Capitol Hill Historic District
The Capitol Hill Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. A Capitol Hill Historic District Boundary Expansion was listed in 2001. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from copies of these original nomination documents. [†, ‡] Adaptation copyright © 2011, The Gombach Group.Description
During the initial period of settlement, roughly 1850 to 1880, traditional vernacular/folk architectural designs predominated in the Marmalade district of Capitol Hill. House plans conformed to the rigid geometric categories found in most parts of the United States during the middle years of the 19th century. The square cabin type (Richard Collett, 328 Almond Street, c.1875); Alonzo Raleigh, main brick section, 640 Wall Street, c.1860; and John Makauna, 249 Reed Avenue, c.1885) represented the basic building unit for early Utah builders. Placing two square rooms side-by-side yielded the "double pen" type (Henry Arnold, main stone section, 640 Wall Street, c.1860; Daniel Cross, 467 Center Street, c.1865; William Southam, 540 West Capitol Street, c.1880). A center passage inserted between the two square rooms characterized the "central hall" type (Ebenezer Beesley, 80 West 300 North, c.1860; Richard V. Morris, 314 Quince Street, c.1865; John Irvine, 521 Center Street, c.1880). The "hall and parlor" house, a larger rectangular plan internally divided into two rooms of unequal size, was another popular house plan (Anders W. Winberg, 560 North 200 West, c.1855; John Platts, 364 Quince Street, c.1860). Stylistically, these early homes reflected the controlled symmetry of the Federal and Greek Revival periods. By the early 1870s and 1880s however, the Gothic Revival was emerging as an important influence in Utah architecture and several of the Marmalade houses are fine local renderings of this important style (August Carlson, 378 Quince Street, c.1872; Swen J. Jonasson, 390 Center Street, c.1872; Thomas Quayle, 355 Quince Street, c.1881).
Construction materials in this early period were predominantly stuccoed adobe and stucco over lath. Foundations were of rough-faced red sandstone ashlar and roofs of cedar and pine shingles. These dwellings were typically of one or one-and-a-half stories or more rarely of two. Ornamentation was used sparingly and ordinarily, confined to cornices, porches and simple pediments over doors and windows. Houses were oriented less to the rudimentary streets than to the hillside, either to minimize the difficulty of building on a slope or to take advantage of the view. Houses in this period were widely spaced and, with few exceptions, confined to the lower slopes of the hill.
Victorian forms and influences predominated in the second period of development on Capitol Hill, roughly from 1880 to 1910. Victorian styles represented a conscious break from the tradition of formal symmetry and classical restraint reflected in Utah's vernacular architecture. The optimism, energy, and venturesomeness of the Victorians are expressed in their preference for asymmetrical massing and assimilation of elements from earlier historical periods and other cultures. New manufacturing processes put bright colors and mass-produced ornamentation within the reach of homeowners of even modest means. Fashion quickly settled on a limited number of preferred formulas and these were perpetuated by builders' guides, house pattern books, "home" magazines, and by the builders themselves. Variations occur, but they are immediately identifiable as a type in scale and proportion, massing, materials, and detail. Few pure examples of individual styles occur anywhere in Utah and Capitol Hill is no exception. Victorian houses in the Capitol Hill Historic District are best described as eclectic.
The Victorian influence appeared first in new construction, vernacular in massing but Victorian in its detailing. Similar signs of the transition are the addition of Victorian detailing to existing houses, frequently the replacement of small entry shelters with grander and more elaborate porches (Richard V. Morris, 314 Quince Street, c.1866). A Victorian bay might be added to the front gable facade of a T-plan house (Thomas Bircumshaw, 688 Wall Street, c.1881-1884; Joseph Silver, 633 N. 200 West, 1878) or rectangular cabin enlarged by adding a bay-fronted wing to form a "T" (Robert Bowman, 434 Quince Street, c.1879 and 1895); Fergus Coalter, 314 Center Street, c.1880; Charles J. Mullett, 680 Wall Street, c.1876).
The Victorian houses on Capitol Hill are generally one and one-and-a-half stories tall. The small number of houses designed by architects for more affluent owners are often two and three stories tall. Hipped and gabled roofs predominate, often combined or in multiple hip or gable configurations. Projecting bays with hipped or gabled roofs are common. Porches often adjoin a bay on the front of the house and detailing is often concentrated here in the form of classically inspired Tuscan posts or lathe-turned and saw-cut ornament. Foundations were characteristically rough-faced red sandstone ashlar and roofs are of cedar shingles. Shingling, often in elaborate patterns, was also common siding in the gables. The primary building materials are soft-fired brick and wooden "drop" or "novelty" siding. Ornamental masonry in corbelled string courses and chimney caps is common on brick buildings. Stone was sometimes used for lintels over windows and doors.
Houses in this period were initially oriented parallel to the street and then, more commonly, to the points of the compass even if the street ran on a diagonal. This latter practice, together with set backs deeper than in the earlier period, produced the staggered set-back line that is characteristic of the diagonal northwest-to-southeast streets on the Hill. The effect of this staggered setback coupled with mature landscaping is to limit streetscape views to a few houses even on the broadest streets in the Capitol Hill Historic District.
In this period, houses were commonly oriented to the streets or the compass points rather than to the site. This orientation, coupled with the extension of housing to the steeper slopes of the hill, required greater structural adaptation to the hillside than had been necessary previously. Earlier, retaining walls were commonly used to control grade changes. This adaptation was almost invariably made in the foundation — no new house type was evolved to fit the terrain. The standard styles were superimposed upon a foundation made to fit house to terrain. An interesting partial exception is the house at 420 North Main Street. (Elias C. Ashton, 1915), vaguely Moorish in style. When located above the street level, foundations were sunk into the side of the hill and sometimes exposed a full additional level below the main floor. Such houses were often reached by stairs piercing a retaining wall at the sidewalk and then by more stairs to a raised porch (Glen R. Bothwell, 430 N. Main Street, 1910; Joseph H. Jones, 366 N. Center Street, 1908). The foundations of houses located downhill from the street were similarly cut into the hillside but exposed one or more additional stories to the rear. In some cases retaining walls held the earth away from the front of the foundations so that a full additional story was exposed (George Hamlin, 389 Center Street, 1890). In one instance the house is entered at the second story by a bridge from street level (Torkel E. Torkelson, 441 N. Main Street, 1891). The greater affluence of the last quarter of the 19th century allowed builders to accommodate the steeper sites with which they had to work.
Increased development in the 1880s and 1890s changed the architectural complexion of the Marmalade. Repeated subdivision of the blocks into small parcels created streetscapes of closely packed houses. The availability of house patterns, cheaper building materials, and the increasing numbers of professional builders contributed to speculative building. Builders might reproduce essentially the same house a number of times, sometimes on adjacent lots (George T. Brice, 44 Apricot Avenue, 351, 363, 367, 371 Wall Street, 1903; Edward Taylor Associates, 415-417 Center Street, 1909; Ephraim Jensen, 126, 130, 140 Clinton Street, c.1901; William J. Willes, 62-64 & 66-68 Gordon Place, 1910; Richard Chamberlain, 65-67 & 69-71 Gordon Place, c.1910; James A. Brown, 101, 103, 105 Girard Avenue, c.1905). Between 1890 and 1910 multiple family dwellings began to appear in the district. (Fowler Apartments, 301-303 Almond Street, c.1910; Jenkins Apartments, 142-150 W. 300 North, 1898-1911; Hancock Apartments, 567 Center Street, 1915; Bywater Apartments, 452-454 Quince Street and 445-447 Center Street, 1909).
The third period in the architectural development of Capitol Hill reflects the extreme popularity of the Bungalow style in the early twentieth century. Shortly after the turn of the century, examples of the transition between Victorian and Bungalow styles begin to appear in the Marmalade (430 N. Main Street, Glen R. Bothwell, 1910; 54 E. 200 North, c.1884; 233 East Capitol Street, Albert Teasdell, 1908). Houses of this period reflect a Victorian influence in proportions, use of materials, and window treatment, but display simpler massing, indicative of a move toward the later Bungalow forms. Box Type houses, a Victorian style popular during the first decade of the twentieth century, clearly demonstrate this transition. The verticality, spaciousness, and room organization of these houses recall Victorian styles. But in sparseness of ornament, single, low hipped roof with wide overhangs, porches that span the facade, and simplicity of massing, this house form is moving toward the Bungalow. The porch of Box Type houses and other transitional types, however, is supported by Tuscan columns rather than the characteristic battered Bungalow piers seen in the fully-developed Bungalow common in the intermountain west. The replacement of Victorian porches with Bungalow porches was a common means of bringing a house up to date in this period and many houses in the Capitol Hill Historic District were altered in this manner (450 Quince Street, Thomas M. & Walter W. Kiddle, c.1880-1884 & 1913).
Bungalows, particularly those with Craftsman and Prairie influences, accounted for the major portion of construction on Capitol Hill until the early 1930s. They form the third most common building type in the Capitol Hill Historic District after Victorian and vernacular. The construction of this period is ordinarily of brick. Stone foundations were gradually replaced by concrete. Bungalows in the Marmalade (532 Wall Street, Albert V. Sconberg, 1923; 534 Wall Street, Martin Christensen, 1912; 424 Wall Street, Emma C. White, 1912) are clustered near the top of the slope on land that had not been built upon previously or which had been built with insubstantial houses that were subsequently razed.
