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University Neighborhood Historic District

Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, UT

The University Neighborhood Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [‡]


The University Neighborhood Historic District is located on a bench of the Salt Lake valley approximately two miles east of the central business district of Salt Lake City and immediately west of the University of Utah campus. The area contains several original square 10-acre blocks as well as a number of half-size rectangular blocks. It is primarily a residential neighborhood with a commercial strip of two blocks in the east/central part of the district. Out of the 586 buildings in the University Neighborhood Historic District, 452 buildings are contributing, 71 are non-contributing due to alterations,[1] and 63 are out-of-period structures. There are also two sites (grass medians and a park) and one structure (the reservoir) within the University Neighborhood Historic District. While the period of significance for the district ranges from c.1883 to 1941, the majority of historic buildings (75 percent) date from the 1905-1925 period. The tree-lined streets, grass parking medians, sidewalks, and uniform set-backs in the neighborhood are distinctive features that enhance its character. The University Neighborhood Historic District retains a high degree of its historic integrity with 82 percent of the buildings contributing to the historic association and feeling of the area.

Single-Family Dwellings

The architectural types and styles found in the University Neighborhood Historic District are typical of buildings constructed at that time in other parts of the city and throughout Utah. Victorian, Bungalow, and Period Revival styles and their associated types or plans dominate the University Neighborhood Historic District's residential architecture. The Victorian houses incorporate the cross-wing, central-block-with-projecting-bays, and side-passage plans. The Bungalows' rectangular block, open living area plans, are common throughout the district. The Period Cottages utilize the simple and practical plans similar to those of the Bungalows, but have incorporated stylistic elements on the exterior providing historical references that add to the neighborhood's character.

The extensive use of brick throughout the area further strengthens the University Neighborhood Historic District's cohesiveness. Seventy six percent of the buildings in the district are constructed of brick. The remainder include a number of buildings that have a stucco finish, with shingle and horizontal wood siding providing the remainder of the historic fabric in the district. A relatively small number (one-half percent) of aluminum-sided buildings appear in the district. Overall, the dominant use of brick throughout the area provides a strong sense of historic integrity.

Some grouping of houses by scale and ornamentation occurs. Groupings of smaller houses, simpler in design and execution of architectural details, on smaller lots, occur on Bueno Avenue and University Street between 400 South and 500 South. The larger homes with more ornate architectural detailing on larger lots appear on Douglas Street, 1200 East, and especially along 100 South, the area nearest the South Temple Historic District.[2]

Multiple Family Dwellings

Historic apartment buildings that contribute to the area include the University Apartments (c.1907) at 201 South 1300 East, the Cluff Apartments (1911) (National Register, 1989), at 1270-1280 East 200 South, the Commander Apartments (c.1928) at 147 South 1300 East, and the Edgehill Apartments (c.1928) at 227 South 1300 East. A complex of apartments buildings on 100 South between 1100 and 1200 East was built c.1955,[3] and although out of period, maintains the historic quality of the street. The infill of newer structures has included only a few large apartment buildings, with residences of similar scale and materials comprising the majority of out-of-period structures.

Commercial Buildings

There is a L-shaped core of commercial structures within the University Neighborhood Historic District. The commercial buildings along 200 South between 1300 East and University Street are primarily one-story structures that were built as retail shops. Many of the buildings along 1300 East between 200 and 300 South were originally built as residences and converted to commercial, retail spaces in the 1930s.[4] The L-shaped commercial strip is an integral part of the historic quality of the district. Alterations in the retail shop areas include store front changes, including outdoor waiting and dining areas and signage. These changes have not significantly impacted the historic qualities of the area and this commercial area continues to encourage pedestrian traffic.

Public Buildings

The building at 1337 East 500 South was originally built as the Emigration Canyon Railway headquarters.[5] This one-story building is of frame construction with Arts and Crafts styling. It is currently used as a residence.

Fire Station No. 8 (National Register, 1983), constructed in 1930, is a one-and-one-half story gable-roofed brick building featuring Period Revival styling. The building's residential appearance reflects careful attention given to scale, setback, and design, contributing to the historic character of the district. Conversion of the building in 1982-83 for restaurant use left the exterior appearance virtually intact.

Religious Building

The LDS Church University Ward Chapel at 160 South University Street was built in 1925. The silica block exterior shell expresses the tall and narrow nave within. Over the large double doors is a large tympanum, deeply inset within the wall that features a ceramic mosaic tile mural of "Christ." The building's scale and massing are in keeping with the neighborhood and it contributes to the historic nature of this area.

The Salt Lake Thirty-third Ward at 453 South 1100 East is a Victorian Gothic style church. This two-story building incorporates pointed arched windows at the front and side entrances under simple gabled rooflines. The rear addition, although not original to the building, is a product of the historic period and the building continues to enhance the character of the neighborhood.

