252 South Edison Street in Salt Lake.
Utah Commercial and Savings Bank Building
The importance of the Utah Commercial and Savings Bank building
is related to both the architect, Richard K. A. Kletting. and the founder
of the bank, Francis Armstrong, as well as to the architecture.
Born in Wurttensberg, Germany, in 1858, Richard K. A. Kletting became
a dominant figure in Utah architecture after his arrival in the State in 1883. His important design commissions include the Utah State Capitol building,
original Saltair Pavilion, Utah State Hospital at Provo, McIntyre Building,
Felt Building, old University of Utah (now West High School), Deseret News
Building, Bell Telephone Building, Jefferson and Wittier schools, old Salt
Palace, Enos Wall mansion and several other commercial and residential buildings.
He was considered by his peers and the critics who followed an architect
of unusual ability. This opinion is attested to by the fact that most of
his projects are still in existence.
Francis Armstrong was an energetic entrepreneur who was born in England in 1839, came to the U.S. in 1858 and settled in Utah in 1861. After working for a short time in a flour mill, he formed a lumber and general contracting business known as Taylor, Bomney and Armstrong Co. Armstrong served in county government from 1881 until 1886 when he was elected Mayor of Salt Lake City.
As one of the originators and president of the Utah Power Co., Armstrong
purchased a street railway system from the L.D.S. Church and had it converted to electrical power. Thus Salt Lake City became the first city west of Chicago to have electrically operated street cars.
Francis Armstrong was one of the organizers and the first president
of the Utah Commercial and Savings Bank. He was responsible for commissioning Richard K. A. Kletting to design the bank building constructed between 1888 and 1890.
Style and significance:
A journalist of 1889 predicted “The Utah Commercial and Saving Bank building will have the finest front of any building in Utah: Of all the business facades of downtown Salt Lake, this one has survived with the least change. The Utah Commercial and Savings Bank is one of the best and of the few remaining examples of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture
as applied to the commercial Brownstone architectural style. Constructed
in 1890, the building is one of the earliest banking buildings preserved in the State. In addition, it represents a successful design accomplishment and shrewd economy in putting three levels of business frontage on a site less than 33 feet wide.
- Exterior: The exterior of the bank building is weather worn
but it is in good condition. It was sandblasted in about 1969
and was coated with a protective plastic spray.
- Interior: Some plaster has been removed from walls in the basement and on the second level to expose the original sandstone. The rear windows have been restored and some worn tile and wooden flooring has been replaced with parkay flooring. Though the interior walls on the main floor have not been altered significantly, the other levels have experienced extensive remodeling.
Walls: The front wall and foundation are built of red sandstone. The stone has been dressed in a varied of ways for contrast. The dominant rusticated stone is complimented by smooth, scored and carved stone.
Window bays: The front elevation is symmetrical and the window
types differ with each floor level:
- Ground floor: Over the entrance is a half-round transom window set within a carved stone Roman arch. Flanking the entrance are large, square, fixed stonefront windows with smaller, square transoms above.
- Second floor: The middle window bay is flat or segmentally arched and enclosed a double-hung window with fixed sidelights and transoms to the sides and above. Flanking this center bay, one on each side, are two pairs of tall Roman bays enclosing double-hung windows with half-round transoms.
- Upper floor: The center bay and its flanking bays are square and enclose sets of double-hung windows with decorative obscure glass transoms above. The center bay has a set of two windows while the side bays have three windows each.
Form and appearance:
Both the plan .and the shape of the front elevation are rectangular. A flight of nine risers bridges an areaway and goes up to the front entranceway. The entry doors are deeply recessed within an open vestibule. Recesses at the basement level shelter the entrances to the shops below. The roof is flat but slopes slightly to the rear of the building.
The center portion of the front wall extends slightly outward from the main face of the structure. This extension together with the recession of windows and cast shadows from the carved dentils and rock-faced masonry provide a sense of texture and weighty massiveness. Accentuating details include the steep triangular center facade, the columned mullions between windows on the second level, the engaged colonnettes which terminate
at a horizontal parapet and decorative stone foliated wall scrolls. The overall effect of the design of the building is is one of order and strength.
