358 East 100 South in Salt Lake.
The Ashby Apartments, built between 1925 and 1926, is locally significant under Criterion A and Criterion C for its association with the urbanization of Salt Lake City in the early twentieth century. The apartment building meets the registration requirements of the Multiple Property Documentation for the Historic Resources of Salt Lake City, Urban Expansion into the Early Twentieth Century, 1890s-1930s, also known as the Salt Lake City Urban Apartments MPS, Between 1900 and 1930, Salt Lake City experienced rapid growth and the urban apartment building emerged as a new housing option in the neighborhoods near the city’s commercial center. The building is also significant for its association to several individuals who were historically tied to a number of apartments in the city. The builders, Frank and George Bowers, constructed several apartment blocks in the downtown area. Their draftsman, Dan Weggeland, became a respected architect in the city. A later owner of the building was Ralph Badger, who served for a time as the president of the Apartment House Association of Utah. The building was known historically as the Gooch and the Suzanne Apartments for four and six years respectively, but has been known as the Ashby since 1937. The building is architecturally significant as a well executed and well-preserved example of the double-loaded corridor apartment house with modest Mission-style influences. The Ashby Apartments building is a contributing historic resource in one of Salt Lake City’s oldest neighborhoods.
The land occupied by the Ashby Apartments was owned by Thomas and Cordelia (Delia) Carter, who built a home on the lot in the 1880s. Thomas Carter was an early tobacco merchant in Salt Lake City. The land passed
to their daughter, Bertha K. Carter Griffin in 1908. Bertha sold the property to Vivian L. Wilding in 1919. The house on the property appears to have been a rental during this time. Clifford E. Meadows was the last occupant before the house was torn down in 1925 after Vivian Wilding sold the land to the Bowers Investment Company. On July 15, 1925, the Bowers Company filed a building permit for a “three-story brick apartment house” with twenty-five units (72 rooms) to be constructed at a cost of $50,000. The Bowers Investment Company was listed as owner and builder. No architect was listed. The apartment building was completed and occupied in 1926.
In March 1926, the property was sold to the Eflow Investment Company. Between 1926 and 1928, Owen G. and Mary Gooch held several mortgages on the property. The first name of the building was the Gooch Apartments with Owen, Mary and their children being listed among the first occupants. Owen Garland Gooch was born in Kentucky on April 11, 1873. He came to Salt Lake City in 1911 and was employed as a telegraph operator for the Oregon Shortline Railroad. He was working as a tower man for the railroad in the mid-1920s. Mary Gooch was born Mary Elizabeth Macintosh. She was bom in Kentucky on March 31, 1876. Owen and Mary were married on June 2, 1898. They had three sons and one daughter. The couple named the apartment block the Gooch Apartments when they moved there in 1926. They lived in the #1 unit with their son, Marion, and daughter, Marie. Another son, Douglas Gooch (1900-1945), lived in #16. Douglas was a bookkeeper and later the assistant manager for the Hempstreet Brothers, a Salt Lake City furniture store. The family of Owen and Mary Gooch moved from the Gooch Apartments around 1929 to a home on Yale Avenue. Owen G. Gooch died on July 17,1942. Mary Gooch died on March 19, 1951.
In 1930, the Eflow Investment Company took over the management of the building and gave it a new name, the Suzanne Apartments. Nathan Wolfe (circa 1890-?) was the president of the company at the time. Eflow Investment sold the property to Russel L. Traher in 1933. There is very little information known about Russel Traher. He was born in 1899 and died in 1970 in Arizona. He was single when he acquired the Suzanne Apartments and married when he sold the property in 1936. Russel and Ruth Traher sold the property to Ralph A. Badger. Ralph Ashby Badger was born on April 8, 1880, in Salt Lake City. His middle name Ashby came from his mother’s name and was given to the Apartments in 1936. According to his obituary, Ralph A. Badger, owned and operated five Salt Lake apartment buildings. He founded a stock brokerage firm in 1912 and in 1959, the company was renamed the Badger Investment Company. He served as the president of the Apartment House Association of Utah. He died October 6, 1963. His son, Howard Carl Badger (1924-1989), took over the company and started his own real estate firm after his father’s death. Howard Badger was also a past president of the Utah Apartment House Association. Howard Badger lived in the Ashby Apartments (unit #5) in the early 1940s, about the same time he was elected to the Utah House of Representatives in 1942. In 1987, the Badger family sold the property to Evergreen Management. Prior to the rehabilitation, the building was acquired by the current owners, Glenfinnan Properties LLC and the La Porte Group, who undertook the
The Gooch Apartment building was ninety percent occupied soon after construction and increased to 100 percent by the 1940s. The 1930 census gives a glimpse of the early occupants. Many were married couples with no children, but there were a high number of single residents. There were three divorcees and one widow. Those who have occupations listed are mostly middle-class workers. There were six salesmen and saleswomen,
two managers, two clerks, three who worked for the telephone company, four stenographers, one mechanic, one photographer, a pharmacist and four nurses. Later directories indicate a high number of nurses lived in the
apartments, including sisters, Norma and Conchita Allred. Only a third of the tenants stayed more than three years, and none remained longer than ten, except for Jean Glenn Shea, a widow who lived there from 1925 to
about 1940. Between the 1940s and 1960s, the apartment building had a series of married female managers: Mrs. Margaret Whitten, Mrs. Elizabeth Hansen, Mrs. Mary Meadows, etc. The vacancy rate did not drop until
the 1990s, when there was a general decline in vacancy rates.
