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Salt Lake City, Utah letters
EJP's Salt Lake City Google Map
Mary Glen's planned
transcontinental train trip
All I've seen of Utah is from the
Salt Lake City airport or an airplane. I look forward to spending some time
Shortly after the
Mormon's arrival in Salt Lake they built a small playhouse and Brigham Young was
determined to construct a first class theatre. Construction began in July
1861 and the formal opening was in March 1862. In 1870 the railroad
connected Salt Lake City to both coasts and "during the next fifth years
practically every notable actor of the American stage" appeared there and was
the favorite of many "not only because of the enthusiasm of its audiences, but
also because of the atmosphere and character of the house". [History
HARPERS WEEKLY, July 11,
1857: "Salt Lake & Its Rulers" includes prints of "Gov. Brigham Young, of Utah
Territory" and "Elder Heber Kimball" and a one-third pg: "View of Salt Lake” and
another one-third pg.view of "Salt Lake City, Utah Territory" and an illus. of
the "New Temple to be Built at Salt Lake City" plus smaller prints of Council
House, and "The Tabernacle" and a "Mormon Theatre". Nice two-thirds pg.
print: Salt Lake City Theater, Ronald G. Walker, Utah History Encyclopedia
The Salt Lake Theatre, finished in March 1862, was
the largest structure yet built by the Saints and cost $100,000. William H.
Folsom was the architect of the exterior, which was Doric in style. E.L.T.
Harrison, an architect from London and recent convert, modeled much of the
interior after the London Drury Lane Theatre. Building supplies came from the
now-disbanding Camp Floyd and the wreckage of government wagons on the trail.
The theater was dedicated with a prayer by Daniel H. Wells, and an address by
Brigham Young. Over 1,500 people crowded the theater for the opening, and many
continued to come for later performances. Dubbed the "Cathedral in the Desert,"
the theater became a neutral ground for Mormons and non-Mormons, although it was
controlled by the Mormons.
With the coming of the railroad, Utah was placed on the national theatrical
circuit, and the Salt Lake Theatre became increasingly secularized as New York
booking agencies virtually controlled its attractions. Church leaders became
uneasy with the loss of local standards and control. The theatre kept up with
the latest technological advancements, though they were costly. Some 385 oil
lamps lit the theater until 1872 when they were replaced by gas. Then, with the
coming of electricity, the Railway Company furnished the theater with six lamps
on each side of the building. For a time, the Salt Lake Theatre's prominence was
challenged by the Walker Opera House. Built in 1882, it was located on the south
side of 200 South Street between Main and West Temple streets. To settle the
dispute between the two theaters, the New York booking agencies agreed to divide
bookings evenly. In 1891 the Walker Opera House burned down. Theater in
Utah, Utah History Encyclopedia http://historytogo.utah.gov/utah_chapters/utah_today/theaterinutah.html
Salt Lake Theatre http://www.byujourneys.org/blog/salt-lake-theater/ Built
1861-62. Razed 1928, Replica built on the University of Utah campus 1962
St and First South St
Sacramento Sept 7, 1886
1888 1890 1896
Salt Lake Theaters
note about the
Zavistowski sisters impressing the Mormon Prophet Brigham Young in Utah
[on their return from Australia in Jan. 1873] made it into the papers and nought
was heard again, according to
The Walker House
Salt Lake City Utah
Septr 14th 1886
My dear Son,
Last night we opened to a crowded house and that
means something here, for the auditorium of the Mormon Theatre is pretty well as
large as the
Opera House, NY.
Saints & Sinners never went better. Tonight
Jim the Penman
gives me a rest. Tomorrow
Thursday we leave at 11:30 AM for Pueblo to play
there on Friday night. Sat night Colorado Springs. Spend Sunday there. Monday
morning, go to Denver
about four hours ride. Remain there one week. 7 Saints and Sinners go
to Kansas City
for three nights & Matinee, St Jo on Thursday, Omaha Friday and Saturday.
Went this morning by invitation of the Mormons to
hear the big organ in the Tabernacle. It is fine! This place seems to be doing
LeMoyne has a brother here in some Commercial business office where
there are one hundred clerks employed. It is the place you know where they can
tell the financial business standing of all the men in the state or territory.
