Friday, October 30, 2015

Remember When From the Past-Lady Firemen

Remember When
Thursday, 17 April 2008
Kenna Holm  


    Since I wrote about the Fireman last week, I thought maybe I would write about the Fireman Auxiliary this week. Just to let you know a little bit about the women in that organization.  It was actually organized in 1942, a long time after the men were organized into a department. It’s so fun to look back in the history book and read about all the things they used to do. My how times have changed.
    As I read the first constitution and by laws of the Payson Lady Fireman I couldn’t help but smile at how different it is today.  The first by laws were: Dues and Finance: each person becoming a member of this organization shall pay the sum of $1.00 a year, payable in January. (Our dues are still due in January but are $20.00 a year now) Members failing to have all dues paid before the first of February shall be notified by the secretary and those not paying before the first meeting of March shall forfeit all rights to membership and their names shall be taken from the roll. (We have certainly become lax on that.)
    An additional 10 cents per member to be paid at each monthly meeting, whether member is present or is not.(I love that--it would take forever to get anything built up nowadays at 10 cents) this money is to be known as our Building Fund (Now I’m not sure what the building fund was, whether it was to go towards a building or just a savings account)
    Each member shall entertain in alphabetical order. (they held the meetings in their homes) Limit of refreshments to one thing and a drink. We shall have 3 annual parties per year entertaining our partners. (now we have 2--a summer party and a Christmas party. Before we got a full time Fire Marshall, Scott Spencer, we had an Installation Banquet in January to install the new Chief  and other officers)
    The sum of $2.00 to be paid for flowers at the death of a mother or father of each side of member and also children of member. The sum of $5.00 to be for flowers at the death of a member or the husband of a member (Now you couldn’t get one single flower for that price.) The sum of fifty cents to be paid for flowers for member who is ill. Don t you love it.
    They were really serious about these by-laws. Mamie Chapple was the first President of the Auxiliary. Anyone remembering Mamie knows how she had to have everything proper. She d turn over in her grave if she saw how we elect officers now. She believed in Roberts Rules and she made you stick to then. We loved that lady. She was great.
    They did a lot of great things in those early days. They did things for the Red Cross, sewing things for them. They had quilt raffles and the tickets were 10 cents each and the proceeds from the sale of the tickets was used to buy war bonds. In 1953 they had a Dance Review that was sponsored by the Lady Fireman and they gave the proceeds to the new swimming pool and to the Jr Library. They gave $50.00 to the Swimming Pool and $30.00 to the Jr. Library. (how far would that go now?) In 1959 they helped furnish the new Fire Station with dishes and silverware and tables.  Over the years the ladies have done a lot of worthwhile things. They donated money in 1963 for Cemetery beautification. The money went for trees and concrete benches.

Now  we concentrate more on the Burn Center. We have made quilts and had raffles at State Fireman Convention and turned the money into the center. This year we donated $500.00 to the Burn Center. It is such a worthwhile cause.
    Years ago, the ladies and men loved to play bingo (and some still do). They would hold their parties in the old American Legion Hall or at Don’s Cafe. Now we hold our parties in the City Center or the Park.  It seems all the ladies are so busy nowadays that we only have meetings every quarter and we have the two parties with the men.

   The city sends 10 couples to State Fireman Convention where the ladies attend meetings alone and some with the men. At convention they give out service awards to the men serving10-25-and 50 years. They also have some very inspiring speakers and the men have training sessions.
    I’m really proud to be a member of the Lady Fireman Auxiliary. It s a great group of women and fun to work with. We have new officers this year. Maxine McCoy is our President with Marilyn Spencer as Vice President and Tanya Thatcher as Secretary. I have the privilege of being the Historian, a job I have held since 1995. (They won t let me out.)
When I think of all the changes that have been made over the last 66 years it is amazing and so fun to remember when...

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Payson--The First 100 Years--J. C. Ellsworth--20th Mayor

Part 22–J. C. Ellsworth–20th  Mayor
Payson Historical Society


    J. C. Ellsworth became the 20th Mayor of Payson on January 5, 1920.   On January 26th  it was voted for the City to buy a grader and level in order  to have better roads in the city.
    The Orem Railroad paved between their rails also a distance of two feet on each side of the track where it run on along today’s 100 North.
    Now that Pavson had a new park located on South Main, some of the trees in the old park on today’s West Utah Avenue  were removed and a ball park was made with a ball diamond and a grand stand.

