Distinguished Public Service

A retired Salt Lake County employee will be receiving NASA’s highest civilian honor, the Distinguished Public Service Medal. Patrick Wiggins educated thousands of Utah residents about astronomy during his career at the Hansen Planetarium (now Clark Planetarium), from 1975-2002. Leaving the Planetarium did not end his mission to continue in public service; he joined the Solar System Ambassadors, volunteer educators that spread the word about space. It is his dedication to this service that earned him the honor from NASA.

To put this achievement in perspective, previous winners of the Distinguished Public Service Medal include Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

And while William Shatner also received the Distinguished Public Service Medal from NASA this year (well, I guess he did teach us about tribbles), the County Archives sends out a big Huzzah! to Patrick Wiggins on receiving this most deserved recognition!

Check out this Salt Lake Tribune article and interview with Patrick Wiggins about his Public Service Medal.

Wiggins 1993 HP series PL-013

Patrick Wiggins educating the public at the Hansen Planetarium, 1993.

The above image of Patrick Wiggins (third from the right) at work in the Planetarium in 1993 is taken from the Hansen Planetarium Historical Records Collection, housed at the Salt Lake County Archives.

 

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Farewell to our Director

EPSON DSC picture

July 1, 2014 marked the retirement of Terry Blonquist Nelson, Director of Salt Lake County Records Management and Archives. Terry’s career in archives and records management spanned almost 38 years (37 years and 11 months, to be exact!).

Terry started her career at the Utah State Archives, working in the micrographics section. Over the years, she worked for the Utah State Archives in the records management, public reference, records center, and preservation sections. As the Reference and Record Services Manager, she coordinated the consolidation and move in 1990 of over 80,000 cubic feet of records, staff, and merging functions of two Records Center locations into one facility.  She also assisted with the 1984 move of the Archives from the basement of the Capitol to an offsite location.

New hire Terry Ellis, Salt Lake County Commission Minutes, May 6, 1996.

Welcome to new hire Terry Ellis. Salt Lake County Commission Minutes, May 6, 1996.

In May of 1996, Terry became the head of Salt Lake County Records Management and Archives. Terry not only directed the Records Management and Archives programs, but was also records compliance officer for all of Salt Lake County government, ensuring compliance in federal, state, and local laws and ordinances governing records. This involved coordinating the activities of the Government Records Access Management Policy Administration (GRAMPA) and serving as the County’s HIPAA privacy officer. (GRAMA, GRAMPA, and HIPAA were her middle names for many years).

Throughout her career, Terry was very active in both records management and archives professional organizations, including serving as President and Vice-President of the National Association of Government Archivists and Records Administrators. She was also President and Vice-President of the Conference of Inter-Mountain Archivists, and held many positions in the Association of Records Managers and Administrators, Association for Information and Image Management, and the Utah Manuscripts Association. In 2010, she was asked to be a participant in the Global Archives Delegation to South Africa, extending her role as an archives ambassador on an international level.

Terry also influenced innumerable archivists and records managers through her national and local presentations, workshops, and committee work. She has the unique ability to easily communicate complicated ideas and make them understandable by any audience, translate “archive-speak” to the general population, and decipher complicated records laws and legislation. She can also make any project seem achievable, no matter how formidable it may first appear.

Thank you, Terry. You will be greatly missed.

Terry and historical photos (2)

Terry creating a Salt Lake County history exhibit for the Utah State Fair.

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Palace Laundry

758 East 400 South, Palace Laundry Parcel No. 2-1857  1936

The Palace Laundry Company complex of buildings was located at 758 East 400 South in Salt Lake City and was built over the course of 50 years, starting around 1900. The Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal photograph above is from 1936 and shows the storefront. A structure from the 1930s still stands on the property which is now owned by Mountain States Bakeries.

This plan of the complex shows the various buildings and tanks behind the entrance.

758 East 400 South, Palace Laundry Parcel No. 2-1857 unknown date

 

~Entry contributed by Mr. Vincent Fazzi, former Salt Lake County Archivist.

