Lake Park Resort
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This page was last updated on January 5, 2015.
On July 28, 1886, the Lake Park Resort opened to the public, although there were still several buildings and improvements to be completed. The bath-houses were completed, and a gas line was to be run out onto the pier to provide gas lighting over the lake at night. The pavilion was being rushed to completion. (Salt Lake Herald, July 21, 1886)
The organizers of the Lake Park Resort Company included W. H. Bancroft, George Goss, and Charles Bennett of D&RGW, and Simon Bamberger and his brother Jacob Bamberger. The actual shares of ownership were in the hands of Goss (50 per cent) and Simon and Jacob Bamberger (each with 25 per cent). George Goss was Chief Engineer of D&RGW, and had been involved with the railroad from the earliest days of its predecessors in 1871 and 1872. The Lake Park Resort Company was very much a D&RGW enterprise.
A description of the progress of construction from the July 29, 1886 issue of The Salt Lake Herald, shows that the pavilion and adjacent bar and saloon were still under construction:
The bath houses are perhaps one of the most striking features, and at once give an appearance of neatness and substantiality. They are a hundred in number. In each one is a shower bath, stationary wash basin, mirror, chairs, etc. They are smoothly furnished inside and present a comfortable and cheerful appearance, while the outside is made attractive by being neatly painted. Excellent ventilation is secured, and over the high partition, between each of the rooms, is an incandescent electric light, which must prove a great value to the bathers. A strip of ground running the entire length of the bath houses has been enclosed by a handsome fence, and this will soon be converted into a grass plot. The bath-houses can be entered from either side, and this arrangement is one also to be highly commended. The family bath-houses are located as in the diagram.) [north of the central pier, with the single bath-houses being south of the central pier]. They are much more commodious, being as large as some of the bedrooms in the average hotel, and are designed more particularly for the use of ladies and children. A stream of excellent water from a drive-well flows into a large tank, and from this is supplied the water for the shower bath, thus including quality and force.
The saloon, under the control of Messrs. Bechtol & Sands, is a building 30x60 feet in length. The center of this is an oval-shaped bar, fitted up with the most modern improvements and conveniences, and capable of accommodating three times more customers than any similar concern in the country. It is an odd and attractive design and although unfinished as yet gives promise of being, as John Bechtol says, "the finest thing west of Chicago." To this is added two billiard tables, and a lunch stand, and everything will be sold at city prices.
The Pavilion comes next, and is yet but in course of construction. It will be about 60 feet square, and the floor will be elevated about 6 feet from the ground, the entrance to the room proper being made by a flight of steps on either side. A glance at the plans shows that an elegant design has been made for it, and Mr. Eccles is authority for saying that it will be carried out to the letter. There will be a raised platform at one end for the orchestra, and parti-colored blinds will be added to keep out the sun, and insure greater privacy to clubs, societies, etc. who may wish to take a run out to the new resort. A large clock will be placed at the top, so that bathers may know just when to leave the lake in order to catch the trains.
The restaurant is 30x60 feet is to be furnished in attractive style, and will be under the charge of competent gentlemen whose reputation is a guarantee that everything will be first class. City prices will also prevail here.
The electric plant is located conveniently, and will soon be in running order, all the buildings and the lake itself being lighted by this means.
At the spot indicated in the diagram by O, an office is to be immediately erected, in which will be a safe to deposit valuables if so desired.
From this a pier 150 feet long extends out into the lake. This will be covered with a pagoda-shaped roof, and will afford an excellent promenade for those who may not desire to bathe, but who may wish to enjoy the briny breezes of our inland sea.
The bathing suits are of far better shape and material than any yet kept here by any public bathing resort, and are such that none need be ashamed to wear. The office, presided over by Louis Bamberger, is a model of convenience, and is arranged in such a manner that the rush and jam in the run for bathing suits is avoided.
The site selected for the hotel is an excellent one, being a knoll at some distance from the other buildings and facing the lake. Near it a flowing well yields seventy-five gallons of water per minute.
Six trains leave daily over D&RG for the resort.