    To have a fair distribution of culinary water, water meters were put in.  The citizens then paid for the amount of water that they used.
    The Taylor School was built in 1919  with school starting in January 1920.  It was named after a pioneer educator, Jesse Taylor.   A little adobe school house, also known as the  Taylor School  was torn down in order to make way for this new building.
    Two drinking fountains were placed on Main Street.  One on the east side of First South, one on the west side of First North.  One was placed  on Utah Avenue near the Star Theater.
    On April 27, 1921, the Relief Society, Farm Bureau and Payson City cleaned up the Payson Cemetery.  The lunch served at noon was furnished by the city. *

*Quoted from “The Payson Story” page 20, published by the Payson Centennial Committee, October 1950

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Remember When From the Past--The Payson Fire Department

Remember When 
Thursday, 10 April 2008
Kenna Holm  

Payson Fire Department
    This week I’m going to write about something that is dear to my heart and that’s the Payson Fire Department. My husband Frank has belonged to that department since 1961. That’s a long time. To go back - the fire department was actually organized in 1892 and that was only after the city had had several big fires. ( That was a little before my time.) They started out with a hand-operated fire engine with hose and then they bought a light man-drawn horse cart. Then the men could get the hose to the fires. That cart is on display at the fire station now. We have taken it to a few firemen conventions.

   When the department was organized, they set up a few rules. They seem funny now because so much has changed. At first, it was required to have 20 men in the department (there are now 30 active members). They were furnished with hat, a red flannel shirt and a belt. (I wonder why they left the pants out. You d think that would have been part of the supplied clothing. Oh well, they had a belt.) They also were given a pick axe, a speaking trumpet and two lanterns. Today, the men are outfitted with turnouts, which consist of a heavy coat and pants and a hard hat. It s a law for firemen to wear these items even if it is summer and hot. They are also outfitted with sweats and T-shirts.
    In the past, they fought the fires with bucket brigades. I d hate to see that now.  When I first remember the department, the truck and equipment were in the old Douglas building where the liquor store is now. The big siren was on the old library roof. When there was a call, people would call the telephone operator (located on the corner of Utah Avenue and Main where Willow Creek is now) and the telephone operator would then ring the siren. The men would hear the siren and respond to the station.
    In 1958, the citizens of Payson approved a bond that made it possible to build a new fire station. The building was built and dedicated in December 1958. Dale Barnett was fire chief at that time.  The building housed the fire trucks and was also a place for the city council to hold their meetings. The firemen and the firemen s auxiliary held their meetings there also.
    They have added on to the building to house other fire trucks. We now have a 1945 Mack that pumps 500 gallons per minute, the Boardman and the FMC that pumps 1,000 gallons per minute, a 1994 Smeal that pumps 1,500 gallons and the new ladder truck that pumps 2,000 gallons per minute. We have two tenders and three brush trucks. This is quite a change from when they started.

