A Field Guide to Salt Lake City’s Buildings

Apartment Building on 400 North

Apartment Building on 400 North

In my younger, sportier years, I took my Field Guide to the North American Bird into Utah’s outback to get to know the feathered inhabitants of our state. This year, I’m taking a similar approach to another aspect of our community, analyzing the architecture of some of my favorite Utah buildings. I think it will be a bit easier to do because the buildings hold still longer than the birds.

Red Victorian

Red Victorian

Kicking off 2011, I wanted to share with you the architecture of one of my favorite and largely unsung residential blocks in Salt Lake City. Not far from the early 1900 pioneer house I share with Todd, the stretch between 200 West and 300 West at 400 North is one of the cutest streets in the Marmalade. The homes are historic, and the location, which is close to the busy thoroughfare of 300 West, is bustling. However, the buildings are beautiful and well-maintained.

On the south side, we have a row of beautiful three-story Victorian homes that I’m going to estimate were built between 1895 and 1910. The structures are similar, but fun color accents – like red, purple and turquoise – give each home its own personality.

Tiny Modern

Tiny Modern

Moving west on the south side, we have a more modern looking flat-roofed home that I can’t find in any of my online reference manuals. I love it because it is utterly tiny. I know most people dream of living in a brand new giant palace in a gated community on a hill-top. But me, I’ve always wanted to live in the tiniest, quaintest and most historic home in the oldest part of the city.  My best guess is that this property is a “Modern Style Building” built between 1930 and 1940.

Fired-brick Exterior

Fired-brick Exterior

And on the north side of 400 North, we have a yellow brick apartment building that I just love. I’m guessing it was built between 1902 and 1931. According to Architectural Styles, in the early 1900s, 180 walk-up apartment buildings were erected in downtown SLC. The occupants were mainly middle class single adults and childless couples. This building looks to be one of these walk-up multi-family dwellings with a fired-brick exterior.

When you are motorin’ around SLC, just drive down this street and take in the pioneer architecture. And if you have dry cleaning to do in the neighborhood, Jardine’s on 300 W between 400 and 500 N has great prices and service. They also have some cool old toys and tapestries.

Viva La Salt Lake!

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