The Emery Memorial Home for Men (1327 East 200 South, now the Newman Center), was built in 1913 by the Episcopal Church. It was demolished and reconstructed in the 1980s, and although no longer an original structure, it compliments the historic qualities of the neighborhood.


The block between 1300 East and University Street, and South Temple and 100 South, encompasses a park, an enclosed reservoir and associated wall, and a c.1930 building known as the Art Barn. The park, Reservoir Park, is located at the corner of 1300 East and University is a large green space with lawn and mature trees.

The reservoir, located on the corner of 1300 East and 100 South, has a historic wall that rises from the street level at that corner. It serves as the western border of the enclosed reservoir that includes tennis courts on the concrete top. This wall is constructed of concrete and incorporates recessed geometric designs and evenly spaced posts with every other one capped with a tapered spire and an electric light.

One historic building, the Art Barn, built c.1930, exists mid-block on a small street called Finch Lane. It is a one-and-one-half-story, shingle-sided Period Revival style building with simple architectural detailing.

Streetscapes/Landscaping Features

In addition to the structures, the University Neighborhood Historic District is enhanced by visual components that are important in the cohesive streetscapes, including tree-lined curbs, uniform setbacks, and compatible scale of the buildings. The grass medians, or "parkings," that exist on 1200 East and 200 South are distinctive features within the neighborhood that date from c.1905. Other features include alleyways, driveways that extend from the street, retaining walls, and fences in a variety of materials.

The area in which the University Neighborhood Historic District is located has been called the east bench because of the noticeable change in topography. The steeply cut roads and terraced yards along 100-500 South east of 1100 East illustrate the dramatic rise in the landscape. These features respond to the geography and help to define a distinctive area.

The architecture in the University Neighborhood Historic District continues to depict the period of its significance, c.1883-1941. The structures and sites compliment the buildings and help define a turn-of-the-century community in Salt Lake City.


The University Neighborhood Historic District is significant as it reflects the history of Salt Lake City during a period of growth and changing demographic patterns. The neighborhood largely grew during a period (1905-1925) when the city's population doubled[6] and the economic base shifted from agriculture to industry. By the turn of the century Salt Lake City was no longer an isolated, religious community; it was in the political and economic mainstream of the country. The influx of professionals and the establishment of the University of Utah on its current site in 1900, itself an indication of the progress the city was experiencing, greatly influenced the growth and social fabric of the neighborhood and ensured its viability. The area has been home to many faculty and staff members, as well as many professional people not affiliated with the University. Nationally the Progressive Era was effecting social changes through governmental reform and the related City Beautiful Movement encouraged the design of public spaces that would improve urban life. The contributions of the people living the University Neighborhood Historic District to the city and associated physical improvements within the neighborhood reflect this national trend. It is also significant in its description of a self-contained or self-sufficient neighborhood. This area is one of only a few self-sufficient neighborhoods that developed just outside the core of Salt Lake City at the turn of the century.[7] The University Neighborhood Historic District contains mostly residential buildings built around the University of Utah and incorporates commercial, public, and religious structures to support the residents within the area.

The University Neighborhood Historic District is significant because of its association with prominent Salt Lake City residents who contributed to the educational, artistic, and professional communities. Many residents of the area taught at the University of Utah and were influential in the fields of medicine, theater, dance, art, architecture, and science. Other professionals in mining, business, political, and medical fields also lived in the University Neighborhood Historic District and influenced the growth of the area and Salt Lake City .

The University Neighborhood Historic District is important because of its large number of excellent examples of the styles popular in Salt Lake City and Utah during the first quarter of the twentieth century and because it contains numerous buildings that are both significant and modest examples of the work of prominent Utah architects. Most of the houses display the craftsmanship of design and construction materials associated with the era of the significant period, 1883-1941. The range of residential building types includes small workers' cottages,[8] Victorian cottages, moderate-sized bungalows, larger two-story more elaborate homes, and apartment buildings. The majority of the buildings date from the 1905 to 1925 period and represent the hallmark styles of the Progressive Era: Prairie, Arts and Crafts, and Craftsmen Bungalows. The styles and types of structures in the neighborhood portray the sequence of its development and its association with the growth of the city during a prosperous and forward-thinking time.

History of Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City saw a quickly changing demographic pattern during the first part of the twentieth century. A shift in the socioeconomic environment away from the city's earlier agricultural emphasis occurred along with the increased presence of the mining industry in Utah, improved rail transportation, and rising industrial activity. With the arrival of the railroad in 1869, the mining industry grew on a large scale and Utah's economy took on a new dimension. Mining became a major industry in Utah, second only to agriculture[9] and a major shift in demographic patterns in Salt Lake City was underway.

