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 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.

Utah Archives Month: Space for Women

To celebrate the Utah Archives Month theme of “Women in the Archives,” we are reposting an entry originally published on 03/27/2013. We hope that you enjoy this one again.

This record provides a view of a time in history when more and more women were working in social spaces formerly predominantly occupied by men.  The County Commission required a formal opinion to be issued by their Attorney before they could alter rooms in the building.

Salt Lake County Attorney, Opinion, 1915.
Salt Lake County Attorney, Opinion, 1915. Series AY-307.

Utah Archives Month 2020

October is American Archives Month, during which archives across the nation highlight their collections and services. Utah’s theme this year is “Finding Women in the Records,” in recognition of the 150th anniversary of Utah women being the first to vote under an equal suffrage law.

Archives in Utah will be participating by offering both onsite and online events due to the virus pandemic that is still ongoing in Utah.

Check out the schedule of events on the Utah Archives Month website. Also check out Better Days 2020 for more information and events surrounding the 150th anniversary.

Ready for Take Off?

This gas station was located at 4126 South Redwood Road when this photograph was taken in 1961. It epitomized how gas station architecture had at one time been greatly inspired by the space-age. The uniquely shaped canopy not only made this building very noticeable to drivers/potential customers, but reflected the popular interest in technology and aeronautics at the time. Even the tall lights appear to be ready to take off and fly away in to the sky.

A work of art in its own right, this plot plan of the Regal gas station was drawn by the tax assessor in 1961 and shows the high-tech angles of this building.

Images from the Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Cards and Photographs, serial 24B-351.