A "concise description" of the Lake Park Company comes from the June 19, 1887 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune:
"Its location is on the Lake shore, fifteen miles north of this city, on the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway. A short branch from the main line of the road reaches the Park, and making a complete circle not only affords fine facilities for visitors, but enables all trains to pass through the grounds, which they do during bathing season." "Thousands of trees are growing nicely, and more will be added. The buildings are located around and inside the railway 'loop'."
"The pavilion is a central feature and is reached by broad flights of stairs on two sides. Its 3600 foot square floor is so elevated as to be a delightful place for either sitting or dancing. Its lofty roof, fine porticoes, etc., make it a very pretty structure. The band occupies an alcove 11x20 feet on the floor, beneath which there is a ladies dressing room and a musicians' room. Directly back of the pavilion leads to the bath houses, one extending north, another south, while in the center a covered pier extends out into the Lake over 400 feet. The outer end of this is 18 feet wide and 370 feet long and calculated for use as a pavilion and boat house at which all the row, sail and stem boats will have a landing. More bath houses are being added and in a few days these will be ample to accommodate 2000 bathers at one time."
"The central pavilion is flanked on one side by an exchange 30x60 feet in which there is a circular bar presided over by Harry Edwards with six or eight assistants when needed. On the other side is the restaurant 30x60 feet with its pantry 24x30, provided with a French range and all conveniences. Good meals are served here as fifty cents. Around the 'loop' are ten garden houses, pretty places, for small parties to picnic. In the 'loop' is the bowery 100x100 feet with tables, and a booth in the center for sale of lunches, etc. An electric light plant supplies thirty arc and fifty incandescent lamps at night. Six artesian wells furnish good water, and keep the grounds moistened nicely. The company in fitting up this place seem to have forgotten nothing which would add attractiveness to the place or afford pleasure to their guests."
"Twenty row boats, two large sail boats and a small steam boat are either here or are coming from the East. There is a Flying Jennie and a number of live, active burros, with saddles and bridles for the amusement of children. Fourteen of the best musicians that could be engaged at Denver, under the leadership of Profs. Krause & Koenigeberg give two concerts every day in the pavilion, and a fine piano is also provided. There is a large ice house in which are 200 tons of ice. A slat factory supplies specimens of slat crystals, and in fact there does not appear to have been anything overlooked which would add interest and pleasure to the place."
"This noble resort is under the management of Geo. Goss and Simon Bamberger, who with their corps of assistants maintain the best of order and decorum and make it a fit place for the most fastidious to visit. Each bath room is provided with a shower of pure water, and bath rooms, suits and towels cost only twenty-five cents for a bath, while the railway fare is fifty cents for the round trip, from either this city of Ogden. Bath rooms can be obtained at the depot. The company have their own telegraph and will send instructions ahead of the trains. Trains run every few hours to Lake Park during the bathing season."
(This article was accompanied by the earliest known illustration of the resort.)
The following comes from The Salt Lake Herald, July 31, 1910:
"Lake Park was opened in the summer of 1886 by the Denver & Rio Grande railroad. It was on the shores of Great Salt Lake, about midway between Salt Lake and Ogden. There were several hundred bath houses, each provided with a fresh water shower bath and a stationary washstand. There were, in addition, buildings for restaurant and bar, a grand pavilion with music for dancing, a fine pier, shooting galleries, baseball and cricket grounds, bowling alleys and boats for hire. The place was on an extensive scale and was well managed but the bathing was never a success, as there was a mud bottom to the lake at that point and no amount of filling in with gravel enabled the owners to overcome this difficulty. It was finally abandoned and some of the buildings sold to Simon Bamberger. They are now in use at Lagoon."
