In Those Days: A Look at the Wasatch Front of the 1930's
Now you can own this stunning aerial portrait of Utah a portrait for 1995. Called KQED video finders out 1 800 3 4 3 4 7 2 7 to order yours today. Once upon a time. Salt Lake City was brimming with Dad's and movie. And everything. The train the salt air and. Much of what we've heard is ball and love. Still exists in the memories of those who live in Salt Lake City. Now you can own this nostalgic journey. Salt Lake City once upon a time for 1995 to order yours today called KQED video finders at 1 800 3 4 3 4 7 2 7. Seldom can the story of one state embrace so many aspects of the American experience
from the inspired fear of immigrants crossing the Atlantic to begin new lives to the harsh realities of the American frontier from the native cultures who came before the hard certainty of power applied in the name of progress from the perfect peace of remote isolation to the unflinching drive of a nation connecting with itself at the dawn of a new era a unique story of a society born of religious dedication and its 50 years of conflict with a government dedicated to religious freedom. Stories that defy the facts courage that defies reason. Now hear the voices of his voice come to life as never before. Let the music remind you of the time when the future was in doubt. Join us for the beginning. Utah the struggle for statehood. Now you can own this acclaimed documentary series Utah the struggle for statehood. To order the two volume videocassette 4:34 95 and award of the companion softcover
book for twenty one ninety five call KQED video finders at 1 800 3 4 3 4 7 2 7. Local production of in those days the Wasatch Front of the 1930s was made possible by a generous grant from the George S. and Dolores story Eccles Foundation.
Most decades of this century have been marked by defining images. So it was with the 1930s a grim 10 year period of time we bookended by the roaring 20s and the war torn 40s. It was an era best defined by the still chilling term the Great Depression in the thirties. Bad news was everywhere. Add to that the endless tales of economic ruin and personal despair and you begin to understand the general malaise which permeated nearly every corner of society. And nowhere was this more true than in Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Front where far from national headlines and newsreel cameras the boisterous post World War One economies of cities from Provo to Logan lurched to a halt by 1933. Nearly 38 percent of Utah's force was unemployed. The fourth worst situation in the nation. Annual per capita income of
Utahns plummeted by 50 percent. But the economy wasn't the only thing that with droughts in 1931 and 1934 nearly emptied Utah's reservoirs. Floods in other years swelled them to the bursting point. A plague of white flies virtually destroyed the sugar beet industry. At a 5.5 earthquake in 1934 seemed to punctuate the hopelessness. Yet somehow through all this misery life in Utah during the 1930s went on. In fact by most accounts it was a remarkable time resiliency resourcefulness and mutual reliance became the hallmarks of communities all along the Wasatch Front. The seemingly endless hardships and character there were children to raise fields to harvest and life to get on with. So people made do. They dug in deeper found joy in the
simplest things shared their struggles. Tighten the belt and tighten them again and somehow found ways to get through it making life. All in all not too bad in those days. Well in the 1930s things were much more attractive. On the than they are now. Because so much of the countryside has been taken up with this Elbing. Life was a little slower. Very pleasant. And really very pleasant here in those days. Our place was it was simple. But thorough.
You know we'd go out into the vacant fields with my brothers and all the neighbor kids. We build high chomps and everybody would have contests. We always had our own Olympics up there on Capitol Hill. We had age groups. We had a van we had discussed throwing we had wonder if I can see the discus from City Creek Canyon a flat smooth water washed stone that the older boys would. Throw. We used to run out. We'd go out at night and just run through those fields and I just loved to do that are up there. You know the roads that would go between the fields and you'd go out for picnics. Sometime in the evening with your family we had an orchard. You could go climb the apple trees or. We had a big apple tree right just south of the house that had two limbs that had Kylah really spread out in almost two chairs side by side. You get up there with a friend. We do a lot of climbing and playing in the fields because a lot of open fields and
irrigation ditches and canals to explore and find shells. In the canals in the Clay Clay ditches. That was our playground. We had a canal close to us with dirty water you wouldn't you wouldn't really play much you know gay people would think you're crazy but that's where we swam. There was a water hole a fairly deep pond on our farm where it came through had gave me the. Role about my previous one. But then there was a big female up in. That. Whole state of multiform. Lives up to the big canal was really good. Well we don't live too far from I guess it was considered no creek. No. Stream that. Come down through Sugarhouse. A. Long. Crossover to south in the 50s. 50s. And.
In a. High. Six feet. High. We used to start to walk clear through that creek bed to clear we could clear out Sugarhouse. But you made up things as little kids we used to go across the street where there was a canal lot of willow trees. And cut willows several willows and leave a little fluff all the animals were our horses. With have a stables of. Five or six horses just moving and the will stick with. The wind right. Those are Ellisville kids. Disagree great fun. We made all our fun we made our bows and arrows out of rosebushes. They were the best straight arrows they had. They'd really go. But. All of that kind of thing was just up to us to to invent. And we did we build a golf course we built Tarzan swings that would go from one distance to another and with just the right slope and then
we had a swing that was that was really legendary because when I have probably about 12 when we all experimented and looked all over the map to find where we put the perfect swing. Finally found a place between two huge pine trees up on the mountain and it put it just a log across the top. A big thick rope to it and then we'd go off the side of the mountain and go out there and be 40 feet. It was better than anything on the lagoon. And kids would come from all over the canyon to use this and then as we grew up and started play dates up there. My husband jokes that he says Well you passed the test and go on this way. And it was really a heresy. Dad made a big swing and. It was really a big swing. But most anything you see most days. And we used to see how far we could jump. If you could really could you could jump. It hit the apple tree when I was 15 years old.