The population of Salt Lake City increased from 20,000 in the 1880s to well over 92,000 in 1910,[10] and the physical structure of the city rapidly expanded upon land higher east of the original town grid. Acquiring a suitable water supply for the bench lands and in the areas immediately surrounding the city continued to be a problem, as did the establishment of a suitable sewer system. The accumulation of a smoke haze over the city was a problem before 1900, but motor vehicles and smoke-producing industries exacerbated the problem and during the winter the entire valley was frequently engulfed in a black curtain of smoke particles that marred buildings and clothing. Salt Lake City was so plagued with smoke during the early 1920s that it was nicknamed "the Pittsburgh of the West."[11] There was a need and desire for residents of Salt Lake City to move to higher ground for cleaner air and water.

Civic improvements in the University Neighborhood Historic District and throughout the city included the planting of trees[12] and building of sidewalks. The patterns of subdivision and land utilization were worked out by 1911,[13] and zoning was established in 1922 in large part in response to the problems of indiscriminate commercial, industrial, and residential development in all parts of the city. A bill was introduced to zone the city into two categories, residential and industrial, in all parts of the city, however, enforcing zoning regulations continued to be a problem.[14]

The streetcar system, first established in the city in 1872, played an important role in the development of the University Neighborhood Historic District. A trolley line ran around the University Neighborhood Historic District, along 100 South, 500 South, 1100 East and 1300 East. With the alteration of some city streets to accommodate the new street car system (1906-11) electrical wires and poles were moved from the center to the sides of the street or buried underground.[15] Concurrent with those alterations was the creation of "parkings," or grass medians, down the center of several streets, introduced for the benefit of those who could not seek recreation elsewhere.[16] The parking at 1200 East between 100 and 200 South was developed in the 1920s as a block play center. A retaining wall was built and plans were made for wading pools, ball diamonds, winter toboggan slides, and shelter houses. Although the play center continued to be operated by the city throughout the 1930s, most of those plans were not realized.[17] All of these improvements — zoning, better utilities, and the availability of more green space — are examples of public works efforts that were instigated at the insistence of residents of Salt Lake City and the University Neighborhood Historic District during the first quarter of the twentieth century.

A result of the World Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893, the City Beautiful Movement not only encouraged large-scale grand boulevards, classical memorials, and formal landscaping, but also elevated the status of the nascent planning profession and contributed to the realization that the physical elements of a city affected its citizens. While the University Neighborhood Historic District does not contain examples of this movement on a grand scale, and there may not have made a concerted effort to employ the specific components, the features mentioned above are significant because they represent small scale examples of the City Beautiful Movement and reflect the trend toward improving neighborhood conditions.

A look at the lives of many of the residents in the district reveals that the University Neighborhood Historic District was home to many prominent citizens involved in mining, business, politics and law, medicine, and teaching at the University of Utah. Their success indicates the prosperity that the city enjoyed during the period of significance c.1893-1945. In many instances their professions and civic activities indicate their desire to improve their community through more responsible government, improved education, and more opportunities for the general population. For example, Charles Loffbourow (54 South 1200 East) was a district attorney, a district judge, and a Congressman who also served on the board of education and volunteered for the Children's Service Society. Frank Stephens (169 South 1300 East) was a Salt Lake City Attorney and was instrumental in Salt Lake City's adoption of the commission form of government. Dr. Leslie Paul (258 South Douglas Street) was a volunteer clinical faculty member at the University of Utah College of Medicine who helped establish the Intermountain Red Cross Blood Bank and served as commanding officer of a U.S. Army field hospital in Iran in 1944.

In many instances their professions, interests, and civic activities were in keeping with the Progressive Era. This loosely-defined but effective movement addressed many of the concerns held by the middle class from about 1900 to 1920, including corruption in government, exploitive and hazardous working conditions, the effect of immigrants on American society, and the influence of corporate monopolies on consumers and private enterprise. Although differences existed among progressive reformers, they shared an important common value — that society was malleable and could be improved if molded in the property way. To this end reformers modernized urban government by extending merit systems, streamlining administrations, and transferring power from mayors to city managers and commissions. They enacted better working conditions by regulating hours, restricting child labor, and providing compensation for injuries. The participants brought about the first measures of consumer protection, and improved the appearance and safety of cities by enacting building codes, zoning ordinances, and urban planning guidelines.

The accomplishments of many of the women who lived in the district illustrate the prominent role that women played in the social and civic concerns of the Progressive movement, and indicated that more opportunities were available to them to effect change outside the home. Maud May Babcock (273 South 1100 East) established the University of Utah theater in 1895 and was long associated with the speech and drama department. She wrote several books, chaired the board of the Utah State School for the Deaf and Blind, and served as the first woman chaplain of the Utah Legislature. Loree Forsyth Snow (219 South Elizabeth Street) instigated the first high school model U.N. Assembly in the country, was the first woman chairman of the Utah Association for the United Nations, and spearheaded the establishment of the new medical-surgical building at the Utah State Hospital in Provo. Lois Hashimoto (315 South 1200 East) was instrumental in raising the money to construct the Japanese Church of Christ (268 West 100 South, National Register, 1982).

