Days Gone By: Hygeia Ice Company

Hygeia Ice Company, circa 1937. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Photographs, serial 13-3035.

Hygeia Ice Company, circa 1937. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Photographs, serial 13-3035.

When I say “Hygeia,” what memories come to mind?

Did you buy ice, or maybe even dry ice to make root beer, there?

Did you have a rented meat locker at Hygeia?

Did you swim in the Olympic-sized heated pool?

Did you ice skate or played hockey on what most said was the “best ice in Utah?”

Maybe some of you were fortunate enough to get to use Hygeia’s  roller-skate cement pad, or play on the miniature golf course while those were available at Hygeia.

Hygeia Ice plot plan drawing, 1977. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Cards, parcel 16-20-229-002.

Hygeia Ice Company plot plan drawing, 1977. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Cards, parcel 16-20-229-002.

Hygeia Iceland/ Swimland/ Skate rink was located at 1208 East 2100 South in the heart of Sugarhouse.  Hygeia’s sister company, the Carbo Chemical Plant, was located at 1246 East 2100 South and supplied carbonation for soda pop as well as other products.

Carbo Chemical Plant, circa 1948. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Photographs, parcel 16-20-229-006.

Carbo Chemical Plant, circa 1948. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Photographs, parcel 16-20-229-006.

If there is a place that you loved in “days gone by,” make an appointment to come see what information the Salt Lake County Archives  has about it.

For more about Hygeia, check out this article.

Entry contributed by guest blogger Sheri Kimball Biesinger

Posted in Guest blog, History from the ground up, Salt Lake history | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Guest blog, History from the ground up, Salt Lake history | 5 Comments

Welcome, Guest Blogger!

In our last blog entry, we highlighted the “Remembering Granger, Utah” Christmas tree that was created by a regular researcher at the Salt Lake County Archives.  Sheri Biesinger used images from the County Tax Appraisal Photographs as ornaments to decorate this unique tree.

Sheri has graciously agreed to become a community guest blogger (and volunteer) for the County Archives, and we would like to have her introduce herself to you.  Please stay tuned for upcoming guest blogs from Sheri, where she will introduce you to places you never knew existed, or perhaps allow you to revisit a long gone favorite hangout.

Sheri Biesinger, our new guest blogger, receiving an award from Utah governor.

Sheri Biesinger, our new guest blogger, receiving an award from Utah Governor Leavitt.  

My name is Sheri Kimball Biesinger. I have lived in West Valley City, Utah for most of my life.  I have 4 things I absolutely love to do:

The 1st is accounting. I have been an accountant/ bookkeeper for over 30 years.

My 2nd love is my community involvement. I have been honored by governors and 2 United States presidents for my community service.  For almost 25 years, I have had a non-profit company that serves people in dire circumstances. During December, I served almost 2,000 needy children/youth by providing Christmas wishes. The rest of the year I manage the non-profit group called, which provides new beds, clothing, shoes, books and school items to very deserving children in Salt Lake County and the surrounding area.

My 3rd love is my 3 wonderful children. My daughter lives in Beverly Hills and has her own business. My 2 sons attend Monticello Academy in West Valley.

My 4th love is History, especially the history of West Valley City. I have been thrilled to find so many wonderful pictures and facts about Granger, Chesterfield, & Hunter Utah (the three combine to make West Valley City) at the Salt Lake County Archives.

I look forward to being a guest blogger and can’t wait to share some wonderful parts of our past with you.

Posted in Salt Lake history, Utah history | Tagged | Leave a comment

Tree of Diversity

A regular researcher at the Salt Lake County Archives and member of the West Valley Historical Society has been invited to share on this blog some of the stories that she has uncovered during her journey in to the history of her community.  Sheri Kimball Biesinger (who you will be more formally introduced to in an upcoming blog entry) created a Christmas tree for the “Tree of Diversity” exhibit at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center using images from Salt Lake County’s Tax Appraisal Cards and Photographs.

Introducing the “Remembering Granger, Utah” tree, in Sheri’s own words:

Granger, Utah Christmas tree

“Remembering Granger” Christmas tree with ornament images from Salt Lake County Archives.

West Valley City hosts an annual Tree of Diversity display at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center.

This year I was able to use the wonderful pictures and information about Granger that I found at the Salt Lake County Archives to adorn one of the trees.