When they moved to the fire station, the siren was moved to the station and placed on the roof. It was very loud and had to be because the men had to hear it from wherever they were. Poor Mildred Warner hated that siren. She lived too close and it really echoed in her home.
    They always seemed to have several people who liked to go see where the fire was which was a hazard sometimes. People were warned not to follow the fire trucks but to no avail. I remember Arnold Kallbacka loved to race to the fire.
    For many years, the first firemen to the station drove the truck and some of the firemen just drove their cars because they could not all fit on the truck.  When the siren would sound the firemen would call in to the telephone operator and get the address of the fire. They finally had to have a password so the operators knew which ones were really firemen and that had to be changed often.
    Like I said, some loved to follow the truck and sometimes the firemen would set up a fake call just to catch those who followed the fire trucks. It didn’t matter how many times they did it, Arnold Kallbacka was always right there. I think they gave out many tickets and I think Kal got his share. He was such a fun guy.
    Things have really changed over the years. The firemen now have pagers that go off when a call comes in for a fire. They all go to the station and man the trucks to go to the fire.
It seems like every year West Mountain catches on fire and the dump usually has several. There have been some serious fires in Payson and surrounding areas.The firemen go to car accidents and get cats off of poles (yes, they have even been called out for that, believe it or not).
    The fire department has so many good, dedicated men. Theron Hill has been there about 47 years and Frank (my husband) has been there for about 46 years. They are the two oldest active firemen and probably the oldest in age, also. There is now a paid fire marshal, Scott Spencer, and two assistants, Dean McCoy and Marc Carter.
    We've lost a lot of good men from the department, including Nyle Thatcher, Duane Patten, Don Patten, Reed Brimhall, Bud and Dick Harmer, Sherm Loveless and more. We miss them. Sometimes we don’t appreciate the firemen until we need them for a fire. Those men jump the minute their pagers go off, no matter where they are, and race to the station. If ever you see a car with its hazard lights flashing, move over; it s probably a fireman rushing to save someone s property or a EMT going to save someone s life.
The fire department has changed over the years and it s so fun to look back and remember when....

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Remember When From the Past--Payson's Historic Apartments

Remember When
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Kenna Holm  

Payson’s Historic Apartment Houses

    Today I was thinking about some of the old apartment buildings we used to have in Payson. Two of the most popular ones were The Snyder Apartments and Eckersley Apartments. 
The Snyder Apartments were owned by Bill and Marti Snyder. Bill worked with his dad in the car business (Snyder Motors) on the corner of Main and First North where the little park is now. (at the light by the bank)  They had 4 apartments in the building if I remember right.  This apartment building was on the corner where One Man Band is now. It sat back in off the highway and it had a circular driveway into it, so you could drive in from the West side or the North side. It had grass and flowers in the center of the lot between the highway curve and the circular driveway. On the South of the apartments was the little driveway into the Poultry Plant.

   We had a lot of friends that lived thereat one time or another. The first one I remember going to visit was Cliff and Beth (Cope) Cartwright. Jerry and Loraine (Jones) Mortensen, Cliff and Beth and my husband, Frank and I used to get together and play games. We had all been married about the same time and all lived in the Third Ward.  Next, Jerry and Diane (Beddoes) Hansen lived there. We used to get together and have parties and dinners. Blain and Colleen Wilson lived in one of the apartments and later on Dr. Robert Hogan had his first office in the back apartment.

   Another apartment building that was very nice was Eckersleys. It sat where the car wash is on the big turn on First North (next to the Mexican Restaurant).  At first it was the old Strawberry Hotel. I remember a photographer lived there by the name of Bill Pons. He took our family s in front on the bottom level.
    Also they had a little cafe called the High Hat in there. It as also the depot for the Greyhound Buses and also the Continental Bus Line.(That s stretching the old memory)

   In 1943 George and Elsie Eckersley (Carolyn Shepherd’s parents) bought the building and then added on and remodeled the East part. Their apartment was a large beautiful one with big windows. 
    Upstairs, Cora Page (she worked at the high school as librarian) lived in the East apartment and Emma Wilson (Allen Wilson’s grandmother) lived in the West apartment.  Mrs. Wilson was one of my favorite people. She had lived in half of our house and rented it from my folks. She made the BEST chocolate chip cookies I have ever tasted. My mother didn’t like chocolate so she never made chocolate chip cookies and when Mrs. Wilson baked, she would bring me over some. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
    Ramona Smith (Gloria Barnett’s mom) and her daughter Connie lived in the bottom apartment.  In the back, behind the Eckersleys there was several small houses that were small apartments. Martha Ann McDonald and her daughter Jeannette lived in the front one and Bud and Dessie Nielsen lived in the back apartment after they were married. Later on Duane and Janice Patten lived in that back apartment when they were first married.
    The Eckersley s sold the building in the 70s to Vernile Gasser.  Later it was torn down and a car wash was built in the place where the Eckersley Apartments stood.  That has since been converted into a car dealership.

