Utah’s Expanding Railroads and Salt Lake’s West Side

Salt Lake West Side Stories: Post Nineby Brad Westwood The completion of the world’s first transcontinental railroad in 1869 dramatically affected the social, political, economic, and cultural life of Salt Lake City, the Territory of Utah and the American West. Transportation was one aspect that contributed to changes in the West. The railroad cut travel time from the Pacific to …

“Topaz Stories: Remembering the Japanese American Incarceration”

June 2, 2021 (Season 3, Episode 2, the recording in 48 minutes) Click here for the BuzzSprout version of this Speak Your Piece episode. The above photograph is of an unidentified man standing amid tar paper covered Topaz residential blocks, circa 1942-1945. Courtesy of the Peoples of Utah Collection, Utah Division of State History. This episode of Speak Your Piece …

Pre-European Settlement, Crossroads, and the Idea of Home

Salt Lake West Side Stories: Post Fourby Brad Westwood American Indians lived in what is now Salt Lake’s west side. After Europeans began to colonize North, South, and Central America, the Great Basin became a site where many different people and nationalities claimed ownership. In this post, we will consider how the Native Americans of the Salt Lake Valley interacted …

The Old Pioneer Fort’s First and Second Years

Salt Lake West Side Stories: Post Sixby Brad Westwood Above photo caption: Kirk Henrichsen’s birds’ eye sketch of the Fort on the Great Salt Lake, circa 1849, extending from 300 to 400 West and 250 South to 600 South. Henrichsen’s drawings included log and adobe cabins, gateways, hundreds of wagons used for cooking and sleeping (inside, under and around), the …

Salt Lake City loses its “Dirtiest City” status, the West Side, Public Health, and the City’s Only Surviving Pioneer Square

Salt Lake West Side Stories: Post Fourteenby Brad Westwood It is no surprise that in terms of public health, sanitary reform, and civic improvements, local and state leaders neglected Salt Lake’s ethnically diverse and industrial west side. The west side sits along the floodplain of the Jordan River and the southern end of City Creek’s alluvial deposit. At the same …

Chinese Americans on Plum Alley and on the West Side

Salt Lake West Side Stories: Post Twenty-ThreeBy Brad Westwood Chinese immigrants were the largest group of laborers working on the Central Pacific Railroad (CPR). Commencing in Sacramento and ending at Promontory Summit, Utah, Chinese immigrants made the completion of America’s Transcontinental Railroad possible. Initially, the contractors for the Central Pacific Railway cautiously hired Chinese laborers to supplement white most Irish …

Twentieth-Century Changes to Salt Lake City’s Original West Side.

Salt Lake West Side Stories: Post Thirty-Oneby Brad Westwood Top photograph: The Crossroads Cafe, Hotel Utah Motor Lodge, 45 No. West Temple, circa 1962. Courtesy of the University of Utah, Special Collections. Over the years, the Pioneer Park neighborhood has undergone significant changes as people and industries moved in and out of the area. In the twentieth century the changes …

Latino/as and the West Side: Part Two

Salt Lake West Side Stories: Post Twenty-NineBy Brad Westwood and Cassandra Clark The image above is of four Mexican railroad workers, circa 1915-1920, presumably somewhere in Utah. Courtesy of the Helen Z. Papanikolas People of Utah (1976) Collection, Utah State Historical Society. Latino/as who lived in twentieth-century Utah faced discrimination and unstable employment options that negatively affected their lives. However, …

Brokers of Human Capital

Salt Lake Westside Stories: Post Nineteenby Brad Westwood Many early American immigrants first heard about Utah and the American West from steamship and labor agents whose work was similar to modern-day employment recruiters. The steamship and labor agents attracted laborers by offering to pay for their transportation costs. In return, laborers signed a contract that required that they pay a …

The Progressive Era, the Making of a Proper Park, and the “Stockades”

Salt Lake West Side Stories: Post Fifteenby Brad Westwood and Cassandra Clark The Progressive Era spanned from 1890 to roughly 1920 and was a time of reform and social activism.  Progressives were mainly white, Protestant, and members of a growing “new” middle class, who earned their wealth as a result of America’s rapid post Civil War industrialization. By the end …

Continued Transformations: Industrialization and Salt Lake City’s West Side

Salt Lake West Side Stories: Post Thirteenby Brad Westwood Salt Lake City’s west side underwent massive and constant changes during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.  What began as a fort where Mormon pioneers sought shelter, transformed into a transportation, industrial and manufacturing hub, and by the late nineteenth century experienced dramatic social and environmental consequences as a result. …

Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Developments

Salt Lake West Side Stories: Post Twelveby Brad Westwood Salt Lake City’s west side was the location of businesses, homes, tenement houses, hotels, transportation hubs, government buildings, schools, and early non-Mormon religious communities. The Salt Lake County Courthouse was built a block north of the park on 156 West and Second South. The county constructed the jail right next to …