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 SugarHouseCouncil.com. 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.