Tag Archives: History

Highway 89 Digital Collections


The history of the American West is shaped and defined as much by its people as it is its landscapes. Nowhere is this more clear than in the winding path taken by Highway 89. On its 1,252-mile route from Mexico to Canada, Highway 89 passes through or adjacent to seven national parks, showcasing some of the most spectacular scenery in the American West.

Such distinctive landscapes make for a powerful history worth preserving and sharing. With this thought in mind, the Utah State Archives is proud to announce our participation with other cultural heritage organizations across Utah and northern Arizona to launch the Highway 89 Digital Collections Project.

Promotional artwork for the Highway 89 Digital Collections project created by John Clark.

The mission of the Highway 89 Digital Collections Project is to bring together the unique resources each member institution holds that help illuminate the history and stories of life lived along Highway 89. Digital items that have been uploaded to the site so far include photographs, postcards, and textual records.

Drawing on the latest in online exhibition technology, the Highway 89 Digital Collections website pulls together materials from a number of archival repositories and special collections including:


Exhibit pages on the Highway 89 Digital Collections website allow archivists and curators to draw on their skill and expertise in piecing together dynamic stories that illustrate the history of the road.

Image of a road sign on Highway 89 in Garfield County.

Two such exhibits from that Utah State Archives are currently accessible on the Highway 89 Digital Collections site. The first exhibit gathers together photographs that were taken by the Utah Department of Highways as part of a statewide inventory of road signs between 1965 and 1975. These simple plywood creations offer up a rich visual history of what travelers of that era would have seen as they made their way along Highway 89.

Ruins of a schoolhouse in Thistle.

A second exhibit features materials from the Utah State Archives that tell the story of the 1983 mudslide near the town of Thistle which flooded a section of the highway, destroyed the town, and created an earthen dam that fundamentally changed the landscape in Spanish Fork Canyon. For this exhibit, items from the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) were identified and digitized. They provide a monthly account of work done by state and federal workers to divert water from Thistle Lake, reroute important railroad lines, and physically move the section of Highway 89 that spurs off at the Thistle junction as it makes its way south towards the Sanpete Valley.

Future contributions from the Utah State Archives to the Highway 89 Digital Collections project will focus more on textual records created by various agents of Utah State government who have played important roles in making decisions that have impacted the growth and evolution of Highway 89. As we continue to add miles of digital content to the route, we will look forward to seeing you along the digital Highway 89!

Book of The Pioneers Celebrating 1897 Jubilee Now Online

Book of the Pioneers

The 116-year-old “Book of the Pioneers” is now available with a full-text search on Utah State Archives web site at archives.utah.gov/digital/14107.htm. The Archives collaborated with the University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library for conservation and repair of the one-of-a-kind book. In addition, the library created high-quality digital images for viewing online.

The “Book of the Pioneers” is “a record of those who arrived in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake during the year 1847; including the names, ages, autographs and places of residence of all known survivors on July 24, 1897.” The Semi-Centennial Commission compiled the book in two volumes for the Pioneer Jubilee of 1897, in order to document and memorialize the pioneers of 1847. The members of the commission were appointed by the State of Utah’s first governor, Heber M. Wells, who spoke on the subject in his first address to the Utah State Legislature on January 8, 1896, a mere four days after statehood was granted.

The names of men and women who came in 1847 are recorded along with 727 questionnaires answered in their own hand by those still alive fifty years later, creating a “work unique in character and of universal interest.”

Archives Month: Avenues of Salt Lake City

All Events for Utah Archives Month | RSVP on Facebook | Get Directions

Friday, October 12, 2012
12 noon

Salt Lake City’s oldest residential historic district is a neighborhood known as the Avenues. During the late nineteenth century this area was home to many of the most influential citizens of Salt Lake City. Built from 1860 until 1930, it contains a mix of middle and upper middle class homes of varying architectural styles. This architectural diversity makes the Avenues unique among Utah’s historic districts. For the past thirty years, as citizens have rediscovered the value of living in historic properties near downtown and the University of Utah, preservation efforts have soared in the area.

In 1980, the Avenues was established as a historic district and the Utah Historical Society published The Avenues of Salt Lake City. That book’s authors, Karl T. Haglund and Philip F. Notarianni, gleaned much about the area’s history by using information found on the historic district applications. This newly revised edition of The Avenues of Salt Lake City by Cevan J. LeSieur updates the original with a greatly expanded section on the historic homes in the neighborhood, including more than 600 new photos, and additional material covering the history of the Avenues since 1980.

The book is designed so that readers can take it along as a guide when exploring the neighborhoods. All the pictures of Avenues homes are accompanied with architectural information and brief histories of the properties. This volume makes a valuable resource for those interested in the history of the Avenues and its diverse architecture, and for anyone interested in Utah history, Utah architecture, and historic preservation.

Cevan Lesieur is a native of Salt Lake City and a resident of the Avenues neighborhood where he and his wife Heather have restored two homes.