I had a friend named Kenny McKean. Well he's still a good friend of mine and he taught me how to fish. And we used to go fish all the time. That was a lot of fun. We used to go there for a whole week. Five of us would rob the house you know what we could get up there and get a carton and you could fill it right up you have for 24 hours a day. Oh that was fun. That was really fun. That was enjoyable. You wouldn't see a car maybe in a week. In those days the shopping cart or was from the CMI to our boss. From South temple to third south. And. It was all retail stores and theaters of some kind. And even state street for the time you know the big sporting goods stores over there on
both sides the State Street throws a great deal retail on State Street used to be a beautiful street. Trees and grass on a side street car went all the way to Midvale. And down the side of the street with the on on each side of the street. Everything was done in town. Between Main Street on Main Street between South temple and Broadway which is 30 south only a three block area but all the department stores in town all of five and dime stores were stores and major businesses either rise buildings were all concentrated in this one area. The city was at. A sort of cocoon for us safe. Never thought about any anything being dangerous. We lived on by taking the street car where we were and everybody knew each other. And. The. Place you know was it was very pleasant
but you could have time to stop and talk to friends on the street. My predecessor as publisher of The Tribune John Patrick knew everybody in town and oftentimes walking along with him would take 15 minutes to get from one quarter to the next. It was it was fun. You could go downtown any time day or night any day of the week and you simply would not ever have occasion not to say hello to somebody along the way no matter how how far you walked on Main Street you would see somebody that you knew. Salt Lake was a fun place because you could walk up and down the streets and there were so many people. I remember the days of walking down Main Street in say hello to. 20 or 30 people on a block that you knew well by their first names. And that was always a friendly greeting and there was a sense of camaraderie and acquaintanceship and it was really a nice thing. We were still a pretty small town.
We didn't go downtown too much because you didn't have much to go downtown for. My mom sewed so close so much most of that was done in the home. And it was a rare treat to go downtown because of something you didn't do. And the city and the absolute and 21st. As a matter of fact I remember 17th south as being pretty far out towards rural rural areas. I never knew we were poor and we were mostly just. My father's business under as I said and mother said when she went to town she had water in her purse. Well you got to remember in those 30s nobody had any money. I mean
literally nobody had any money. One joker out in Oregon was up to the situation with genuine. Depression. Design for inflation guaranteed to go a long way. Oddly enough. Please don't think dollars were actually accepted by local or. Elsewhere even in New York City. A barter system we buy a guitar Apple. Every one of the cases could last forever and the spirit of cooperation was in the air. It didn't have more than a change or two of clothes to wear to school. I remember going to Tansey on with my mother to buy a new coat. And she felt bad about this all her life that she had to buy one that was only $12 because she didn't have she didn't have the extra $2 to buy the one I wanted. For $14 and no money was really tight. $2 was a lot of money.
It was a bad time for anything. Any jobs people didn't have money to spend. They didn't have nothing. Like you didn't have. He was Finot only for food and their living expenses. Many grocery stores charged to honorable people that just could not pay and one grocer whom I knew was not a member of the LDS Church and the bishop of the ward. Charge groceries there to help the poor. And he wasn't being paid. There was no welfare program in the church. And he says I see what you Mormons mean by time and all eternity. In other words when will I get my money. A dollar we're sure supreme just one dollar and.
One of the impressive things I'll never forget was that hamburgers were a nickel a piece and they used to advertise. By and by the sack and for 15 cents you got a nice hamburger on a bunch with a great big scoop of mashed potatoes gravy spread over the whole thing and dessert you had a piece of pie for 10 cents and I didn't bother with how to slice it they just cut it in fours and that was a dime for a piece of pie. Tuition in my day at university which was 60 years ago. Was a total of about a hundred dollars a year and about 80 percent of the students paid their tuition and a they would pay $10 to sign a note to pay the rest by the end of the quarter because gas is pretty expensive. 12 cents a gallon. In fact I bought a 34 body 32 Plymouth coupe the rumble seat.
For $400. We had lots of places to go. They were dreadfully expensive in my earliest days before I turned 12 years of age. It cost you a whole dime to go to a movie and if you went sometimes on Saturday the 5 cents of the special day you got all kinds of things for your money. Ultimately they went up to 75 cents for a long long time and. But people still went they still managed to find that much money lying around. I don't know how they did it but they did. In reading my diary I didn't realize that concretes many movies sometimes today. And sometimes we sit and watch. The movie over again but it was great past time we got to keep season and they would sell me a bag of candy makes candy that they somebody said they dropped on the floor with a bag of candy for they going to have this bag of candy through the show and it seemed like it happened.
