Landmarks | Urban Living
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Landmarks

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If you don't know by now, I'm a bona fide history geek. When I'm getting ready to list a really old home, I love to research tidbits about the original owners that might bring a smile to potential buyers or even imply there might be ghosts in the closets. Maybe this was the house of the shoemaker of Brigham Young's third wife or the location of the stable where Mormondom's "destroying angel," Porter Rockwell, kept his horses. I've listed the home of Earl Glade, Salt Lake's longest serving mayor (in office from 1944 to 1956) who helped turn KSL into a commercial enterprise of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by broadcasting from his home on Highland Drive. I represented the Avenues estate of the late painter, Edie Roberson, where she created her fanciful art, and I was happy to point out hidden permanent art she'd made part of the home.

Recently , I was appointed to serve on Salt Lake City's Historic Landmarks Commission, where I will volunteer with fellow commissioners to help determine if a property is worth saving or should be demolished. I served eight years on the city's Planning and Zoning commission and now look forward to helping sort out property issues again.

Old buildings, no matter what their condition, have been a witness to history, and they connect us to the past. A sense of place has been etched into them that cannot be replaced by stucco boxes. When we save historic properties, we save a piece of our culture, our city's soul.

I picked up clients the other day to see condos downtown, and they commented upon what they thought was the ugliest skyscraper in Salt Lake: the vacant Public Safety Building on the corner of 200 South and 300 East. It sits tagged and run down with several unsheltered people sleeping in the alcove of the front entry. Built in 1958 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011, it is considered as one of the finest examples of "corporate international style' buildings west of the Mississippi. Originally erected by Northwest Pipeline and built by contractors Del Webb, using steel from Lehi's Geneva Steel, the building featured new (at the time) heat-resistant glass and aluminum louvers to shade windows on the south and west sides. It will take millions to remove the asbestos inside plus millions more to remodel and update it for commercial use or possibly low-income housing. The owner, Salt Lake City Corp., has announced no plans since it was presented to the public in 2015. Should this building be preserved? A building on Main and 400 South from the same era (1955) was saved from the wrecking ball in 2007, rehabilitated and updated and now is owned by the Ken Garff Group.

So, would you save the old "cop shop"?