SALT LAKE CITY — The nicest thing about the recent four-block move of the Deseret News to the Triad Center is that the printing press stays put in West Valley City. In the beginning — meaning back in 1850 — the Deseret News and the printing press were basically synonymous and had to move together.
Utah photo historian Ron Fox recently scanned a number of historic photographs from the Deseret News Archives of the Deseret News homes and staff over its 160-year history.
If you want to see in person what the Deseret News' first headquarters looked like, there is a replica at This Is the Place Heritage Park. The original home was a small adobe shack on South Temple, just east of Main Street. That shack was usually referred to as the territorial mint building. One Utah wit, Scipio Africanus Kenner, said it "was almost as easy to get on top of as into."
The small "Ramage" press squeezed out the first Deseret News on June 15, 1850, with President Willard Richards, second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the first editor. That press still exists, tucked into an obscure corner of the Church History Museum.
Less than a year later, in 1851, the paper (and press) moved a few yards to the west into the Deseret Store Building, a three-story adobe structure on the northeast corner of South Temple and Main Street, where the Joseph Smith Memorial Building stands today. The biggest problem with that location was keeping the store customers from messing with the press.
Three years later, everything moved a few feet to the north into the Tithing Office Building, a low adobe building. That worked for a few years. Then everything was hauled across the street to the southwest corner of South Temple and Main Street into the Council House, where the Territorial Legislature met and where Mormon temple ordinances were performed at one time.
It took an army to move the Deseret News next. The Utah War forced it south to Fillmore for about five months — the first Fillmore issue appearing on May 5, 1858. In September, it was back to the Council House for four more years.
The next 41 years were spent back across the street in the Deseret Store Building.
Around the turn of the last century, it was decided the Deseret News needed a building of its own. The Council House was gone, and a six-story building was built using pink-toned brownstone from Mount Nebo in central Utah. But before it was finished, a fire displaced the offices of the Oregon Short Line railroad, and they took the floors intended for the Deseret News. So, an eight-story annex (the tallest building and with the fastest elevators in the city) was begun before the main building was completed. The paper moved in 1903 and its presses rumbled in the basement for a quarter century.
In 1926, the paper moved to a new four-story building on Richards Street just south of Temple Square. This headquarters lasted 42 years and was near the spot where its first editor, Willard Richards, had been buried (his body had long since been moved to the Salt Lake City Cemetery by then).
The next Deseret News move was in June 10, 1968, to "plush" remodeled offices on the 100 South corner of Regent Street. Those offices were torn down in 1995 to build a new building. The paper's staff moved across Regent Street into temporary offices inside a parking structure for about two years while the new headquarters rose.
The grand nine-story Deseret News building opened on May 28, 1997. The paper occupied six floors of the building that was designed to "replicate the height and width of a newspaper," Kent Fairbanks, project architect, said in a Deseret News article on May 18, 1997. "The Deseret News logo cast in the top panels of the structure is the same lettering as the masthead found on the daily newspaper, completing the front-page design."
The last Deseret News published in the Regent street building was the Monday, Oct. 18, edition. The next day's edition was published in the Triad Center near The Gateway mall. And there the Deseret News will stay.
Until the next move, that is.