She said Give your history classes has come on with the rest of the show. So we go to the Empire Theater. That was the house of stinking feet. That's very sad. So we go to the store we get a sack full of candy for 15 cents and if history shows it you can see for a dime. And those days it's a theater and there was a little box in the back of the seat in front of you. Put a nickel and an out of pop or a candy bar. There was a Holloway sucker. It was about this long and about this why it was all terrible. And if we were lucky enough to go to a matinee movie you could buy one of those I think for 10 cents and it will last the whole movie. You just look at it. Yes.
Say you can't leave Howard people are talking about the oppression that's time and the people out of work. One of the standard jokes was that we're going to rent a hotel room and they asked her what do you want this room for sleeping where you jumped from. Jobs were very difficult to get at at the time and many many of our young people coming out of University of Utah and out of high school onto the job market couldn't find work here and they had to leave and there was a good a great exodus of Utah trained persons who. Had to go elsewhere for them for employment. I was fairly fortunate I didn't have to worry about food or anything. I had friends who were not that fortunate. You know very aware of it.
I don't recall doing anything except I asked my father one time. If he had a job for the father one of my friends. And I recall the responses I think I have about 30 people waiting for that job. There was no time. There was nothing like. Home time and all that stuff they do now. We were all trying to make a living. I know by 1935 60000 Utahns had left the state so that I think gives an indication that it was a pretty widespread. Kind of phenomenon. I personally saw. Dump trucks on Main Street and I saw some of the men that were shoveling. One man was a successful business man and he was shoveling snow and the wage was two dollars an hour and they were happy to get the $2.
When school started he got to buy one pair of shoes and that last year for the whole year. And that was strictly shoes for school. You did have quite shoes but golf shoes were only for school. And if you did get holes in them which oftentimes you get. To go buy another pair of shoes. I remember putting cardboard in the bottom of my soul or my father used to try and repair them a comb. I would be used to be able to go to Sears and Roebuck and buy soles for 15 cents 20 cents as I recall. And we had a shoe left and we repaired our own shoes. People were working for 12 hours a week and try to raise a family and pay rent and eat on $12 a week. I worked three jobs one time and I passed out. I was so tired but. That time we weren't studying
we were. I was working. We didn't as children didn't reach didn't really know what the depression was we know we didn't have a lot. But in the home the bread was made and things like that so you weren't denied anything you didn't have any luxuries but at least we had staple food. So life went on for us. I didn't know there was depression going on except a couple of banks failed. In State Bank went broke and I had a dollar 57 in the savings account there so I was pretty harsh. And there were a lot of banks that did fail and there were a lot of runs on banks where you know all of us decided in the event that we had any money in a bank that we would go down to the bank get our money out. And their famous stories about the runs on the banks in Utah. There was a run made on those islands savings bank it was known at that time on the corner of South temple in Maine where the Kennicott come over the Kennicott building now stands and there was a run started there. And a member of the first presidency of the church Anthony Ivens.
Stood on the stairway the steps to that bank and he said to Rose that was in front of the bank the Mormon Church is behind this bank in Washington behind her receivership in this country. You're safe to leave your money here. We will not see. We will see to it that you do not only lose one part of any of the saging you have here and the deposit is grow. And long lines. Use it. And those that withdrew almost disappeared and I guess he must to discourage a lot of people because the bank of course is still there. I recall sitting in a great big lovely home that was built for a polygamous family in its early days but solid yellow brick stands yet right at the top of Wall Street.
And a wonderful mother of the family there and a darling father who welcomed this. And he was in the construction business nothing and no support systems nobody had insurance when anyone died. There was no social security and so on. They welcomed us. And I recall time after time seeing their furniture carried out from that house. In the dining room sat and the couch and the overstuffed chairs that we all sat on and they had a table and some chairs they had maybe four or five children in the kitchen and one rocking chair in the front room and a radio. Period we'd gone we'd sit all over that floor and on the stairs that went upstairs and they took in boarders and everything to try and make it go. We learned compassion.
And people kind of more to take care of themselves in those kinds of days. The story is about the Harmon family darling for the front yard which grocers. And brothers married sisters. And. One sister died when the brothers died and then they married each other and brought together I think 14 or 15 kids. They never had any children between them and then then the husband died and the story is that the well went out and someone told her she could get probably get some help from the county or the government to redo her well. And the statement that she is allegedly And I think it's truthful made we'll haul our water from the neighbors until we can fix our own. Well thank you. People were helping people we were all poor we could many of us buy very much that was new that competitive feeling was gone. It eliminated the stress at least it wasn't stress like we know now.
If you're Hayse down and and you're struggling and you can't get off work the neighbors would go put up your pay. A lot more than people have a tendency to do now if there if a rain was coming they'd go help help out. I think there's was a lot more of that kind of cooperation. I remember one time when they were over. A or road kever in her name it was fresh in some way. Then when they got through the whole group of people went down to Pierson's that river Baartman fresh fruit donar Soilwork together and. They accomplished a little bit that way. We helped each other and there was a fellow in our block who would have saw our shoes and we'd pay him a little bit. He'd figured out how to do that you know. So we didn't have to put cardboard in. Inside there was a great deal of Carry On the other. And there was a gradient of jealousy and that's just that. And I when I
have a memory of old when I was maybe 15. One of the largest barns in Bountiful burned. It was a spectacular fire but belonged to a fairly wealthy band that wasn't very popular. We were gathered around watching them burn and I looked at the faces of my neighbors. I was shocked because I could see some of them were enjoying this. So it wasn't all sweetness and light but generally if a person were in need of the neighborhood gather I have to say maybe the best blessing of my life was to learn not to judge people and to not be prejudiced. We fed the traps at our house. It came off the railroad tracks and it spread the word. This family will give it to. This family has food. They knew the house was identified someway. I asked some of these men who knocked at our door.
