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 drawn 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.”
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
The 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.
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”.
On 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:
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
You can call this group “early Yalecrest preservationists” because historic preservation is really about people and building community. It’s people coming together to learn, honor and celebrate our past and present… and working together on our shared future. That’s what I see in this picture of the Yale Camp Daughters of Utah Pioneers.
This May 1933 Yalecrest photo, taken in front of Blanche Bower’s home at 1097 S. 15th East, shows the gals participating in a “Silver Tea” (an older fancy term for fundraiser).
Over the years, lots of Yalecrest women were active participants in Daughters of Utah Pioneers. Meetings were held in various homes in our neighborhood. Yale Camp’s first official meeting was held at “Daughter” Cecil Besley’s house, 955 S. 1300 East, in 1924. At that meeting “Captain” Elizabeth Liddle made a plea for the preservation of historical material and relics… kind of like K.E.E.P. today.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are some of the neighborhood women that hosted meetings in the 1920’s:
Mary Ellen Rockwood @ 1317 Gilmer
Ethel Scalley @ 1327 Yale
Amy Pratt Romney @ 1337 Gilmer
Ida Kirkham @ 1345 Normandie Circle
Rose Hall @ 1432 Gilmer
Bernice Rogers @1452 Gilmer
Odelia Tebbs @ 1515 Laird
Flora Collett @ 1515 Princeton
Margaret Eccles @ 1521 Harvard
Ida Miller @ 1527 Michigan
Laura Silver @ 1539 Harvard
Zelpha Yates @ 948 Greenwood Terrace
Mildred Jenkins @ 1646 Yale
“Yale Camp” by Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1933.
Salt Lake Telegram
One of my favorite Yalecrest “neighbors” is Charlotte Stewart, 1709 Harvard Ave. It’s really hard to write something short and concise about Miss Stewart.
Charlotte was born in Draper in 1884. Her father, Dr. William M. Stewart, was Dean of Education at the U of U. Her mother, Sarah E. Taylor, was prominent in educational work and in the Federation of Women’s Clubs. Charlotte worked as the City Recreation Director and was a leader in physical education for the City’s public schools. She had an office downtown in the City County Building.
Besides dealing with playgrounds and pools, Charlotte helped create and organize fun activities at Saltair and various City parks: dance and costume contests, track and field meets, a marble tourney, story telling festivals, snow sculpturing contests, harmonica bands… even a model airplane contest in preparation for Lindbergh’s visit. She worked on camp facilities in Big Cottonwood and Mueller Park. She combined art, music and drama at the Nibley Park Water Theater which she helped construct. From 1917-1933 she would organize 12-17 free public performances for Christmas “Cheer Week.” She participated on numerous boards and committees and represented us at State and National events.
Charlotte spoke to athletic organizations, women’s groups, service and business organizations. She was involved with the Progressive Education Association, served on the State Woman’s Committee during WWI, was on the general board of the M.I.A. and on the board of directors for the Deseret Gymnasium. [I could go on!]
Charlotte believed physical education should be compulsory in all states. She wanted to see 80% of all high school girls going out for athletics. Charlotte predicted as women got more into exercise they would see their natural beauty and not need all that rouge and lipstick. (SL Telegram 6-27-1925 “S.L. Woman Sees Cosmetics Passing”)
Charlotte was convinced the answer to juvenile delinquency was recreational opportunities. But, despite a petition by supporters, Charlotte lost her City Rec Director job to a former U of U football star who thought the emphasis needed to be more on adults because “children find their own recreation.” (SL Telegram 3-1-1934, “New Recreation Head Plans Wider Program“)
When high school boys feared they might not get an invitation to the girls’ dance at East High, one wrote to a newspaper advice columnist. The columnist suggested he take an idea and go talk to Charlotte Stewart. (SL Telegram 3-8-1934, “Challenge to ‘East ‘ Girls for ‘Dates’ Still Undelivered“)
Businessman George Mueller had donated Mueller Mountain Park to the City years ago. When he wrote to complain about the park’s neglect, the new Park Commissioner blamed Mueller’s letter on Charlotte and the Chief of Police. This led to the following news headline: “Miss Stewart Strikes Back.” (SL Telegram 9-25-1936) Charlotte is quoted saying the assertions were “asinine, puerile and an insult to intelligent citizenry.”
Charlotte even made the news when she paid her parking ticket. She had scotch-taped 5 dimes to a piece of cardboard and mailed it in just under the wire. If it had been received a few minutes later it would’ve cost her an extra $1. (SL Telegram 8-29-1939, “50-Cent Parking Violation Bond Mailed to S.L. Police“)
Charlotte was certainly loved. East High teachers and girl students threw a nice birthday bash for her. It included music, toasts and a “fashion show” of women’s gym apparel from 1850-1941! (SL Telegram 3-4-1941, “East High Group Honors Supervisor for Girls“)
— Kelly Marinan
Note: Picture of Charlotte Stewart is from the 1934 East High School yearbook.
K.E.E.P. Yalecrest hosts another talk for residents to learn more about caring for their historic homes. This month John Lambert, founder and president of Abstract Masonry Restoration, Inc. of Salt Lake City and Boston, will speak on masonry repairs such as repointing, chimney upkeep, and cleaning.
Bring your questions Monday, Sept. 15 to Anderson-Foothill Library, 1135 S. 2100 E. at 7 p.m. See you then!