"Simon Bamberger started Lagoon in 1896. Just north of Farmington in the fields near the base of the mountains lay a large reservoir used for storing irrigation water. This and land adjoining was purchased by Mr. Bamberger; the reservoir was enlarged to a lake, the name of the railroads was changed and Lagoon opened July 4, 1896. There are 40 acres at the resort and Mr. Bamberger has spent $100,000 in improving the place. The present skating rink was the former dancing hall at Lake Park and the saloon and building now occupied as a soda water factory were also purchased from the old place." (Salt Lake Herald, July 31, 1910)
As early as 1888, just two years after opening, the mud flats between the resort and the water's edge were a problem. In the June 15, 1888, issue if the Salt Lake Herald newspaper, there was a news item about the season opening of the resort. The article mentioned that the soft mud was a drawback, and would be overcome by either the laying of wooden platforms to the water's edge, similar to the solution used by the Syracuse resort 12 miles to the north, or by adding floating docks with bath houses. The concern for the floating bath houses was that the strong prevailing winds in the area might push them around and make for a hazard. Another solution presented was to extend raised platforms from the pavilion, out to the water's edge.
The resort was located in T3N, R1W, east 1/2, section 22 (Davis County Clipper, December 9, 1898)
The USGS topographic map of the area shows that the east half of Section 22 was on land, while the west half was on the Great Salt Lake. A section is one-mile square, meaning that the entire west edge of the east half of Section 22 was along the lake shore. Today's Ironside Way in west Farmington, from its intersection with Clark Lane, is at the line between sections 22 and 23, to the east.
According to listings in the Davis County Clipper newspaper in December 1893 and December 1898, the Lake Park Resort Company owed back taxes to Davis County.
September 23, 1885
"There was a rumor abroad yesterday to the effect that Receiver Bancroft, of the D.&R.G.W., and a party of citizens, would leave this morning, on a tour of inspection of the lake shore between Black Rock and Kaysville, with a view to the selection of a spot for a new bathing resort." (Salt Lake Herald, September 23, 1885)
"Sometime less than a month ago, ground was broken for the new bathing place on the eastern shore of Great Salt Lake." (Salt Lake Herald, July 29, 1886) (This article was accompanied by a diagram.)
June 26, 1886
D&RG let the contract to build the branch that would serve its Lake Park resort. The contract was let to David Sanders of Farmington. Work was to commence on June 28. (Salt Lake Herald, June 27, 1886)
July 28, 1886
The Lake Park Resort opened to the public, although there were still several buildings and improvements to be completed. The bath-houses were completed, and a gas line was to be run out onto the pier to provide gas lighting over the lake at night. The pavilion was being rushed to completion. (Salt Lake Herald, July 21, 1886)
August 1, 1886
"The Lake Park people have completed arrangements for the opening of the pavilion now in course of erection one week from today, and for that occasion they announce a programme which is sure to be met with considerable interest. Two promenade concerts are to be given, one in the afternoon, the other in the evening, under the direction of B. B. Young." (Salt Lake Herald, August 1, 1886)
June 14, 1888
The Lake Park Resort opened its 1888 season on June 14, 1888, with between 1500 and 1800 people visiting the facilities. "James Dinwoodey made a feature of the restaurant, and satisfied a numerous hungry crowd. The bar, in charge of Isaac Woolf, was thronged all afternoon, after the arrival of the 2 o'clock train, and soda waters were handed out by the hundreds. In the center of the bowery is an ice cream and soda water stand, presided over by the affable Rob. Stoddard." "There is one drawback, and one which it would be folly to try to hide, but measures to surmount it are being devised by the powers that be. It is the mud close around the shore. Several plans are talked of to get over this soft bottom and give bathers a more pleasant footing and cleaner water in the near future. One was to lay a platform over the mud, such as the Syracuse people laid at that resort; another was to build a few sections of floating bath houses, but some thought that the strong winds which prevail on the lake would use them roughly at times; the next 'happy thought' was the building of the bath houses on piles far enough in the lake to escape the mud." The outing was for the Daughters of Rebekah, a service organization affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF). The evening train returning to Salt Lake City at 7:20 p.m. "brought down twelve carloads of live freight, all pleased and happy with their day's out, and left as many more behind to bathe by moonlight, have a row, and participate in the ball, for which the Daughters sold quite a number of tickets." (Salt Lake Herald, June 15, 1888, "yesterday")
