Ode to Snow

46 South Smokey Lane, Emigration Canyon, 1984, Planning Photos coll

Emigration Canyon, 1984. Salt Lake County Planning and Development photograph collection.


This house up Emigration Canyon Road is located between Pioneer Gulch and Sheep Gulch.  The canyon and house were hit with multiple snowstorms in the winter of 1984, as this photograph shows.

Thank goodness this little girl was up to the job of digging it all out.

Source: This image was discovered recently while processing a large collection of photographs carefully gathered by Salt Lake County Planning and Development and sent to the Archives.  The collection contains images of residential and commercial buildings from the 1950s-2000s.  

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To continue the story….

Josephine Taylor, daughter of Louisa Capener and Joseph E. Taylor (and subjects of the previous blog entry), married Dr. William F. Beer.  Dr. Beer (1870-1949) was a graduate of George Washington Medical School and a prominent Salt Lake City physician.  He was in charge of the medical care for German prisoners of war at Fort Douglas during World War I, and was later awarded the Iron Cross for successfully bringing all prisoners through the influenza epidemic.

The Beers hired architect Richard K.A. Kletting to design their new house at 181 B Street in Salt Lake City in 1898/1899. Kletting was the most prominent architect in Salt Lake history (designing the Utah State Capitol building, among many other projects in the West and around the world).

Article from the Salt Lake Tribune, November 19, 1899.

Article from the Salt Lake Tribune, November 19, 1899.

181 B Street plot plan, 1936.

181 B Street plot plan, 1936. Tax Appraisal Cards, serial 04-607.

Later in her life, Josephine Taylor Beer’s mother, Louisa Capener Taylor, moved out of her house at 237 East 100 South and moved in with her daughter and son-in-law at 181 B Street.

Josephine and William F. Beer also built a carriage house and livery on the property in 1899. According to the National Register of Historic Places nomination form for 181 B Street:

“Area residents describe it as originally a two-story brick structure with a steeple on top. Dimensions were approximately 47’ x 40’ and it was used to shelter (at least) nine draft/riding horses, cattle, chickens, rabbits, etc., two buggies, as a residence for the caretakers. The structure was cut in half about World War I, for use as a garage.”

Carriage house/livery at 222 Fourth Avenue. Photo taken in 1936. Tax Appraisal Photographs, serial 04-605.

Carriage house/livery on 181 B Street property. Official address 222 Fourth Avenue. Photo taken in 1936. Tax Appraisal Photographs, serial 04-605.


National Register of Historic Places nomination form, 181 B Street, Salt Lake City, Utah.  

“New Residence of Dr. W.F. Beer,” Salt Lake Tribune, November 19, 1899. Accessed via Utah Digital Newspapers.

Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Cards and Photographs, parcel 09-31-338-004 and 09-31-338-006; serial 04-605 and 04-607. Salt Lake County Archives.  

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Lost House: 237 East 100 South

237 East 100 South.  Photograph taken in 1936. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Cards, serial 1-2643.

237 East 100 South. Photograph taken in 1936. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Cards, serial 1-2643.

In 1936, Josephine L. (Taylor) Beer owned this residence at 237 East 100 South. A ten room, two-story house built in approximately 1871, it had previously been owned and occupied by Josephine’s mother, Louisa (Capener) Taylor.

Louisa’s father, William Capener, was a master cabinet maker from England who traveled on a trip to New York City in 1834.  He liked what he saw and his wife and children soon joined him to make the United States their permanent home. Capener worked as a carpenter in the shipyards of Cleveland, Ohio, and was converted to the L.D.S. religion by a Cleveland neighbor. The family was ready to travel to Utah, but Brigham Young asked them to stay and provide shelter to the many immigrants and missionaries traveling through the region. The Capener family were financially prosperous in Ohio, but finally in 1852 left behind a house with large gardens. Multiple wagons packed full of their belongings crossed the plains to Utah, including a melodeon (organ) which Louisa adored and regularly played. Reportedly the first melodeon to arrive in Salt Lake, Brigham Young convinced William Capener to sell it to him, much to the chagrin of Louisa.

William Capener purchased property in the 300 East block of 100 South of Salt Lake City, and reportedly established the first cabinet shop in Utah.  William’s wife was Sarah Verrinder, a cultured woman who had been a seamstress to nobility in England and spoke fluent French (according to daughter Louisa’s reminiscences).

Their daughter Louisa Capener married Joseph E. Taylor, and he joined her father as a cabinet maker. In 1860, Louisa and Joseph Taylor were living in the residence of Louisa’s parents.  Soon afterward, according to family history, Louisa grasped another opportunity for the family.  As Louisa’s daughter, Elizabeth, recalled:

President Brigham Young announced from the stand in Sunday afternoon meeting in the old Tabernacle that Jessie C. Little, City Sexton, had asked to be released as he did not like “burying the dead.” President Young asked if anyone present would volunteer to take his place. My mother, Louisa R. Capener Taylor, was present at the meeting, and the thought came to her that her husband could fulfill the vacancy. That evening she suggested the same to her husband, Joseph E. Taylor, who went to President Young and offered to take the job and was accepted. Plans were made for father to dig the graves, and my grandfather, William Capener, who was a cabinet maker and established in the furniture manufacturing business, was to make the coffins.

My mother [Louisa Capener Taylor] would assist in preparing the bodies for burial. These were times when some of the people were in such poor circumstances they could not purchase burial clothes. My mother would take her linen sheets or other suitable cloth, some of which was brought across the plains, and supply the clothing.

