I love history. I don't know why—I just do. I especially love the back stories of places, homes and buildings. In my college years, I often spent Sundays wandering a virtually dead downtown to photograph old buildings. I'd explore the Avenues and stop in front of 100-year-old homes, then go back to the school library and read about architectural styles. My father graduated as an architect and even studied under Frank Lloyd Wright for a bit, but ended up moving us to Arizona where he became a cattle rancher and gave up his blueprints in favor of a bullwhip.
I would call him over the years and talk about cool houses and buildings I had seen or was marketing. He loved it when I dug deeper and found records about who had lived in a home or who had built it. Dad's passed, but I still love to talk about the history of old homes with my clients.
I was excited to hear recently that part of Lagoon amusement park was restored.
Originally built on the shore of the Great Salt Lake in 1886, the resort was closed and parts moved to Farmington by local railroad owner (and, later, Utah governor) Simon Bamberger. On the banks of a 9-acre pond, which inspired the new name, he built the amusement park which opened in 1896. The park had bowling, dining, music and eventually a million-gallon pool—the first filtered pool west of the Mississippi. Its debut thrill ride was "Shoot-the-Chutes," and the Victorian-era carousel—built in 1893 and installed in 1906—is still there today. After closing during World War II, it was purchased by the Freed family and Ranch Kimball, who turned the place into what it is today.
Utahns love the roller coasters—and they especially love Terroride, the 50-year-old spooky attraction that was recently restored. This classic ride is categorized as a "dark house," similar to the Haunted House at Knoebels, Spook-a-Rama at Coney Island and Curse of DarKastle at Busch Gardens.
The famous amusement-park ride designer Bill Tracy also was the creative force behind Dracula's Castle. Only eight of his rides are left in the country, and two are at Lagoon. Ours is now fixed up with new machinery and a fresh story line. But don't worry—the original historic mural and creatures remain intact and are ready to delight young and old thrill-seekers with a sinister new character named "Louis von Black." I'll forgo the heat and check out Louis during the park's annual Frightmares season in the fall. Thanks, Lagoon, for saving a bit of odd history for us.