June 17, 1891
"The Rio Grande Western people believe that Lake Park will be opened next year, when the resort will be conducted as a place for picnicking rather than bathing, thought if people wish to go in the water they will be accommodated with such conveniences as the resort affords. The track is to be standard gauged this year at a probable cost of $5000. Considerable money will be spent in the spring in refitting the grounds." (Salt Lake Tribune, June 17, 1891)
July 11, 1892
"A special train of two cars for the accommodation of the Tuscaroras ran out over the Rio Grande Western to Lake Park yesterday in charge of A. N. Oliver for the purpose of looking over the accommodations of that resort." "Although the resort has not been used for two years everything was found in first-class condition, and conveniences for the large crowd are at hand. The beach is in better shape for bathing than it was when in use, and the buildings can be made ready in a day or so that there can be no criticism." (Salt Lake Tribune, July 11, 1892)
"Before Lagoon was opened in 1897 there was a resort known as Lake Park on the shore of Great Salt Lake about two and a half miles west of Lagoon. The lake waters receded too far for the Lake Park to be attractive and it was abandoned about 1893." (Park Record, April 17, 1947)
"The Rio Grande Western revolutionized things in 1886. Lake Park was organized, and its promoters were S. Bamberger and the railroad people. Lake Park is in a beautiful location. The buildings are handsome and were planned by R. Kletting. In 1887 great crowds attended the resort. It is still open to the public on certain days, when excursion trains run. The building of Lake Park spurred its competitors, until today, out of the primitive bathing and amusement resorts, three great establishments on the lake contribute to the pleasure of the people." (Salt Lake Tribune, June 30, 1895)
"In 1895 a Salt Lake City ice company conceived the idea of creating a lake from which it could harvest ice in the winter. The Lagoon springs, from which the lake was formed, were too warm to allow thick ice to freeze. Nevertheless, for several years ice was stored in three large ice houses located immediately south of the present water filters at Lagoon's swimming pool." (Park Record, April 17, 1947)
January 28, 1896
"The Great Salt Lake & Hot Springs road has a force of men and teams at work making a grade for the extension of its line a short distance further north, where Simon Bamberger is making extensive preparations for a summer resort. An official of the Hot Springs road told The Herald correspondent today that the main buildings that are now at Lake Park, including the pavilion, are to be moved to this point. It is expected that the resort will be ready for opening next summer." (Salt Lake Herald, January 28, 1896)
By June 1899, Simon Bamberger owned the property of the former Lake Park Resort. A news item in the Deseret News: "Gottlieb Blusche and Leo Blusche who were arrested recently for stealing a car load of odds and ends - such as lumber, plows, doors, beds, pipefittings, etc. from the old Lake Park resort at Farmington, the property of Simon Bamberger, were brought before Justice Lamb of Farmington this morning...." (Deseret News, June 2, 1899)
July 27, 1899
"At the old Lake Park bathing resort, Isaac Sears of Sears, Jeremy & Co., has secured the lease of several hundred acres of land from Simon Bamberger, and these ponds will be filled in a few days." (Salt Lake Tribune, July 27, 1899)
July 7, 1901
"The Sears Utah Salt Company will commence gathering salt within a week or ten days at the ponds near the old Lake Park resort. Pumping on the plant owned by the same company near Kaysville has already commenced." (Salt Lake Tribune, July 7, 1901) Sears Utah Salt Company was incorporated on April 29, 1901. Along with a lease of 80 acres near Kaysville, the company held a lease to 220 acres owned by Simon Bamberger on the site of the former Lake Park Resort Company. (Salt Lake Tribune, April 30, 1901, "yesterday")
July 21, 1911
"Five hundred and ninety-one cows and calves were brought over from Antelope Island Wednesday. They were nearly all Herefords and were landed at Lake Park. They were driven down to the Union Stock Yards the same day. They will be taken out to the Uintah Indian Reservation. (Davis County Clipper, July 21, 1911)
In November 1935, Davis County had 30 men working digging a trench to drain in preparation for improving Clark Lane as a county road. (Davis County Clipper, November 22, 1935)
Lake Park Spur map -- Google Map of the D&RGW's spur that served the Lake Side Resort at Farmington, Utah.