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, the first city survey, known as 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. Within two years, the population of Salt Lake City had grown to 6,000. In 1948, the sixty-three blocks of Plat B was surveyed and given identical restrictions. The Ashby Apartments is located on Block 45 of Plat B.
By the turn of the century, Salt Lake City had grown from an agrarian village to a bustling urban metropolis. The coming of the railroads brought an increase in every type of manufacturing and commerce, as well as an
enormous influx of immigrant laborers and their families. The population of Salt Lake City increased from 20,000 in the 1880s to over 92,000 by 1910. The original lots of the each ten-acre block had been divided and subdivided and most of the Plat B lands had inner block streets. During this period there was a great range of architecture in the early neighborhoods. Pioneer settlement adobe and frame hall-parlors were intermingled
with brick and frame Victorian cottages. Multiple-family dwellings first appeared as double houses, which became very popular in the 1890s.
By the turn of the century the city core had developed into an urban commercial district with high-rise office buildings and multiple streetcar lines. During the first half of the twentieth century, the rapid increase in the
city’s population created a demand for housing that was met by two diametrically opposed types of housing: central city apartments and subdivision homes. The city instigated massive urban improvement projects such as water mains, sewage facilities, electrical lines and telephone service, both in the central city and in the emerging suburbs. Rising land values and urban congestion made the apartment house a feasible investment for developers. This was noted in a Salt Lake Tribune article that appeared in 1902, just as the first major apartments were being constructed: “It is generally recognized by farseeing investors that the period of cottages in Salt Lake has reached its highest point and the period of flat buildings, marking another stage in the evolution from town to city, has just begun.” More than 180 apartment buildings, all built by private investors, were constructed in Salt Lake City during the first three decades of the twentieth century.
The emergence of apartment building also presented a practical housing alternative for those residents who could not (or would not) take advantage of the increasing attractive and convenient suburbs. Though a few early urban apartments were luxury units, the vast majority consisted of apartments for the middle class. The gradual transformation of some of these buildings into housing for the inner-city poor did not take place until
the last quarter of the twentieth century. In fact, the economic status of the early apartment dwellers was virtually the same as that of suburban homeowners of the same period, middle and upper-middle class. The
major difference between the two groups was transitory nature of apartment dwellers. Tenants were often in transitional phases of their lives. Common occupants include newly married or childless couples, widows and widowers, retirees, and working single adults. The early tenants of the Ashby Apartments were representative of these demographic trends.
Architecturally, the Ashby Apartments, built between 1925 and 1926, is typical for the period. There are two basic building types that account for 93 percent of the city’s urban apartments: the walk-up and the double-loaded corridor. The Ashby Apartments is an example of the double-loaded corridor. The deep narrow lot was suited to the long narrow apartment type.
The developers and contractors were George C. and Frank B. Bowers, two brothers who founded the Bowers Construction Company and the Bowers Investment Company after World War I. The Bowers built several apartment blocks in downtown Salt Lake in the 1920s. In the year 1925, when they received a building permit for 358 E. 100 South, they also built apartment blocks at 435 E. 100 South, 155 S. 400 East, and 335 S. 200
George Collins Bowers (1883-1934) and Frank Bradley Bowers (1892-1973) were prominent builders of the period. They constructed the Garden Park Ward meetinghouse, an LDS Church building designed by Taylor Woolley, an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright. The Bowers were also instrumental in developing the Normandie subdivision on Salt Lake City’s east bench. Eugene “Gene” Bowers, son of Frank Bowers, said that during the time his father and uncle were building apartments they employed Dan Weggeland as a draftsman and it is likely Weggeland drew up the plans for the Ashby Apartments. Danquart “Dan” Andrew Weggeland (1905-1985) was a student at the time the building was constructed, which is perhaps why the building permit did not give an architect’s name. Gene Bowers called Dan Weggeland an artist, a fact which is also noted in his obituary. Dan’s grandfather of the same name, Danquart Weggeland (1827-1918) was a prominent artist in Utah in the 19th century. Dan Weggeland became an architect and was noted for both residential and commercial work. The Ashby Apartments may be one of his earliest works in architecture and his work for the
Bowers Company probably paid for his schooling.