Self-sufficient Neighborhoods

The University Neighborhood is one of Salt Lake City's more substantial "self-sufficient" neighborhoods that contain residential, commercial, public, and institutional buildings. Several other pockets of commercial development emerged in residential neighborhoods away from the central business district during the early twentieth century. Some, such as the area at 1500 East and 1500 South, consisted of only a few small commercial buildings to service the neighborhood's residents. Others were more substantial. The commercial hub at 900 East and 900 South, for example, had a few two-story commercial buildings, several one-story buildings, and one industrial building, a flour mill.[18] An area along the west side of the city had a few small commercial buildings plus a church, theater, and library spread along 900 West between about 400 South and 600 South.[19]

The most fully developed neighborhood commercial center in Salt Lake City was (and still is) Sugar House, centered at 1100 East and 2100 South, approximately 4-1/2 miles southeast outside the central business district. In addition to a large number of commercial buildings, the area had a fire station, library, post office, churches, schools, and several industrial buildings. For a brief period in the early twentieth century, Sugar House had even been incorporated as the town of Forest Dale.[20]

Though not nearly as large or diverse as Sugar House, the University Neighborhood Historic District was still one of the most notable of the city's self-contained neighborhoods. The university, which relocated here in 1900, stimulated the growth of both residential and commercial buildings, which in turn justified the construction of "support" structures such as the fires station and churches. The development of Reservoir Park, with its green space, playgrounds, tennis courts, and art center, provided another urban amenity to this and surrounding neighborhoods.

University of Utah Influence

The establishment of the University of Utah on land acquired from Fort Douglas is a major factor in the neighborhood's development. The Fort Douglas military reserve, established in 1862 to protect the Overland Telegraph from Indian and Confederate attack,[21] had blocked residential building in the area east of 1300 East and north of 500 South until Congress appropriated sixty acres of land from the western part of the Fort Douglas reserve for a new University of Utah campus in 1894. The need of a large campus had been considered for a number of years before the land was made available. University President John R. Park had considered the western part of the Fort Douglas Military Reservation as the best available land for a new campus. He asked the United States Congress for a grant of land from the Reservation which was passed in the 1892 session of the Territorial Legislature. The bill provided for the granting to the Territory of Utah "a tract of land containing not less than 60 acres off the west side of the reservation known as the Fort Douglas Reserve, which tract shall adjoin the east boundary of Salt Lake City."[22] The sixty-acre tract was between 100 South and 400 South with a western boundary 400 feet east of 1300 East. The funds for establishing the university on the new site were allocated by a bill passed by the Utah legislature in 1899.

The official opening of the university at this site occurred on October 1, 1900, even though the buildings were not quite ready for occupancy. Four of the five major buildings planned for the new site had been completed by 1902. The university continued to grow as an additional thirty-two acres of land to the east and south was granted in 1906. The number of collegiate students in the university increased from 183 in 1900-01 to 1,602 in 1915-16. It dropped to 1,029 in 1917-18 and after the end of World War I, then rose to 1,628 in 1919-20. In the decade from 1921-22 to 1930-31, the increase was 78 percent. There was a drop during the depression but it was less than anticipated partially because of a widespread conviction among people that their time would be best spent improving their education and training when jobs weren't available, and because of the loans and part-time employment set up by the federal government through the various New Deal era agencies. With a slight drop between 1933-34, the attendance steadily increased to 4,445 in 1940-41.[23]

"During WW I, enrollment had been somewhat slowed. The end of the war brought an influx of students. The increase in size and complexity of the student body brought new and complex problems."[24] Meeting student housing demands was one of the problems. The Emery Memorial Home for Men (1327 East 200 South, now the Newman Center), built in 1913 by the Episcopal Church, was one of the first dormitories to house male university students. Dormitory accommodations for women had been recognized but were limited after the university moved to its new campus in 1900. It wasn't until 1938 that, with the help of Public Works Administration funding, Carlson Hall, "built in the style of 'adapted modern Italian' and provided all modern conveniences and equipment, was completed."[25] A few of the fraternities and sororities provided housing for their members.

Many of the students commuted to the campus using public transportation systems,[26] minimizing the need for on-site housing. "The university drew its undergraduate membership in large measure from Salt Lake City and near-by communities. As merely day-time members of the University community, students did not curtail their activity in the social life of their home associations to become integrated with the campus bloc."[27]

The size of the faculty was naturally dependent on the student population.