The Christmas tree is entitled “Remembering Granger, Utah”.  The tree has more than 300 pictures of both homes and businesses that were a familiar sight from 1865-1983. All of the pictures on the tree brought back a flood of wonderful memories for those that lived in or visited Granger, Utah during those years.

On the wall are displayed larger pictures as well as lists of businesses that served the Granger area from 1900-1983.

Most of the population of Granger didn’t think to take pictures of their favorite restaurant, barbershop, hometown department store or the local grocery store. But thanks to the Salt Lake County Assessor, pictures were taken of all commercial and residential building beginning in the 1930s.

“Remembering Granger” tree with wall exhibit.

Make sure you come and see my tree and call the Salt Lake County Archives to make an appointment so that you can find pictures and information of those much beloved buildings from your past.

Entry contributed by guest blogger Sheri Kimball Biesinger.

Happy holidays from Salt Lake County Records Management and Archives! 

Posted in Salt Lake history | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Florence Kimball Woodruff

P.H. Lannan, recent subject of one of our blog posts, purchased the Commerce Building on the corner of Second Street and West Temple in 1901 for around $90,000. We also recently featured a piece on Henry H. Lawrence, one of the owners who sold the building to Lannan. Lawrence’s niece, Florence Kimball Woodruff, was another of the owners. We were not able to find as much information on her as the two men, but she seems like a fascinating woman.

She was born in Utah in the early 1860s and passed away in October of 1924. She was married to Russell C. Woodruff in 1892 and was widowed just 5 years later (we have her wedding license here at Salt Lake County Archives, and an image of it is included below). The wedding announcement in the Salt Lake Herald describe Woodruff as a comparative stranger, but went on to say he was a “sterling business man.” Meanwhile, the description of Florence was glowing: “Miss Kimball, who has lived always in Salt Lake, is universally popular for her intelligence and many noble and womanly attributes. Her indefatigable interest and activity in behalf of the poor have endeared her to all alike.”

Florence and Woodruff had two children, Russell and Adelaide. They would have been three and one respectively when they lost their father. Russell would go on to marry Margaret Mcintyre in 1917 and have at least four children. Adelaide married a New York stockbroker, had two children, and passed away in 1930.

The Woodruffs were regularly featured in the society pages; Adelaide’s picture graced the Salt Lake Telegram’s pages at least twice. Florence and Adelaide were both involved in charitable work and traveled extensively. They spent a great deal of time on the East Coast and made more than one lengthy trip to Europe. Florence also went to the Mediterranean, Egypt, and the Holy Land. She even made it to Alaska. However, not all of her trips went smoothly. She was injured in an auto crash while in Los Angeles, California and suffered a broken arm. The woman she was with fared worse, likely because she, Mrs. Sarah McChrystal, saw the crash coming and tried to jump out of the car, even though she was 71 years old. She landed on the other car involved, was knocked out and ended up with three broken ribs and several cuts and abrasions.

In addition to her charity work, Florence was involved in women’s clubs, particularly the Ladies’ Literary Club. She also loved art and was part of that scene as well, including involvement in planning an exhibit for Utah artists. In 1907, she also tried to make things easier for working women by contributing to improvements to the YWCA, so that women would have a safe comfortable place to rest, eat, and socialize while passing through Salt Lake or those who had business in the city but who lived too far out to go home for lunch. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, “This step is designed to meet a long felt need in this city, and the venture is certainly one deserving highest commendation and most hearty support.” Salt Lake wasn’t the only city that benefited from Woodruff’s generosity. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that she “was one of those rendering valuable assistance to the refugees,” of the deadly 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

Florence Kimball Woodruff passed away on October 9th, 1924 after a short illness. Her obituary mentioned that she came “from old pioneer stock” and that she was an important and active member of the Ladies Literary Club as well as other clubs in Salt Lake. She was survived by her two children.

Marriage License, Salt Lake County Archives.

Marriage License for Russell Woodruff and Julia Florence Kimball, 25 April 1892.  Marriage Applications and Licenses, License #2688. Salt Lake County Archives.

Entry contributed by Dr. Michaele Smith,  Archivist,  Salt Lake County Archives.


“The Close of Lent,” Salt Lake Herald, April 17, 1892, 14.