21st Amendment Ratification Records Online

Did you know that Utah was the state that fulfilled the constitutional requirement to ratify the 21st amendment to end prohibition? This amendment is also the only one thus far ratified by state conventions rather than state legislatures [Wikipedia]. The records of the Convention to Ratify the 21st Amendment for Utah are now online.

The 72nd Congress of the United States proposed the 21st amendment to the U.S. Constitution, repealing the 18th amendment and once again legalizing the manufacture and use of liquor. On October 10, 1933, Governor Henry H. Blood called for the election of delegates to a constitutional convention for the purpose of ratifying or rejecting the 21st amendment. The election was held on November 7, and the elected delegates met December 5. The amendment became effective with the ratification of 36 states; Utah was the 36th state to ratify. These records document the activities of the convention.

Convention to Ratify the 21st Amendment (1933)

Research Center Closure

In order for staff to attend the 60th Annual Utah State History Conference, the Research Center will be closed Friday, September 21, 2012. It will open again Monday, September 24 at the usual 9 a.m.

Please feel free to join us at the conference–a free event!

Utah Archives Month 2012

The calendar for Utah Archives Month is now being updated for October 2012 events at utaharchivesmonth.org. The events hosted by the Utah State Archives and Utah State History have been posted (including on Facebook):

  • 10/1/2012 – Randy Silverman: Year of the Newspaper
  • 10/12/2012 – Cevan LeSieur: “The Avenues of Salt Lake City”
  • 10/15/2012 – Brock Cheney: “Plain But Wholesome: Foodways of the Mormon Pioneers”
  • 10/19/2012 – Jim Kichas: “Utah’s MX Moment”
  • 10/24/2012 – Matt Basso: “Men At Work”

All events are free and open to the public.

Utah Archives Month is on Facebook and Twitter.

Newly Processed: January 2011

All public records at the Utah State Archives are accessible through the Research Center. However, once processed the records are easier to use with proper storage and fuller descriptions, including online series inventories. The following list includes record series that were processed during the month of January 2011:

Statehood Constitutional Convention

Division of State History

Most also available online through State History’s site.

Division of Parks and Recreation

Mysterious 1880 U.S. Census records solved

List of Persons

List of Persons Cover

List of Persons

List of Persons, Page 1

A researcher recently requested to look at an obscure record series described simply as “Census records, 1880” (Series 5269).  After retrieving the records, Archives staff became curious and set about trying to figure out what the records really were.  The records include five booklets that were clearly standard forms (form 7-392) printed for the 1880 Federal Census and have notes indicating that they had been filed with the Weber County Clerk.  They are titled “List of Persons” and each booklet lists the names, color, sex, and age of all the inhabitants of a given census enumeration district in Weber County, including Ogden 2nd and 3rd (municipal) Wards, Huntsville, Mound Fort, Lynne, Marriott, Riverdale, and Uintah.  Archives staff searched available published sources for some reference to these forms, but couldn’t find any information. So what was their purpose, why were they filed with the county clerk, and why did only five booklets survive?

Archives staff next contacted the National Archives to see what information they might have.  Initially National Archives staff members were both puzzled and excited.  They had never seen an example of this kind of record before, but soon they responded with an answer. Apparently, for earlier censuses enumerators were required to submit a full second copy of their population schedules in order to receive payment for their work.  By 1880 the process was simplified somewhat.  According to The History and Growth of the United States Census (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1900):

the enumerator was directed to forward the original schedules, duly certified, to the supervisor of his district, but before doing this, he was required, under the terms of section 6 of the act of April 20, 1880, to make and file in the office of the clerk of the county court or in the office of the court or board administering the affairs of the county to which his district belongs, a list of the names, with age, sex, and color, of all persons enumerated by him, which he shall certify to be true, and for which he shall be paid at the rate of 10 cents for each 100 names.

These lists apparently served as a type of invoice for services and made it possible for the census enumerators to get paid for their work. Because the records were probably not of much use to the county clerk once payment had been made, most of them would have been discarded. Somehow these five booklets from Weber County survived as rare evidence of how the census was conducted in 1880.

Related records:

United States. Department of the Interior

Newly processed: October 2009

All public records at the Utah State Archives are accessible through the Research Center. However, once processed the records are easier to use with proper storage and fuller descriptions, including online series inventories. The following list includes record series that were processed during the month of October 2009:

Division Archives and Records Service

Division of State History

Uintah County (Utah). County Commission

Newly processed: August 2009

All public records at the Utah State Archives are accessible through the Research Center. However, once processed the records are easier to use with proper storage and fuller descriptions, including online series inventories. The following list includes record series that were processed during the month of August 2009:

Governor (2005-2009 : Huntsman)

Department of Community and Culture. Division of State History

Lieutenant Governor

District Court (Second District : Weber County)

District Court (Eighth District : Duchesne County)


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