The Harris Apartments in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Constructed at 836 South 500 East in late 1929, the Harris Apartments is a three-story brick building with a parapet roof, concrete foundation, and modest Colonial Revival stylistic features. No significant alterations have been made to the building.

The Harris Apartments is a rectangular building with its narrow end facing the street. The symmetrical facade has a central doorway framed by a small porch with classically styled columns and a dentiled cornice. There is a doorway centered on the rear elevation as well. The exterior of the building is a dark red brick accented with cream-colored concrete belt courses and false quoins on the facade; belt courses on the sides and rear are of brick. The windows are double hung with the upper portion having eight divided lights and the bottom portion a single pane. These are new, double-pane windows that replicate the originals. The pent roof above the facade and the coping along the parapet walls are made up of red bar tile.

The interior of the building is laid out in the typical double-loaded corridor plan, which has a central hallway with apartments on either side and stairways at the front and rear. There are 21 apartments in the building consisting of seven studio and fourteen one-bedroom units.

Rehabilitation of the building was undertaken in 1990-91 to upgrade the apartments. It was done as a tax project, with the work meeting the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

Constructed in 1929-30, the Harris Apartments is one of over 180 “Urban Apartments” built in the Salt Lake City during the first three decades of the twentieth century, a period of unprecedented expansion and urbanization. Over 60 percent of those buildings are either listed or eligible for listing in the National Register. Urban Apartments are significant under Criteria C as a distinct and important type of residential building in the city. Apartments are remarkably consistent with one another in terms of building plan, height, roof type, materials, and stylistic features. These and other characteristics mark them as a new and distinct type of early twentieth century residential building. Under Criteria A urban apartments are significant for their association with the rapid urbanization of Salt Lake City during the 1890s-1930s period. The growth that took place during those decades spurred the construction of two opposing types of housing in the City; urban apartments and suburban momes. Suburban homes represent a rejection of urban conditions. Apartments, on the other hand, document the accommodations of builders and residents to the realities of crowded living conditions and high land values. They were a significant new housing option that emerged in response to the growth that transformed Salt Lake City into an urban center during the early twentieth century.

The building permit was issued for the Harris Apartments to Sterling P. Harris on October 21, 1929. This was preceded by an announcement and rendering of the proposed building that appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune on September 29 (p. B-8). Cost of the building was estimated at $75,000~$100,00 in the newspaper article, though the amount listed on the building permit was only $40,000. Harris was a retired dairyman, who apparently viewed apartments as an attractive investment. He and his wife, Annie L. Harris, owned the building until 1936, when they sold it to T. E. and Mabel R. King. The Kings in turn sold it to W. H. and Amanda H. Facer in 1938.

This apartment building is located several blocks south of where urban apartments were most common, the neighborhoods to the east of the central business district. Like other apartments, however, it fronts one of the major streets, 500 East, a principal north-south throughway.

National Register of Historic Places Registration Form

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