   Another place was the old Payson Hotel. It was on Utah Avenue. When I first remember it, Merrill and Bertie Smith run it. They made a lot of changes to the building and modernized it. I’m not sure how long they ran it as a hotel. Merrill was a Utah County Sheriff.  Bertie made the best taffy of anyone I know. She gave me her recipe but mine was never as good as hers.
    I’m sure there are many more things about these buildings but these are the things I remember. Can you remember when?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Remember When From the Past--Dew Drop Inn

Remember When
Thursday, 03 April 2008
Kenna Holm

Dew Drop Inn
    Do you remember the little cafe called Dew Drop Inn? It was a little cafe that sat on the place where the American Beauty Academy parking lot is now across from Dalton’s Restaurant.  It was built and run by Joe and Grace Brereton.  I’m not sure of the year it was built but it was a fun little hang-out for all ages.   Joe Brereton was one of the most friendly men you would ever meet.  He was a friend to all and so kind to everyone.  He was often doing kind things for those less fortunate.
    The cafe wasn’t to large.  It had a few tables and maybe a couple of booths and of course the counter you could sit up to.   Grace was a wonderful cook and they also had Della Baum who cooked there.   Their daughter Colleen (Thomas) and Faye Carter (Larry’s mom) worked there.   Joe loved the school kids and no matter how many were there, he never minded and they always felt welcomed.  They served great french fries and the drinks were served in cone shaped paper cups that was placed in a little metal holder.

   They had the old time punch boards, remember? There were two kinds.  The spindle that was jammed packed with tickets that you could pull out one at a time and the board that had little dots.You would take a little metal straight key (kind of like the ones on the cans of Spam before the pull tops).  You would poke it in the hole and poke out a little tiny folded up piece of paper that said if you were a winner.  Or it would have a number on it and then you put you name on a paper by the number you had gotten.  When the board had all been poked out, the name on the winning number won the big prize.  With the spindle, you would pull out a ticket to see if you had won a prize.  I don’t remember how much each try cost but we thought it was fun.  Some of the prizes were boxes of candy.  Of course this was all when it wasn’t against the law to gamble and the punch board would be one way they would call gambling now.

    Brereton’s had a little fresh fruit and vegetable stand to the side of the cafe called Brereton’s Market.  The kids helped out in the fruit stand.  Joe always liked to truck drive and he hauled fresh produce a lot.  He grew a lot of vegetables and fruit and had an orchard.
    Joe and Grace had a large family of 10 children so it kept them busy keeping food on the table and clothes on their backs but Joe always had a job.  He worked for Burdick Lumber Co.   He worked at the old Del Monte pea vinery (that s a good story for later).   He peddled fruit, worked in the mines and at Geneva and of course the cafe.
    It s fun to look at the picture of the cafe.  You can see the market that was to the south of the cafe and on the north was a service station.  I believe it was run by the Barnett s.  That building was torn down and Dutch Wightman built a new Chevron station there.   It was run a few years later by Leo Daley.   It is now an insurance office.  You can see the trees and fence that stood where the old Huish Theater stands now on the corner.
    Old Highway 91 ran in front of the Inn, which was the main thoroughfare that people traveled to go to Provo or  points south .  There were a lot of trees around then.
    Joe died at the early age of 47 in 1955 of a massive heart attack.  He and Grace had been married 25 years.  He left a big void in their lives.  Grace tried to run the cafe but rented it out for a while.  She met a man by the name of Carl Crippen at the Dew Drop Inn and later they were married and had one child.  In the early 60's,  Safeway bought them out so they could build their new big Safeway Market.  The Dew Drop Inn and the building to the south was then torn down and there went another old landmark of Payson but isn t it fun to remember back when

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Payson--The First 100 Years--Henry Erlandson--Nineteenth Mayor

