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Tell Me About This

By Babs De Lay
Posted // February 3,2012 -

This article not prepared by City Weekly Staff

Many people move to Salt Lake City because they’ve been accepted to Westminster College or the University of Utah. When they arrive they often want to buy a home or condo, as they will be attached to their higher-ed program for several years and don’t want to rent. I often get this question from buyers, “So tell me about this Sugar Hood?”

That Sugar “Hood” is really named Sugar House. Some people spell it as one word, others as two words. The Community Council there spells it as two words, and provides information of the boundaries at Most folks consider the corner of 1100 East and 2100 South as the heart of the neighborhood, and even more will debate you on its boundaries to the east, west, north and south.

The actual area was settled 1853, and here’s my story of this neighborhood’s history: First, the Mormon leader Brigham Young wanted a sugar mill to produce sugar from sugar beets. The seeds were ordered and the pioneers planted acres of the ugly, gigantic, jicama-looking root plants to be the new cash crop. Sugar was as valuable as gold back then, and the Mormon in charge of ordering the machinery was quoted in the local paper as saying, “We need sugar. The sisters won’t like to get along without their tea.” The new business wasn’t profitable and the building was converted into a paper mill, and a bucket factory (among other things). It was located in Sugar House Park. Then, the area became the land for the Utah State Penitentiary. Yes, the first big prison was right there where you sled, swing, walk your dog or play soccer. The first warden was Albert Rockwood and, according to Utah history, there were 244 prison cells. The place was torn down in 1951 and moved to the Point of the Mountain.

My favorite bits of trivia about Sugar House are: 1. For a few years (way back when) they had a huge Turkey Days celebration each year before Thanksgiving and threw live turkeys off the roof of the Rockwood Furniture store for people to catch and take home to butcher. Thousands of people would come to watch and catch. 2. The most famous inmate of the Penitentiary to be executed was union leader Joe Hill, back in 1915. Joan Baez wrote a song about him, and there are numerous books and Websites about the possible trumped up charges and how he was set up to die. 3. All the exterior walls of the Granite Furniture building are made of petrified wood rocks.

Nowadays, the Sugar Hood has become one of the most popular parts of Salt Lake City proper to live in or shop. It’s been named in the past as the “most walkable” town in the USA. The Community Council there is the largest bunch of involved citizens in neighborhood planning I’ve ever met, and I should know…I met a lot of ‘em as a Planning and Zoning Commissioner for SLC for eight years! Sugar House will be getting back a trolley track/train like it did in the old days, and soon a tunnel will be built under 1300 East so folks can walk safely along Parleys Creek in the future from the park down to the library and west. 

Content produced expressly for Classifieds Directory.

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Posted // February 3,2012 at 20:09

Babs is way off.

Sugar "Hood" is NOT Sugar House.  Sugar Hood is the area west of Sugar House and is encompassed in the area known as Liberty Wells.

With homes in Sugar House out of reach for many younger couples - they looked west for homes that they could afford.  For many years Liberty Wells was derogatorily termed "the Hood." 

These young couples have worked to improve their homes and community.  They also began to use the term Sugar Hood to describe their area.

If you live in the area, 700 South to 2100 South and State Street to 700 East, you can join The Sugarhood Gang on Facebook.



Posted // February 6,2012 at 08:31 - You're right, Jeff. Sugar Hood is the area real estate agents are always trying to call Sugar House so that they can ride Sugar House's reputation into higher home prices and easier sells. I have no idea why Sugar House is so popular - it is a boring area, mostly dumpy, filled with overpriced bungalows, empty lots and ugly strip malls. I lived in Liberty Wells/Center City for years, greatly improving a home just west of the park. That area is a dump, too, and I really dislike it anymore. One street may be slightly cute thanks to the trees, while the adjacent street is all-the-way ghetto. There is no interesting architecture, the houses are built one atop the other with no room between them, yards and houses are not well kept for the most part, and it basically looks like shit, all around. However, because the street I lived on was tree-lined and very near the park, and because I made the dump I bought into something worth owning (it was very cute), a few months back my house sold quickly and I actually made a profit.