"The remarkable growth in the collegiate student body and a great increase in financial support extended by the Legislature made possible an enlargement of the faculty from nine professors, one associate professor, five assistant professors, and twelve instructors exclusive of the special teachers in the Training School in 1900-01, to twenty-nine full professors, five associate professors, one assistant professors, and sixteen regular instructors, not including assistants and special lecturers in 1914-15."[28]

With the development of the University came development of the land to the west as a residential neighborhood. In the 1890s several (17) larger homes had been constructed by businessmen and professionals, but the area saw its greatest development between 1905 and 1925 when subdivisions were platted and built up and the University of Utah professors, and those working in responsible positions at the facility, looked for homes close to the school. Approximately one-third of the faculty listed in the 1918-19 University of Utah General Catalogue resided within the University Neighborhood Historic District boundaries.[29]

The growth and maturation of the University of Utah greatly enhanced the cultural and intellectual life of the city, and the expertise of many of its faculty became available to local businesses and government. Elias Beckstrand (244 South Douglas Street), a mechanical engineering professor, served as the consulting engineer for the Utah Copper Corporation and for the Utah State Road Commission. LeRoy Taylor (258 South University Street) was also on the engineering faculty and was involved in the planning of the Central Colorado-Great Basin Development, a project that culminated in the construction of Flaming Gorge and Glen Canyon dams.

The influence of the University of Utah on the University Neighborhood Historic District's social fabric is reflected in the number of prominent educators who built homes or moved into existing homes in this area during the early decades of this century.

Residential Development

After the accessibility of water and transportation had opened the area to development, the small-scale real estate developer was able to purchase individual lots and build a few homes at a time.[30] This trend took hold at the beginning of the area's building (1883), was substantial between 1905-1925, and continued throughout the 1930s. Builders constructed four to six houses on a block in anticipation of the influx of students, teachers, and university employees. The time frame for the majority of the speculative building, 1900-1920, coupled with the extensive use of the Bungalow and Foursquare house types, popular in Utah from 1900-1920,[31] corresponds with the patterns of growth in the neighborhood. The Victorian houses (1880-1910), followed by the Bungalows (1905-1925), and the English Tudor/Period Revival Cottages (1915-1935), illustrate three major periods of growth that reflect city-wide development patterns for this period.

The Victorian styles, popular in Utah between 1880 and 1910, were used in nearly twenty percent of the homes built in the University Neighborhood Historic District. The goal of the Victorian styles was one of visual complexity and was achieved by using a variety of different house types, such as the side-passage plan, the cross-wing house type, and the central-block-with-projecting-bays plan. With the availability of mass-produced millwork and decorative ornamentation, the stylistic developments changed during this period on both the national and local levels. The use of Victorian styles reflects the ending of isolation in Utah as pattern-book styles were utilized extensively throughout the state.[32]

Examples of Victorian style houses in the University Neighborhood Historic District include some larger, two-and-one-half-story, ornate homes such as the house at 1111 East 100 South. This home was built in 1893 by Abraham Hanauer, Jr., who performed legal and secretarial work in the mining industry. Another example is that of the George and Mabel Osmond house at 127 South 1200 East. This home was constructed in 1890, this two-story frame house also incorporates the asymmetrical plan and wrap around porch. The pattern-book stylistic influence is also seen in the smaller, one-and-one-half story home at 1115 East 500 South. Built in 1908 by Fred C. Hadder, this more modest wood frame home continues to use similar features and detailing that represent this period of development in the University Neighborhood Historic District.

Nearly forty percent of the contributing residential structures in the University Neighborhood Historic District are built in the Bungalow, Arts and Crafts, and Prairie School styles. These styles were popular in Utah 1905-25 and incorporated many similar stylistic features such as low, hipped roofs and wide, overhanging eaves. The wide porches helped to create an impression of informal living and in uniting the house to its site. The bungalow plan is open, informal, and economical and was the most popular house type in Utah during the first quarter of this century. The bungalow became the basic middle-class house, replacing the late-nineteenth century Victorian cottage. Like the Victorian style, the bungalow's popularity can be attributed to the widespread use of architectural pattern books and a corresponding period of economic prosperity when many families were purchasing their first homes.[33]

The David and Alice G. Smith House at 1257 East 100 South, built in 1909, is a good example of an Arts and Crafts Bungalow with its exposed rafters and purlins, half-timbered dormer, and full-width porch with paired square columns on rough stone posts. This one-story brick home was designed by Bernard O. Mecklenberg and built as a speculative house by Albert S. Erickson. A Craftsman Bungalow with similar but more modest detailing at 441 South Douglas Street was built in 1910 by a speculative developer, H. Bynir. The first residents were Sylvan, a department store manager, and Elizabeth Leon. Another Bungalow at 1224 East 100 South was built c.1925 of brick with half-timbered, clipped gables, as an investment by Willard B. Richards. Clarence J. (a bandmaster) and Josephine Davis Hawkins lived here from 1926-50.

The most extensive use of the Period Revival in the University Neighborhood Historic District dates from the late 1920s through the 1930s. Approximately thirty percent of the buildings in the district are Period Revival English Tudor, Neoclassical, and Colonial Revival characteristics. Period Revival styles were popular in Salt Lake City and throughout Utah between 1890-1940, with most of this style home in the University Neighborhood Historic District being constructed after 1925.

