One thing that often jumps out of the documents at the archives is the climate of the time. Even if the dates were removed, you’d be able to place them in their time period. We’ve been sharing some of our finds from the Salt Lake County Attorney’s Correspondence, most of which comes from the 1930s and 1940s. Sometimes the contents could belong in other times and places, like letters warning neglectful parents that they need to provide for their children, which unfortunately could be from just about any time in the 20th and 21st centuries. Other times they are clearly of the moment, like when they discuss WPA projects placing them within the New Deal era. The contents of the letter we are sharing today place it squarely in the era of prohibition. It is dated 1935, which is the tail end of prohibition in Utah.  By the end of that year it would be possible to purchase alcohol legally in this state.

In the letter, the Superintendent of the Salt Lake County Hospital asks the Board of County Commissioners (who forwarded the question to the County Attorney) for help with the annual expense for alcohol. It was an interesting plan. The hospital spent nearly a thousand dollars a year on alcohol, which they would presumably use for medicinal purposes. The Superintendent suggested that the alcohol the County Sheriff seized, which was then marked for destruction, should instead be given to the Hospital.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the request was denied.

Salt Lake County Attorney’s Correspondence, series AD-006. Salt Lake County Archives.

Salt Lake County Attorney’s Correspondence, series AD-006. Salt Lake County Archives.

Entry contributed by Dr. Michaele Smith,  Archivist,  Salt Lake County Archives.  

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Happy Holidays!

Christmas wishes sent to the Salt Lake County Attorney, circa 1940. Salt Lake County Attorney’s Correspondence, series AY-303.

Happy holidays to all of our readers!  Thank you for your comments and support throughout this year.

Please note: The Archives will be open limited hours through the end of December.  We will be closed Christmas Day, December 25.

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One of our archivists, Michaele Smith, has had an article published in the latest Utah Historical Quarterly!  The article is based upon a chapter of her PhD dissertation, and is an examination of rape cases in Utah during World War II and the years preceding it to explore the difficulties women faced when reporting rape.

Michaele received her PhD in American Studies from the College of William and Mary in 2013, and has authored many of the entries for this blog.

Check out the article’s Web Extra on the Utah Historical Quarterly’s website, and read the entire article in the Summer 2017 (volume 85, number 3) issue recently released.

A cartoon from “The Wolf,” a syndicated comic. Printed in the “Hillfielder,” a Hill Air Force Base newspaper, in 1945. The cartoon implied that women could defend unwanted advances if they really wanted to.

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Holiday Closure

“The day after”

Happy Thanksgiving!  

Please note that we will be CLOSED November 23 and 24 for the holiday.


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More Than Just Pickles: Update

Utah Pickle Company in 1977.  Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Photographs, serial 1-383.

Two years ago, we posted an entry highlighting the history of the Utah Pickle Company building, located at 741 West 400 South.  Its future was in doubt, but we now have an update on the plans for this building.

A grant was awarded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, through their Partners in Preservation program, to restore and redesign this building and an adjacent building.  They will became a “1.5-acre epicenter (to) serve creative minds, independent artists, and inspired locals looking for a space to gather, work, and celebrate.”  See the announcement by clicking this link.  Congratulations, Utah Pickle Company building!

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“Utah Friends of Sunshine”

Did you know that a group called the “Utah Friends of Sunshine” tried to establish a nudist colony in Utah in 1941? They did, and Salt Lake County officials were quick to put a stop to it. The sheriff approached the County Attorney Harold Wallace, asking for advice on how to handle the possibility of a nudist colony. Wallace told him the colony would be in violation of the statute prohibiting lewdness. Wallace further suggested that new legislation be enacted to strengthen existing laws.

Salt Lake County Attorney’s Correspondence, series AD-006. Salt Lake County Archives.

















                                                     Happy Friday!

Entry contributed by Dr. Michaele Smith,  Archivist,  Salt Lake County Archives.

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For several months we’ve been processing the correspondence of the County Attorney, mostly that of Harold Wallace who held that position in the 1930s and 1940s. We’ve found Arrest Reports mixed in with the other correspondence. Today’s blog shares the details of one of the more entertaining reports.

On July 17, 1937 at about 12:45 am, Edwin Bishop got into his Chevrolet Coach and left his job with Utah Construction in Bingham Canyon. He gave a ride to an acquaintance named George Demich. Demich was in Bingham Canyon looking for work and had gotten rides from Bishop before. They headed to downtown Salt Lake City. On the way they picked up a hitch-hiker near the Standard Garage. The hitch-hiker was 32-year-old Lawrence Walker. He agreed to be dropped off around 5th South State Street, near Bishop’s home, but when they got there he refused to get out of the car and pulled a gun on the other two men. Demich later said the gun was a black long-barreled six-shooter. Walker then demanded that they drive to Route 91 and head north; he would tell them where to stop.

Demich and Bishop did as they were told. Bishop stopped near Ogden and tried to convince Walker to get out of the car, but he refused and they continued north. At some point Walker asked the two men to give him their money. Bishop didn’t have any, but Demich gave him $1.80. Walker rambled on about being unemployed and discussed his job search. He was clearly intoxicated, he later told arresting officers that he didn’t remember anything after getting in the car and that he didn’t recognize the gun. He also tried to claim that the car was his and told police that he only got into legal trouble when he had been drinking and that when he got drunk he would “go nuts and usually stay drunk for a week at a time.”

During the drive, Walker also told his captives that he planned to kick them out of the car so he could take it, but he never got around to it. When they reached Brigham City at about 4am, Bishop and Demich realized that Walker had been quiet for a long time. They turned and looked into the back seat, where Walker was soundly asleep, the gun still sitting in his lap.

Salt Lake County Attorney’s Correspondence, series AD-006. Salt Lake County Archives.

Entry contributed by Dr. Michaele Smith,  Archivist,  Salt Lake County Archives.

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