Why is it that you come here and see several houses before you knock on our door. And one Baker said there's a sign on a big tree on the other side of that big poplar that tells us that these people will give you food. That's the reason we knock at your door. They would come and they'd knock on the door. And. My mother would say Well all I've got is maybe some bread and jam and some milk. And they were tickled to death to have that much. And she would fix them a couple of sandwiches and they'd taken a EGOT here and they'd sit on the doorstep and she would just open the door far enough to hand it to her before she'd always make sure that we were all in the house. And she'd locked the door the other doors and then she would hand the food out to them. They were very happy to get food because they were really hungry. They made a beeline to our door and mother never invited the man but
they'd be served on a pie plate or an enamelware plate. And. We were allowed to not allowed. Dare I say that now because that's the way we'd say it today. We sat with these young men. I can recall getting it and they were just like my brothers you know they had families they were good people they were trying to get to California or somewhere to see if they could get some work. In 1932 they estimated that there were two million people illegally opting. To move from one place to another to have a sense of motion to have a sense of opportunity something new might come up and that was true in Utah and a lot of them came through Utah and a lot of Utahns did it. I don't get over that to this day I don't know how they managed. I started out skiing on a place called Dawson's Hill. That was the name of a
family grocery store and then we went from there to the new University of Utah Hill with you on the concrete you're on the side. There was enough snow in those days. And then we used to do our skin. On us. We used to go to a barrel pickle minutes before your time and we'd go we'd have some old oak barrels and so we take them home and file it all down and stick it all on skis. And will we just have a lot of fun. Beryl stays. At. Not that we were so old fashioned I didn't know the good things exist but there was no money. And there was no urging us to buy those kinds of things. So we made do with what there was and it was great. And by then the sophistication said. And so did the high cost of skiing and the biggest cost of skiing. Trying to keep up with the wardrobe it was important to do that. Gabardine Jack gabardine pants gabardine and something
just invented. I guess. I got. A. Wonderful ski outfit for Christmas this year that I graduate from college. I can remember. And the only place that had a lift was was called in the lift I think had been put in the chair lift just before. We'd go up to alto. And it was it was a wild ride. I learned to ski because you rode. There was one left and that was the alto lift that took us up to where Germania now starts. And then there was a rope tow if you can imagine a rope tow up the top to the top of Wildcat. From 30 feet south. To 30 30 so. There was nothing. That was not only water. Swamps in the winter time. When our skates on. I spent. 30 to 70 walk across from seven deep. The twenty first walk across from foot the 33rd and sleigh riding AB
down Wall Street where the first cars were tested to see if they could climb that. Steep hill we live right there at the top of the hill and we'd get on the sleighs there and no traffic no problem and just slide all the way out to Warm Springs. You go way up. Way past the east and. On the road. You go down Main Street. And you'd get to be around 40 miles an hour and a very fast one here. Mostly just inches above the ground. We had a large toboggan he was larger than sleigh. Oh yes about six or. Seven feet. And then we get on it and I can remember practically feet freezing my toes. It was so much fun. We didn't want to leave to go back over the drugstore. We go back there where there was a big pot bellied stove and had to refresh
since. Very few students had cars. When the streetcar and students walk. Long distances. To and from school. I know is very common thing for firms to walk. Miles every day. From school. We used to walk every day. As a young boy. I could walk the streets softly in either in or or I could walk up to the hotel which I didn't do to any time. But. Was up to me when I was small I remember from first South I was kind of the onstage speech. I think I was only about seven or eight and I got lost and I remember my mother saying I was to get the state capital. And I kept going down south and south I thought no I'm not the way home. So I turned around
and I saw the state capitol. I came to power south then you know because our main thing was between first second and third. That's where all the stores were. You walked hitless you were expected to. And when the bit of history you put inside inside. If they put in any concrete. In the city I was never too far out of the city. We could walk we walk. We didn't catch a bus we would walk down town. That was always something I can remember when we used to stop by and get an ice cream cone on the way coming home and that was that was a treat. Our first car I think was a Studebaker. And it's a very big occasion. Not everyone had a car. Hardly anyone had a car. And. Mother. Learned how to drive. And. I can honestly say that I remember this exchange taking place but it was rehearsed every meal and still to this day.
She stalled some way right there at the breaking the Brigham Young Man. In the center. And a policeman came over and they were everywhere. They. Said. No one ever said. He said well use your noodle Lady use your noodle and she where is it where is it I've tried everything else you get on a passenger train. If you missed the Baumberger as it was called the member for the post for some hope it doesn't go. Well for him or the joy. And. Then. Acted. If you miss the man who was at the station. Take a train ten cents. To go town. Or go by bus by street. Some history come in. Through. The foothills but.
