Historic Preservation - Local Historic Districts
Salt Lake City has seven historic districts. All of the locally-designated districts in Salt Lake City are also listed on the National Register, but not all National Register districts are locally-designated.
The Avenues district is the City’s largest historic district. Developed between 1880 and 1930, the Avenues is primarily occupied by residences built along sloping streets that drop in elevation from north to south. Historic apartment buildings are also located there, primarily in the district’s western area. In addition, the district contains a small number of churches, schools, and neighborhood-scale commercial uses such as restaurants and retail shops. Only some of these buildings are historic.
The Avenues district is filled with numerous examples of historic middle-class residences in a variety of architectural styles. Many of the blocks throughout the district have a single intrusion of a non-historic building dating from the period after 1960. However, these are primarily small homes and apartment buildings that were constructed prior to the 1970s. Because they are far outnumbered by the many hundreds of historically intact residences, these non-historic buildings do not appear to have negatively impacted the district’s overall integrity. Two non-historic schools are found in the district, and one entire block contains a modern commercial building.
Few changes appear to have taken place in the district in the past couple of decades. The southwestern corner of the district, bordered by State Street, Canyon Road, 4th Avenue, A Street, and South Temple Street, holds a collection of large apartment and condominium buildings. While some of these are historic, a good number are non-historic and have compromised the integrity of this area of the district. In addition, this area is located adjacent to Temple Square and holds non-historic parking lots and garages used by the LDS church.
This district is known for its steep narrow streets, irregular lots, and for holding some of the oldest surviving residences in the City. It encompasses the predominantly residential blocks that are found to the south, southwest, west, and northwest of the State Capitol complex. The Capitol Building is not included within the district, but is listed in the National Register as an individual Historic Site. In this district are portions of the West Capitol Hill, Kimball, and Marmalade neighborhoods. Although the district had become derelict by the 1960s, it has experienced a revival through historic preservation in recent decades.
The blocks directly south of the Capitol Building are steeply sloped and contain a number of large residences exhibiting some of the finest high style architecture in Salt Lake City. The White Chapel and Council Hall, both important historic community buildings from the City’s earlier decades, face onto 300 North across from the Capitol (though are not in their original locations). Southwest of the Capitol and north of the LDS Convention Center, the blocks within the district are occupied by some historic residences but also contain a number of modern high rise apartment and condominium buildings dating from the 1970s and 1980s. These dominate Main Street, Vine Street, Almond Street, and West Temple Street, resulting in a diminished degree of integrity in this area. West and northwest of the Capitol, between Main Street/Columbus Street/Darwin Street and 200 West, the blocks are filled with the Pioneer Museum, three LDS ward churches, numerous historic homes, and the modern Washington School. This area has particularly narrow, steep streets and exhibits a good degree of integrity, with just a few modern intrusions aside from the school.
Two blocks wide and nine blocks long, this district is occupied by one of the City’s oldest residential neighborhoods. While the northern edge of the district close to South Temple Street is occupied by larger homes and more upscale apartment buildings, the remainder holds modest brick cottages and bungalows that for many decades attracted working-class occupants. On its south end, the district abuts Liberty Park.
Both 500 East and 700 East are major north-south thoroughfares lined with both houses and commercial enterprises. A residential parkway is located along 600 East. Bisecting the district is 400 South, a primary east-west commercial and transportation corridor. Trolley Square, formerly the trolley barn for the Utah Electric & Railway Corporation, occupies an entire square block along 700 East. This facility has been converted into an indoor shopping center. While the district still contains numerous historic homes, it has experienced significant attrition of its historic building stock, particularly along its perimeters and major thoroughfares. The majority of these changes have taken place in the area between the north edge of the district and 500 South. The four square blocks between 300 South and 500 South have been so heavily impacted in recent decades by teardowns and modern commercial infill that they contain very little in the way of historic resources. Because of its central location in the City and its placement along several major transportation corridors, the district has been subjected to a substantial amount of historically insensitive commercial development in recent decades, resulting in negative impact to its integrity. This has resulted in a historic district that has effectively been split in two, with a substantial loss of integrity to the northern blocks and greater integrity to the south (particularly south of 600 South).
