State of the Roads, Part II

7-411 to 13 1445 South Main St. cropped

1445 South Main Street, circa 1936. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Photographs, serial 7-411/13.

Some additional interesting facts from the history of road development in Salt Lake City:

  • Salt Lake City had no paved streets in 1890.  The 275 miles of dirt streets were rated among the dirtiest in the West.  By 1920, Salt Lake City had 73 miles of paved streets.
  • Utah began building its link to the transcontinental highway in 1916.  The Lincoln Highway became the first paved roadway allowing drivers to drive from New York to San Francisco in 1923.
  • In 1920, a Chamber of Commerce brochure described Salt Lake City as having the “Broadest and most beautifully laid out streets in the world,” and it was “Known to be one of the most scientifically arranged cities in America.”
  • By 1925, Salt Lake City had 62 automobile dealerships and 30,000 automobiles.
  • In 1928, Salt Lake City became the first city in the world to use trolley buses with pneumatic tires and soon after became the first to adopt rear-engine motor buses.

Visit our online exhibit  for more information and photographs documenting the automobile culture in Salt Lake County, including automobile dealerships, gas stations, and more!


  • Sillitoe, Linda. Welcoming the World.
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