In the late 1920s, Tudor Revival period cottages began to replace the Bungalow in popularity. Characteristic allusions to the Tudor style included simulated half-timbering in gables, steeply-pitched cross-gables, often swept on one side, (a roof line frequently repeated over an entry pavilion), round arched doors and windows, external fireplace chimneys, casement windows with numerous panes, and a variety of small details intended to achieve a quaint or rustic effect. Houses were often massed and oriented in such a way as to present a deceptively small facade to the street (88 Hillside Avenue, E.M. Jorgensen, 1932, duplex; 30 Hillside Avenue, William T. Salisbury, c.1930; 12 West 500 North, Ira B. Mann, 1936; 48 Apricot Avenue, Sebron W. Golding, 1932). Existing houses were sometimes Tudorized, most commonly by the addition of a Tudor-style entry porch or gateway and wall attached to the side of the house (324 N. 200 West, Alonzo H. Raleigh, 1888). New construction in the Tudor Revival style is most commonly found high in the Marmalade and throughout the Arsenal Hill area.
The architectural development of the Arsenal Hill differs substantially from that of the Marmalade. The city arsenal occupied a substantial portion of the upper slope of the hill and the accidental explosion there of 40 tons of blasting powder in 1876 may help account for the absence of other examples of early construction. The fine view and proximity to the center of the city made Arsenal Hill a fashionable residential area in the 1890s after the water-powered mills at the foot of the hill had been become obsolete and been dismantled. Earlier houses were razed to prepare building sites for houses built from the 1890s through the 1920s. Only three examples of vernacular architecture remain (J. Golden Kimball, 36 East 200 North, c.1880; Baskin carriage house, 22 Hillside Avenue, 1877; and 58 Hillside Avenue, John Johnson, 1880). Because of this pattern of development, Arsenal Hill preserves examples of the high-style, architect-designed houses that are almost absent elsewhere on Capitol Hill. The Charles P. Brooks house (204 North State Street, 1890) is one of the best examples of monumental Queen Anne style architecture in the city. The Alfred B. McCune house (201 N. Main Street, 1906) and the Edward D. Woodruff house (95 E. 200 North, 1906) are fine examples of Beaux Arts and what has been called Oriental Shingle style.
The construction of substantial houses on Arsenal Hill continued into the 1930s, long after such construction had stopped in the Marmalade. Consequently there are excellent examples there of styles that are represented in the Marmalade only by remote stylistic references on period cottages of standardized plan. The Craftsman style is represented by the Emma R.W.S. Willes House, 151 N. State Street, 1910; the Prairie style by the Ashby Snow house, 158 N. State Street, 1909, and the Tudor Revival by the Willard T. Cannon and Edwin Gallacher houses at 180 and 170 N. State Street, 1918 and 1925. The International Style and the Spanish Revival style are represented by the Richard Bird House, 235 E. Capitol Street, 1936, and the George A. Fisher House, 239 E. Capitol Street, 1936. Early apartment construction for the upper middle class is represented by the Covey Apartments, 180 N. Main Street, 1906, the Kestler Apartments, 264 & 268 N. State Street, 1913 & 1915, and the James Winter Apartments, 230 W. 300 North, 1910. The varied styles of Arsenal Hill continue the sequence of early construction found in the Marmalade so that the development of architectural styles in Utah can be traced in the Capitol Hill Historic District, citing examples from log and adobe vernacular cabins to the International style of the 1930s.
The Capitol Hill Historic District is significant as the oldest surviving residential area in Salt Lake City. Its streets and houses document over one hundred thirty years of residential construction and neighborhood development. The scale and irregularity of the streets and blocks are not typical of the rest of Salt Lake City, either today or in the past. Rather they were a product of the steep hillside which made the area unattractive for redevelopment and ensured its survival. The Capitol Hill Historic District preserves a representative cross section of the City's and the State's architectural .and historical resources, ranging from the high style mansions of Arsenal Hill to the tightly packed workmen's cottages of Reed Avenue. The buildings and patterns of neighborhood life on the Hill are representative of other early neighborhoods of the City now broken or vanished.
The advance party of Mormon settlers arrived in Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. The following day Great Salt Lake City was platted. In accordance with Joseph Smith's precepts for the City of Zion, many of the Twelve Apostles chose their inheritances to be shared among their family, friends, and followers. Land north and west of Temple Square fell to Heber C. Kimball, First Counselor to President Brigham Young. This land rose in a gentle slope to the north, levelled in a beach terrace left by receding ancient seas, and then rose more sharply to a rounded summit later named Ensign Peak. To the west the hillside fell away sharply along a major fault line. To the east, City Creek cut a steep canyon through the bench. The remaining peninsula of high ground pushed out from the hills toward Temple Square. In 1888 the City government set aside twenty acres on the broad, level top of the hill for the capitol to be built when Utah should become a state.
In the first decades of settlement, the water of City Creek supplied the center of the city with culinary and irrigation water and powered a string of mills that sprawled down the canyon and followed the creek to the west around the south slope of the Hill. Above the mills, close to Temple Square and the city center and looking southwest across the valley to the Oquirrh Mountains, rose the houses of the Kimball family and their friends. From midway up the slope the hill was bare, pocked with gravel pits. At a distance stood the City powder magazine and arsenal which gave its name to the south slope, Arsenal Hill. Farther north the City Wall ran from the hot springs baths diagonally to the southeast, crossed the open top of the Hill, plunged into City Creek Canyon, mounted the other side and continued to the east. Begun in 1853, the rock and adobe wall served more as a public works project than as a practical defense. The wall soon fell into disrepair and eventually disappeared entirely, its location remembered in the diagonal line of Wall Street.
Citizens of the City of Zion were ideally to be farmer-craftsmen, each family supplying many of its own needs in a walled city of small garden farms. Settlers preferred the soil of the flat valley floor. Its soil was richer than the land on the Hill, and more easily cultivated and watered by ditches from the mouths of the "wet" canyons. The regular grid of the city plats thrust tentatively onto the lower slopes of the Hill but then quickly disappeared in gravel and brush. From the earliest years of settlement, however, settlers of more modest means were attracted to this less desirable land located within an easy walk of the center of the city. Most were emigrants from the British Isles and Scandinavia, their originally slender resources strained by the cost of the Atlantic passage. Like August Winberg, a blacksmith, (560 North 200 West, c.1854-1855) or John Platts, a mason, (364 Quince Street, c.1856), they were craftsmen who relied on their trades for their livelihood and often built their simple houses themselves.
Most of these early residents on the Hill probably managed by some contrivance to supply enough water for small gardens as well as their household needs. John Platts is reported to have grown prize peaches on his high sloping lot. Brick and stone cisterns appear on fire insurance maps of the nineteenth century, small ponds appear in early photographs, wells are known to have existed on the lower slopes, and a few sections of irrigation ditches survive. The difficulty of bringing water to the hillside, however, was probably the single most important factor in confining early settlement to the lower margin of the Hill.
Water was probably first brought to the Hill by extending the system of ditches and flumes that supplied the mills in City Creek Canyon. By the late 1880s City Creek had been tapped in three places by a system of cast iron mains that brought the water to distributing reservoirs located on high points around the city. One line served a cement-lined reservoir located just north and east of the present Capitol Building. A second line, interconnected with the first, ran from a holding reservoir in the canyon down the east edge of the Hill and turned west on 300 North, then angled northwest and downhill along Center Street. Wooden stave pipe, some in use until the 1930s, distributed the water to users, many of whom must first have been served by public taps. The head of this gravity system was sufficient to supply all of Capitol Hill.
Dependable water accelerated the development of the upper slopes of the Hill. When the area was finally platted in the 1860s, some of the wandering lanes that crossed the face of the hill, such as Vine and Crooked Street — later straightened and renamed Almond Street, were surveyed and recorded as city streets. In place of the north-south streets of the regular city plats were diagonal streets that more or less paralleled the old City Wall. The east-west streets of the city grid, however, were uncompromisingly projected up the slope, producing some "streets" that are still impassable. The eight-rod streets laid out in the rest of the city, "wide enough to turn a team of oxen," were simply inconceivable on the hillside. The result was the west slope's most distinctive feature — the layout of its streets and blocks. Streets of varying width and grade cross each other at unpredictable angles defining small blocks of varying shape and size. In the early 1880s the west slope became a more fashionable place to live and the original street names — Bird, Cross, Locust — were replaced uniformly with names of fruits. This stylish scheme of names gave the area a name of its own, the Marmalade District, or more usually simply the Marmalade.
In the 1880s and 1890s substantial mansions appeared at the corners of blocks low on the south and west slopes of the Hill. John R. Park, (166 North State Street, c.1875, demolished), Charles P. Brooks, (204 N State Street, 1890), Robert N. Baskin, (200 N. State Street, c.1876, demolished), William S. McCornick, (199 N. State Street, c.1886, demolished), and William A. Hooper, (348 N.200 West, c.1880?, demolished) placed their homes away from the smells and dust of the city but within an easy walk or a pleasant drive and with fine views of the valley. The comfortable houses of the upper middle class — successful craftsmen and contractors, small manufacturers and merchants, professional men and secondary officials of government and the Church — were more characteristic of the west slope of the Hill. Their homes appeared on the corners of blocks all over the Hill and clustered on the broader and more imposing diagonal streets, especially Quince and Center Streets. E.L.T. Harrison, an architect, (10 West 300 North, c.1870), Henry Arnold, businessman (640 Wall Street, c.1860 et seq.), James Watson, stone contractor, (335 Quince Street, c.1866), William J. Silver, ironmaster, (518 Center Street, c.1860 and 1897), and William Asper, lumberman and contractor, (325 Quince Street, 1870's), found sites on the Hill for the houses that expressed their success and substantial position in the community.