“Former S. L. Woman Dies in New Jersey,” Salt Lake Telegram, January 10, 1930, 17.

“Popular Members of Young Society Set Learn How to Cook and Manage a House,” Salt Lake Telegram, March 26, 1916, 3.

“Miss Adelaide Woodruff,” Salt Lake Telegram, June 27, 1915, 14.

“Society,” Salt Lake Herald, August 16, 1908, 8.

“Salt Lake Women Hurt in Auto Crash on Coast,” Salt Lake Tribune, July 20, 1915, 1.

“Woman’s Club Notes,” Salt Lake Herald, January 26, 1902, 10.

“Utah Artists Exhibit,” Ogden Standard, December 7, 1904, 6.

“New Headquarters for Women Workers,” Salt Lake Tribune, May 20, 1907, 10.

“All Newspapers were Wrecked,” Salt Lake Tribune, April 27, 1906, 1.

“Death Claims Mrs. Woodruff,” Salt Lake Telegram, October 10, 1924, 2.

Image | Posted on by | Leave a comment

“Marriage is the Only Future Open to a Woman with a Past”


Ross M Bonny and Mrs. Amy Helen Hill, “Her Love Repulsed Woman Kills Lawyer, Salt Lake Herald, November 10, 1916, 1.

One hundred years ago today, November 9, 1916, a murder took place in the Kearns Building in downtown Salt Lake City. Mrs. Amy Helen Hill killed attorney Ross M. Bonny in his office, in front of his sister, Mrs. Winnie Vincent. The two women had been visiting Bonny, pleading with him to make an honest woman of Mrs. Hill, a divorcee who had spent the last five years living with Mr. Bonny. Bonny decided he no longer wanted to listen to the women and got up to leave. One newspaper story claimed he told them he was going to Midvale to spend time with the woman he had left Hill for, another divorcee. Before he could put on his jacket and hat, Hill had pulled a gun out of her muff and shot him in the head. Mrs. Vincent tried to take the gun from her, but Hill hung on to it, stood over Bonny and shot him again. She then seemed to come to her senses, ran out into the hall, where, frantic, she told the elevator operator that she had shot Mr. Bonny and asked for help. He took the gun from her and called for assistance. Police arrived shortly thereafter and took Mrs. Hill into custody.

Once in police custody Mrs. Hill fell apart, they questioned her and she readily admitted what she’d done and offered an explanation. Mrs. Hill had grown infatuated with Bonny several years before and, with his encouragement, she left her husband and four children and moved in with him. At first she pretended to be his maid, but overtime and after a move, people assumed they were married. Bonny helped her secure a divorce. Her husband was outraged, but came to terms with her departure and moved their children to Idaho where he eventually remarried. Hill expressed incredible guilt over leaving her family especially after one of her daughters died unexpectedly. To make matters worse, Bonny did not live up to his end of the bargain and never married her, even though she may have been pregnant at the time of the murder. His sister even tried to convince him to marry Hill. She later testified in court, “I urged my brother to marry Mrs. Hill because that would wipe the slate clean for both of them… Marriage is the only future open to a woman with a past.” Bonny was unyielding and seems to have moved on to another divorcée, who he had also helped obtain a divorce. Hill was devastated and may have been driven to murder after seeing Bonny with his new paramour. After questioning Hill, police placed her in a cell, but kept a close eye on her. They may have been worried she would collapse or try suicide in her distressed state.

Bonny had a bit of a checkered past himself. In addition to dating his clients, he also got into trouble with authorities after helping an accused white slaver to marry the key witness against him, ensuring that she could not be compelled to testify against him in court. He sneaked the woman into the jail and while officers weren’t paying attention held a quick marriage service right there in the visitor’s room. He bragged to journalists that he had done the same thing at least once before. Even so, his death was mourned by many. His funeral was well attended and his family expressed gratitude for all the people who attended his funeral and those who sent floral arrangements. One of his eulogists, Judge J. W. McKinney “told of how Mr. Bonny had started out in life as a poor boy and reached a place in a high profession by dint of hard labor and great sacrifice. He declared that the manner in which Mr. Bonny had educated himself and become a member of the bar was an object lesson for every poor boy in the land.”

