Thursday, October 14, 2010

Soaking in the Salt Lake

At the turn of the century and for decades to follow, Saltair was the place to go for good wholesome recreation near Salt Lake City. It was a great place to escape from the city heat, and the high salt content of the water allowed swimmers to float effortlessly. There was also a lot of oversight by the Mormon church, so young singles could go there without endangering their reputations. In addition to  swimming, there was a huge dance floor and live music.

The Saltair Pavilion shown on this postcard is the second one. The first one was built in 1893 and burned down in 1925. A second pavilion was built, but it also suffered fire damage in 1931. That was just the beginning of more troubles to come. In 1933, the waters receded, leaving Saltair on dry ground. This postcard was printed in 1933, but seems to show a photo from earlier times.

Saltair also had new competition, including movie theaters, automobiles, and then television, which presented people with additional entertainment and travel options. The Great Depression and World War II also drew people away. The Saltair Pavilion finally closed during World War II. In the meantime it was used as a set for the horror flick, A Carnival of Souls. The second Saltair shown above burned to the ground from an arson fire in 1970.

Hope springs eternal, and a third Saltair Pavilion was built in 1981. This one was also plagued by problems including flooding and then receding waters. Today, Saltair Pavilion III is used as a venue for rock concerts.

Here's an earlier postcard from Salt Lake, during the era of Saltair I.

And here are the backs of the postcards in the same order:


  1. Nice history! It's crazy what a lot of these old or past municipal type buildings go through in their early history.

  2. The linen postcard sure makes it look like an inviting and fun place.

  3. A close to home alternative to swimming in the Dead Sea?

  4. Yes, I guess so. I wonder how many people still swim in the Salt Lake.

  5. I've got a small collection of Saltair cards....they sure published a lot of them! My favorites are the "real photo" cards that show groups of folk in those funky old bathing suits.

  6. I agree, Mark. I have seen some of those real photo cards of Saltair too. they're great.



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