The middle and lower classes found lots between the corners, on the narrower east-west streets, and occasionally behind the first rank of houses and in the interiors of blocks. These clerks, (William Henry Perkes, 92 Apricot Street, 1873), craftsmen, (William Southam, 540 West Capitol Street, c.1880), and factory workers built smaller, simpler homes. Laborers bought or rented small cottages like the tightly packed row that survives on Reed Avenue at the north end of the district. Tenements (136-146 W. 600 North, James J. Wyatt, c.1885), and boarding houses (318 Center Street, Engbert Olsen, 1873) were less common. More commonly, even the poorest houses were occupied by their owners.
Residents of the Hill found their neighborhood conveniently close to the varied activities of the city. They found work in the business district of the central city and in a variety of manufacturing and retail establishments such as the Z.C.M.I. Tannery, 244 W. 500 North, Davis, Howe, & Co., hardware, 115-127 N. West Temple, the Utah Soap Manufacturing Co., 245 W. 500 North, and Silver's Iron Works, 149 W. North Temple — all located within a half-hour's walk of any part of the Hill. The University of Deseret, the L.D.S. Church University, the city's only public high school, a private academy, the Keeley Institute for the Cure of Addiction, and the Keogh-Wright Hospital were all located within a few blocks of Capitol Hill. By the 1890s streetcar lines up 300 West and down the diagonal of Center Street tied the Hill even more closely to the city.
As the properties were repeatedly divided into smaller lots and the population grew, small groceries, meat markets, and occasional general merchandise stores appeared every few blocks to meet the needs of their immediate neighborhood. The number of these small establishments peaked in the 1920s before the automobile made possible the recentralization of retail sales. With the exception of the Z.C.M.I. Shoe Factory and the J.W. Summerhays Tannery, later operated by the United Order of the Nineteenth Ward, no manufacturing enterprises of any size or permanence took root in the district. Occasional family enterprises — a blacksmith shop or shops producing soap or sausage or paper boxes — appeared, but overall the Hill remained an area of modest houses and the stores and churches that met their needs.
The population of the Hill appears to have retained its predominantly Mormon character longer than other central neighborhoods of the city. The small, sometimes awkward hillside lots may have found buyers among the continuing flow of new foreign converts of slender means more readily than among newcomers from "the States." The latter were more likely to be gentiles and of more substantial means. The original Nineteenth Ward of the L.D.S. Church stretched away to the Jordan River on the west and the Warm Springs on the north. As the city grew this original jurisdiction was repeatedly subdivided into new wards so that the district at one time was represented in four wards and contained three functioning ward chapels (19th Ward Chapel, 168 West 500 North, 1890-1892; 24th Ward Chapel, 700 North 200 West, 1906; Capitol Hill Ward Chapel, 400 North West Capitol, 1928-1929). But the Hill was most strongly associated with the Nineteenth Ward (168 West 500 North, 1892). There was no ready division between the residential neighborhood that spread down the west slope and the residential blocks to the west. A Pugsley from west of 300 West was as likely to sit on the ward building committee as an Asper from Quince Street. Three Hundred West had more shops but was essentially another residential street.
In the 1880s, however, the number of gentiles on the Hill began to rise. The Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad shops were conveniently close and many engineers and other railroad men chose the Marmalade and the blocks immediately to the West to settle their families. "Mining men" — engineers, managers, promoters, surveyors — initially almost invariably gentiles, chose houses on the Hill, apparently accepting the necessity for travel and frequent, prolonged absences. Men trained in the new trades — telegraph and telephone men and electricians such as Stephen D. Greenwood, telegraph lineman (642 Center Street, 1909) — found the Hill attractive and within their means. The establishment of the Plymouth Congregational Church, (354 West 400 North, c.1893, demolished) reflects the new gentile presence. A modest amount of religious diversity was thereby added to the economic and social diversity that had characterized the Hill from the earliest days of settlement.
After 1900 residential construction was concentrated on the upper parts of the west and south slopes of the hill. Unattractive when water and transportation were difficult, this land was never built upon or had been bought cheaply and built up with insubstantial houses that were razed for new construction. The Alfred McCune (200 N. State Street, 1901) and Edward D. Woodruff (95 E. 200 North, 1906) mansions replaced earlier construction on Arsenal Hill where the John R. Park house yielded to three substantial houses in the first two decades of the twentieth century. The upper reaches of Arsenal Hill had remained bare since the explosion in 1876 of the forty tons of powder then stored there. Although the arsenal land was sold off by the city shortly after 1900, the top of the slope showed only scattered buildings as late as the 1930s.
The completion of the State Capitol Building in 1916 and the planting of its grounds made the crest of the hill an attractive residential area, however, and new houses appeared to flank the Capitol on the south and west. The present grounds incorporate additional land initially platted into residential streets upon which several houses were built and subsequently razed. The houses built by men such as George S. Ashton (404 Wall Street, 1920), first Bishop of the Capitol Hill Ward (400 West Capitol, 1928-1929) and the contractor for the stone in the Capitol Building, appear modest because of the subsequent inflation of popular conceptions of the space necessary in a house. Indeed the social-economic status of many Hill residents will be underestimated unless this inflation is remembered.
Although residential construction in the upper areas of the Hill remained active in the late 1920s and even recovered from the depression slump in the late 1930s, prestigious house sites were no longer being sought on the Hill. After World War II the aging housing stock on the Hill and the exodus to the suburbs began to take their toll as they did on other central residential neighborhoods. New construction of single family homes continued on the upper slopes of Arsenal Hill but in the Marmalade such new construction as occurred was two, three, and four unit rental housing of a plain, unornamented character. Conversion into rental units of single family houses, both smaller and larger, which had begun in the 1930's accelerated in the 1950s.
Much of the housing on the Hill slumped from modest to marginal and the area acquired a questionable reputation. It housed a mixture of long-time residents, low-income tenants, transients, and university students. The most deteriorated sections were generally believed to harbor prostitutes and drug dealers. The restoration of Capitol Hill began in the 1960s with long-term residents determined to preserve their neighborhood, acquired impetus from the surge of interest in preservation, and was well underway by the time shortages of gasoline prompted a return to inner city neighborhoods. Many houses in the Capitol Hill Historic District are undergoing renovation or restoration. Some of the new construction of multiple-unit structures has been sympathetic, but the area is under increasing pressure from developments whose massing and scale would irreparably damage the character of Capitol Hill.
Boundary Increase Description
The Capitol Hill Historic District (Boundary Increase) extends the original Capitol Hill Historic District ten square blocks to the west. This includes parts of five blocks and five full blocks for an area of approximately 60 acres. The increase area is part of the Capitol Hill residential neighborhood developed between the 1850s and the 1950s. The roughly rectangular-shaped area includes 306 primary buildings, of which 228 (75 percent) contribute to the historic character of the neighborhood. Of the 78 (25 percent) non-contributing buildings, 33 are altered historic buildings and 45 are considered out-of-period. The Capitol Hill Historic District increase area also includes 51 outbuildings, primarily garages, of which 33 (65 percent) are contributing and 18 (35 percent) are non-contributing. Counting primary buildings and outbuildings together brings the total to 357, of which 261, or 73 percent, are contributing.
Seventy-one percent of the contributing buildings are single-family dwellings dating from the 1860s to the early 1950s. Sixteen percent of the contributing buildings are double houses/duplexes, mostly built between the 1890s and 1910. The housing stock also includes apartment buildings (four percent), hotel/motels (one percent), and residential courts. Contributing commercial buildings account for about seven percent of the total. The majority is located along 300 West, the area's main transportation corridor; however there are a few on the quieter streets, many with attached residential housing.
The original Capitol Hill Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 5,1982. The increase area lies directly west of the current Capitol Hill Historic District, abutting the eastern boundary. The original Capitol Hill Historic District and the boundary increase are just north and slightly west of Salt Lake City's downtown. The original Capitol Hill Historic District includes the neighborhoods known historically as the Marmalade District and Arsenal Hill, as well as the grounds of the Utah State Capitol, which was listed on the National Register on April 10, 1978.
There are four reasons for the Capitol Hill Historic District boundary increase. First, the eastern boundary of the original district cuts an irregular, somewhat arbitrary path through several blocks and, in at least one case, bisects a parcel. Second, the original National Register Capitol Hill Historic District boundaries do not coincide with the boundaries of Salt Lake City's landmark designation for the Capitol Hill neighborhood. The city's boundaries extend farther west to include several properties on 300 West. Third, the original eastern boundary of the National Register Capitol Hill Historic District was drawn with the intent to include the neighborhood on the sloping west side of Capitol Hill and several properties at the base of the hill; however, historically the neighborhood (with its contemporaneous housing stock) extended several blocks west to the railroad tracks (approximately 500 West). The new boundary line more accurately represents the extant historic neighborhood. Four, since the 1982 listing of the original Capitol Hill Historic District, the period of significance has been expanded. A number of properties, many of which are associated with commercial development along the 300 West corridor, have achieved significance in the past two decades.
