Happy Presidents’ Day

In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt visited Salt Lake City. After arriving on a train at the Oregon Short Line Depot downtown, President Roosevelt was the star of a parade that proceeded from the depot all the way to the Salt Lake City-County Building. Over 40,000 people attended the parade, with 25,000 people gathered on the City-County Building grounds to greet him. He then proceeded to the Tabernacle downtown and gave a rousing speech. Read about the rest of his visit in this edition of the Utah Historical Quarterly from 2014.

Salt Lake County participated in the celebrations with significant contributions made to the parade decorations and infrastructure, as our Archivist Daniel Cureton discovered while processing Proceedings of the Salt Lake County Commission:

Salt Lake County Commission Proceedings, 1898-1918. Series CM-336. Salt Lake County Archives.

Blog idea and records discovered and contributed by Daniel Cureton, Archivist.

Land Title Certificates Online

For nearly two decades after the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints first settled in Utah, land ownership in the territory was determined by the Utah Territorial government.  This territorial government established its own methods of surveying and of acquiring land title.  These titles however, weren’t recognized by the Federal Government.  In fact, by federal law all land in Utah was considered to be in public domain under the provisions of the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.  According to previously established federal law governing the territorial process, the determination of land title in new territories was supposed to be conducted through a federal land office and in accordance with federal government surveys. 

By the time the federal land office was finally opened in Utah in March 1869, the size and complexity of Salt Lake City made it difficult to resolve land title using existing federal laws.  Because of this, the U.S. Congress eventually passed specific laws allowing the territorial legislatures to create a process by which individuals could gain title to land in these already settled towns.  The Utah Territorial Legislature set up a system for individuals, corporations, and associations to present a claim to the territorial probate courts, which at that time in Utah had jurisdiction not only over the settlement of estates, but also over civil and criminal matters.

The Land Title Certificates at the Salt Lake County Archives are a result of this process.  The collection contains the land title certificates granted to petitioners from 1871 to 1879 which finally provided federally recognized land title to the people of Salt Lake County.  Although issued in the 1870s, these records can retroactively document land possession back to the 1850s.

The Land Title Certificates are currently being digitized and uploaded to our website, and records for surnames beginning with “E” are available online now. Additional records will be uploaded each week.

Check out the records online, and for additional history about the Land Title Certificates and the collection, check out the descriptive guide.

Happy Holidays!

Thank you to our patrons for their patience throughout this difficult year. We have had to either completely close or restrict access to the Archives at various times, and we appreciate your understanding while waiting for records requests to be filled. We are currently filling requests digitally Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

We hope that you have a safe and happy holiday season!

Please note: The Salt Lake County Archives will be closed the following dates for the holidays:

December 21 – 25 and December 31 – 1

New Look, Same Mission

You may have noticed our new blog header! Refreshing the overall look of this blog also involved adding a theme that expresses the basic mission of the Salt Lake County Archives.

We are the County’s official repository for its records of long-term value, dating from 1852 to the present.  This includes records in various formats as they were created and used, such as paper and photographs, and those that have reached obsolescence (think floppy disks and videocassette tapes, to name a few). The herculean task of migrating data from one format to another to ensure preservation of data also involves a large amount of staff time and resources. We are also responsible for the management of born-digital records.

Analog or electronic. Paper or PDF. The digital age has created many challenges, but our mission remains the same: preserve and provide access to the content of the records, “regardless of format.”

Archives Closures for November

Due to the Governor’s recent state of emergency proclamation, the Archives will be closed through November 20.  Staff will return to answer reference requests digitally on November 24 and 25.

We will be closed on November 26 and 27 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

However you celebrate the holidays, we hope you stay healthy and safe.

The Election: November 5, 1912

Staff recently came upon this resolution discussing whether to utilize voting machines or ballots for the election held on November 5, 1912. Issues surrounding assuring the validity of votes and privacy of voters has been and will continue to be an ongoing issue.

Source: Salt Lake County Commission Resolutions: 1901-1920, Box CMR-02, Folder 12 “Resolutions July-December, 1912.” Series: CM-342.

Entry contributed by Daniel Cureton, Archivist.

“Ghosts of West Temple” Returns

The houses are long gone and the families have moved, but their stories and images still remain.

The “Ghosts of West Temple” exhibit has returned.

New to the interactive digital story this year are houses and businesses extending further north along West Temple, and also an exploration of some of the history along North Temple.

The sections of West Temple highlighted in the 2015 and 2016 exhibits have been combined with the new additions to create one place-based narrative.

One of the many families that lived on North Temple included Elias Smith. Elias Smith (1804-1888) was the Salt Lake County Probate Judge from 1852 – 1884, postmaster and editor of the Deseret News, and served in other county and territorial positions.

Elias Smith served in many Salt Lake County and Utah Territorial positions. Image used by permission, Utah State Historical Society.

Elias Smith lived at 123 West North Temple until his death in 1888, along with his wives Lucy Brown (1821-1895) and Amy J. King (1836-1913). His home was built in 1855 and was designed by architect Truman O. Angell.

123 West North Temple. Image used by permission, Utah State Historical Society.
Death of Judge Elias Smith. Deseret News, 07-04-1888.

Check out the new exhibit for more stories and images!

Utah Archives Month: The Women of the Recorder’s Office

In recognition of the Utah Archives Month’s theme of Finding Women in the Records, we are highlighting the Salt Lake County Recorder’s office. The Recorder is responsible for the documents recorded by citizens within their office, and:

If it involves the sale, purchase, transfer, or change to a property the Recorder’s Office is the official record keeper. This elected office keeps track of every mortgage and re-finance. The Recorder’s Office is the foundation of the entire real estate market in the county. 

from: https://slco.org/recorder/about/

From 1921-2000, ten women held the office of Recorder for an unprecedented 80 years. Here are images of just a few of these women.

Aurora H. Duncan, Salt Lake County Recorder from 1927-1931.
Jessie Evans Smith, Salt Lake County Recorder from 1935-1938.
Cornelia S. Lund, Salt Lake County Recorder from 1939-1946.
Jeradean P. Martin, Salt Lake County Recorder from 1971-1974.
Katie L. Dixon, Salt Lake County Recorder from 1975-1994.

Currently, Rashelle Hobbs serves as the Salt Lake County Recorder. Check out the Recorder’s office website for more information about their roles and duties.

Thank you to the Salt Lake County Recorder’s office for providing these images and allowing us to showcase them here.

Utah Archives Month: Family History Day 2020

In celebration of Utah Archives Month 2020, the Utah State Archives will host a virtual Family History Day this Saturday, October 17. The agenda includes discussions from a variety of repositories across Utah about the genealogical records that they hold, presentations from State Archives staff, and also a virtual tour. This event is free but you do need to register.