"Various explanations have been offered for the popularity of these styles and one opinion is that national pride following World War I led to an increased used of the Colonial Revival and Neoclassical styles, while another states that the English Tudor and French Normal were favored by doughboys recently returned from Europe. These designs almost always displayed the architect's or builder's familiarity with the external, decorative features of the historical style rather than with the building tradition, its formal features, or plan types. They were simplistically massed, suggesting the informality that various architectural writers of the period stated was appropriate to the American way of living."[34]

Representative examples of the Period Revival styles include the house at 1219 East 400 South that was built in 1929, probably as a speculative house, by Henning Henderson. The steep gable entrance and Tudor arched doorway in this brick house is typical of the English Cottage. The one-story house at 1155 East 400 South is another model of a English Cottage that has included decorative brickwork on the bottom wall courses and brick lintels. It was built c.1932 by Tressa A. Dontre. The house at 175 South 1200 East is a one-and-one-half story version of the Tudor Revival style. The builder and first resident of this house was Glenn R. Bothwell, a developer who also built several other residences in the neighborhood.

This neighborhood reflects these three periods of growth through its numerous examples of well-preserved buildings and its overall strength in historical integrity. The University Neighborhood Historic District illustrates its historic feeling in part because of the range of styles. Its appearance is unlike other suburban neighborhoods that are much more uniform in architectural styles and plans. An important aspect of this historic district lies in its reflection of a period just prior to the suburban development after WW II. There is a balance between the diversity seen in urban development with the uniformity seen in suburban development. There are various types and styles spanning a period of nearly fifty years that reflect this changing pattern of residential development and demonstrates the transition between the urban and the suburban image of the outlying areas.

Several urban apartment buildings in this area were built close to the University primarily during the early twentieth century. Urban apartments are significant for their association with the rapid urbanization of Salt Lake City during the 1890-1930s. Apartments document the accommodation of builders and residents to the realities of crowded living conditions and high land values. The apartments in the University Neighborhood Historic District fall within the two periods of construction, 1902-1918 (University and Cluff Apartments) and 1922-31 (Edgehill and Commander Apartments), a break in building that was caused by WW I. Dwellers in apartments are more transient in nature than suburban homeowners and reflect this area's need for some short-term living accommodations in a predominately single-family dwelling neighborhood.[35]

The need for large numbers of apartments and student housing did not occur until after World War II. At that time many of the residences were converted into rental units to accommodate the increasing student enrollment.[36] Most of those houses have maintained rental status, although, within the last few years, a number of homes west of 1300 East have been restored to single family dwellings.

Public, Institutional, and Commercial Development

The residence at 1337 East 500 South originally housed the Emigration Canyon Railway's headquarters. With the demand for quarried building materials increasing during the late 1800s, and the advent of an electric railway system, Emigration Canyon Railway was organized and incorporated in 1907. The house and the property to the east (current parking for the University of Utah), served as the station headquarters until 1917.[37]

Fire Station No. 8 is the second oldest visually intact fire station in Salt Lake City, and is historically significant in documenting the expansion and development of the fire-fighting service in Salt Lake City. It also illustrate the city's willingness to combine aesthetic considerations with functional needs. Designed by the city, it was built in 1930 to serve the "outlying" east bench area, one of the fastest growing residential areas at that time. With the need for a fire station, and because of its location, zoning on both sides of 1300 East Street between 200 South and 300 South was changed in November 1929 from Residential B-2 to Residential C-2.[38] This zoning change has, over the years, allowed the growth of an island of commercial development along this block.

Commercial buildings are concentrated along 1300 East between 200 and 300 South, and on 200 South, between University and 1300 East. This L-shaped retail/restaurant/commercial strip has been maintained as a vital area that has served the University of Utah and the University Neighborhood District since the 1930s. Although changes in specific use have changed somewhat over the years, it continues to be a small-scale, pedestrian-based commercial strip. Business along 1300 East includes several restaurants, such as the one in Fire Station No. 8, a coffee shop, a bookstore, a record shop, a travel agency, and a clothing store. Along 200 South, the University Pharmacy and a pizzeria have long been associated with University students. Some intrusion of out-of-period buildings and alterations have influenced the appearance of this area, however, its historic integrity has not been significantly altered and it continues to reflect the activities that have long been associated with this district.

Other Structures and Sites

One of the first reservoirs constructed to serve the increasing city population was located at 1300 East and 100 South, the area known today as Reservoir Park. A covered City Reservoir, constructed 1900-01, on the corner of 1300 East and 100 South is surrounded by a wall, built in 1914,[39] which is a prominent visual landmark for the University Neighborhood Historic District. It is a unique example of this type of urban design element in the city.