The Capitol Hill Historic District (Boundary Increase) retains the feel of the original 1847 city plat (ten-acre blocks divided into eight lots with streets 128 feet wide). The increase area is entirely within Plat A, and includes all of Blocks 115, 120, 133, 138 and 151, and portions of Blocks 114, 121, 132, 139 and 150. Originally, each one and one-quarter acre lot was designed for a single-family dwelling set twenty feet back from the street with space for outbuildings and garden plots in the rear. Many of the oldest houses are located at the corner of the blocks with infill housing ranging from Victorian cottages to Bungalows and period cottages. Several of the blocks include alleys or residential courts extended into the inner blocks with housing built around the turn of the century. There were no subdivisions platted in the increase area, despite the presence of many amenities during the city's subdivision boom period between 1888 and 1903. The proximity of several railroad lines (the closest being the Denver and Rio Grande, which had a track running in the center of 400 West for nearly a century) probably discouraged many developers from investing in the area. However, in September 1891, landowners George and Elizabeth Goddard, platted part of Block 150, and dedicated Reed Avenue and Fern Avenue. This transaction may account for the offset, narrow 700 North between 200 and 300 West. The planning of the residential courts seems to be more haphazard, developed gradually by families. Of the twelve historic residential courts located in the area the following are intact: Arctic Court (formerly Pacific Avenue), Ardmore Place, Bishop Place, Ouray Avenue (formerly Ostler's Court), Pugsley Street (400 block) and Reed Avenue (west of 300 West, formerly Rosella Court). Land use (and accompanying zoning) in the increase area is a patchwork of residential, commercial, and mixed use that reflects the historical influences of the railroad near 400 West and the 300 West transportation corridor.
Streetscapes and landscape streetscapes within the Capitol Hill Historic District include a mix of wide through-streets and more intimate inner block streets and residential courts. The wider streets have sidewalks with curb and gutter. With the exception of 300 West, which has been widened several times, most have generous parking strips. The narrower streets that go through entire blocks also have sidewalks. This includes a few streets formerly residential courts (e.g. Pugsley Street between 400 and 500 North, and Reed Avenue (recently improved in 2000) between 300 and 400 West. Other residential courts have been paved, but vary in condition. Several other historic courts and alleys have been vacated. Traffic lights are located on 300 West at 300 North, 400 North, 500 North, and 600 North, where traffic from the Interstate 15 interchange is funneled into downtown. Traffic from the recently rebuilt interchange also necessitated placing traffic lights on 400 West at 300 and 600 North.
Within the Capitol Hill Historic District are a few scattered tracts of contemporaneous housing, but most blocks present a range of house types. The majority of commercial buildings are found along 300 West, and buildings range from 19th century storefronts to 1950s service stations. The rest are scattered throughout the district, and with the exception of a former laundry and an electric supply company, they are modest in scale and blend with their residential neighbors.
Landscaping within the Capitol Hill Historic District varies considerably and, for the most part, has been left to the discretion of individual property owners. There are quite a few old shade trees, most associated with the older homes on the wider streets. Smaller trees are found on individual lots and in the parking strips of some streets. Most houses have lawn and shrubs in front with a mix of lawn. Landscaping on the commercial properties range from the manicured to the neglected. The irrigation ditches, part of the pioneer-era streetscape, were filled in the early part of the twentieth century, and other remnants of the historic landscape, such as fences, no longer exist. Pugsley Park, a neighborhood pocket park is a recent addition. The Warm Springs Park, a larger green space, is located just outside the boundary increase. Other open space nearby is associated with the West High School, the Washington Elementary School on 200 West (an out-of-period building located within the original district), and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Salt Lake Seventeenth Ward (an out-of-period building located at 225 West 500 North within the increase boundaries).
Single Family Dwellings: Early Settlement Period. 1850s-1879
There are 162 contributing single-family dwellings located within the Capitol Hill Historic District, only four of which have been identified as having been built before 1879. However, historical documents suggest the actual number of extant dwellings may be higher. Unfortunately additions, alterations, and the general lack of documentation makes it difficult to come up with an exact number. The oldest documented dwelling in the Capitol Hill Historic District increase area is the William Hawk log cabin, built between 1848 and 1852, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. It is the only surviving log dwelling in the increase area, and probably the oldest in Salt Lake City on its original site. The Hawk cabin, located behind a Victorian cottage at 458 North 300 West, had an adobe addition attached by the 1880s. It was later moved to the rear of the property and used as a milk house and garage. Portions of other log dwellings may exist incorporated in larger structures, but most were converted to outbuildings (like the Hawk cabin) and later demolished. Of the many early frame buildings that appear on the 1889 Sanborn fire insurance map, most have been demolished or substantially altered.
Existing adobe houses are easier to identify. Adobe brick was a popular building material in Salt Lake City, even after fired brick became available in the late 1860s. These adobe houses were typical of settlement-era houses, which have little stylistic detail other than classical symmetry. The house at 365 West 800 North, built circa 1875, is an example of the most common house type, the hall-parlor. An atypical example is 270 Reed Avenue, built circa 1876, a modified double-pile that originally faced 300 West. A study of the 1898 Sanborn map identifies over sixty extant adobe dwellings. Many of these were later enlarged (newer home built in front or on the side to make a cross wing). Currently many have plaster and veneers covering the historic materials. Tax cards also reveal a number of houses with adobe sections indicating they were built in the settlement period.
Single-family Dwellings: Victorian Urbanization. 1880-1910
House types and styles of the Victorian era represent half number of single-family dwellings, substantially more than other housing type in the district. The increase area includes some adobe buildings that were updated in the Victorian style. The house at 236 West 400 North, built of adobe circa 1880, has a mansard roof and Victorian Eclectic details that may not have been part of the original construction. In the same period, substantial brick homes were being built using Picturesque styles. A two-story, Italianate cross wing at 443 North 300 West, also built circa 1880, is a good example. Stylistically, a small percentage of these homes demonstrate the transition from earlier houses and possess Classical, Italianate and Greek Revival features.
The majority of Victorian houses built in the increase area were built between 1890 and 1910. Mostly modest brick cottages, these houses are found throughout the Capitol Hill Historic District as individual architectural entities. Though tracts of Victorian cottages appear throughout Salt Lake during this period, there are only rare examples of speculative building of single-family dwellings in the increase area. The twin homes on 400 North are a rare example. The Victorian-era homes in the Capitol Hill Historic District demonstrate the asymmetrical floor plans favored in the late nineteenth century. There are fifteen side-passage/entry homes, thirty-three cross wings, and thirty-six central-block-with-projecting-bays type homes. In addition, there are four shotgun houses. Despite the presence of recognizable types, building in the area was highly individualized and many homes are difficult to classify. The house at 345 West Reed Avenue appears to be an unfinished cross wing, while its neighbor is an unusually small double house. The house at 333 Ouray Avenue is a hybrid of the side-passage and central-block-with-projecting-bays type. The size of Victorian homes in the Capitol Hill Historic District range from the just-over-500-square-foot shotguns to a few two-story, 2,000 square-foot plus dwellings, with the average house around 1000 square feet. While many houses have distinctive stylistic elements (e.g. Greek Revival cornice returns and Neoclassical columns), the majority of Victorian houses in the district would be considered Victorian Eclectic. Typical decorative elements include shingled gable trim, lathe-turned columns, and corbelled brick work. Unfortunately, historic photographs indicate that many homes have lost original wood ornamentation, particularly porch details such as balustrades and "gingerbread" spindle work.
While most houses in the Capitol Hill Historic District would not be considered ornate, even modest homes range from the plain to the relatively elaborate. The predominant material of the era was brick. The very earliest homes may have been built with soft-fired brick over an adobe lining, however the majority of homes appear to be constructed of fairly good quality brick. Wood, as a structural material, occurs less frequently than brick, and was mostly found on modest-sized homes. The majority of wood homes were frame with drop-novelty siding such as 321 West 400 North. Unfortunately a few have been covered with various veneers. A partially disassembled shotgun house illustrates the common practice of placing adobes between the studs of a frame house. Brick construction account for 75 percent of the contributing buildings, twenty-three percent of buildings are wood, with nineteen percent covered with various veneers. Other materials used include wood (used extensively for decorative elements), and stone (for foundations, sills, etc.).
Single-family Dwellings: Early Twentieth Century. 1900-1939
The first decade of the twentieth century was a transition period in the Capitol Hill Historic District boundary increase area. The large blocks had been divided several times, and new housing was in-filled as needed. While Victorian house types continued to be built until 1910, new house types were emerging. A handful of Foursquares were built in the district, all the one-story variety found in Salt Lake's working-class neighborhoods. Utah's dominant architectural style of the early twentieth century was the Bungalow. Sixteen percent of contributing single-family houses in the Capitol Hill Historic District are bungaloid in type and style. The Bungalow was intended to be a comfortable, sheltering, low profile house, and most of Utah's examples are modest. Bungalows appear as groups of tract houses throughout the increase area as well as individual in-fill. The description of Bungalow as a type, as well as a style, fits most of the Bungalows in the district. The houses usually have the narrow end to the street with a variety of roof styles, and a full or half-width porch. The most popular material for Bungalows was brick, with wood and stucco used for decoration. There is only one completely frame example in the increase area. Stone was used as a foundation material in early Bungalows, however after 1915, concrete was used almost exclusively. The brick Bungalows at 262 and 264 West 600 North are two of three built by a local builder in 1913. Most have modest Arts and Crafts decorative elements. Herbert Meads, an extremely prolific local builder, constructed a group of five unpretentious Bungalows between 620 and 640 Pugsley Street.