Joseph E. Taylor became the City’s most prominent undertaker, and was also the Salt Lake City cemetery’s sexton.

Later, Louisa Capener Taylor divorced Joseph E. Taylor and ran her own household at 237 East 100 South until the 1920s, just down the street from where her parents first settled.  She later moved in with her daughter, Josephine and husband, Dr. William F. Beer. Josephine inherited 237 East 100 South, the third generation to continue the family’s stewardship of buildings on 100 South.  The property was later sold to St. Mark’s Episcopal Parish (the Cathedral Church of St. Mark had always been next door), and the house was torn down in 1951.

Sanborn map from 1889 showing the 200 East block along 100 South, including the 237 East residence and Joseph E. Taylor’s company (click the image to enlarge):

1889 Salt Lake City Sanborn  Fire Insurance Map showing 237 East 100 South and Joseph Taylor's business.

1889 Salt Lake City Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showing 237 East 100 South and Joseph Taylor’s business.

Sources (for details contact the Archives):

Census records: Utah, Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City, 1860-1930. 

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps: Salt Lake City, 1889, sheet 016.  Mountain West Digital Library. Accessed 01/29/2015.

“Joseph E. Taylor bows head under weight of many years hard toil,” Salt Lake Herald, 1913-02-19. Utah Digital Newspapers. Accessed 01/29/2015.

“William Capener Family History” by Lucile Hanks Brown White. Accessed 01/29/2015.

Tax Appraisal Cards and Photographs, 237 East 100 South, serial 1-2643. Salt Lake County Archives. 

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Celebrating Maestro Maurice Abravanel

January 2015 marks the 22nd anniversary of the Salt Lake County Board of Commissioners’ decision to honor Maurice Abravanel (1903-1993), conductor of the Utah Symphony for over 30 years.  In 1993, the Commissioners approved the renaming of Utah’s Symphony Hall to Abravanel Hall.

Salt Lake County Commission Minutes, February 1, 1993.

Salt Lake County Commission Minutes, February 1, 1993.

Abravanel had an illustrious career as a conductor. In fact, at 33 Maurice became the youngest conductor in the history of the Met. Abravanel also work with many notable names in the industry including: Bruno Walter, George Balanchine, and Pierre Monteux. Maurice worked in Berlin, Paris, on Broadway, California, and even turned down a job at Radio City Music Hall to stay in Utah and support the Utah Symphony. Throughout his career Abravanel received many awards and recognition for his work. The renaming of Symphony Hall allowed the citizens of Utah to express their gratitude to a man who gave so much of himself to the Symphony and Utah.

On December 16, 1991 the Salt Lake County Commission honored Maurice Abravanel with the following resolution:

Maurice Abravanel 1

Maurice Abravanel 2

Maurice Abravanel 3

 ~Entry contributed by Tarienne Mitchell, Salt Lake County Archivist


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Happy Holidays!

Christmas shoppers in 1940.  40-80 East 100 South, Salt Lake City. serial 1-2572.

Christmas shoppers in 1940. 40-80 East 100 South, Salt Lake City. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Photographs, serial 1-2572.

As another year comes to a close, the staff of the Salt Lake County Archives want to thank you for your readership and support.  

 We wish you a safe and happy holiday season!  

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Before and After

del Roy Grocery

The Del Roy Grocery in 1936. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Cards and Photographs.

The building located at 567 East and 600 South has been serving the Salt Lake community since it was built in 1903.  It has served many purposes and gone through many changes, so much so that many have questioned whether the original building still exists today.

blog 2

Plot plan drawing of the Del Roy Grocery in 1936.

In 1936, as the Del Roy Grocery owned by Walter James, the building had a tin roof, dirt floors, and an outdoor bathroom around the right side. In 1945, Mr. James remodeled the front of the store which involved moving the door’s location to the middle.






Dell and Nellie Larsen made some improvements of their own during the years they owned the store. By the appraisal in 1955, they had two large planters flanking the door and regular flooring. At the time of the 1962 appraisal, they had added a wall which enclosed the bathroom and also added footage to the store.

Plot plan, 1962.

Plot plan, 1962.

During the 1960s, the Del Roy was converted in to an office building, during which the building’s front changed so much that it became unrecognizable. The change may have encouraged the notion that the original building had been demolished (as noted on later tax assessment cards).  However, upon learning that this was not the case, the assessor made a special effort to note that the old grocery store had in fact not been torn down but just remodeled.

Looking at the 1977 tax assessment photograph of the building (below), it is easy to see why it was mistaken for a completely different building.

blog 4

Building after remodel, 1977.

~Entry contributed by Tarienne Mitchell, Salt Lake County Archivist.  

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National Archives Month, 2014

October is National Archives Month. Throughout this month, archives and archivists raise awareness about their collections through different exhibits and events. The Salt Lake County Archives is currently working on an online exhibition that will highlight records in our collections on houses that have long since been torn down but hold keys to rich Utah history.  This exhibit is still in the works but until then we would like to honor all archivists, interns, historians, and volunteers who collect and preserve our history.

While doing research in our tax ledgers on microfilm, it was discovered that someone’s hand had been captured during the process of filming the record. Archivists strive hard to ensure they leave no marks or evidence behind that they have handled a record. However, this image serves as a reminder of the countless hours and hard work that many archivists, interns, volunteers, and others have invested to ensure that these records are available for future generations to come.  So let this nameless hand be a reminder to us all how thankful we are that our history is being looked after so well.

Hand image for Archives Month 2014 post

Salt Lake County Tax Ledgers on microfilm

~Entry contributed by Tarienne Mitchell, Salt Lake County Archivist.



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