Authorities quickly charged Hill with first degree murder. She sunk into a deep depression. In her various court hearings she sat silently or sobbed quietly. According to the newspaper, people who went to the trial hoping for a show, or at least some salacious details, were disappointed as she didn’t testify and she was such a pathetic figure. She only inspired pity. Even Bonny’s sister who witnessed the murder was sympathetic. After testifying at the coroner’s inquest she embraced Hill. The Salt Lake Telegram reported that, “they conversed for a while, between their sobs, and the only words to be distinguished were Mrs. Hill’s oft repeated, ‘It can’t be true – he is gone – gone.’”
Bonny’s brother, F.F. Bonny, also expressed sympathy towards Mrs. Hill. He told the Salt Lake Tribune, “I want the woman to know… that we hope she will take the matter as lightly as possible. We bear no malice toward her. My brother and she occasionally came out to our house and they seemed on good terms. My brother was a good boy. He was of kindly disposition, and the family feels that the crime was committed at a time when the woman did not realize what she was doing.”

Both the prosecuting and defense attorneys professed that the case would be an easy victory and in a way they were both right. Hill was convicted, but of a lesser offense and only received a 9 month sentence since she had been in jail for several months between the murder and her conviction. Apparently even this short sentence was too much as the board of parole declared that she should be freed immediately when her case came before them.

We first came across news of this murder while doing research for the blog post on the Sandercock murder that took place in 1911. Hill and one of Sandercock’s murderers, McVey, came before the parole board at the same time. The mention of a notorious female murderer caught our attention. We not only did research in the Utah Digital Newspapers, we also looked on the Salt Lake County Archives online death certificates and found Bonny’s.

Bonny's death certificate. Salt Lake County Archives.

Bonny’s death certificate. Salt Lake County Archives.


Photo by Michaele Smith, taken October 21, 2016

Entry contributed by Dr. Michaele Smith,  Archivist,  Salt Lake County Archives.


“Slayer of Bonny Brought to Trial,” Salt Lake Telegram, November 22, 1916, 2.

“Mrs. Hill Arraigned on Murder Charge,” Salt Lake Herald, November 15, 1916, 14.

“Earl Evans May Have the Indian Sign on Uncle Sam in Alleged White Slavery,” Salt Lake Telegram, November 9, 1914, 5.

“Couple Married Secretly in Jail,” Salt Lake Telegram, September 19, 1914, 10.

“Springville Shows Respect for Bonny,” Salt Lake Tribune, November 13, 1916, 12.

“Bonny’s Slayer Files Plea of Not Guilty,” Salt Lake Telegram, November 14, 1916, 10.

“Slayer of Bonny Pleads Not Guilty,” Salt Lake Tribune, January 14, 1917, 38.

Dolly Dale, “Bonny’s Sister Embraces His Slayer at Inquest,” Salt Lake Telegram, November 11, 1916, 2.

“Ross M. Bonny is Killed by Mrs. Amy Hill,” Salt Lake Tribune, November 10, 1916, 1 and 3.

Posted in Resources for research, Salt Lake history | Tagged , | Leave a comment

P.H. Lannan


“Committee Appointed,” Salt Lake Herald, April 29, 1897, 8

As we continue to expand upon the people and places appearing in the new “Ghosts of West Temple” online exhibit, this week we focus on businessman P.H. Lannan.

We recently featured a piece on Henry H. Lawrence, one of the owners of the Tribune Building (aka the Commerce Building) on the corner of Second South and West Temple. In 1901 he and the other owners sold the building to P.H. Lannan for around $90,000.

P. H. Lannan was born in Ireland in 1839 and immigrated to the United States sometime before 1870, setting up businesses in at least a couple of states before coming to Utah. His first appearance in Utah newspapers details the fight over the location of his butcher shop. When he first came to Utah, all butchers were relegated to the central market on First South and Main Street, as it was illegal for butchers to do business anywhere else. Lannan must not have liked this law because he opened a shop farther down on Main Street. He was arrested and fined, but upon his release he immediately opened up another shop also outside of the central market and was arrested again. This pattern repeated itself several more times and he appealed his cases and the law was finally changed. According to a newspaper outside of Utah the trouble he experienced was because he was a “gentile,” meaning a non-Mormon. The Truckee Rep. (possibly the Truckee Republican, a Californian paper) reported “his business interfered with Zion’s Co-operative Association, and the Mormons ordered him to cease that kind of business. Lannan, believing Salt Lake to be in the United States of America, refused to entertain such an order. For refusing to obey Brigham Young & Co., he was served with no less than seventeen warrants and covered with fines until he could hardly ‘see out.’” The Deseret News begged to differ and the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers offered another explanation – that is, it was a matter of location not religion that was at the heart of the matter. It was likely some combination of the two.