Exchange Place is the City’s only entirely commercial historic district and is based upon a collection of early 20th century buildings that were developed to create an alternative non-Mormon business center at the south end of Main Street. The district also includes the 1905 Federal Courthouse Building and Post Office, as well as the City’s first skyscrapers, the twin Boston and Newhouse Buildings.
Exchange Place still contains a concentration of historic commercial buildings with excellent integrity. In addition to those mentioned, it also holds the 1909 Stock & Mining Exchange, 1909 Commercial Club, 1910 New Grand Hotel, 1910 Felt Building, and the Judge Building. The district is small and isolated, surrounded by non-historic buildings and parking lots. Its boundaries currently extend to the southwest across 400 South to include a vacant parking lot where a historic building once stood.
This long rectangular district stretches along South Temple Street from Virginia Street/University Street on the east to 300 East/A Street on the west. From north to south it is just one block wide. The district is occupied by many of the City’s most elegant historic mansions and apartment buildings dating from the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Governor’s mansion is among these. In addition, the street is lined with prominent offices, churches and other buildings used by various community non-profit organizations, all of which front onto tree-lined South Temple Street. Historic street lighting adds to the district’s sense of place.
Many important historic buildings and excellent examples of high-style architecture are located throughout the South Temple Historic District. However, it has also been compromised by a good number of office buildings and apartment buildings that date to the period from the 1960s to the 1990s. Most of these are located in the western 2/3 of the district in the stretch between A Street and N Street. Although the district has clearly experienced a number of changes since it was established, many of the post 1960 buildings that have been constructed are excellent examples of modern architecture.
The University district is located on the east bench of the valley west of the University of Utah, with panoramic views extending over the City toward the west. The district consists almost entirely of residences constructed between 1900 and 1920, many of them built and occupied for decades by faculty and staff from the University. It is bordered by South Temple Street on the north, 500 South on the south, University Street on the east, and by 1100 East on the west. Since the World War II era, the district has also been partially occupied by student apartments. The construction of apartment buildings in the neighborhood led to its district designation as owners of single family homes sought to reduce the impact of multi-family buildings that were resulting in higher densities.
Today the district contains many medium to large historic homes and apartment buildings exhibiting a variety of architectural styles. Commercial buildings geared to the student population are located around the intersection of 200 South and 1300 East near the University. Some of these are historic and others are modern. The northeast corner of the district is occupied by a small historic park with tennis courts and an art barn. In and close to the southeast corner of the district are a couple of high-rise apartment buildings. Most of the non-historic intrusions in the district consist of small apartment buildings dating from the 1960s and 1970s. These are primarily found in the north half of the district. The University Ward LDS Chapel across from the campus is a particularly notable building, serving as one of the City’s excellent examples of the Art Deco style of architecture.
The main entry of the Westmoreland district is complete with stone pillars, and it is set on a diagonal at the southeast corner of the intersection of 1300 South and 1500 East. Westmoreland is occupied by a fine collection of bungalows, large cottages, and miscellaneous architectural styles dating from the 1920s to the 1950s. The quality of design and craftsmanship in this area is above average, and the neighborhood is ornamented with tree-lined streets. This area is part of the Wasatch Hollow neighborhood, which preservation advocates note is highly vulnerable.
Yalecrest Local Historic Districts consist of several small historic districts within the Yalecrest Neighborhood generally located between 1300 East and 1900 East and Sunnyside Avenue and 1300 South. The local historic districts include Normandie Circle, Upper Harvard Yale Park on Harvard Avenue between 1500 East and 1700 East, Harvard Park, along Harvard Avenue between 1700-1800 East and Princeton Park, located on Princeton Street between 1700 East and 1800 East. These districts are made up of residences exhibiting a variety of period revival styles dating to the first few decades of the 20th century. The housing stock, with its architect-designed homes and manicured landscaping, provides evidence of middle class to upper class ownership from the first half of the 1900s.