Chief Justice Waite
is here. He was in Frisco while
we were there, said he now could understand the Chinese question. Now I suppose
he will understand the Mormon question. There is one thing he will find - the
Mormons are very polite people. With love and Kisses I remain your loving
Chief Justice Waite Morrison Remick Waite
(1816 -1888) Seventh Supreme Court Justice 1874-1888
Walker House Four Walker brothers came to
Utah in 1852 from Yorkshire
“By 1860 the
brothers had opened their business in "Draft's Old Store" in Salt Lake City.
When the army auctioned off the assets at Camp Floyd the next year, the brothers
were among those who benefitted by buying up the goods and freighting them to
Salt Lake. However, their growing economic success troubled LDS church president
Brigham Young, who felt the brothers' financial support of the church was not
what it could be. The brothers had regularly contributed to the Perpetual
Emigration Fund but refused to pay the ten percent tithing which church leaders
began accessing members in 1860. The brothers asked to be removed from the
Not only were the brothers excommunicated, but
Young issued a proclamation that all "good" Mormons were to spurn the firm of
Walker Brothers and Company. But the Civil War years were good for business and
the brothers continued to prosper. .. In 1870 the Walker brothers joined with
non-Mormons and William Godbe, another merchant who had been excommunicated from
the LDS Church, to establish the Utah Liberal Party. This party worked for the
next decades to end Mormon political control of the territory. The brothers
continued to prosper. They built a group of lavish homes on the block between
Fourth and Fifth South and Main, invested in horse breeding, created insurance
companies, built the Walker House Hotel and the Walker Opera House (1881-1904),
which became the important cultural center of the city. But it was the
banking business that continued at the center of the Walkers ventures.”
Photo David, Joseph, Samuel and Matthew Walker
Grand Opera House, NY
See letter of
1889, Boston .
The Walker House
Salt Lake City, Utah
Sept 15th 1886
My dear Son,
You will be thinking "Mother is traveling today" but
it is not so. Yesterday it was decided to play here another night instead of
going to Pueblo. While it is easier work for me, I am not playing
tonight and should have played tomorrow night had we stopped in Pueblo, still
that much of the journey would have been over and done with.
I do not know how they are going to reconcile the
theatre people in Pueblo for our nonappearance. Probably the rent is not very
high and they will pay that, and the Pueblo manager will be satisfied. For
three nights here the business has been very large and a big house is expected
tonight for Sealed Instructions.
Then we leave tomorrow 11:30 AM en route to Colorado
Springs where we, if on time, are due at 6:50 PM on Saturday - scarcely time to
go to hotel before going to theatre to play Saints & Sinners, Monday AM
go to Denver.
I shall not play more than four times in Denver, twice in S[aints] & S[inners]
and twice in Our Society, but the last week I shall have to play every
night in S[aints] & S[inners].
is ill - and is going
back to San F'co. He is suffering from the effects of what I warned him against
seven years ago. RUM.
He said then it would not hurt him, but he knows better now. I am very sorry
for him. He goes back to Frisco because he has a doctor there who will take
care of him, and he has a home with Mrs. Eberle. Now that his Mother is dead,
there in no one in New York who cares for him, and he does not want to go
there. All this is nervousness, but he will not listen to anything anyone says
to him. Well dear I have no further news so with love and Kisses I remain your
San Francisco, Aug, 23,1888 Our trip
down from Los
Angeles to Salt Lake will be very tiresome. Leaving Los Angeles
Sunday morning, we do not reach Salt Lake until Wednesday noon. Three nights
on the train. We are to open in Los Angeles on the 17th [crossed out] well!
17th there now!
S.C. Ewing, Proprietor Rates $3.00 per day
Opened Oct 1st, 1887 Centrally located
Salt Lake City, Utah
Septr 28th 1888
have been to the Lake by special train. Have had a very pleasant time. Mr.
[AM] Palmer, [James
H] Stoddart, [EM] Holland,
Mr. & Mrs. [Louis F] Massen,
Mr. & Mrs.
[Eugene W] Presbrey, Mrs. [Frederic]
& the two [Gertie (8 yrs old) and her mother?]
