Category: History

Design and Construction of the Utah State Capitol

exterior_view_june_16_1914

Utah Archives Month is nearing its end for 2016, and the Utah State Archives is ending its month-long focus on the Utah State Capitol with information on two new additions to the Digital Archives that help tell the story of how the Capitol Building was designed and constructed.

Beginning in 1909, the Capitol Commission initiated a design competition for the purpose of selecting an architect to design Utah’s State Capitol building. Architects who wished to participate were required to demonstrate that they possessed the necessary expertise by submitting examples of their work. Those that were approved to participate received a Program of Competition outlining the rules of the competition and the design program for the proposed capitol. Records from this design competition are now available online, and include the rules for the design contest, photographic examples of work done by interested architects, booklets and photographs showing the proposed capitol designs submitted by various competitors, and a sampling of the Program of Competition booklets returned by architects who intended to enter the competition.

1
Design competition drawing for the Capitol submitted by Watkins, Birch, Kent, Eldredge, and Chesebro

Ultimately, Utah-based architect, Richard Kletting’s design was selected from those entered into the design competition, and construction on the building commenced with a groundbreaking ceremony on December 26, 1912. Over the next four years the Utah State Capitol was built, using Kletting’s construction plans, which are now available online through the Digital Archives. These original building plans are diverse and include plans for framing, various construction details, columns and stone work, dome framing, foundation and footings, cross-sections, and building elevations from various angles.

revised_plans_dome

E. E. Meyers Proposed Capitol Design

The Capitol That Almost Was: The Board of Commissioners on Capitol Grounds, 1888-1896

The Utah State Archives holds records of the Capitol Grounds Commission, including minutes and financial records.  These records document the virtually forgotten efforts to construct a territorial capitol in the early 1890s.  With the 100th anniversary of the State Capitol dedication being celebrated this month, … Continue reading The Capitol That Almost Was: The Board of Commissioners on Capitol Grounds, 1888-1896

Minutes of the Capitol Commission Online

page__53
Members of the Utah Capitol Commission  during the laying of the cornerstone in 1914 (series 11275)

We are now midway through Archives Month, and the Utah State Archives continues to direct its focus and activities on celebrating the 100th year anniversary of the Utah State Capitol. This week we would like to share information on another new addition to the Digital Archives that documents the earliest planning and construction of “the people’s building.”

The Capitol Commission was formed in 1909 and authorized to select a suitable design for the building, and oversee the execution of plans and specifications for the erection of a State Capitol building on the Capitol grounds in Salt Lake City.

The minutes of the Capitol Commission have been digitized and are now available for online research through the Digital Archives. These minutes document the formal meetings of the Capitol Commission between 1909 and the completion of the Capitol in 1916. Meeting minutes record the names of members present at meetings, rules for a design competition for the building, information on outside consultants utilized during the planning and construction stages, expenses incurred by commission members in furtherance of their duties, group discussions about bids and the issuing of contracts, agreements for expenditures, and a list of the original cornerstone contents placed during building construction in 1914.

Capitol Commission Photographs Online

The Utah State Archives is pleased to kickoff Utah Archives Month with the first in a month-long blog series spotlighting records in our holdings that tell the story of the construction of Utah’s State Capitol building (celebrating its 100th year anniversary this month!).

11275001001_030
The dome of the Utah State Capitol under construction in 1914.

This week we are highlighting photographs from the Capitol Commission which document the construction of the State Capitol. The majority of series 11275 contains pictures of the finished capitol building, ground breaking ceremony, initial excavation of the construction site, and individuals involved in the construction process. The collection also holds a unique commemorative photograph album produced by Shipler’s Commercial Photographs of Salt Lake City which was presented to commission members. The album documents the various phases of construction and construction details including cement, granite, and marble work, monoliths, interior details, phases of arch and dome construction, and numerous pictures from various angles of the exterior.