After World War I, the Bungalow remained popular, but the Period Revival movement favored by veterans who had served in Europe was evident in the architecture of the 1920s in Utah. A group of modest Bungalows, built in 1924, by Ammon S. Brown uses period revival details and a relatively new material, striated brick. Period revival cottages account for only three percent of houses in the area: a percentage much lower than contemporaneous neighborhoods. A good example is found at 674 North 300 West. The amount of residential architecture built in the increase area dropped significantly during the depression years. By this time, much of the vacant land had already been developed. In addition, automobile use increased dramatically and 300 West became the main transportation corridor from downtown Salt Lake to cities northward.
Single-family Dwellings: World War II and Post-World War II Era. 1940-1955
Only three percent of single-family dwellings in the Capitol Hill Historic District were built during the 1940s and early 1955. With no available land for large-scale subdivision, and increasing commercial use, there are only scattered examples of post-war houses in the neighborhood. Five houses between 363 and 377 West on 700 North, built circa 1945, typify the minimal traditional house developed by Federal Housing Administration to promote home ownership during the depression. The floor plans are small and compact, construction is simple frame and siding, and stylistic elements are limited to the projecting entrance. The only Ranch style single-family homes in the increase area were built just outside the historic period on Ardmore Place.
Multiple-family Dwellings: Double Houses (Duplexes). Apartment Buildings, and Hotel/Motels
Thirty-seven residences within the Capitol Hill Historic District boundary increase are double houses (commonly referred to as duplexes). There are ten historic apartment blocks, and two hotel/motel complexes. Most of the double houses were built between 1890 and 1910 and are dispersed throughout the district. Stylistically, they come in two varieties: the urban model with a flat-roof and decorative brick parapets, and the more domestic, hipped or gable roof type. Despite being rental units (or perhaps because they are rentals), many of these dwellings have survived relatively intact with only minor changes, such as the replacement of the classical porch columns with wrought iron. The oldest double houses are all brick masonry. A handful of double Bungalows are found in the increase area. An unusual concrete block example is located at 370-374 West 400 North (built in 1938), and one duplex represents the post-war era.
There are seven historic apartment blocks in the boundary increase neighborhood. All are small with only four to eight units. The example at 775 North 300 West, built circa 1894 is representative, though atypical because it is attached to a commercial building. Across the street at 776 North 300 West, the Lorna Apartments, a walk-up built in 1913, looks imposing, but only has six units. The Jo-Beth Apartments, built in the 1930s, on Ardmore Place was originally eight units. The most interesting of the motel courts is an Art Moderne building at 338 North 300 West, built circa 1941. As noted above the Capitol Hill Historic District increase area contains several out-of-period apartment complexes, built between the 1970s and the present.
The eighteen contributing commercial/public/institutional historic buildings within the increase area represent a varied and eclectic group. Five are located on the quiet neighborhood cross streets running east to west. One is located on 400 West, and the rest are on 300 West. The five neighborhood commercial buildings ranged from the very small one-part blocks (380 West 400 North, built circa 1900; and 275 West 400 North, built circa 1890) to very large two-part block (a laundry building built at 244 West 300 North in 1912). Two part blocks are also located at 258 West 400 North (built circa 1905, tenuously attached to a house, and later converted to apartments), and 242-244 West 500 North (built in 1906 and attached to half a Victorian Eclectic house).
There are several commercial buildings on 400 West, however the only contributing building is the 1948 brick, and concrete block Graybar Electric Company building. There have been commercial buildings on 300 West since the 1860s; however the earliest extant buildings are from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The six one-part blocks are all constructed of brick and most were used as grocery/markets. Examples include 785 North (built in 1894) and 422 North (built in 1926). The best two-part block is a former drug store at 403 North 300 West, built in 1911. There are several other historic commercial blocks on 300 West that are currently non-contributing, but many of these have the potential to be rehabilitated.
The 300 West transportation corridor also has several examples of buildings related to the rise of the automobile in the first half of the twentieth century. In the 1920s, at the corner of 300 West and 500 North, one homeowner converted their home into a grocery/fruit stand. The former Conoco station at 784 North 300 West was built in 1953 (replacing a 1919 station on the same site). Another station at 575 North 300 West was built just outside of the historic period (circa 1957). Other out-of-period buildings are scattered throughout the district.
Only a handful of coops and sheds remain from the family farming days of the increase area's early history, and none are noteworthy. The majority of contributing outbuildings are garages, which began appearing in the area in the late 1910s. These garages are most single-car, simple-gable frame and brick structures that face the street. An early concrete block example is behind 677 North 300 West. One interesting example is a circa 1915 garage built as an addition to a turn-of-the-century homes at 242 West 400 North.
The historic resources of the Capitol Hill Historic District (Boundary Increase) illustrate a range of architectural types and style that span over a century. These resources document the transformation of the neighborhood from pioneer farmsteads to Victorian suburb to bustling transportation corridor. They contribute to the historic and architectural significance of the original Capitol Hill Historic District, and help relate the district to the greater Salt Lake City community. The boundary increase area started to decline in the 1950s when residential construction was almost nonexistent. Even the thriving commercial activity was hurt when the Interstate 15 was completed in 1957, first by bypassing traffic and later when 300 West became an alternate "freeway" to and from downtown Salt Lake City. Recently the city has launched several programs to rehabilitate the neighborhood. These programs along with advantages of the neighborhood such as its proximity to downtown and the now fashionable Marmalade neighborhood hopefully will create the type of economic incentives necessary to revitalize and preserve the area.
Boundary Increase Significance
The Capitol Hill Historic District (Boundary Increase) is an approximately ten-block boundary increase of the original Capitol Hill Historic District The increase area consists of 357 buildings. There are 261 (seventy-three percent) contributing historic buildings. Though the neighborhood is architecturally and historically significant as a logical extension of the original district, the boundary increase area is significant in its own right as a historical record of the gradual development of Salt Lake City from an agricultural outpost to a thriving metropolitan city and transportation hub. The increase area is significant for its ties to the early settlement and the subsequent economic and cultural diversification of Salt Lake City's population. Many of the descendants of the earliest pioneers in the area stayed to build homes and businesses. Due to the proximity of the main north-south state road and the railroads, the area was a temporary home to travelers and new immigrants. During the height of the railroads, between 1880 and 1920, the economic diversity of the area was astonishing, ranging from the very prosperous to the very poor, and from highly educated professionals to uneducated immigrant labor. The area is significant for the diversity and integrity of the historic housing stock dating from a circa 1850 log cabin to circa 1950 tract houses. The neighborhood also contains several decades' worth of historic commercial buildings, especially along 300 West, which has been serving as an important north-south corridor from downtown Salt Lake City for over 150 years. Development patterns in the area were continually adapting to the changes in transportation modes and the economic climate: from early farmsteads and large-scale businesses, to cottage industries for the established residents and residential rental housing for the working class population; and most significantly, changes in building stock to accommodate the automobile industry. The Capitol Hill Historic District (Boundary Increase) is a neighborhood of well-defined boundaries with 73 percent contributing historic resources, and is the logical extension of the Capitol Hill Historic District
The History of the Capitol Hill Historic District (Boundary Increase)
Early Settlement Period. 1847-1869
On July 24,1847, a small contingent of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon Church) entered the Salt Lake Valley under the direction of Brigham Young. On August 2,1847, a little more than a week later, Orson Pratt and Henry G. Sherwood began to survey what was then known as the City of Great Salt Lake. In less than a month, the survey of Plat A, consisting of 135 blocks, was completed. The land was divided into ten-acre blocks, each containing eight lots of one and one-quarter acres. Streets were 132 wide feet. One house could be constructed on each lot with a standard setback of twenty feet from the front of the property. The rear of the property was to be used for gardens and outbuildings. Farmland was provided in the outlying areas. Forty acres were set aside for the temple, and four other blocks were for public grounds to be laid out in various parts of the city. After the church officials selected lots for their personal use, the remainder of the land was divided by casting lots. Scarce resources such as timber and water were to be held in common with no private ownership. Within two years, the population of Salt Lake City had grown to 6,000. Plat B was laid out in sixty-three blocks to the east in 1848, and in 1849, the eighty-four blocks of Plat C were surveyed on the west side. The Capitol Hill Historic District (Boundary Increase) consists of portions of a ten-block rectangle at the northwest corner of Plat A, abutting the steep western slope of Capitol Hill.
