Beatrice M. Hansen

“Philanthropy,” said Thoreau, “is almost the only virtue which is sufficiently appreciated by mankind.”

Certainly all of Utah is the beneficiary of the charitable works of Mrs. Beatrice M. Hansen, who died this week in Salt Lake City at the age of 88.

~Obituary of Beatrice M. Hansen, Deseret News, 08-05-1981

Beatrice M. and George T. Hansen’s house in 1936. 1409 Federal Way, Salt Lake City. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Photographs, 05-2164.

Mrs. Beatrice M. Hansen (1891-1981), Salt Lake City resident and philanthropist, is well known for contributing the funds to found the Hansen Planetarium (now known as the Clark Planetarium).

The building that the Hansen Planetarium came to occupy was constructed in 1905 as the Salt Lake City Library, on land donated by John Q. Packard.  Mr. Packard also paid to construct the building, with the provision that the building always house a library.

In 1964, Gail Plummer, President of the Salt Lake City Library Board, was able to push through the construction of a new City Library building, as the library had outgrown its current building.  When the City Library moved to its new location on 200 East 500 South, it would leave the historic building vacant.  Mr. Plummer had the idea to put a planetarium in the old library building.

Concerned about the fate of the old library building, Mrs. George T. Hansen called Mr. Plummer in March 1964 and asked what his plans were for the building.  When Mr. Plummer told her about his idea, Mrs. Hansen called back with a donation of $400,000 to remodel the building and buy a star projector.  The donation was officially accepted by the Salt Lake City Library Board on March 31, 1964.

The Planetarium opened on November 26, 1965, as the “Mr. and Mrs. George T. Hansen Planetarium, Space Science Library and Museum.”

Salt Lake County Archives is the home of the Hansen Planetarium Historical Records Collection, created at the time of the planetarium’s move to the new Clark Planetarium building in 2004.

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Santa Fe in SLC

Built in 1937, this house is located at 55 East Forbush Avenue in Midvale.  Photo taken in 1938. Parcel 22-30-306-030.  

Happy almost-end-of-summer!  The Archives took a brief hiatus from compiling entries for this blog, but we now return with a very interesting Tax Appraisal Photograph taken in 1938.  Enjoy!

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Where Is It?

A number of our readers may be able to identify the following residences, which are part of a larger “hidden” village that is currently uninhabited.  It is, of course, within Salt Lake County limits.  The first photograph was taken by the Salt Lake County Assessor in 1941 and the second in 1939.


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What Does the County Do for You?

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson will be hosting 5 Town Hall meetings, open to everyone.  Agencies from Salt Lake County will be on hand to discuss the services that they provide to citizens, and Mayor Wilson will also be present for discussion.

Salt Lake County Archives will be at the meetings, with flyers and other fine swag to give away!  Please stop by one of the five scheduled town halls to say hi!

April 23 – Salt Lake County Equestrian Center (2100 West 11400 South, South Jordan)

April 25 – Draper Senior Center (1148 Pioneer Road, Draper)

April 30 – Millcreek Library (2266 East Evergreen Avenue, Millcreek City)

May 1 – Salt Lake County Government Center, North Building, Council Chambers (2001                   South State Street, Salt Lake City)

May 9 – Kearns Olympic Element Event Center (5658 Cougar Lane (4800 West), Kearns)

Salt Lake County Assessor at work in the field in the 1940s. 

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Tax Appraisal Records Now Available Online

Salt Lake County Archives is pleased to announce that Tax Appraisal Records, circa 1970-1991, are now available on our website.  This collection is searchable by address or tax parcel number.  We have currently digitized and indexed 3/4 of the total collection, and are uploading additional records every day.

These records document assessed values on residential and commercial property located in Salt Lake County, from the 1970s to 1991. They may contain:

  • Description of the lot
  • Amount and type of land
  • Age, size, and value of structures on the property
  • Year built
  • Additional structures and improvements on the property
  • Footprint sketches and photographs
  • Use of the property, property type, lot shape, and location
  • Stories, height, wall type, foundation, grade, condition

Please Note: These records show property and buildings as they existed in the 1970s – early 1990s, and are for historical research purposes.  Property lot sizes, tax parcel numbers, and buildings may have changed since these records were created.  Please contact the Archives with any questions.

Some examples of Tax Appraisal record content now online.  

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New Collection Now Online

Newly digitized records are now available on our website! Miscellaneous Salt Lake County maps, 1850-1974, previously only lived on aperture cards (small pieces of microfilm mounted on cards) that could only be viewed in our reading room using a microfilm reader.  This collection was briefly highlighted in an earlier blog entry.

Some items of interest include:

  • A history of the Utah Lake Reservoir controversy, 1850-1909, which chronicles the history of Utah Lake and the Jordan River including charts and maps.
  • The Salt Lake City street car maps of 1925 are detailed maps of street car routes, car numbers, and street names as well as notable locations for access such as the Utah State Prison, Liberty Park, and the fairgrounds.
  • The resurvey of LDS Church farm land by order of Brigham Young from 1854 and 1856 maps early settlers on a 10 acre plat in Salt Lake City.

There are also a number of plat maps from various years and parts of Salt Lake County that will be of interest to researchers.

11.13 Section of a Salt Lake County Plat Map, August 1, 1908.

A unique drawing of part of a residence located on Brigham Street (South Temple) was also found in this series.  After some research was done to reveal its context, it appears to have been created as part of a murder trial in 1896.  The owner of the residence, Harry Hynds, murdered a man that was hiding in a wardrobe in his house.  Yet another example of finding interesting and unexpected records that lead us to stories long forgotten.

11.25 Salt Lake County drawing. Plan of part of the residence of H. Hynds, esq. 639 East Brigham Street, 1896.

A big thank you to our indefatigable volunteer, Melissa Schack!  Her diligence in digitizing these maps and getting the best possible images from a difficult original format allowed us to place them online.  

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Lost House and Grocery: 1934

Serial 17-151. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Photographs.

In this image taken in 1934, a little boy is waiting for his cycling companion to come out of C.W. Brady’s Red and White store, located at 3301 South 2300 East. (Click on the image to see all of the details).                                                                                                                                                                      What does this location look like today?


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