Stay tuned throughout October as we continue to tell the story of the construction of Utah’s State Capitol through the archival records held by the Utah State Archives!

1875-1876 John D. Lee Case File Online

john_d-_lee_pre-execution_photo
John D. Lee (seated) awaiting his execution at Mountain Meadows on March 28, 1877 (source Wikimedia Commons)

The Utah State Archives is pleased to announce that the historic Territorial Second District Court case file pertaining to the trial and conviction of John D. Lee for his role in the Mountain Meadows Massacre has been digitized and posted online on the Digital Archives.

The records in this case file cover Lee’s first trial that began in July 1875 and ended in a hung jury, as well as the subsequent second trial where blame for the massacre was placed squarely on Lee, which led to his conviction and a sentence of death by firing squad.

The Mountain Meadows Massacre occurred in September 1857. The Baker-Fancher emigrant party, traveling through Utah on their way to California (from Arkansas), was attacked by members of the local Iron County Militia and some local Paiute Indians. The emigrants fought back and a five day siege ensued. On the fifth day members of the wagon train were lured out under a banner of truce and massacred under orders from local militia leaders. All told one hundred and twenty men, women, and children over the age of seven were slaughtered. Seventeen infants and young children were spared and taken into the homes of local Mormon families (before eventually being united with extended family members outside of Utah).

For nearly two decades no one was brought to justice for the crimes committed at Mountain Meadows. The official story from Mormon officials became that the massacre was conducted solely by local Paiute Indians. Prior to the massacre John D. Lee had been a prominent pioneer in building up the Mormon communities of Southern Utah, but after a federal judge began investigating the massacre in 1858 he went into hiding.

By 1870 pressure was mounting on Federal officials to bring those responsible for the massacre to justice. At this time Lee was officially excommunicated from the LDS Church and given instruction by Brigham Young to make himself scarce in Northern Arizona.

With passage of the Poland Act in 1874, Mormon control over the Territorial justice system was loosened. John D. Lee was arrested and brought to trial in the Second Territorial District Court in Beaver.

The case records that are now online from series 24291 trace the procedural history of the Lee trials. During the first trial the prosecution attempted to pin blame for the Mountain Meadows Massacre largely on the Mormon hierarchy, with Brigham Young as a central figure. In spite of the defense offering an often incoherent narrative of the massacre, the jury of eight Mormon’s, one former Mormon, and three non-Mormon’s ended up hung (with all but the three non-Mormon’s voting to acquit).

The second trial of John D. Lee was radically different from the first. The prosecution pinned blame for the events at Mountain Meadows squarely on Lee, and contended that Lee was the driving force behind planning and carrying out the execution. Resigned to the fact that he was being made a scapegoat for the massacre at Mountain Meadows, Lee requested that no defense be made on his behalf. He was ultimately found guilty of first degree murder by an all-Mormon jury. On March 28, 1877, John D. Lee was taken to Mountain Meadows where he was executed by firing squad. His body was then taken to Panguitch, Utah for burial.

SLC School Children’s Constitution and Flag Monument Books Now Available Online

Untitled-2

Just in time for back to school season, the Utah State Archives is pleased to make available a fascinating collection of student-created records through our online Digital Archives. These 1932-1952 school children’s Constitution and Flag Monument books were compiled by the Salt Lake City School District to document and commemorate the erection of the School Children’s Constitution and Flag Monument on the west side of Washington Square (in front of the Salt Lake City and County Building). The monument was completed in 1937 and included a flag pole with a sculpture of two children with the United States Constitution standing at the base, and one of the children pointing up toward the flag. School children donated money to fund the monument and local children acted as models for the sculpture.

In 1936 each school in the city compiled a list of students and what occupation each aspired to when they grew up. These lists were sealed in a time capsule in the monument when it was dedicated in 1937. The books in this series were compiled after the time capsule was opened in 1952. They include copies of newspaper articles about the erection of the monument and photographs of the dedication in 1937 and the opening of the time capsule in 1952. They also contain documentation of efforts to erect a flag pole not only at the City and County Building, but at each school in the district as well.