In February of 1849, the city was divided into nineteen wards of the LDS Church and a bishop was selected to preside over each ward. The increase area was along the eastern edge of the 19th ward (a triangle-shaped area extending from 300 North to the Beck's Hot Springs in North Salt Lake, and from 200 West (base of the foothills) to the Jordan River (approximately 1500 West)). Though lots were allocated and the basic governing (church) hierarchy in place, early settlement proceeded slowly. Most of the earliest settlers spent their first few winters in crude log cabins, tents, or in wagon beds, in or near the fort (present day Pioneer Park at 300 South and 300 West). The church's official historian was "unable to find out positively whether any of the pioneers of Utah built houses or resided in the Nineteenth Ward prior to 1849, although it is possible that one of two families became settlers in 1848." William Hawk (1799-1883) typifies the pioneer of the period. Hawk was a member of the Mormon Battalion and arrived in Salt Lake in 1848. He was one of fifty-five settlers allocated a lot in the boundary increase area. According to family tradition, William Hawk built a log cabin within the fort and moved it to his lot sometime between 1850 and 1852. He was a farmer who later built an adobe house in front of the cabin. In 1906, his descendants demolished the adobe house, built a new brick house, and moved the cabin to the rear of the lot for use as an outbuilding. The cabin still sits at the rear of the property at 458 North 300 West, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
By the 1850s a number of settlers had moved to their lots and begun building permanent homes. Some of the houses may have been log (newly hewn or relocated from the fort site), but most were built of adobe (or dried mud bricks). An adobe pit was first established near the fort site in order to provide bricks for the fort wall. Most of these early adobe homes were single-story, one or two-room (single cell and hall-parlor) dwellings with classical symmetry and little ornamentation. Most were subsequently enlarged and covered with plaster or other veneers as soon as the owner had the necessary resources. A typical example is found at 365 West 800 North, an adobe hall-parlor occupied by Henricksens, a family of Danish marble and stonecutters. A more unusual example is a one-and-one-half story, double pile adobe house at 270 North Reed Avenue. This house was built in the early 1870s for George Washington Hill (1822-1891) and his wife, Cynthia Stewart Hill (1823-1908). George W. Hill was an Indian agent and interpreter, who published a phrase book for the Shoshone language in 1877. According to family tradition, Brigham Young frequently met Indian delegations in the Hills' home. George W. Hill's presence in the area was important because though the Mormon pioneer settlement had effectively driven the native population from the Salt Lake Valley, there were still encounters. Groups of Indians would camp in the foothills and occasionally beg for food from the residents. In 1862 a group of Indians was accused of stealing "forty sides of leather from the tannery of Mr. Pugsley, in the 19th Ward." Salt Lake City grew quickly in the two decades between 1847 and 1869, and has been described by many historians as an "instant city." The population increase was steady, supported by the annual influx of Mormon convert immigrants, mostly from England and Scandinavia, and the characteristically high Mormon birthrate. While the arid soil and necessity of irrigation systems made crop production difficult, the cash crop of gold dust left in Salt Lake City by "forty-niners" traveling to and from California gave rise to a thriving mercantile district in the center of town. The overall economy benefited by this traffic, and early Utah settlers gradually became more prosperous. The city was incorporated in 1851 with many lines of the original charter devoted to regulating burgeoning commerce. By the late 1860s, Salt Lake had several brickyards, and though small adobe houses were built up until the 1880s, brick became the most sought-after building material. The houses were surrounded by shade trees, which were usually lindens and poplars. The settlers dug irrigation ditches and built fences around their lots, planted gardens and small orchards, and raised whatever livestock was necessary for family subsistence. The early residents of Capitol Hill and vicinity had more difficulty in obtaining water for adequate irrigation than their counterparts on the valley floor. The hill's rocky soil made the area suitable for only family garden plots, one or two animals and a small orchard, such as those found in the Marmalade district. The 1850 census lists approximately 87 households in the area, with almost half listed as farmers. The rest were primarily artisans and laborers. Less desirable land and the easy walk to downtown businesses made the Capitol Hill neighborhood more attractive to tradesmen than farmers. The 1850 census shows the average number of children per household was five to six. A large number of unrelated boarders or guests were found in households throughout the area. This was most likely because of the proximity of Union Square, one of the blocks set aside for public use in the original plat. For many years, Union Square (located between 200 and 300 North, and 300 and 400 West just south of the boundary increase area) was a popular campsite for immigrant wagon trains and handcart companies. The first public building constructed in the increase area was an adobe schoolhouse built in 1852 at the corner of 500 North and 300 West (demolished by the turn of the century). Prior to this 19th ward members held meetings at the Warm Springs Bath House (site of the Warm Springs Park just north of the increase area), and in members' homes. In 1866, a meetinghouse for the 19th ward replaced the schoolhouse. The meetinghouse was demolished in the 1890s. By the time of the 1860 census, the number of households in the area had doubled. Only thirty-six men are listed as farmers or farm laborers. Most had very specific occupations (e.g. nail maker, machinist, gardener), or owned businesses (blacksmith, tanner, millwright etc.). The census taker listed several unoccupied households, an indication that at least a few of the settlers who left Salt Lake City during the Utah War of 1857-1858 didn't return.
Victorian Urbanization and the Coming of the Railroad, 1870-1910
Historians generally agree that the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, is a benchmark in Utah's history: the official end of the pioneer era in Utah. In January of 1870, the LDS Church-sponsored Utah Central Railroad completed a line connecting Salt Lake City to the transcontinental line at Ogden. In 1872, Union Pacific acquired control of the Utah Central, as well as interests in another Mormon railroad, the Utah Southern, which ran south from Salt Lake to Provo. The 400 West corridor provided the best grade and location for the tracks, and within a few years a warehouse district had developed next to the city's central business district. The coming of the railroad had a direct effect on the nearby neighborhoods. Small businesses had always been present in the boundary increase area from the first settlement, but the railroad encouraged large-scale enterprises. By the time of the 1889 Sanborn map, the Utah Central-Union Pacific Railroad had laid six lines of track near 500 West. The 1898 Sanborn map shows that in the decade before the turn of the century, the Oregon Short Line Railroad (incorporated by Union Pacific/Utah Northern Railway) had laid seventeen sets of track (through lines and sidings) separating the west side of town from the east at 500 West and North Temple.
The residents of the Capitol Hill area found their neighborhood conveniently close to the varied activities of the city. They found work in the business district of the central city and in a variety of nearby manufacturing and retail establishments. The largest businesses of the 1880s were located just west of the boundary increase area: the Utah Soap Manufacturing Works, the Salt Lake Glass Works, the Deseret Woolen Mills and the Morrison-Merrill Lumber Company. Within the increase area were the Utah Brewery operated by the Margetts family, and three tanneries. One of the tanneries was owned by Phillip Pugsley (1822-1903), an early pioneer whose sphere of influence went far beyond his original small holding on 400 North. In addition to the Salt Lake tannery, he built a second tannery in Petersen, Utah, and was involved in an Ogden woolen mill. He is listed in the 1884 Salt Lake directory as a capitalist. In the mid-1870s, Philip Pugsley established a flour mill on the corner of 300 West and 400 North (now demolished) that served the Capitol Hill community for many years as the place to bring wheat to be ground. Philip Pugsley had two wives, Martha Roach (1829-1906) and Clarissa Ames (1827-1910), and many of his descendants stayed in the area. His granddaughter Nellie Druce Pugsley (1893-1981) was a famous soloist with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Pugsley Street (originally Pugsley Court), which currently extends from Ouray Avenue to 700 North, is a tribute to his influence in the community.
Most commercial ventures in the area were on a smaller scale, and many were nearby or attached to the owner's residence. Christopher Stokes (1831-1911) acquired much of the land on Reed Avenue between 300 West and 400 West, which he originally called Rosella Street after his wife Rosella Nebeker (1845-1912). He took advantage of the traffic along 300 West to built a combination store and apartment complex at 775 North 300 West between 1894 and 1900. Stokes sold property to his neighbor Thomas Henry Morrison, (1847-1910), a New Zealander, who came to Salt Lake in 1882. Morrison built two brick homes for his wives, Emily Carbine (1856-1944) and Susannah Baker (1855-1921) on Reed Avenue in the 1890s. Behind the houses, Morrison and Sons built an ice cream factory. His sons ran the factory while Thomas Morrison operated a restaurant in a downtown office building. His specialty was meat pies. The Morrison family later owned a bakery and a meat pie company; the latter is still in business today although no longer in the area.
Most of the early commercial buildings were built at the north end of 300 West, no doubt because of the available land and the travelers entering and leaving the city. Besides the Stokes store, examples include the Godbe-Pitts Drug Company at 721 North 300 West (built in the 1880s, now altered), and the Frewin Grocery at 778 North (built in 1895, now demolished). Smaller general stores were built on the cross streets. Hans Peter Nielsen (1856-1920), a Danish immigrant, built a modest brick grocery and meat market at 376 North 400 West in 1900. The market must have been successful, because five years later Hans Nielsen and his wife Josephine Johnson Nielsen (1858-1940) were able to afford to build a two-and-one-half story brick house around the corner at 406 North 400 West. The house was not ornate, but large enough to rival those built closer to the hill. Both grocery and house are still standing and in excellent condition. An interesting example is found at 242-244 West 500 North. Built in 1903, this two-story brick commercial building has half a Victorian cottage built on the west side. James H. Poulton (1854-1936) and his wife Sarah Ann Pardoe (1857-1911) operated a general store from this location for thirty-four years. It was associated with the ZCMI (Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution) chain of stores for many years. Peter Buller built a brewery plant at 329 North 300 West, and a smaller beer bottling works at 376 North 300 West (both demolished).