Transportation is fairly simple. In those days everything was Close-Up. You know you weren't you weren't looking at a distance from everything it was as if. As if we were participants in whatever was going on. It was a wonderful kind of thing. Even the you know the football and high school basketball basketball really had not taken off yet as any kind of you know prominent sports primarily I would say baseball and boxing were the sports people really. You know paid close attention to. We all gathered around and listened to the fights. You know the national
broadcast over somebodies radio. Yes we were very very much into athletics at that period. I can remember one of the first things I ever heard on a radio was that Dempsey Gene Tunney fight you know when Dempsey would fight Gene Tunney and Dempsey with Utah roots rock through Colorado was was you know a big hero. He fought the old Hippodrome theater that was on second shelters for Stage 3 and every Monday night to have. And at that time Dempsey just came through here and box two or three times and he bought a home up on south temple and east. He built a home for his mother which is over on the corner of 2nd of South temple and turn things right west of the Holy Cross nursing home. And I remember. The same point home that Jack
Dempsey. Built for his mother. His mother. Lived in my Mormon Ward about a block and a half away from the. Meeting House. I went to he had a nephew. Who's just a little bit younger than I and I used to see him every week. And one glorious day the nephew brought Jack over to the church to primary that afternoon. Jack affable friendly and outgoing as he always was and he took us kids aside in a room and and gave us a great talk on what it was like to be a prize fighter if we had any ambitions that way the things we ought to do to prepare for the kind of cautioned us that it wasn't a particularly pleasant thing to get into sometimes and that was I'm sure honest. But he had a lot of glamour attached to him at that time and of course. We kids just idolized the most famous man in
Utah. Certainly the strongest greatest fighters that ever lived. He was a rough tough you know sort of a unpolished guy. I remember. Meeting him. See. I don't know the background but I remember waiting. With my father getting into a car and going to the railroad station. Where. They met Jack Dempsey coming in on a train. They put a false whiskers on Jack dancing. And I looked and I remember they took some pictures. At that time and a few days later in a newspaper. After my mother passed away cleaning out her apartment in the hotel. I found a lot of these things and that picture and this dollar bill
were in. Her very dear to me. When I was in high school like it was either 1938 or 39. I took a very attractive girl with me to the Rainbow rendezvous to hear Harry James in his orchestra. Big name bands were coming into Salt Lake City all the time in those days of the rainbow the salt air lagoon and that particular night was one of the nights. Early on in the six months that Frank Sinatra spent playing singing for Harry James band and I heard him that night and he did a couple of his famous recordings. One of the Barrymore is played there for four or five weeks on a play
and yeah that we had we had enough famous names come through here to take care of what we got at what price we had to pay for it that way. The Marx Brothers played there in the heart is something the opera. And they were alive in the Utah theater. And I remember sitting there laughing so hard I could hardly sit in my seat. Bing Crosby was singing the blue the night meets the gold the. I believe that was the song was his theme song if I'm not mistaken. So I remember seeing him on the stage but at that time I was just just somebody else I didn't realize who he would become. I got a phone call from a sports. Reporter by name when the I became very very prominent later on. But he called me up he said you know David. James Roosevelt the president's oldest son was with him and he called up the sports staff and
he wants to play tennis he's got a partner there. And he says let's you and I take him on and beat him I said sure. So he met him down at Liberty Park and would have to go on the old El Al for the house to change his clothes. And one had to loan him a pair of shoes. So we play him at liberty park and we did meet him and afterwards over a Roosevelt kept those shoes and I kept thinking why don't we should go to the White House and collect his shoes. A woman named Gertrude Lee. Was the first woman to swim the English Channel. They rigged up a. Portable tank on the stage or she made a cross-country trip for her on the Pantages circuit. She is from across the channel. I remember Babe Ruth took me to the theater and I had a baseball touch to a long rope and he would demonstrate how he could tell just where he was going to hit the ball. You know
a lot of us didn't realize that you had that choice but with Babe Ruth you did. I remember Wallace Stegner She always taught her for a couple years after he graduated and he wrote. About the Nighthawk and then on State Street. In writing is reminiscent story about his hometown in his heart of Solich was about to be his hometown. I can remember when the Globetrotters came to Salt Lake and played. At. South High School and it was it was a riot it was a comical thing because they when. They had the whole team there and two or three of play against our whole team and you just make monkeys the school kids. I can remember them how. Just hilarious. Of course we're sad that they were beating us but it was so funny you just had to enjoy it. I remember. Vividly. When Charles Lindbergh came to Salt Lake after his
transatlantic flight. The first recollection I have of it was during. The day that our jeep. Boring down town normal normally that was the signal at Lindbergh had landed in Paris and he took a trashcan model for a tour and came to Salt Lake and he followed the railroad tracks from shrine Salt Lake. It was a time of involvement there was were too much spectator day. In those days. You didn't have the television you didn't have those things and so you did your own thing and I think there was. More inclination to participate. In things that were good for you. We were very resourceful. We had to find ways to
entertain ourselves and we did in my youth. I was always in a play or something like that where you. Got the Hammil life a little better you know and just participate and. Give speeches and. Participate in debates. Those kinds of things which were were the important things. When I think back on the early days of my life and the dramatic scene I was involved in as just a young fool I didn't get any formal training. But we had people who were interested in young folks and they put us in plays or operettas and we get out there on the stage and sing and dance and do all kinds of things. We just kind of congregate. My parents didn't know. I was building model airplanes until I got into something that happened in space. They were. Satisfied. It was a legitimate thing to do when they found out about it but you know I think it was just that.
