the house she wanted. Then they picked out some special features and presented their finalized plans to Doxey-Layton.  In 1929, for only $8,000 they would be getting their dream home in Yalecrest!

Here is a list of some of the special features Len and Afton requested:

  • a large yellow acid-resisting enamel iron kitchen sink IMG0524122552
  • an incinerator
  • tile bathroom
  • 2×6 ceiling joists
  • extra outlets
  • steel windows
  • a special type of stucco on the exterior walls

Unfortunately, the day excavation started on the foundation of their home Len found himself looking for a new job.  The Depression had caught up with them.  The Fish’s resigned themselves to having to sell their home.  But, there were no buyers.  They hung on through some rough years and survived the good times and the bad.  People that knew them said they were wonderful neighbors.

Afton was a very talented painter.  I saw one of her paintings hanging in a neighbor’s house years ago.  It was beautiful.  Afton also loved to grow violets.  At some point the Fish’s remodeled their kitchen and the big yellow sink was replaced by a stainless steel one.  Their granddaughter told me Afton hated seeing the water spots on that new sink and would offer to pay her to come and polish it.  Oh, Afton never threw out her yellow sink either.  She re-purposed it to use with her violets.  It is still in the neighborhood.

Like many of our neighbors, Len and Afton have moved on.  But, many still remember and/or think of them fondly.  I do, every time I go by their home.

–Kelly Marinan

IMG0524122536Sources:  Cooley Family Papers in the U of U Special Collections, friends/neighbors, family.

Old photo courtesy of Salt Lake County Archives.