Reservoir Park is incorporated in this block as well as the Art Barn, a building constructed c.1930 under the direction of the commissioner of parks, Harry L. Finch. The small street on which the Art Barn is located was renamed Finch Lane in 1933.[40]

With the variety of building types, the University Neighborhood Historic District developed as a self-contained community. Primarily a residential area, the commercial, public, and institutional buildings in the area served the residential population.

Several architects prominent in Salt Lake City and Utah during the early years of the twentieth century were influential in the building of the University Neighborhood Historic District. Excellent examples of Prairie style houses designed by the firm of Ware and Treganza, one of the leading architectural firms in the state during the first quarter of the twentieth century, include the houses as 1211 and 1229 East 100 South. These homes were built for two Covey brothers, Alman and Hyrum, businessmen involved with the Covey Investment Company. The firm also designed more modest homes such as the one at 330 South Douglas Street, built in 1916 for John M. Murphy, a time clerk at the Union Pacific Railroad. They also designed the Queen Anne Victorian style house at 157 South 1300 East for Ira H. and Blanche S. Lewis. The firm primarily designed residential buildings and often incorporated the Arts and Crafts style.

Frederick A. Hale, a graduate of the architecture program at Cornell University and a prominent Utah architect between 1890 and 1934, designed the Craftsman and Colonial Revival style home at 162 South 1300 East for Andrew J. and Letitia Hosmer, and the Frank B. and Lumnette S. Stephens house at 169 South 1300 East. His commission, which included mansions along South Temple Street and downtown commercial structures, reflect his association with the city's non-Mormon citizens who were influential in mining and business ventures. He used styles that were popular nationally, such as the Shingle and Queen Anne styles for residential properties and Beaux Arts classicism for institutional structures, thus contributing to the increasing urbanization that Salt Lake City and the rest of the state experienced at the turn of the century.

Other well-known architects designed residences and institutional structures in the neighborhood. Bernard O. Mecklenberg was a well-known architect who designed a number of notable buildings in Salt Lake City during the early twentieth century, including the house at 164 South 1300 East for Charles L. Rood. The University Ward Chapel at 160 South University Street is an excellent example of the late Gothic Revival style, designed by the firm of Pope and Burton, another prominent architectural firm in Utah during the period of the district's formation. The Chapel was built in 1925 for the LDS Church. The cost of construction was $120,000.

Two architects who designed significant landmark structures in Salt Lake lived in the neighborhood. Carl M. Neuhausen, one of Utah's most prominent architects, designed the Chateauesque style residence for his family at 1265 East 100 South. The estimated cost of construction in 1901 was $5,000. Some of Neuhausen's notable works include the Kearns Mansion (now known as the Governor's Mansion) (National Register, 1970) and the Cathedral of the Madeleine (National Register, 1971). David C. Dart built the house at 206 Douglas Street for his family in 1907. He was a well-known local architect who designed buildings around Salt Lake City, including the Judge Building (National Register 1979), Patrick Dry Goods Building, and Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel (all still in existence).

The University Neighborhood Historic District is significant in describing an important period of growth in Salt Lake City. Influences that were effecting change in many American cities are evident in the way in the University Neighborhood Historic District. Salt Lake City was becoming a cosmopolitan community and moving away from the isolationism that had been part of the initial settlement. The architectural styles, the people's professional careers and contributions to the community, and the improved educational systems, were working together to help build a city that was connected to other American cities. The strength of that community is seen in its ability to provide amenities for the neighborhood, and the area has retained its status as a stable and contributory part of Salt Lake City evident in the architectural components within this area.