The J. G. McDonald Chocolate Company Building, built in 1901, is significant
for its pioneering role in the development of Utah’s candy manufacturing industry, and honors one of Salt Lake City‘s more prominent businessmen, James G. McDonald.
The McDonald Candy Co. business originated with John T. McDonald, who sold salt water taffy from saddlebags on horseback. He was one of Utah’s first merchants and eventually operated a wholesale and retail grocery and confectionery business which was founded in 1863.
James G. McDonald, one of several sons, took over his father’s business at the age of eighteen. By this time various types of candy were being produced as the railroads had reached Utah and sugar became available, replacing the pioneer staple of sorghum molasses. Heretofore salt water taffy was the only kind of candy made under the McDonald label.
In 1912 the company began to specialize in boxed chocolates and cocoa, and the company name was changed to the James G. McDonald Chocolate Company. It was the beginning of a “new Utah industry” on a large scale production level.
James G. McDonald was a promoter of home manufacturing and developed a chocolate drink intended to supplant the “injurious use of tea and coffee.” He was also recognized as the “first to place a five cent candy bar on the market” and his practice of using the roof of his factory as a roof garden and refectory for his employees was adopted by other American factories.
The company became world-renowned and was the recipient of over forty-four gold medals and awards, including the highest international award possible, the “Grand Prix for excellence and quality.” McDonald was a member of the jury of honor at the world’s fairs for several years.
James G. McDonald was born in Salt Lake City and was an active member of the Mormon Church, having served in several leadership positions.
During his lifetime he was senior director of the Utah State National Bank,
director of Heber J. Grant and Company, president of the Utah State Fair Association, vice-president of the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce, president of the Traffic Service Bureau and organized the Salt Lake Real Estate Association. He was also one of the organizers of the Utah Association of Credit Men, the Utah Manufacturers Association, and director of the Salvation Army board. During the Roosevelt administration McDonald was the government supervisor for confectioners under the N.R.A. (National Recovery Act).
Located at 155-159 West 300 South in Salt Lake City, Utah
The chocolates once produced in this building won over 40 gold medals for excellence in international competitions. The J.G. McDonald Chocolate Company specialized in boxed chocolates and a chocolate drink intended to replace the “injurious use of tea and coffee.” The company constructed this building in 1901 as its headquarters.
Originally, the building was three stories tall. A fourth story and a partial fifth story featuring an elaborate roof garden were added in 1914. The fifth story was later removed, but then reconstructed in 1999 when the building was converted to condominiums. Look for the letter “M” in brick relief on the corners of the fourth story.
Westgate Fine Arts Center
Kahn Brothers Grocery Building – Built in 1901.
Aaron Keyser constructed this building in 1901 and leased it to Emmanuel Kahn for his grocery business. Kahn was among the first Jewish settlers in Utah. In 1913, the Kahn Grocery Company moved to a new location and the N. O. Nelson Manufacturing Company occupied the building. This company remained here until its new warehouse at 380 West 200 South was complete in 1923. Keyser then leased the building to the federal government for use as a post office. The Kahn Brothers Grocery Building retains its original storefront window and entrance design. Look for the group of give small arched windows on either side of the facade.
The Crane Company constructed this building in 1910 to house the Salt Lake City branch of its internationally-known valve, engine, plumbing fixture, and heating system business. The company opened its Salt Lake branch in 1902, just a few years before many of the city’s first skyscrapers were constructed. Consequently, many of Salt Lake City’s most significant buildings were fitted with Crane supplies. As with other Crane Company buildings across the country, the company’s name is prominently featured in raised pediments and on a large neon sign on the roof. The Crane Building is relatively simple in style with modest ornamentation around the north entry and long the cornice.
The architect was Ware & Treganza.
With much of the city, much of the world shut down to help stop the spread of COVID-19 it is nice to see little happy things like this – several big hotels in downtown Salt Lake City have strategically turned on certain room lights at night to create a heart.