Brookyn, [Jessie] Millward, [Harry] Woodruff, [Alessandro]
Salvini, [AC] Hilsdorf & self of the
[Madison Square] Company
and several ladies and gentlemen of the City. All went in to bathe,
excepting Mr. Stoddart, Mrs. Robinson & self.
had lunch and I have just returned. The lake was lovely. The bathing
accommodations are much improved since I was there four years ago.
leave here after performance tomorrow night. Expect to reach Denver
early Monday morning. We go to Ogden thence on the Union Pacific
to Cheyenne & down to Denver by the Burlington & Denver
love to Neppie, her aunt and family. Next week Denver, following week,
8th, 9th, & 10th Kansas City, 11th St Josephs, 12th & 13th
Omaha. Sunday on train to
. 15th Chicago for two weeks. Address, "Chicago Opera House". Love and Kisses
from your loving Mother
wrote Utah State History to ask about possible special trains to the Great Salt
Lake. They emailed back "A railroad your great-great grandmother might
have used was the Utah and Nevada Railroad which ran excursion trains to the
lake during the time period she was in Utah." and recommended this article. "The
Utah Western-Utah and Nevada which shall be referred to in this section as
the Western, was the only Utah railroad, outside of city street car lines to
show a larger income from passenger service than from freight during much of its
operation This was because of the extensive passenger business it carried
between Salt Lake City and the beaches of the Great Salt Lake.
In the spring of 1875, as track laying was being
completed to Lake Point on the Western, John W. Young purchased the lake
steamer "City of Corinne" for the railroad and renamed it the "General
Garfield." He then advertised excursions by Utah Western Railroad to
Lake Point and return and a three-hour lake trip on the General
Garfield, all for only $1.50.
Large numbers of people took advantage of this trip during the next few
years, including many nationally and internationally known people. Many
others took advantage of evening bathing trains that offered the
would-be bather a ride to Lake Point and return, with a two- or
three-hour layover, for a fare ranging from fifty cents to one dollar.
A classic description of an excursion to the Great Salt Lake is found on
the pages of the Ogden Daily Junction of July 14, 1875: Yesterday
morning, by invitation, we took a ride on the Utah Western railroad, in
company with the editorial excursion party which has been "doing" Salt
Lake and the surrounding region. Starting from Salt Lake City at 7 a.m.
we moved along, smoothly and pleasantly, in the handsome cars of the U.W.
westward for a distance of twenty-one miles, which brought us to Lake
Point on the southern shore of the "Dead sea of America."
History of Utah's Railroads 1869-1883 Clarence A Reeder
Jr, Chapter VII Rails West from Salt Lake City
In answer to my question about were
there other places besides Lake Point which people went to bathe?
Alan Barnett from the Reference Staff of the Research Center of
the Utah State Archives & Utah State History responded "I have checked
in the book "The Great Salt Lake" by Dale Morgan and it looks as if the
most likely places your great great grandmother might have visited would
have been Black Rock Beach or Garfield Beach at the southern end of the
Great Salt Lake and would have been reached from Salt Lake City via the
Utah and Nevada. Garfield Beach was the larger of these resorts and a
large new pavilion was just built in 1887. This author suggests that by
the mid-1880s the Lake Point resort had "been squeezed out", which I
assume means that it was not operating any longer. The other major lake
resort at the time was the Lake Park Resort, located on the eastern side
of the lake between Salt Lake City and Ogden. It was reached via a
branch of the Denver & Rio Grande RR. You can see photos of Garfield
Beach and Lake Park Resort by searching under those names at
" The photographs show wonderful Victorian buildings.
Photo captions Lake Park seems
a somewhat more likely EJ Phillips destination. Neither resort
Park Bathing Resort. On the shores of the Great Salt Lake west of
Farmington. First resort built on the Lake. By George O. Chase and Mike
Garn. (Built about 1885).
The D&RGW Railroad built an ornate bathing pavilion and beach facilities
at Lake Park, a point midway between Salt Lake City and Ogden, where the
tracks passed close to the Great Salt Lake. It proved an attraction -and
provided trainloads of patrons-for a number of years.
Lake Park Bathing Resort. West of Farmington, Utah. Built about 1885.
