My Home Town. Clicking on images will get you larger images and/or more info.

City Views            

Who would have thought n 1847 that a group of 148 people (only three women and two children) would have been able to carve a successful settlement out of the desert. Not only that, but that the city they built would have over a million people in the metro area barely 150 years later. Salt Lake has an unique and colorful history that I won't try to get into here. You can learn more about the history of Salt Lake by visiting Wikipedia . Another great resource is a recently deceased author named Harold Schindler, a Tribune reporter and historian. He wrote a book about Orrin Porter Rockwell (one of Brigham Young's enforcers) called Man of God/Son of Thunder that is a must read if you are interested about early western history.

In 2002 Salt Lake City hosted the Winter Olympic Games. I've never been a huge sports fan, but it was more of a cultural event. I was still living there at the time and had the good fortune to go to many of the events. I met and spoke with people from countries That many people didn't know existed. For two weeks we were the center of the world. It was quite the experience. I plan to try to visit the games coming up in Vancouver. I have many photos, click on the thumbs and you will get multiple images and descriptions for many of them

2002 Olympics            
Around Town Decoration Chihuly Medals Plaza Hockey Ski Jump Half Pipe
Aerials Ladies G.S. Snowboard Sl. Misc.      

Salt Lake is not known for it's architecture. There are however a few gems. There are some beautiful structures from the turn of the century and a handful of modern buildings. The Salt Lake City Library, for example was designed by Moshe Safdie and is one of the finest examples a public library anywhere. Exchange place contains several turn of the century office buildings. Below are a few examples of Salt Lake Architecture.

Architecture & History
Salt Lake City Library
City County Building
Peery Hotel
First Presbyterian
First Security Bank Building
LDS Conference Center
Hotel Utah
Kearns Oval New Grand Hotel American Stores Tower New York Hotel Walker Bank Building Port O Call Exchange Place
Promised Valley Rail Lines Karrick Block Cathedral of the Madeleine Ford Motor Co. Salt Lake Hardware Greek Orthodox
First Methodist Episcopal Masonic Temple Saints Peter & Paul Stratford Hotel B'Nai Isreal Temple Firestone Tire & Rubber  

Park City is only about thirty minutes from Salt Lake. An old mining town established in 1872, the city didn't become a resort town until well after the turn of the century. Though a fire destroyed much of the city in 1898, many of the structures and homes built immediately after the fire survive today and the city still manages to retain much of it's charm in spite of some major growth over the last decade. Three of the seven ski resorts accessible from Salt Lake are located here and it is home to the Sundance film festival. Wikipedia again has a pretty comprehensive history of the area at,_Utah

Park City            
Vernacular Oak Saloon Park City Hall Washington School Alamo Club Egyptian Theater First National Bank
Frankel Building Rocky Mountain Bell Bardsley Building        

one of the wonderful things about Salt Lake is the proximity to the outdoors, especially the mountains. The Salt Lake Valley has a population of around a million people, yet I could be on pair of skis within half an hour of locking my back door...and I lived near downtown. There is camping about 20 minutes from town and reasonable fishing as well. You can hike and mountain bike literally within sight of downtown SLC. The Wasatch Range of the Rockies is not as high as many of the ranges in Colorado and Montana. The peaks run from about 9,000 to 12,000 ft, while the Front Range (Denver) has many peaks over 14,000. Unlike many other ranges however, the peaks rise directly from the valley floor at about 4,500 ft, so the vertical rise is truly impressive.

The Outdoors            

Cottonwood Canyons

Mayfield Mt. Timpanogus Snowbird Deer Valley The Uintas Sevier Plateau
Zion Park Lake Powell Cedar Breaks        

The myths

OK, as a Utah native, I feel compelled to dispel a few myths about my beloved hometown. First and foremost, yes you CAN get a drink, (a new distillery making fine rye whiskey has even opened recently). They do make you go through some hoops on occasion, but you need only remember a few basic rules. 3.2 beer only in the grocery and convenience stores. Pretty similar to a lot of other states. Bars serve beer and wine, private clubs sell hard liquor. Now the term private club is used pretty loosely. In the past it usually meant that you were a "guest" of the owner, though I believe they may have closed that loophole. Now days, it usually it means you pay a cover charge and that buys you a doorstep membership (the group you are with are then your guests). Hard liquor is purchased at state run liquor stores which operate pretty much the same way any other liquor store does, but they are closed on Sundays and holidays, so plan ahead. To buy liquor at a restaurant, you must have food in front of you unless it's a brew pub. Congratulations, you've just completed Utah drinking 101.

(Note: as of July 2009, the state is finally doing away with the, much maligned, private club law. I understand the next law up for possible change is the law limiting the number of liquor licenses available for new establishments).

Second...everyone is not Mormon and like any other religion, those that are LDS practice their faith with varying degrees of intensity. I've gotten drunk with plenty of Mormons, especially in my college days. About 60% of Utahns are LDS, but only about 40% of Salt Lakers and again, most are not firebrands. Rural areas of Utah tend to be more heavily LDS than urban areas. The conflicts come not because Mormons are fanatics, or even very fundamentalist, but because most Utah politicians are Mormon and feel the need to prove it to their constituency.

Third, there are plenty of things to do in SLC. The sidewalks do not roll up after dark. There are legal limits to how late bars can stay open and how late you can have live-public entertainment, but there are many options....concerts, sporting events, skate parks, symphony, ballet and acting companies to name a few If you feel the need to drink at a different watering hole every night for weeks on end, then SLC is probably not for you but hey, Vegas is only a five hour drive or $85.00 flight away.

Finally, Salt Lake does have a diverse population. True, it's not New York, but all major religions are represented and about 20% of the population is minority. Salt lake has the largest Tongan population outside of the pacific islands. That's probably because Tonga has the highest percentage of LDS faithful outside of Utah.

And oh yeah...the greatest snow on Earth is only half an hour away.

All photos on this page are originals by & copyrighted by Daren Willden, unless otherwise stated.
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