People hadn't gotten around to organizing children. We didn't create a lot of things to keep us busy. And then we played games. I didn't see. Fox and geese in the snow. It seems like we were very active always doing something that was very creative. We used our imaginations. We had to. Because we didn't have a lot of things. We played house at that time. Children really played and we used to play as we have idols and things. Made pretence of houses just like we had. We would play for hours. I have a younger sister that was close to my age and had an older sister. But the younger sister and I used to play a lot with with the neighbor girls. It was fun and then I used to play games you know kick the can things like that hide and seek ways to play hide and seek Amy. They played on Prince Street a lot. They run around and kick the can but
the school grounds. The place was. Free. And Red Rover Red Rover and you know those kinds of things. Lot of treasure ants hiding clues and that kind of thing. Our friends always had something to do and if. If we weren't playing a game like those open fields make good places to play some of our games. We played a lot of them. I. Can see. A pump pump pull away and kick the can a lot of other things brought us together both both sexes we kind of intermingle sometimes the early years we didn't really know the difference but later on we used the first one or you can gauge girls weren't allowed in the building and that there was a cross on the ass. On seven sat. Downstairs. And then we go off and I was going 10 cents up and down the street to see if anybody is watching. Then we run down the stairs and nobody on their box or anything we put up our own hands.
We played baseball. I go to the yard now where we play. He's absolutely amazed to see how small but then we were pretty small a bunch of us kids would pedal up parties can you and this is before it was made and we go up as far as the reservoir which is quite a ways up the canyon. And then the idea was to turn around and all together and see who could coast the farthest. And we would go all the way down the canyon and then 24 sauciest be real steep. We get really going fast there. And then down into Sugarhouse and when could go that far. This was the winter athletics were big they were free. You know it didn't cost anything to ski it didn't cost anything to play tennis. You didn't have to have the special outfits for everything or the great equipment. Dancing was immensely popular in those days.
Coconut oil was very very popular place. So we used to walk in the. First day with my wife as a middle. Class but. To try. To take. Of. We call them girls those in those days you know in any university that are women now. That was the place to go with the summertime. Up in the can. And of course the mouth of the canyon big question when was this old male. And of course they created a dance floor there and it was a romantic spot. And of course that's where young people congregated all your friends you'd always find them at a steel mill. I think people danced in the 1930s as a form of release from the tension of economic depression. It was inexpensive
even if you couldn't afford to go to the dance. You could still listen to it on the radio. The radio brought the world to us in a very innocent sweet but exciting fashion might remember our first radio which was a crystal said. It had headphones in. My father used to listen to the broadcast coming from the air and when he was through he would pass the headphones over and my sister would use one and I'd use the other and we were absolutely amazed at this mirar miraculous happening. Brady was very popular and things like game of any where they would come on every night and were just set aside time to listen to Amos and any other adventures. He was an Indian. Fibber McGee and Molly sitting around the radio in the evening after dinner. That was that was it. We all sat and listened to the radio. He had a radio.
Boy you were a rich cousin of ours got a radio and we used to go over to her house in the evening and that was a rare treat to go to listen to the radio. The one that sticks in your mind is Jack Armstrong and the all American boy. And there would be these these 15 minute radio shows beamed at kids and I would go to the basement of one of my friends and we would make model airplanes and listen to the radio. And there was one that was especially a really fine show that I'd love to hear again. It was called One man's family and it came on and my mother like that so much. We'd sit around and listen to this and it just was I guess it was a little like Johnboy and the good night things. But it was. It was a philosophical kind of exploration that was wonderful too. And then if you really wanted to have a significant experience you'd listen to inner sanctum with the lights off
and you'd sit there in the dark and hear that door squeak and get the mystery the mystery stories and you proved how tough you were if you'd sit alone in the dark and listen to an inner sanctum on the radio. There's a lot of good stuff on the radio in those days. She had this beautiful carved ivory fan. And entertainment was hard to come by in church in those days that means we've come a long way in all of our various denominations services. She had a fan with the fan up and down then she'd flip it up on the upswing. And then open it up to fan down and then flip it on the upswing. And my brother and I were camping. When she would begin to nod hairpins and all kind of having a little
gambling concession going there and finally that went right up her nose when she came up on the upswing and her nostrils and she just died laughing and Chris were escorted out of the church and that was the best thing in the world that ever happened to us was to get out of there in the summer that you went through Granger The Salt Lake. 09:00 him. And his cousin you. Would. Always want to catch the eleven o'clock train. But they had a cow to milk which is a sign. OK. The other brother. And it was almost always predictable because he had. That just before train time he'd come out say. With Brother Clem. I don't have time. About 11 o'clock time to give you a quarter. And Clint would say. If you give me a normal both a normal meal and so I spent that call several times
a quarter My cousin got one free and then we'd go down to the store and buy a quart of ice cream in church every day. There was a couple of lovers that used to come down there are six floor there and. Provider. On. The right there on six and six was we all have places in between the types who watch the thing. So every Saturday that same car. And. That Saturday we'd all be there. Flies in between what we between the guys. Had our favorite trick was to pull a red cord. Three star general. You drive fast because there are those
that are slowing down for a station asking someone to record. Them on their own accord. Stop the. Conductor came back from the other car walked up to me said don't do that again. I said. What makes you think I'd do it. No the car had a little slack in it to me like an accusing finger at above. And I can remember many times when us kids would get our newspapers. And have the string in between him and this the. Bus driver would pull by there with throwing up over the wire and his trolleys would flip off and then of course it would have to come out. To Charlie's back. Because. Those kids like the dickens. We. We'd go. And. Borrow not steal or you know they had there is cream. I they a lot of ice in the back so we just
get it back and take it out go in the corner and sell them for. Two cents. When he was very easy to get so would all get headbands that. One guy did have a ticket. Me. Of course. I'd shimmy up three but Jimmy have died that we paid maybe I should say this. But anyway he didn't go down to South Bend opened the window so we might see the rascals. I can remember one night. My father. Was walking along the steps that connected each. Sanction of see that flipped them forward a man. He was looking for me and we had a kind of a signal. That if there is a real life pair on board at midnight at night everybody just burrowed in like this so they couldn't find you. Splat. You're fine. We were harmless. But it was.