Part 21–Henry Erlandson–Nineteenth  Mayor
Payson Historical Society

Free Mail Service — Memorial Park Buill

            “Mayor Thomas Reece went out of office and Henry Erlandson took over in 1918 as the  nineteenth mayor of Payson.  His administration finished the paving project started by the previous administration.
            The war brought many problems.  The flu broke out during the winter of 1918-19.  Drs. Curtis and Stewart had been called to war.  This left Payson without a doctor.  Mayor Erlandson worked with the Red Cross.  Some of those working with him to help the sick were Wildman, Murphy, Delora Reed, Sara Mitchell Barnett and Daisy Harding.  Food and medical supplies were taken to the stricken families.
            November 11, 1918,  the armistice was signed at 5 a.m. and by 11 o'clock the war was over.  The bell on the City Hall rang out the good tidings to the people of Payson.
            Free mail service was started and the houses numbered.  The mail has been delivered to the homes since then. With the numbering of homes,  E. Street was changed to Utah Avenue.
            June 30, 1919,  the machinery in the old electric light plant was sold to the Thomas Electric Company for $1020.00, the building was sold to Frank Harris.
            To commemorate the services for enlisted soldiers from the City of Payson and vicinity during the World War of 1914-1918, the Memorial Park was built. Grass was planted the Spring of 1919.  Each of the new trees was planted by a veteran or his representative, and by the City officials who inaugurated the memorial enterprise.  This was the second park of its kind in the United States.  The first Park was in Baltimore, Maryland.  It was built upon the suggestion of S. D. Johnson of  Springville, brother-in-law of Mrs. Finlayson.  The landscape architect was Prof. Emil Hansen, Supt. of grounds at U. S. A. C. Henry Drissell was the first gardener.
            The large Locust trees were removed from the cemetery and young  hardwood trees planted.  This greatly improved the appearance.” *

*Quoted from “The Payson Story” page 19, published by the Payson Centennial Committee, October 1950

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Payson-The First 100 Years--Thomas E. Reece--18th Mayor

Part 20–Thomas E. Reece–Eighteenth Mayor
Payson Historical Society

Completion of Orem and Strawberry Irrigation Project

    “At the municipal election held in Nov. 1915,  Thomas E. Reece was elected as the Eighteenth Mayor of Payson taking his office in January of 1916. This year saw the completion of two great projects that had been under construction over a period of years. On the 26-27 of May 1916 a celebration was held in Payson commemorating the completion of the Strawberry Irrigation Project and the  Interurban Railroad (Orem). Those on the committee were Dr. A. L. Curtis, chairman, Henry Erlandson, Jas. Reed, J. R. Vance, J. A. Loveless, Melvin Wilson and G. A. Workman. These men were among those responsible for these projects.
    On Friday, May 26 the first Orem from Salt Lake to Payson carrying passengers arrived about 9:30 a.m. It was met by the band and townspeople. Mayor  Thomas E. Reece gave a speech of welcome. Responses were given by W. C. Orem and J. L. Lytle. At 10:00 a.m. the Golden Spike was driven by the Carnival Queen, Mrs. George Done and Miss Gladys Orem. A moving picture was taken of this event. The Orem continued until 1946.
    The Strawberry canal brought under irrigation ground from Spanish Fork to Goshen comprising about 6O,0OO acres of land.
    World War I began in 1914 when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia July 28. As the war progressed the U. S. was slowly drawn in. Germany's submarine sank merchantmen ships at sight. They would not provide for the safety of crew and passengers. Five ships flying the U. S. flag were torpedoed. On May 17, 1915 the English liner 'Lusitana' was sunk without warning. 1153 lives were lost including 113 American citizens. This aroused the American people.
    President Wilson still held out. In the middle of March, 1917, three American ships were deliberately and defiantly sunk by the German submarines. On April 6, congress "resolved-that the state of war between the United States and the Imperial German Government which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared."
    With the Declaration of War,  the National Red Cross was organized in each town. Mayor Reese lead out in this in Payson. Committees were appointed, the women knitted, rolled surgical dressings and made hospital garments to send to the armed forces.
    While the war was going on overseas, some new enterprises opened up in our community. An ice plant was built in the west part of town in 1917. The original stockholders were: Frank H. Taylor, James Taylor, H. H. Keener, A. M. Taylor, Thomas F. Tolhurst and Joseph D. Stark. This plant supplied Payson, Benjamin, Spanish Fork, Salem, Santaquin with ice, some ice also went to Goshen and Nephi. This plant continued in business for thirteen years then the electric refrigerators took over.
    About May 13, 1917 a public library was opened in the Hancock building. The Cultus Club working with the city made this possible. The school children gathered up magazines and books. The mechanical art students of the Payson High School under the direction of Mr. D. M. Taylor built shelves and tables. A collection of current magazines were ordered as was also the leading state newspapers. This was something that had long been needed.
    The State Bank of Payson opened May 21, 1917, with W. W. Armstrong, president and Lee R. Taylor, cashier.
    The Payson firemen attended the state Firemen's' Tournament at Lagoon. They won the ladder contest, also the hub and hub race. Sandy won the hose coupling and Eureka the hose cart race. By winning two events out of four the Payson boys won the Tourament.” *