Development in the boundary increase area was organic. Though this period of Salt Lake City's history was known for a flurry of housing developments, no subdivisions were platted in the neighborhood, except for a street plat filed for Reed and Fern Avenues east of 300 West. Most inner blocks streets were residential courts or alleys that later became streets. There were subdivisions platted north of 800 North in the area of the Beck and Warm Springs, but development never occurred, primarily because the spring's expanding "lake" made the soil unsuitable for either construction or vegetation. In addition for many years there was a night soil crematory near the Warm Springs site. However, the proximity of the hot springs provided auxiliary amenities for the residents. The boundary increase area had electric lights by the 1880s, and passenger rail lines were laid to the springs and beyond. By the turn of the century, streetcar lines ran along Center Street in the Marmalade District, 300 West and 400 West, the latter connecting to the Salt Lake-Ogden Railway. Because of its high volume of traffic, the 300 West roadway was well-maintained. Water mains and pipes (replacing well water) were laid in 1890s, and City Creek was partially channeled underground.
The Victorian era was the boundary increase area's period of greatest growth. Seventy-five percent of the contributing historic resources were built between 1870 and 1910. Most were individual single-family dwellings built by family members on subdivided land. A small number of houses were constructed by speculative builders in tracts of two or three. The types were identical to the homes built in the original Capitol Hill Historic District, but without the slope-derived adaptations. The Victorian Eclectic cottage, most often a cross wing or a central block with projecting bays, constructed of brick, was ubiquitous in Utah, and a number of beautifully preserved examples can be found in the increase area (521 Arctic Court, 546 North 400 West, 343 North 300 West, 400 North block of Pugsley, etc.). The side-passage house, such as the Nielsen house, was also very popular. Frame houses became more common as the railroad brought lumber into timber-scarce Salt Lake City. Extant frame examples include common Victorian types (248 Bishop Place, 321 West 400 North) and worker cottages built between 1900 and 1915 (e.g. shotguns and one-story Foursquares: 329, 333 and 349 West 700 North). The railroad also had an impact on the decorative aspect of domestic architecture. The rather austere classical adobe houses of the pioneer period were essentially vernacular buildings meant to mimic the homes the early settlers left behind in the east and mid-west. With the coming of the railroad, access to a variety of materials, and the availability of pattern books and handbooks, allowed local builders to produce exact replicas of Victorian cottages being built all across the United States. Ornamentation such as lathe-turned porch posts, spindle work and sometimes "gingerbread" cut woodwork was found on Victorian cottages throughout the district. In addition, many of the older homes were converted to cross wings or "dressed up" with Victorian ornamentation in the 1880s and 1890s. Probably the most interesting example of this is the house at 236 West 400 North. Built of adobe in 1880 with what may have been an original mansard roof, this house was updated over the years with plaster and Victorian trim and fish-scale shingles.
This house is also an early example of the semi-transient nature of the Capitol Hill neighborhoods. Between 1880 and 1890 six unrelated families lived at the address, indicating it may have been used as a boarding house. The house was purchased by Waldemar Lund (?-1899), a travel agent, and his wife Mary Ann Lund (1836-1901) and subsequently used as a single-family dwelling. Similar to the previous enumerations, the 1880 census lists a high number of boarders. Some were new immigrants staying with family and friends. Others were just traveling through the neighborhood. One example is B. Franklin Knowlton (1838-1901), who is listed with relatives and a hired hand at the family compound on 200 West (now demolished, built by his father, pioneer Sidney A. Knowlton [1792-1863]). Frank did not live in the area. He was a farmer, who managed the family farming and ranching interests in Farmington, to the north, and Skull Valley, to the southwest. Only a handful of occupant farmers were in the area in 1880, and those were long time residents like William Hawk. The list of occupations grows considerably in 1880 census with a number of residents were employed by the railroad, and many with urban employment such as hotel porter, waitress, and typesetter. Another group worked in the local mills, breweries and general stores.
Multiple-family housing began to appear in the district in the early 1890s. According to one report, in April of 1888, there was a "scarcity of rentable houses and a great demand for them," particularly four-room cottages for small families. This housing shortage may also account for the number of boarders. Robert Widdison (1844-1921), blacksmith, and his wife, Lois Thompson (1849-1901), built a Victorian brick house on Pugsley Court in 1894. After his wife's death, Widdison converted the house to a duplex, and it has remained a two-family dwelling since. The traditional double house accounts for almost one quarter of Victorian-era contributing buildings in the boundary increase area. Most are one-story, brick buildings. A few like the examples on 600 North resemble Victorian cottages with gable roofs and wood ornamentation. The more common type has a flat roof and a decorative brick parapet with a wood porch. Often the original owner of a double house was a builder or businessman who lived in one of the units. This is the case of the double house at 458-460 North 400 West, which was built circa 1902 by bricklayer, David A.E. Thompson (1863-1946). Thompson's sister and brother-in-law lived in the home for many years, as well as a number of renters, mostly railroad workers. Another example is at 337-339 West 700 North in 1903. The first occupant, James S. Jones (1860-1938), the owner of a hack service, and his wife Annie Sims (1865-1918), lived in the house only a few years before buying it, moving out and becoming landlords.
A number of important institutional buildings were constructed during this period. The 19th Ward was divided to create the 22nd Ward in 1889, and subsequently replaced its 1866 adobe meetinghouse with a new brick one in 1890 located at 172 West 500 North within the original Capitol Hill Historic District boundaries. The 22nd Ward took the area west of 300 West and built a meetinghouse on 400 North between 400 and 500 West. However, pressure from expanding rail lines forced the ward to move to a new location at 465 North 300 West (later demolished in the 1960s). Two other congregations had buildings in the area: the Plymouth Congregational Church built circa 1893 was located at 230 West 400 North and St. Peter's Episcopal Church built in the 1890s at 657 North 300 North (both demolished). Other nearby institutional buildings included the Irving and Washington schools (both demolished), and two small private hospitals were located within the boundaries of the original district. Substantially altered portions of the larger St. Mark's Hospital built in 1894 still stand within an office complex at 825 North 300 West, just north of the increase area.
The presence of church buildings other than those of the Mormon Church suggests that after the 1880s the number of non-Mormon immigrants had increased in the Capitol Hill neighborhoods. Because of the proximity of the railroad yards and shops, many engineers and railroad men chose the Marmalade district and the neighborhoods immediately west to settle their families. Men with mining-related occupations found the Capitol Hill neighborhoods attractive and within their means as did many trained in the new trades of telegraph, telephone and electricity. Meanwhile the LDS population remained prominent and growing. The neighborhood's strong association with the original 19th Ward, despite being subdivided up to four times, meant there was no ready division between the residential neighborhoods that spread down the west slope and the residential blocks to the west. A Pugsley from west of 300 West was as likely to sit on the ward building committee as an Asper from Quince Street. The 300 West corridor had more shops but was essentially another residential street.
By the time of the 1900 census, renters occupied half of all households. Out of nearly 200 households, only two farmers were listed. One was Chin Pay (1830-?), a former Chinese railroad worker who came to United States in 1867. He settled in Salt Lake and established a vegetable garden on 400 West. This Chinese farmer's humble circumstances were probably a great contrast with the then mayor of Salt Lake City, businessman, Ezra Thompson (1851-1923), who was living two blocks away. The economic diversity of the boundary increase area is astonishing. From farmer to mayor, from railroad laborer to university professor, there are almost as many different occupations as there are workers. Family makeup had also changed by 1900. The census lists an average of three to four children per family. For the first time, the number of Utah-born residents in the area outnumbered the immigrants, the majority of which were still from Great Britain and Scandinavia.
The year 1910 marked a turning point in the history of Salt Lake City and the Capitol Hill Historic District (Boundary Increase) area. The railroad industry was at its apex. The large and ornate, newly-constructed railroad terminals further south were only one manifestation of the industry's strength. The 1910 census enumeration lists occupations by industry, and by far the industry with the most representation is the railroad. Not only are there a large number of conductors, engineers, brakemen, switchmen, etc., the census also lists several car cleaners and repairers, stenographers, accountants, and mail clerks employed by the railroad and living in the increase area. The census also reveals fewer cottage industries and entrepreneurs. Most workers have moved into factory settings: the seamstress employed by the knitting works, the butcher in a slaughterhouse, the laundress working in a commercial laundry, and the laborer packing boxes at the candy company. While the commute from the Capitol Hill neighborhoods was always easy, the 1910 census shows a growing number of residents were service workers in downtown businesses. The census also suggests proportionately fewer new immigrants were living in the area. A large percentage of residents were second generation Utahans, although there continued to be new residents from the Midwest, some southern states, Scandinavia and Great Britain. As always there are a few small ethnic enclaves such as a contingent of Swedish men on 400 North and an extended Swiss family living on upper Pugsley. Commercial Development and Residential Infill. 1910-1951
In the early part of the twentieth century, Capitol Hill Historic District (Boundary Increase) was similar to most Salt Lake neighborhoods. The streets were lined with attractive homes, with shade trees in the front yards and gardens in the rear. Housing stock and residential makeup in the boundary increase and the original district were very similar. The main difference was topography. Although the boundary increase was less densely packed than the nearby Marmalade district, in 1910 the neighborhood was still primarily residential; but in the first half of the twentieth century the flat land and access to transportation routes encouraged vigorous commercial development. The 300 West corridor, always an important state road, became part of State Highway 89 and was completely paved for automobile traffic by 1921. The surrounding city streets were paved and some curb and gutter installed by 1926. The largest public investment in the neighborhood was the 1909 technical school (demolished in 1999) and the 1917 West High School building, which replaced the circa 1890s complex, located just south of the increase area.