That's what made a special. And. A summers we'd go to our cabin of matter in which is now about 14 minutes from our front door. But in those days we would pack the automobile and put all the blankets and quilts and all of the things for summer in the car and then we'd load and no seatbelts of course they would be strung across the back line down on the quilts and with our wooden propellers out the window. Do you ever see a wooden propeller. So it worked just right. Put it on with a nail onto a stick and hold it and it is really for. But in those days it was really something to get up the canyon because we the roadway you know was a kind of a Dugway more than a super highway like it is now. And so it was quite an effort to get up there.
We would go up to Brighton for I think probably a week. But at the time it would seem like we would be there all summer and we could go for a long time. No indoor plumbing really. The privey. Going there when it was a little cold damp. We used to have Taffy posts. Was wonderful to go. Making my first novel was called Never passed the gate because we'd go out and promised that we would never go past the gate again till the end of the summer. It was just it that was what it was. We go up and stay the whole summer from when school was out till school started. The canyons are part of our home. We didn't have back door. Barbecues again. We cook breakfast up there all the time during the summer. And. We'd go out for picnics and we hide
them. My father always loved to. The kids would go up and. Spread out. From. Twin Lakes Lake Mary those kinds of destinations that was an all day job automobile rides said to brighten up with the cars boiling over. Running down to get the water and we were so ill prepared. But again it was a great gathering place and you'd see your neighbors up there to get out of the heat. We had no air conditioning. In the 30s. My folks would on the day when dad would have a day off. We would get in our 28 Buick and go up one of the canyons usually. Carneys canyon up to. Canyon. Or we'd go up big cottonwood Canyon going to Brighton was a great adventure because you could depend on the cars boy. Not once but three or four times.
We would take water in the car so that when it would we could sign it. And on occasion if we were close enough to the stream. You'd get water stream. Right. It was beautiful. When my when my family and my father started going to play you had to take a stage from Park City over the mountains because it showed up the canyon. We loved the canyons. It was the entertainment on a hot day. Cottonwood Canyon was almost a mainstream game. But there were times and cars couldn't get to the top. If you had a car that would climb to Brighton you really had a good car. It took quite a while to get up there. The road was tough you know there was a place called the stairs that was kind of dangerous. Well it was quite a thing you know. It was it was a great moment
when you could buy a car that was modern enough and good enough to drive all the way to Brighton without having to stop to put water in the radiator on the way up. I remember Roosevelt quite a bit in his various programs. Remember Social Security. So you see. All of you I say we can now March for what all of us together. President Roosevelt seen all this depression. He put up the Shishi camps building trails for us camps cutting down on erosion.
You know all these kinds of labor and I'm out for a dollar a day a room and board and a little stipend and some kind of sense of their era. And a number of the Utah kids couldn't wait to get in it. When they when they got out of high school that's one reason why Russell went down to the CCC. There was just no jobs at all. But he was wise enough. To realize that if he could go down there he could have money to he gives the plumber so he could teach school. That thing was either 17 or 18 years of age. They could go in the CC camp. You'd have to be inspected don't you have to take a medical. But it was fun when he left to go down to CCC camp. Then he would write to me a lot and tell me all about what happened. And what they were doing. I got to Baltimore. And. So we would buy buses.
Only transportation buses that's what it was. They took us to Moore and we were the last bus to leave. And lynches had been prepared for this. But as I say we went with the class. That our lunches weren't. They were some 20 30 miles ahead of us and hence maybe a 12 hour trip which lasted 27 hours on a couple of ham sandwich. And but then we belong to the CCC. What can you expect. There were some 100 people from Utah and none that had 100 Virginians. Most of these families families are fairly decent. You know like me their worst habit is wearing. Everything you hear. And hear this and that quite shocking you know especially to a next second
assistant to the Sunday school superintendent. A lot of discipline that was beaten by those young men rather more than a plan to take him off the street. A wonderful. Work. Building roads. Building fences. Everybody pitched in. Our work consists of road building. We begin in the morning where slack the food is and of course comparable with maize dishes. But if you're hungry enough we are. And it appears that the idea of shaving the head and neck licking faces is anything better reach a tough looking Benge never sampled at least outside to see some C-clamp. I remember very well. They were building things and later on I saw what they were feeling.
