Saltair Resort

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This page was last updated on July 24, 2020.

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(Only selected events are included here, to expand on points made in previous published histories.)


(Read the Wikipedia article about the Saltair resort)

Original Saltair

The location known as Saltair was originally the site of the salt plant of the Inland Salt Company, organized in 1884 and incorporated in 1889. It was the junction of railroad lines that served the salt company's railroad and the Utah & Nevada narrow gauge line as early as August 1888, and was a short distance south of the wye turning tracks of the later Salt Lake Garfield & Western railroad (originally the Saltair Railway). The north leg of this wye track was used by SLG&W trains to take passenger trains directly to the Saltair Beach resort. The south leg of the wye track was used by freight trains to access the Inland Salt company's salt plant. Saltair Junction was the junction of the later SLG&W with the salt company's Inland Railway, at the site of the salt plant.

The original spur for the Utah & Nevada was 2-1/2 miles long, and connected the original Inland Salt company's salt plant at Saltair with the railroad's main track at a location called Saltberg, also known as Kesler's Farm, 14 miles west of Salt Lake City. The spur was completed in September 1888.

(Saltberg was the site of the supr's connection and a set of wye turning tracks, a short distance north of today's S.R. 201, between the old and new S.R. 202. Traces of the wye track can be seen on modern satellite photos.)

(View a map of the Inland Railway in 1923, showing the original Saltair Junction)

(View a Google Map of the railroads in the vicinity of Garfield)

Saltair of 1893

(Read the Wikipedia article about the Saltair resort)

(See also: Saltair, by Nancy D. McCormick and John S. McCormick, published in 1985 by University of Utah Press (PDF; 115 pages; 15.5MB)


(Only selected events are included here, to expand on points made in previous published histories.)

January 3, 1889
Surveyors were busy in the vicinity of the Saltair salt plant. It was mentioned that the beaches at Saltair were equal to the beaches at Garfield. (Salt Lake Herald, January 3, 1889)

March 6, 1890
Matthew White announced plans for the construction of a hotel 13 miles west of Salt Lake City on the shore of Great Salt Lake, along with a railroad connecting the city with the hotel. Five thousand shade trees were to be planted at the new park. The new manager of the new hotel, Matthew White, had laid a foundation corner stone at the site of the hotel. The project was on hold during June 1890 due to the lack of fresh water, and the difficulty of drilling a well at the site. (Salt Lake Herald, March 6, 1890; Salt Lake Tribune, March 23, 1890; Salt Lake Herald, June 25, 1890)

August 27, 1890
Matthew White showed plans for a half-mile pier at Saltair, along with a hotel and a dancing pavilion measuring 90 feet by 140 feet. (Salt Lake Herald, August 27, 1890)

June 4, 1891
Matthew White was reported as selling his Saltair property, consisting of 2-1/2 miles of shoreline at the lake, for a reported $250,000. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 4, 1891)

June 8, 1891
The Saltair Beach Company was incorporated in Utah on June 8, 1891. The officers and directors were the same as the officers and directors of the later Saltair Railway. (State of Utah corporate records)

September 26, 1891
The Saltair Railway filed its articles of incorporation "yesterday." (Salt Lake Tribune, September 27, 1891)

April 3, 1892
The Saltair Beach company owned 740 acres along 2-1/2 miles of shore lands. (Salt Lake Tribune, April 3, 1892)

April 17, 1892
"Work has begun on the Saltair Railway in earnest, and its is now stated that the road can occupy South temple street without causing the rails of Union Pacific ro be removed." (Salt Lake Tribune, April 17, 1892)

May 17, 1892
"The first spike of the Salt Lake & Los Angeles railroad was driven yesterday." No trumpets, no brass bands, no speeches. Nothing but the blow of the sledge hammer. (Salt Lake Herald, May 18, 1892)

June 22, 1892
"The piles have been driven for the pier, which will be over a half mile long and the lumber for the pavilion, bath house and hotel has been ordered." (Salt Lake Herald, June 22, 1892)

June 8, 1893
The Saltair Beach resort officially opened this date. (Salt Lake Daily Herald, June 8, 1893)

January 30, 1917
News item about the Salt Lake Garfield & Western taking over the Saltair Beach Company for $200,000, to allow for the issuing of $600,000 in railroad bonds. (Salt Lake Mining Review, Volume 18, number 20, January 30, 1917, p.32, "Mine, Mill and General Construction Notes")

July 7, 1934
"In 1896 the world famous Saltair was constructed. Eleven acres of concrete stands on ten thousand pilings. These were buried beneath the water, but during the past three years, the lake has so decreased that the resort is on dry land. There have been two disastrous fires - one in 1925 burned the main pavilion. It was rebuilt in 1926 by Ashby Snow, Willard T. Cannon and David P. Howell as a monument to the first pioneers who conceived the idea of a Saltair resort. During 1930, the giant racer was demolished by fire and was rebuilt the following year. It was designed by Professor Julius Hayes and his assistants of the University of Utah. Although is is one mile and a fourth long and the highest point is above 100 feet, it does not contain one nail. Two carloads of galvanized bolts hold the tewenty-five carloads of first growth firs in place. The racer was constructed at a cost of $75,000." (Deseret News, July 7, 1934)