The lake came up and ruined it about ten or fifteen years later. From
S.W. Darke & Co. Salt Lake City, Illustrated. 1887.
Near Black Rock. Was
opened on June 28, 1887, and was named for the steamer the "General
Garfield", which was anchored nearby. The beach was served by the Utah
and Nevada Railroad, (later incorporated into the Los Angeles and Salt
Lake, and now the Union Pacific RR). The beach had a bowery, shooting
gallery, race track, ball grounds and boating facilities, in addition to
300 houses. This boat was originally to be used as a freighter. It had
three decks and was seventy feet long. The redwood from which it was
constructed came from California; the engines from Chicago. It was
patterned after the Mississippi stern wheel boats. When the railroad
came through in 1869 the boat was brought into service to carry
passengers and freight to the southeastern shores of Great Salt Lake.
The project didn't pay and it was abandoned. For a short time the craft
was used as an excursion boat, making short trips from Garfield Beach.
When resorts on the beach became popular the old boat was anchored
permanently and a bathing resort was built around it. In 1876 a bathing
resort was built on the southwest shore of the lake. It was called Lake
Point. George O. Chase and Ephraim Garn built a resort between
Centerville and Farmington in 1878 and called it Lake Shore Resort. This
enterprise had a bicycle track and became famous in the territory for
its races. The bicycles used were the "high wheels" with a large front
wheel and a small one at the rear. About 1880 Alonzo Hyde and David John
Taylor built a fashionable bathing resort at Black Rocks.
Black Rock, with ruins of old Garfield Resort (pilings at right), c.
1890 next: Chicago
Oct. 1890 previous
Los Angeles 1890
Culllen Hotel photo
T H E C U L L E N
S.C. Ewing, Proprietor
Strictly First Class
Gast St NY&SF
Salt Lake City August 22nd, 1890
My dear daughters
No use writing two letters when you are under the
same roof. The only trouble is, who will answer this? And that you will have
to fight out between you.
Neppie does not always feel first rate but such is the nature of her case - be
all right by and bye. You will please give my love to Mrs. Walton and tell her
she shall have a photograph. I am only too pleased to know she wants one. The
only request I have in return is that she will take good care of Neppie in
I think Alice [Zavistowski
Webb] ought to have known my address. That is an easy excuse for not writing.
House", Denver, Col. will reach me for the next two weeks but "Theatre"
is quite sufficient when AMP Dramatic Co is put on the envelope. He [AM
Palmer] is the Star.
Glad you had such a nice trip on the Republic and
that my grandson enjoyed it. Also that he sings "Annie Rooney" in the same
style I do -- words and music to suit ourselves. I heard it so often at
DeYoungs that I cannot get the air out of my head - all other airs come
instead of it - yet all to the words of little Annie Rooney. I told
Maud [ Harrison]
in the dressing room the other night that if I was annoying her just to mention
it, for I was not conscious of the noise I made, and if she asked me to stop I
would remember it.
I think we leave here early Saturday Morning to take
the same train we arrived at Ogden [Utah] by this Morning. It is called the
Overland Flyer. We go to Cheyenne [Wyoming] by that and then down to Denver.
Do not see the
road this time. We shall have the same "Buffet" car we have rode in
from Los Angeles. It waited for us in Sacramento and will wait
here, and be switched off at Cheyenne to take us down to Denver.
Same porter and waiter all the way -- both pleasant and convenient.
Salt Lake is growing. I mean the City. Several of
the Company took train at 1:45 PM to go to the Lake. They will not get back
until 6 PM Maud [Harrison] was not feeling first rate so she is asleep
on the sofa. We have parlor and bedroom together with bathroom and sofa bed in
parlor, quite snug for two nights.
At Ogden this Morning I read that it was 894 miles
and a 7th to San Francisco so I am that much nearer to you all. At
shall be 1000 miles nearer. From Ogden to Omaha is 1084 miles and a 7th.
Hattie's birthday is Sunday. I shall celebrate it
by travelling towards her - the best I can do, With love and Kisses to my
dear children. God bless you all your loving Mother
Neppie was expecting
Edward Phillips Nickinson
in Oct. 1890.