I didn't know at the time but the wall around the university campus the wall around the city cemetery and dams that they built. I remember the flood of Farmington and Governor blood's home home county Davis. I remember the civilian conservation corps terraced the hillsides the mountain sides and stopped for ever the floods just wiped out. But you take his coat every spring and of course the WPA on the urban side and you just look at the campuses and the schools and courthouses and things like the Springville art museum project the Utah symphony not going as WPA on what they do in Symphony's Del Morgan and Juanita brush the Federal Writers Project by Ogden high school. Fantastic monument. WPA. The. Nielsen film house at the University of Utah the Nelson filled house. They just go on and on and on about the number of federal projects where
you've been he's just on Sunday and I'd just say that I get lonesome in a big way. At times I'm just too busy. We've been working right now. We're anxious to see wedding dress. Heart beats fast. Beautiful. I love you. I LOVE YOU. Kisses. I love my beautiful love. I love you. And. You don't think that makes me happy. I just came back and he was so tanned. And so handsome so hard when I saw it. Our demands
seemed so minimal and our satisfaction so tremendous. I don't remember ever being afraid or I remember when President Roosevelt said the greatest thing we can we fear is fear itself. Let me put faith that way. But I certainly had no fear. Downtown Salt Lake in the 30s. They were a beautiful beautiful time. We never had fear in our family. It was sad. Let's try it. Let's do it. Let's see. We didn't have everything under the sun and I didn't know it. And it didn't seem to make any difference in 37 or 38 Christmas. That's first I remember seeing Santa Claus. And.
They say it was easy. But. We made do. We make do with things. And. We treasured things. There wasn't this built in obsolescence and everything we possess are deprevation I guess was a blessing in a sense. We did not have the things that would distract us from from real virtues which is learning to work learning to make things and learn how to do things that. If you didn't do them yourself you didn't it didn't happen. There were good years. Even though they were Depression years they were good years. I taught people many things and how to get along and how to do without. It was a good era. It was. One that wasn't quite as fast as what it is now. It was a it was a difficult time. People had had a hard time. But yet. I think they have more of what we need.
The closeness of togetherness. I think that's probably the thing I would remember most as families. You just lived together. And so the peace and tranquility with which I was raised is something I feel. I'm not experiencing in the lives of. My grandchildren or great grandchildren. And so. I look back upon that with a great deal of. Joy and satisfaction on realizing that maybe that's exactly what we ought to be aiming at. Again if that were at all possible but I don't see why it's not. I just think that kind of savoring of what's there is for the 30s offered we didn't have that much. And we were bludgeoned by in part by a that's by all the things that can just to me just harden us to that to the softer life. That. Can be so sweet.
- Producing Organization
- Public Broadcasting Service (U.S.)
- Contributing Organization
- The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
- PBS Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah)
- AAPB ID
- Program Description
- "'In those Days: A Look at the Wasatch Front of the 1930's' is a documentary which tracks Utah's community growth, development and history in the 1930's. The accounts of the time period given through interviews combined with vintage photographs and video create clear, vivid images of the time and the people who lived in the 1930's; a time when the Great Depression was taking its toll [on] fortunes throughout the United States. "The tremendous historic value of 'In Those Days: A Look at the Wasatch Front of the 1930's' is apparent from beginning to end and is an excellent piece for educational purposes, or simply for those curious about life as it was in the 1930's."--1996 Peabody Awards entry form. This documentary examines how Utah's community changed during the Great Depression and the 1930s, focusing particularly on Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Front. It includes historic photographs, video footage, and interviews with people who lived there at the time in order to tell the story. It discusses hardships caused by economic struggles and droughts, floods, and an earthquake, and the resiliency of the people who made up the community. The stories told focus on their childhoods and how they would play, the downtown area, economic struggles, compassion, skiing and skating in the winter, what they did for entertainment, playing sports, radio programs they listened to, visiting the canyons, and other topics. Finally, they reflect on their lives and experiences.
- A nostalgic look at Salt Lake City in the 1930's.
- Broadcast Date
- Asset type
- Media type
- Moving Image
Producing Organization: Public Broadcasting Service (U.S.)
Producing Organization: KUED
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the
University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-f3ba27b6df2 (Filename)
Format: Betacam: SP
Identifier: cpb-aacip-e342b2608d8 (Filename)
Format: DVCPRO: 25
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- Chicago: “In Those Days: A Look at the Wasatch Front of the 1930's,” 1996-08-16, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, PBS Utah, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 28, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-83-386hf25f.
- MLA: “In Those Days: A Look at the Wasatch Front of the 1930's.” 1996-08-16. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, PBS Utah, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 28, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-83-386hf25f>.
- APA: In Those Days: A Look at the Wasatch Front of the 1930's. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, PBS Utah, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-83-386hf25f