Top Baby Names in Utah 1909 Edition

Birth certificates issued by the Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics in 1909 are now online and freely available to the public. The searchable index and digital images may be accessed from archives.utah.gov/research/indexes/81443.htm.

And that means it’s time to see the most popular baby names that were given in 1909 (see 1905, 1906, 1907, and 1908).

All girl names with larger sizes for most popular.

Girls

  1. Mary
  2. Ruth
  3. Helen
  4. Alice
  5. Dorothy
  6. Florence
  7. Margaret
  8. Edna
  9. Ethel
  10. Grace
All boy names with larger sizes for most popular.

Boys

  1. William
  2. John
  3. James
  4. George
  5. Joseph
  6. Charles
  7. Harold
  8. Robert
  9. Thomas
  10. Clarence

Military Records Section

“Only by full help of the public can Utah’s warriors be honored.”
– Joan Geyer, Tribune

In the midst of World War II on September 12, 1942, Governor Maw issued a proclamation creating the Department of War History and Archives within the Utah State Historical Society. A call was issued to all citizens to help document the military service of all veterans in Utah within this new office, along with copies of records from the U.S. Selective Service and various military branches. In 1957, the Utah State Archives was officially created within the Utah State Historical Society. One of its first tasks was to register the graves of all veterans buried in Utah.

ManWithAGraveTask_RobertInscore
Photograph from “A Man With a Grave Task” July 16, 1950, The Salt Lake Tribune

The man in charge of this registration was Robert W. Inscore. A World War II veteran, he was also the son, grandson, and great-grandson of Utah war veterans. In a 1950 Salt Lake Tribune article, he described himself as a “connoisseur of graveyards.” He combed through graveyards up and down Utah, from well-tended to severely overgrown. Along with uncovering headstones, he came across poison ivy, hornets, and one angry rattlesnake. Working with Mrs. Lee Eire, information was gathered from city directories and other sources, he would then write or call upon families to confirm details.

In addition to the compiled data on Utah veterans (now available online), Inscore also assisted families with the process of obtaining the free grave markers or headstones for veterans who perished either in service or following honorable discharge. Today, extensive correspondence survives in the thousands of pages documenting inquires to other states (for previous or subsequent military service), individuals and families, and various offices and branches of the Federal government (Series 17529). By 1959, it was reported in the Utah Historical Quarterly that over 250,000 separate records had been filed on the project. Inscore worked at this task until 1965, possibly fulfilling his promise to the Tribune’s reporter fifteen years previous that “[if] this job ever gets routine, I’ll quit it.” Ultimately Inscore left behind a legacy of valuable hard-won information on thousands of Utah veterans.

Do you have relatives with military service who lived in Utah? Consult these research guides to find out more information on finding records compiled for or created by the Military Records Section.

The Stormy History of the Land Title Certificates Collection | Salt Lake County Archives

The history of the American West is filled with fascinating moments of conflict and compromise.  One collection at the Archives, the Probate Court Land Title Certificates, provides a window into ex…

Source: The Stormy History of the Land Title Certificates Collection | Salt Lake County Archives

Salt Lake City Firemen Photos Now Online

We are happy to announce that the oldest known photographs from the Salt Lake City Fire Department have been digitized and are now available online through our Digital Archives!

23526003001_pg1photo1
Unidentified Boy in Fire Fighter Uniform (series 23526).

These photographs, found in series 23526, provide early documentation of the fire department and the first professional fire fighters employed in Utah. Between 1852 and 1883 fire protection service in Salt Lake City was conducted on a voluntary basis. In 1883 the Salt Lake City Council established a full-time, paid fire department, after a particularly damaging fire occurred in downtown Salt Lake City on June 21, 1883. These photographs help document the history of the Salt Lake City Fire Department as a vital unit of local government.