One of the earliest large-scale commercial ventures to take advantage of the area's amenities was the Model Steam Laundry Company. In 1912, the company moved from a downtown location to 244 West 300 North. The handsome two-story brick office and plant was designed by architect Fred Hale and built by J.F. Schraven at a cost of $18,000. Though the laundry plant was large, it was built on one of the few parcels of undeveloped land in the neighborhood and blended with its residential neighbors. Even after three years, when an addition was deemed necessary, the deep lot allowed the building to be easily expanded to the rear. Most of the area's commercial development occurred along 300 West, primarily in the form of retail stores. The D & D Drug Company built a two-story brick building at 401 North 300 West in 1911 adjoining an older grocery store. The one-part block, brick building at 426 North 300 West built in 1926 was originally a Safeway Market. After 1940 it belonged to the chain of O. P. Skaggs drug stores. The owner of 564 North 300 West built a grocery and fruit stand in front of his circa 1890 house in 1924. The earliest sign of the automobile in the area was the construction of a 1915 service station at 784 North 300 West (it was replaced in 1955, and the building now used as an office is still standing).
The 1920 census enumeration indicates that the proportion of rental units in the Capitol Hill neighborhoods had increased, outnumbering owner occupied households by a margin of not quite 2 to 1. However, the neighborhood was relatively stable. Two-thirds of homeowners in the census stated they owned their house free and clear of mortgages. New housing stock in this period followed the traditional types throughout Salt Lake City, and the development pattern was one of infill. Single family brick Bungalows and period cottages are scattered throughout the boundary increase area. Some were built for family members on subdivided lots. A few longtime residents razed older homes to build new ones. Niels Peter Sorensen (1868-1947) and his wife Mary Ann Thain (1864-1940) tore down a nineteenth century house at 674 North 300 West and built a brick period cottage in 1929. Sorensen was an engineer for the Oregon Short Line Railroad. Their daughter Naomi, a schoolteacher, lived in the home until her death in 1989.
The majority of contributing garages were built in the 1920s, either with new construction or behind existing homes. Speculative tract housing was more prevalent during this decade than at any other time in the boundary increase neighborhoods. Local builders active in the area include Rudger Amundsen (1885-1952), who built three Arts & Crafts Bungalows in 1913 on 600 North (262 and 264 West are still extant, 268 was demolished in the 1960s). Ammon S. Brown (1880-1968), a local contractor, lived for three years in one of the Bungalows he built on 300 West between 348 and 358 North. These Bungalows were built in 1926 and have period cottage details. Herbert and Frank Meads constructed six modest Bungalows on the 600 block of Pugsley in 1924. The two brothers, along with their father Arthur Meads, were perhaps the most prolific contractors on Salt Lake City's west side. Several double house Bungalows were also constructed during this period. The best examples are located at 265-267 West 400 North, 324-326 West 600 North, 263-265 West Bishop Place and 708-710 North 300 West, all built of brick in the 1920s. Several apartment complexes were also built during this period. The Lorna Apartments, a six-unit walk-up located at 776 North 300 West and built in 1913, is one of the best preserved. The Hollandia Apartments, an eight-unit complex located at 376 North 300 West, was built in 1925.
According to the 1920 census, the railroad was still the most important employer in the area. For example, all six households heads living in the Lorna Apartments worked for the railroads. However, there is a sense of decline, because the railroads were no longer attracting new immigrants. Of the seven Norwegian families, all of whom had immigrated between 1907 and 1911, living in a boarding house at 250 West 400 North in 1920, only one man had railroad employment. The others were factory and service workers. The boarding house was owned and operated by Hans J. Christiansen (1848-1923), a Danish-born preacher, and his wife Inger M. Christiansen (1855-1934). Ethnically the residents of the boundary increase were a homogenous group in 1920. Most were born in Utah or other parts of the United States. Immigrants were all from Western Europe or Scandinavia with only a few exceptions. Peter Angeline (1884-?), a Greek-American, was a soda salesman who lived with his wife Elizabeth (1889-?) on 400 West. In large part, the neighborhood was filled the descendants of the original pioneer settlers. Wilford Morrison, son of Thomas H. and Susannah Morrison, ran the family bakery on 300 West and Reed Avenue. In 1920, Thomas A. Ball (1895-1986) was living with his wife, Mary E. Ryser (1900-1975), in the home of her parents at 520 Pugsley Street. He worked for the nearby oil refinery. Six years after the census he would move his young family to one of the Meads-built Bungalows at 624 North Pugsley Street.
The Capitol Hill Historic District boundary increase area does not appear to have experienced a precipitous economic decline during the depression years. The ever-present railroad and increasing automobile traffic in the area may account for some stability. A number of automobile related jobs were found in the 1920 census. There were four repairmen, two salesman, and a dozen truck drivers, mostly for the laundry and candy company. A handful of interesting buildings were constructed in the 1930s. Gray Motor Company building at 404 North 300 West was constructed in 1931 and used for both sales and repairs. The Jo-Beth Apartment building on Ardmore Place was built in the mid-1930s. Grace E. Nielsen (1886-1960), daughter of Hans and Josephine Nielsen, built a modern-looking concrete block double house on her family's property at 370-374 West in 1938. Four motel courts were built on 300 West between the 1920s and the 1940s. The most interesting of these is the concrete block Art Moderne structure at 326 North (later converted to apartments and currently covered with stucco). Of the small number of buildings constructed in the area during the 1940s, the most notable were the four minimal-traditional houses built between 363 and 377 West 700 North, built before World War II. The first occupants of these houses were a street department worker, an electrician, a driver and a clerk. A row of frame and shingle duplexes on Pugsley Street built in 1951 by the Robert B. Nowell Building Supply Company represent the post-war period. Unfortunately, only one of these duplexes, 578-582 North Pugsley Street, has escaped demolition.
By the mid-century mark, commercial development in the area had begun to rise and was more intrusive in the neighborhood. In contrast to the Model Steam Laundry, when the Graybar Electric Company (wholesale electric suppliers) built at 360 North 400 West in 1948, four residential units were demolished to make way for the plant and its accompanying rail siding. The Graybar building was constructed of concrete block and face brick with a rail dock along the south elevation and automobile bay doors to the north. One of the biggest deterrents to residential construction and impetus for commercial development was the busy 300 West street. Ironically, even as automobile traffic was increasing, the 300 West corridor was one of the last streetcar lines to cease operation in the 1940s when the city dismantled the system. The triumph of the automobile was complete; especially after the Bamberger inter-urban electric railroad, which ran along 400 West was replaced with gasoline-powered buses in 1953. Three new service stations appeared on 300 West in the 1950s, and the 1915 Conoco station at 784 North was updated. Several restaurants also appeared. These years marked the beginning of a rapid general decline of the boundary increase neighborhoods, especially for the residents between 300 West and 400 West, who were caught in a no-man's land between a busy thoroughfare and heavy freight train traffic.
Decline and Redevelopment: 1951-2001
The completion of the Interstate 15 freeway in 1956 was both a blessing and a curse to the Capitol Hill Historic District (Boundary Increase) neighborhood. The presence of freeway initially reduced the number automobiles on 300 West for about two decades until freeway congestion necessitated the use of 300 West as an alternative commuter route. In addition the 600 North interchange dumped a large number of commuters into the heart of the residential neighborhood. During the 1950s and 1960s, many of the family-owned businesses either failed or moved to more favorable locations. In addition, the homes of many longtime residents were sold or converted to rental units. Later, the general decline and deterioration of the area discouraged potential developers and vacancy rates were high. In an effort to encourage development in the area, the neighborhood was given a patchwork of spot zoning. Beginning in the 1960s and 1970s, light industrial uses encroached on the neighborhoods near 400 West (e.g. acetylene plants, metal and plastic fabricators, roofing suppliers, etc.). In addition several large apartment complexes were built between 200 and 300 West. The largest of these were the Americana with 100 units built in 1970, and the Pioneer Apartments with 250 units built in 1982.
In the past decade, the restoration renaissance taking place in downtown and the original Capitol Hill Historic District has begun to move slowly into the boundary increase area. Many of the long-vacant commercial buildings on 300 West have been rehabilitated and put to new uses. The Model Steam Laundry houses an engineering firm. The Utah Opera Company has rehabilitated the Graybar Electric Company building for shops and storage and the Safeway-Skaggs commercial building has recently been restored by a design firm. The Salt Lake City Corporation has invested heavily in the area, building a new fire station on 300 North and a police station on 300 West. The Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency has acquired a number of properties and hopes to encourage development and preservation in the area. In addition the Salt Lake City School District recently spent millions of dollars to renovate West High School. The city continues to encourage the rehabilitation of the contributing older homes and businesses in a neighborhood, which the Utah Heritage Foundation has noted is "ripe for revitalization."
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†Henry O. Whiteside, Historian, Utah State Historical Society, Preservation Office, Capitol Hill Historic District, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, UT, nomination document, 1980, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington D.C.
‡ Korral Broschinsky, for Salt Lake City Corporation, Capitol Hill Historic District (Boundary Expansion), Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, nomination document, 2001, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.