Book review: Exploring 'The Avenues of Salt Lake City' with new edition of take-along book
University of Utah Press
"THE AVENUES OF SALT LAKE CITY," second ed., by Cevan J. LeSieur, University of Utah Press, $24.95, 392 pages (nf)
One of Salt Lake City’s oldest residential areas is the Avenues. Located on the northeast bench of the Wasatch Mountains the neighborhood has attracted a diverse mix of architecture and people.
“The Avenues of Salt Lake City,” second edition, by Cevan J. LeSieur takes readers on an expedition to the Avenues to discover unique structures and histories of the people who lived there. LeSieur remembers reading the original 1980 edition of the book when he was 11 and discovering a place he wanted to live in someday.
In 1999, he purchased a bungalow on Ninth Avenue and began restoring it, LeSieur writes in the preface. He tried to reconnect with the old Avenues book, but found it so worn out that the pages were falling out of the binding — it was also out of print. With so many restoration projects and so much interest in the area, he decided it was time for a new book and worked with the University of Utah Press to update and revise the original.
Using the same format as the original, he greatly expanded the “Significant Sites” section. In this section, houses and some businesses are cross-referenced with maps in the back. For each site there is a picture and a two-paragraph account. The first paragraph describes the architectural style of the homes and buildings and any interesting details. The second paragraph gives a brief history of who lived or worked in each space.
Reading the histories gives a perspective into the lives of early residents of the area. The houses were home to people from all walks of life — executives, teachers, laborers and doctors, as well as shop owners who sometimes combined living space with retail space. For a home on I Street, LeSieur writes, “This home was built for Walter A. Wallace, who lived here until 1956. He was a long-time office manager for the National Biscuit Company, and also sang in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.” As the lives of the people who lived in them are revealed, the houses become more than just structures.
Karl T. Haglund and Philip F. Notarianni wrote the original edition of the book. The new edition is designed as a take-along guide for readers who want to explore and discover this historic district of Salt Lake.
LeSieur is a native of Salt Lake City and has restored two homes in the Avenues neighborhood with his wife, Heather.
Connie Lewis attended the University of Utah and majored in journalism. She has been learning through research and writing for the past 30 years.
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