Temple Square Hotel
The Temple Square Hotel, once located on this corner, opened to much fanfare in 1930. Designed by the firm of Ashton and Evans, the hotel was one of the finest in the city, featuring a private bath and built in radio in every room. A more intimate setting than the grand Hotel Utah up the street, it marked the city’s growth as a regional business center.
For decades, the Temple Square Hotel was a particularly popular venue for wedding celebrations. The hotel was renovated and renamed the Inn at Temple Square in 1990 and then demolished in 2006 to make way for the Promontory on South Temple.
Mount Tabor Lutheran Church
The beautiful, original structure can be found at First Avenue and E Street, no longer a church, but housing an architectural firm. Planning for the very first Mount Tabor structure began before 1902 when the United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church raised some funds overseas and sent missionaries to Utah. Harold Jensen, a native of Tvilumgaard, Denmark, came to Salt Lake and in 1907 began seeking old and new Lutherans while starting to build the first church. The state Church of Denmark furnished nearly $15,000 to purchase property and the formal dedication of the First Avenue and E Street Mount Tabor Lutheran Church came in August 1911.(*)
By 1960, when the membership was about 400, an acre of property was purchased at the current location 700 East and 200 South and the “round church” designed by current congregation member, Charles D. Peterson, was built. The new structure was dedicated in 1965 by then Pastor Arthur V. Sorenson. Mount Tabor has since added on to its present facility expanding its fellowship and entrance areas, office space, handicap accessibility, and classrooms in 1996 under the leadership of Pastor Grant Aaseng.
Thomas Kearns Mansion and Carriage House
Built 1900-1902 of Sanpete Limestone.
Architect Carl M. Neuhausen.
Governor’s Mansion 1937-1957.
Thomas Kearns rose from modest beginnings to become a successful financier and United States Senator. He was born on April 11, 1862, on a farm in Ontario, Canada, the son of Margaret and Thomas Kearns. His family moved to Nebraska when Thomas was seven. At the age of 17 he went to South Dakota when gold was discovered in the Black Hills» After that he went to Arizona where he worked as a miner and a teamster. In 1883 he arrived in Utah and secured employment with the Denver Rio Grande Railroad. He went to Park City, Utah, in the summer of 1883 and worked in the mines. Working in the Ontario Mine, Kearns met his lifelong friend and advisor, David Keith. By 1892 Kearns, Keith, John Judge and others, leased mining property in Park City and formed the Silver King Mining Company. The profits from this mine were great, and the land holdings of this company increased. In 1907 the Silver King Coalition Mines Company was formed with Kearns as vice-president and Keith as President. In 1901 he acquired the Salt Lake Tribune. He was a noted philanthropist, and erected St. Anne f s Orphanage in Salt Lake City and gave generously to Catholic charities. He was a staunch Republican and was elected to the United States Senate in 1901. In Washington he became a close friend of Theodore Roosevelt.
He married Jennie Judge, of New York, in 1890. They had two sons and two daughters. Kearns died in October 1918. The home remained in the family until 1937 when Mrs. Judge donated it to the State of Utah. It was used as the governor’s mansion from 1937 to 1957, when it became the offices ‘of the Utah State Historical Society. In 1978 the home was vacated for a massive renovation and restoration project. After it was completed it started being used as the governor’s mansion.
The Kearns Mansion has a stone exterior richly detailed with round towers at three of its four corners.
At the time of the building, the mansion contained 28 rooms: 6 baths, ten fireplaces (of which nine remain), an all-marble kitchen and bathroom, a bowling alley, ballroom, billiard room, two parlors, two dining rooms, and three vaults (one for silver, one for wine, and one for jewelry). Cost of construction was approximately $250,000.00.
The carriage house is one of Utah’s most elaborate and best preserved carriage houses. It was built to serve-the Kearns Mansion, built by mining magnate Thomas Kearns. For many years it was the home of the Utah State Institute of Fine Arts. In 1978 the Institute moved next door to 617 East South Temple.