Denver Aug. 1890
Los Angeles, Sept. 7, 1896
to Salt Lake City from Seattle
will be a long hot one, two nights on the road. Also from Salt Lake to Kansas
will be hard, but it will be getting cooler by that time.
Portland, Sept. 15, 1896
On Saturday by boat to
back by boat to
for Monday and Tuesday next -- and from there to Salt Lake another two nights on
train. From there to
City which will take two, if not three on train. But then the hardest
part of the travel will be over, but by that time it will have been pretty
severe. And I imagine rather exhaustive to the treasury. But we have our
salaries up to date and have no right to criticise our management.
T H E K N U T S F O R D
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City Sept 26th 1896
dear daughter Neppie,
Sunday Morning in
BC Mr. [Daniel]
Frohman invited me with three others of the company to take a drive in
Forest Park, and a more beautiful drive I never enjoyed. The grand old trees &
the water views were beautiful. We were driven by the same man who had taken
Li-Hung-Chang through the City and Park five days before. We were a little
too late to see the great man -- who was royally received in Vancouver.
four thousand miles from Vancouver to New York. Perhaps you didn't know I had
been so far away. Last night Mr.
Frohman came behind the scenes very much elated over a letter he had
rec'd from his brother
[Frohman] saying that in May next he was going to send
Parisians and Too Much Johnson to Australia. The Company would
start out from New York in May and be back in November. Did not exactly ask me
to go, but was doing all he could to get my ideas about it. I do not see much
money in it for myself. There would be ten weeks at least going and returning,
without any salary and under heavy expenses all the time. I think in the end I
would be paying for the privilege of playing. And it would pay better for me to
watch Albert's garden "sass" [home garden] grow and help to eat it when it was
ready next summer.
find some changes here in the way of new buildings. This hotel is new and very
nice. The Mormon Temple is finished and has been "consecrated and dedicated".
Now no one but a baptised Mormon can enter the building. They consider it "The
Holy of Holies". It looks very handsome from the outside.
hear of no change in the route, but go on just as you have it. Beginning with
Decatur, Ill on the 12th and one night stands to follow until
Omaha, Neb where we play three nights beginning on 22nd of Octr. Your
Too Much Johnson by
Maurice Ordomean (adapted by Wm. Hooker Gillette) Dec 1894
Li Hung Chang toured
Europe and the US as part his journey to the coronation of the Czar. Though he
is described as a senior Chinese diplomat this was not an official state visit
(though it received extensive press coverage).
Utah did not become a state until Jan 4 1896. Amtrak runs buses to Ogden now,
but it is no longer served by a train.
The first Ogden train station, a small wooden
building on mud flats was built in 1869. A second, larger brick Romanesque
station opened in 1889. This burned in 1923. A replacement station,
still standing opened in 1924. Wikipedia
Union Station (Ogden)
http://www.utah.com/culture/ogden.htm Ogden is about 40 miles north of
Salt Lake City.
Railroads in Utah
Union Station Museum
http://www.utah.com/museums/union_station.htm The Railroad Museum is
dedicated to preserving the rich railroad heritage of Utah from the original
joining of the transcontinental railroad in 1869.
Ogden Union Station
more on Railroads
Mrs. Frank Leslie, California: a pleasure trip from Gotham to the Golden
Gate, April, May, June, 1877
Chapter VII -Chapter IX Salt Lake City
Salt Lake Historic Landmark Commission
Salt Lake City History,
Salt Lake Theatre
Guide to the Salt Lake City, Utah photograph collection 1850s-1980s,
University of Utah
http://nwda.orbiscascade.org/ark:/80444/xv68270/op=fstyle.aspx?t=a&k1=&k2=&k3=&t1=0&t2=0&t3=0&o1=0&o2=0&s=0&i=34Utah State Historical Society
||Salt Lake City UT
refers to much improved bathing accomodations
||Salt Lake City UT
||Mormon Tabernacle to hear organ
||Salt Lake City UT
||Sealed Instructions Saints & Sinners Jim the
Penman Our Society
||to sep 29
||Salt Lake City UT
||Jim the Penman Saints &Sinners?
||Salt Lake City UT
||Jim the Penman Captain Swift
||Salt Lake City UT
||Salt Lake Theatre
Last revised January 20, 2019
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