The Jordan Queen

The Jordan Queen in 1985. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Photographs, Salt Lake County Archives.

The Jordan Queen in 1985. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Photographs, Salt Lake County Archives.

This is Sheri Biesinger, and I am a guest blogger for the Salt Lake County Archives. I have to tell you about one the most exciting things that I have discovered at the Archives.

Many of you may remember James Sorenson. He was known as one of Utah’s richest men, with a worth estimated to be $4.5 billion. He was a pioneer in the medical field, and owned medical companies, restaurants, communications companies, clothing lines, had many real estate ventures, and also worked in genetics.

Sorenson was also a philanthropist, giving away millions of dollars to charitable causes. In 2006-7, he made a one million dollar donation to Medicaid to benefit Utah’s poor. He was also a major contributor to the Sorenson Multi Cultural Center. This center was named after him and to this day benefits families in Salt Lake City. But, many of you may not have realized that in 1984, James Sorenson built the Jordan Queen, formerly located at 4393 Riverboat Road in Murray.  Many may remember The Jordan Queen, also known as the Jordan Riverboat, or the Riverboat.  It was a restaurant and conference center, and sat right on the banks of the Jordan River with water actually surrounding the boat.

The Riverboat in 1992. Salt Lake County Planning and Development photographs, Salt Lake County Archives.

The Riverboat in 1992. Salt Lake County Planning and Development Photographs, Salt Lake County Archives.

There were very few restaurants as beautiful, ornate, and unique as The Jordan Queen.  It was built as a replica of a stern-wheeler paddle boat.  I know it was a spectacular place to hold special dinners, anniversary celebrations, wedding receptions, school proms, showers, and corporate lunches. The food was wonderful and the atmosphere was outstanding.  Most of the people that went to the Jordan Queen would never forget their experience there.

From the collection of Sheri Biesinger.

From the collection of Sheri Biesinger.

The Jordan Queen was built on a permanent foundation, and the finishing of both the interior and exterior were done to duplicate a river boat and were of fantastic quality.

Some of the interesting facts about The Jordan Queen:
Originally built in 1984 on a 5 1/2 acres site;
It contained a total of 22,000 square feet ;
It had 4 floors: the 1st floor 8,100 square feet;
The main floor was 8,100 square feet;
The 3rd floor 4,400 square feet and
The 4th floor was 1,300 square feet.

The Jordan Queen plot plan drawings. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Cards, Salt Lake County Archives.

The Jordan Queen plot plan drawings. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Cards, Salt Lake County Archives.

The Jordan Queen was torn down in the 1990s and I have spent over a decade looking for  pictures of it. My journey to find more information about the Jordan Queen started when I made an appointment with the Salt Lake County Archives. They pulled the Jordan Queen files for me, and I was able to not only see the pictures posted with this blog but the specs for the building itself. It is something I have waited decades to find.

Sometimes are memories aren’t enough. We need to see pictures of the past.
Make your appointment today, and maybe I’ll see you at the archives!

~Entry contributed by guest blogger Sheri Biesinger

This entry was posted in Guest blog, History from the ground up, Salt Lake history. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Jordan Queen

  1. Doug Hancock says:

    I worked at the Jordan Queen during my high school years. I showed up there on opening day looking for a job, I washed dishes until midnight. The next day they put me on the fryer, and I worked in the kitchens until I left form my LDS mission. I got to meet Mr. Sorenson several times.
    It was a really fun place to work.

  2. Kathleen Bares says:

    I so much enjoy all your pictures of the Granger I grew up in and some of the pictures that were after I left….but keep them coming…..

  3. Danny says:

    Love Sheri and her blogs.

  4. Anonymous says:

    So glad you wrote about this and included a picture! I’ve been trying to remember the name and find some info on it for quite awhile.

    Thank you for your efforts and your post. Well done.

  5. slcoarchives says:

    Hey, Vince! Great to hear from you and hope all is well in your part of the world. Passey says “hi.”

  6. Wonderful records. I recall Karri mentioning the Jordan Queen to me and I think I may have had a go at looking for the tax records but was unsuccessful. Great to see you found it.

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