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Lost House

3606 South 700 East. Photo taken in 1934.

3606 South 700 East. Photo taken in 1934.

The pattern on the roof of this house in a tax appraisal photo from 1934 is what caught our eye. The tax appraisal from that year lists the roof material as “New Comp”(osition). We do not know if that means tar paper shingles, but that is what it appears to be.

The house, which was built in 1902 and stood at 3604 South 700 East, was demolished sometime between 1958 and 1961 to make way for a duplex.

Photograph from Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Cards and Photographs, serial 16-2304.  

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Brothel Surplus Sale

This less than innocuous heading on documents archived by the Salt Lake County Real Estate Division compelled us to look at the history of 270 Reed Avenue in Salt Lake City.

During the 1970s and 80s the occupants of 270 Reed Avenue were known to be running a brothel out of the house. Rather than conducting raids and arrests, which would not take the house from the brothel owners, Salt Lake City decided to press racketeering charges. A conviction allowed the County to confiscate the house, much to the relief of local residents. Eventually the house and its contents were put up for sale to the highest bidder. However, a deal was eventually struck with prior owners.

The house has been around since the 1800s and was built by an auspicious person in Utah history.  George Washington Hill was a part of the original Mormon pioneers who settled Utah. He led an active and productive life, establishing settlements and acting as a guide for subsequent pioneer groups. Around 1876 he and his wife moved from Ogden to Salt Lake City and built the house on Reed Avenue. At around the same time he petitioned Salt Lake City seeking title to the entire triangular parcel of land, which may have matched the borders of the present day block. Hill was an Indian interpreter in his later life and helped to establish the Shoshone community at Washakie. He would also become known for his book, Vocabulary of the Shoshone Language. The location, across from the hot springs, was apparently chosen because the springs were often frequented by Native Americans.

An old Salt Lake County tax appraisal mentions another name from Utah’s history in relation to the house. The 1987 appraisal has a memo entry indicating that the residence had been condemned but that it was of historical significance since it once belonged to Porter Rockwell. This claim has eluded verification so it may have been inaccurate, or perhaps is an exaggeration of a short stay by Rockwell in the short span of time between the building of the house and Rockwell’s death in 1878.

270 Reed Avenue circa 1936. Tax Appraisal Photographs, serial 1-4011.

270 Reed Avenue circa 1936. Tax Appraisal Photographs, serial 1-4011.

270 Reed Avenue, circa 1980s. House stood empty after confiscation and until return to original owners.

270 Reed Avenue, circa 1980s. House stood empty after confiscation and until return to original owners.

Entry contributed by Vincent Fazzi. Thanks, Vince! Hope you are doing well at your new job.  

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Birth and Death Records Now Online

If you are searching for the record of a Salt Lake County birth occurring between 1890-1911, or a death record for the period between 1847-1949, you can now search and view digitized images of these records on our website!

The Salt Lake County historical birth and death records are searchable by subject’s name, father or mother’s name, and date. Results can be sorted alphabetically by first or last name of subject or parent, or chronologically by clicking on the column headings.

Please contact the Archives if you cannot locate a record or if you find an error in transcription, and happy hunting!

Causes of death from Salt Lake County Death Records.

Excerpt from Salt Lake County death records showing some causes of death, 1850-1853. Birthplaces were also listed if known.

Special thanks to Dr. Jenel Cope for her invaluable assistance in getting these records online.    

 

 

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Happy MayDay!

May 1, MayDay, is a day for archivists to review their disaster response and recovery plans. The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America’s Collections was published in 2005, soon after hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma hit the east coast. The report found that few institutions had a disaster plan, or their plans were out of date.

MayDay is also a day for anyone with treasures to preserve to check on the condition of their collections, and analyze any environmental threats that need to be addressed. A few of the many great resources available to help you with this responsibility include the MayDay Quick Tips from the Society of American Archivists, and a previous entry from this blog contains many great links.

MayDay_Libraries_14

 

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