In addition to his work in the meat industry, Lannan purchased real estate, most notably the Commerce Building. He rented out portions of the building to various businesses, but he also opened a hotel there in 1904, the St. Nicholas Hotel. You can see a picture of the building around that time on the newly expanded Ghosts of West Temple exhibit. It was on the corner of West Temple and Second South.

Lannan also held an interest in (and managed) the Salt Lake Tribune which he bought from George W. Reed in 1882. Lannan sold his interest in 1901 around the same time that he purchased the Commerce Building.

Lannan became a favorite target of the Salt Lake Herald and the Deseret News, which often poked fun at his weight. One article in 1876 implied that he was as big as a horse, reporting, “There is a very generally expressed desire in this city to have Centennial Policeman P.H. Lannan appear in his uniform… We suggest that he exhibit himself in his new harness on the stage of the theatre some evening this week.”

Lannan received positive press too. The Salt Lake Tribune detailed an “anti-state meeting,” explaining the members were opposed to Utah being run as a theocracy (recent blog subject H. W. Lawrence was also involved in this movement). This article reported that Pat Lannan was voted one of the Vice Presidents of the committee and noted, “by the way the audience shouted for [him] … it is evident that our friend Pat is a very popular man and esteemed a good worker in a political party.” He was involved in politics, running for different offices or petitioning for territorial posts before Utah became a state.

Lannan played an important role in states outside of Utah as well. He was a member of the Idaho Irrigation and Colonization Company, “which built the first irrigation canal from the Boise river toward the Snake river. This project developed a large section of Idaho.” He also traveled to Chicago to secure a prime location for an exhibit on the Utah Territory during the World’s Fair of 1893. The statue of Brigham Young which now sits atop the Pioneer Monument in Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City was first on exhibit during the World’s Fair. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Lannan also contributed to the fund to build the monument.

Lannan’s mother died in January 1898. Her obituary mentions that Lannan was with her at the time of her death. The Salt Lake Herald reported that Mrs. Julia Lannan was “a highly respected lady and left a life record filled with good deeds.” Lannan was one of her three children; she had another son, Martin, who was also a businessman, and a daughter who was a nun in Maryland.

Lannan passed away in Los Angeles on November 6, 1925 and left a large estate which was divided between his surviving family members. In the last decades of his life his appearance in Utah newspapers diminished, but the Salt Lake Telegram noted, “P.H. Lannan, better known as ‘the Bishop,’ can be found most any evening seated in front of the big fireplace in the [Jonathan] club headquarters surrounded by a coterie of admiring friends. Although Mr. Lannan has rounded his eighty-first birthday, he is very apt at story telling and it is considered a real treat to be one of his listeners.”

Entry contributed by Dr. Michaele Smith,  Archivist,  Salt Lake County Archives.


“Local and Other Matters,” Deseret News, November 27, 1872, 7.

Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, Tales of a Triumphant People: A History of Salt Lake County, Utah 1847-1900, (Utah: Daughters of Utah Pioneers; 2nd Edition, 1995), 296-298.

“Local News,” Intermountain Catholic, October 26, 1901, 4.

“Death of Mrs. Lannan,” Salt Lake Herald, January 7, 1898, 8.

“Pat and His Uniform,” Salt Lake Herald, May 4, 1876, 3.

“Local Matters,” Salt Lake Tribune, March 18, 1872, 3.

“At the Capital,” Salt Lake Herald, April 11, 1886, 12.

“Former Governor of Utah is Dead,” Mt Pleasant Pyramid, September 19, 1924, 6.

“The Pioneers’ Monument,” Salt Lake Tribune, January 7, 1895, 8.

“P.H. Lannan Will Filed for Probate,” Salt Lake Telegram, December 31, 1925, 3.

“Has Note About P.H. Lannan,” Salt Lake Telegram, April 21, 1921, 6.

Posted in Salt Lake history, Utah Archives Month | Tagged , | Leave a comment