**Quoted from “The Payson Story” page 18-19, published by the Payson Centennial Committee, October 1950

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Payson the First 100 Years--John T. Lant--17th Mayor

Part 19–John T. Lant–Seventeenth Mayor
Payson Historical Society

First Hospital Started

    John T. Lant was elected the Seventeenth Mayor for 1914-15. He had recently returned to Payson as an employee of the Utah-Idaho Sugar Co. He was instrumental in securing the sugar factory being built here. The water works system was completed in 1914 making culinary water available to all the citizens in the city.
    Dr. A. L. Curtis came to Payson about 1911. Seeing the necessity of better care for emergency cases in 1914 he established a small hospital in rooms over the Wilson Drug Store. The venture didn’t prove too successful. There were so many obstacles to be surmounted.
    The sugar factory brought many new facilities into town. To supply residences for them the sugar company built between twenty and thirty new homes.
    Payson was in need of a band as they had been without one since 1909. In 1911 the Utah Conservatory of Music sent a representative, who got together some boys and engaged George H. Done as teacher. They were not organized because they didn't have proper instruments for a band. After Mr. Done filled his contract for teaching,  the band tried to stay together but had a difficult time. In 1914 or 1915 they organized and chose Melvin Done as their leader. Again Payson had a notable band. They played for most of the dances held in the Payson Pavilion from 1915 to 1918, they also were engaged in other towns. They took two trips south, one as far as Richfield and one trip to Logan in 1919. This band instituted weekly band concerts each Sunday evening during the summer

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Remember When From the Past--The Farmer's Merc.

 Remember When
Thursday, 27 March 2008
Kenna Holm  

Farmer’s Merc
    Well, I’ve been scratching my head this week about which story I wanted to write about. This keeps me on my toes and my brain thinking.  I keep thinking about the corner down on Main Street and First North where the light is now. On the corner was Commercial Bank where Wells Fargo Bank is now. Roy Broadbent worked as a cashier there and went on to be manager of that bank and also First Security when the name was changed.

   Next to the bank was the old Farmers Merc. It actually stood where the drive through is at the bank is now. In fact it wrapped around the bank. It had a north entrance and an east entrance. The bank was just a small building on the corner, nothing like it is today.
    Farmers Merc. had everything. The thing I remember most is the x-ray machine you stuck
your foot in to see if the new shoes you were trying on fit the way they were supposed to. It seemed like magic to actually see the bones in your foot, and it looked greenish yellow. Remember?
    They had food in the northwest side of the store and it had an outside door on that side so if you just wanted groceries you could go in there and pick them out.  Shirlene Wood said she remembers her mom sending her up to the Merc. to get a pound of hamburger for ten cents. (oh wouldn’t that be nice now?) She also remembers that they carried Happy Hiker shoes and she loved them. They probably cost all of 2 or3 dollars then.  But she loved those shoes.  They were just plain lace up shoes.
    The dry goods were on the south side and had a door that went in from the east.  They carried just about everything in that store.  The one thing I remember was when you bought something the clerk would put the receipt and money in a tube and shoot it up to the office where they would make change and send it back down. We were really modern then.

