7 Years of “Temporary” Storage: The Early Years of the Archives

In September 1985, Salt Lake County held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the construction of a new Government Center. The site, at 2001 State Street, was an important location in the County’s history.  From 1885 until 1965 it had served as the location of the County Hospital.  When the hospital closed in 1965, the buildings remained and were used to house some County offices.

Room in the old Salt Lake County Hospital containing records to move out. Photo taken 1986.

Room in the Salt Lake County Hospital containing records to move to temporary storage. Photo taken in 1986.

800 S 035

Records stacked in the Salt Lake City and County building. Photo taken in 1986.

In preparation for the move from those former hospital offices and from the former home of county government, the City-County building, a program was created to evaluate, inventory, and relocate the records of county agencies.  That program began in May 1986 with a full-time contract project consultant. Two interns assisted from May – August, and  two part-time archive clerks worked from October – December.  Staff moved the records to what was supposed to be a temporary records storage center in a County motor pool service garage on 800 South.

County motor pool service garage, aka temporary records storage.

County motor pool service garage, aka temporary records storage.

Last week, we wrote about the down-to-the-wire efforts of the staff to complete that work, and the report by the project manager that advocated a permanent records program.

As a result of those efforts, in January 1987 the permanent Salt Lake County Records Management and Archives program was established with one full time coordinator and two part-time archives clerks.

Records Management and Archives staff, circa 1987/1988.

Records Management and Archives staff, circa 1987/1988. Front, seated: Dave Singer. Back, left to right: Tony ?, Robert Westby (first County Records Manager), Robert Zito.

For seven years, these early staff members personally delivered records from the service garage to county agencies, carefully working around the car lifts which still remained in the garage floor.  They also provided services to the public from an office in the new Government Center. A report in November 1988 indicated that they received an average of 50 information requests per month.

Paul Palmer, second Records Manager, at work in the 800 South records center. Photo 1993.

Paul Palmer, second Records Manager, at work in the 800 South records center. Photo 1993.

In 1992, Salt Lake County made history when it passed the first county records law ordinance in the state of Utah.  The law helped ensure that inactive records from county agencies, in accordance with state law, would be managed by the Records Management and Archives program.

Next week we’ll talk about another big move in the history of the program.

This entry was posted in Archives building, Archives staff, Records Management, Salt Lake history and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s