  1. The majority of the changes that have occurred to the altered residential properties include large, out-of-period additions, covering of the historic fabric, and major alterations to the fenestration patterns.
  2. The South Temple Historic District incorporates both sides of South Temple between University and 100 East. The district is comprised of mostly larger-scale homes, including a number of mansions that were built for the mining magnates of Utah at the turn of the century.
  3. Residents at these addresses first appear in the 1955 Polk directory.
  4. See copy of Zoning Map and Ordinance, 1941.
  5. Carr, Stephen L., M.D., and Robert W. Edwards. Utah Ghost Rails. Salt Lake City, UT: Western Epics, 1989.
  6. Alexander, Tom, Mormons and Gentiles — A History of Salt Lake City. Boulder, Colorado: Pruett Publishing Company, 1984.
  7. Other areas include Sugar House, 9th South and 9th East, 15th South and 15th East, and an area along 900 West between about 400 South and 600 South.
  8. Located on Bueno Avenue, one of the smaller streets in this neighborhood.
  9. McCormick, John. Salt Lake City. The Gathering Place. California: Windsor Publications, 1980, p.35.
  10. Boyce, Ronald R. "An Historical Geography of Greater Salt Lake City, Utah." An unpublished thesis, Master of Science, Department of Geography, University of Utah, May 1957.
  11. Boyce, p.86-90.
  12. As early as 1851 efforts were undertaken to begin planting trees in Salt Lake City. Creating a "Valley of Trees" out of Salt Lake City continued and in 1923 the Salt Lake City Shade Tree Commission was established to supervise the planting of trees and the protection of historical or notable trees. In the 1930s, municipal ordinances designated the types of trees to be planted on every major street in the old city.
  13. Boyce, p. 82-84.
  14. Boyce, 1957.
  15. Several of the streets on which trolley lines had been laid continued to be major transportation routes after the tracks were removed. By 1928 the street car track system no longer influenced the growth of the city. Trackless trolleys were approved in Salt Lake City in 1929, in 1933 gasoline buses serviced the city, and by 1945 mass transportation had been almost entirely replaced by individual automobile transportation. With the automobile, people spread into suburban areas. Boyce, p.85.
  16. City Engineering Department, Annual Report. 1908, pp. 208-209.
  17. Municipal Record, Vol.10 (January, 1921): 16; Vol 20 (January 1931): 45.
  18. See Lefler-Woodman Building National Register nomination, 1982, for more details. On file at Utah State Historic Preservation Office.
  19. West Side Reconnaissance Survey, 1991. On file at Utah State Historic Preservation Office.
  20. Central Southern Survey Report.
  21. McCormick, p. 57.
  22. Chamberlin, Ralph V. The University of Utah: A History of Its First Hundred Years 1850-1950. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1960, p.174.
  23. Chamberlin, pp. 253-426.
  24. Chamberlin, p. 369.
  25. Chamberlin, p. 425-26.
  26. Central/Southern Survey, p. 60.
  27. Chamberlin, p.451.
  28. Chamberlin, p. 255.
  29. General Catalog of the University of Utah 1918-1919. Bulletin of the University of Utah, Vol.9, No.1, May, 1918.
  30. Historical evidence supports the idea of speculative building patterns through documentation of individual ownership of several houses within the district. An example is Glen R. Bothwell, speculative builder, who built his home at 175 South 1200 East, a Period Cottage English Tudor style house, in 1928. He also was associated with three other homes built on 1200 East, in addition to the numerous residences west of the University Neighborhood Historic District.
  31. Carter, Thomas and Peter Goss. Utah's Historic Architecture. 1847-1940. Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah Graduate School of Architecture and Utah State Historical Society, 1991.
  32. Carter, pp. 110-111.
  33. Carter, p. 138-144.
  34. Carter, pp. 145-146.
  35. Historic Resources of Salt Lake City (Urban Apartments), National Register thematic resource nomination, 1989. On file at the Utah State Historic Preservation Office.
  36. Central/Southern Survey Area.
  37. Carr, Stephen L., M.D., and Robert W. Edwards, Utah Ghost Rails. Salt Lake City, UT: Western Epics, 1989, p.44-47.
  38. Municipal Record. (Salt Lake City: Salt Lake City Corporation, 1931), 18:11 (November 1929), p.9-11. City officials had hoped to acquire property for the fire station on the east side of 1300 East, but were ready to settle for a location on 200 South opposite Douglas Street (1250 East) before this property on the west side of 1300 East became available. (Ibid., 18:10 [October 1929], p.12.)
  39. A Use District Map of Salt Lake City dated 1941 shows that zoning in this same location was Residential B-3, which allowed for limited retail business.
  40. Annual Reports of 1914 state that a 500 foot wall was constructed along the western boundary of Thirteenth East Reservoir. This is presumably the wall that is still there.
  41. Finch was instrumental in increasing the number of parks and incorporating more baseball diamonds, lighted concrete tennis courts, and other improvements.


Alexander, Thomas. Mormons and Gentiles-A History of Salt Lake City. Boulder, Colorado: Pruett Publishing Company, 1984.

A/P Associates Planning & Research. "Salt Lake City Architectural/Historical Survey: Central/Southern Survey Area." Unpublished report prepared for the Salt Lake City Planning Commission and the Salt Lake Historic Landmark Committee, January 1983.

Boyce, Ronald R. "An Historical Geography of Greater Salt Lake City, Utah." Master of Science, Department of Geography, Thesis. May, 1957.

Carter, Thomas and Peter Goss. Utah's Historic Architecture. 1847-1940. Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah Graduate School of Architecture and Utah State Historical Society, 1991.

Chamberlin, Ralph V. The University of Utah: A History of Its First Hundred Years 1850-1950. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1960.

McCormick, John. Salt Lake City. The Gathering Place. California: Windsor Publications, 1980.

1910 United States Census Records.

Polk Directories, 1910-1955.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps.

‡ Julie W. Osborne, Architectural Historian, Utah State Historic Preservation Office, University Neighborhood Historic District, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, nomination document, 1995, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Nearby Neighborhoods

Street Names
Bueno Avenue • Douglas Street • East 100 South • East 200 South • East 300 South • East 400 South • East 500 South • Elizabeth Street • Finch Lane • Route 282 • South 1100 East • South 1200 East • South 1300 East • University Street