   The store was run by the McCormick’s and they lived down on North Main where Lynn and Lorna Powell lived years ago.  This is the house just north of the old Douglas home on 200 North.   Henerietta Douglas and Iris Amos worked in the office. I’m not sure who all worked at the store during the years but I do remember Carl Butler working there when he was in high school or shortly after he graduated.  He had such a good  personality and of course all us young high school (or maybe we were jr. high ) girls thought he was real  cute.
    Later on Commercial Bank wanted to buy the property on the west side of the bank to expand its size. So the Farmers Merc. closed it s doors in about 1955 or 56. The bank extended its building to the west and Bradshaw Auto took over the south side of the the Merc.  The Bradshaw Auto Parts  store and it was run by Gene Smith.  On the south side of  Bradshaws was Dixon-Taylor-Russell (DTR) ‘s furniture store. Later the bank bought out Bradshaw s and made their  drive thru on the south of the bank.

I’m sure there are more stories about Farmers Merc. but this is what I remember and it stretches our memories to remember when....

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Remember When From the Past--The Orem Interurban

The Inter-urban (Orem Line)
Remember When–March 20, 2008

    Payson had its own “Spike Ceremony’ on completion of the Salt Lake and Utah Railroad, commonly known as the Inter-urban or Orem Line that ran between Salt Lake City and Payson, its southern terminal.  The date of the spike ceremony was May26, 1916, when a celebration was held that noted the completion of the railroad and the finish of the Strawberry Irrigation Project.  The railroad moved its shops to Payson in August of the same year.

   The first train rolled into the depot located at 100 North and Main Street at 9:30 AM the morning of May 26, 1916.  Aboard were about 300 people including railroad dignitaries from Salt Lake City and points south.  The train was met by the Payson Silver Band and a large crown of local citizens.  A large platform had been erected on Main Street near the end of the tracks by the station.
    Mayor Thomas E. Reece gave the welcoming speech.  Responses were given by several individual including W. C. Orem, financier of the line. The crown then moved to a designated place at track’s end where the ceremonial spike was driven by Mrs. George (Lavina) Done, Carnival Queen, and Miss Gladys Orem, the daughter of the financier of the line.

   The track were laid adjacent to U. S. Highway 91 between Salem and Payson.  They entered Payson at 100 North and 900 East at the city limits.  A rather high grade had been constructed just east of the city and a “cut” was made through the hill from about 700 East to 500 East. It ran along the boundaries of the Peteetneet School, the railroad shops and then to the depot which faced north on 100 North, a quarter block east of Main Street. This would be approximately in the parking area between the current Daley Freeze and Crest Convenience Store.

   The depot was of frame construction with a hip roof slanting east and west.  It contained a waiting room, a news stand, ticket office, rest rooms and a large baggage room located at the rear of the ticket office. The freight platform was roofed but unwalled at the south end of the building.
At the peak of operation, twelve passenger trains and a freight train moved in and out of Payson every day.  Passengers commuted to Provo, Salt Lake, and points in between every day.  The line was said to be one of the finest inter-urban railroads in the United States at that time.  It had been the brain-child of Boston financier, Walter C. Orem. Sometimes, becauseof this it was called the Orem line.
    The line was constructed by a woman contractor, Mr. W. M. Smith.  She supervised the construction of the line.  You could see the woman’s touch in the plush interior that made some of the cars like a rolling palace.  Two special cars, The “Utah County Limited” and the “Zion Limited” were furnished with palatial overstuffed furniture and deep carpeting.
For the general public, there were green plush seats that could be turned backward for the passengers to ride either forward or backward.  Black rubber runners went down the center aisles.
    Business on the Orem Inter-urban began to decline in the 1930's as the automobile and freight trucks took more and more of the trade from the line.  Time also took its toll on the physical aspects of the line.  The track became bulged and uneven in many areas.  Passengers began joking about the “Leaping Lena.”  It seemed to travel twice the distance scheduled in the additional up-and-down directions the passengers traveled.
    There was an upturn in the business durin gWorld War II when gasoline became rationed and many started riding the train again for travel.  However, at the end of the war, the tracks from Payson to Salt Lake City were removed.  The station was razed and hauled away.  The car barns were sold to Payson City and were used for a number of years for the city shops. They too soon met the fate of the rest of the Orem line.   So today, the line is gone but not forgotten.*

*Summarized from “Peteetneet Town–A History of Payson, Utah by Madoline C. Dixon
pp 150-152