Stores such as ZCMI and Auerbach's were popular destinations
I live outside of Utah now but I grew up there and have so many fond memories of
"downtown". When we were about 10 or 11, my cousin and I used to take
the bus from my grandmother's (ALL the way from 4th So. and 4th East!) to
"town" (as grandma called it), have lunch in Auerbach's lunchroom
and then we went shopping and/or to a movie; I remember Grant's, Kress,
Woolworth's, Baker Shoes, The Paris Company, KOB, JC Penney's, the
Ding Ho (chinese) restaurant, Center Theatre, ZCMI (they also had the Tiffin
Room for lunch) & all the other wonderful old theatres;bet we didn't
spend $5.00!! Such great times. If downtown SLC has changed as some posters
have said, I would be sad to see it now. It was great then. I remember
watching the women wrap Christmas gifts at Auerbach's & being
fascinated with that - & the Christmas decorations & windows were all so
wonderful! Ahh - if only to have a Time Machine. One comment,
though about the "America's first department store - ZCMI... not true.
There were nearly 10 in NYC alone long before ZCMI in Utah - just sayin'.
To the commentor at 2:04 p.m. on 16 Nov 2009:There is no way to get
downtown for free. You are raising a straw man argument since I never claimed
that there was. Driving a car is certainly not free. You pay for the gas, the
loan payments, the insurance payments, and the costs of routine maintenance.What I said was that downtown Salt Lake City has excellent free public
transportation once you are downtown. Hence, you only need to find a parking
space one time, if you choose to drive there, or not at all, if you take public
transit there. Personally, I take Trax most of the time. All of the Trax
stations have free parking.
We can thank the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and former Salt Lake Mayor Ted
Wilson for downtown Salt Lake's demise.About 34 years ago, in the
mid 1970's, they tore up Main Street, planted some trees, took out all of the
beautiful neon signage, and put in two loser malls.I really liked
downtown Salt Lake back in the day, but now I'm not so sure. It's really sad
with what has become of the place. Downtown Salt Lake is really
dead; there's nothing here. Not to mention there are no great bars, restaurants
and nightclubs in the area, and no quality retailers to boot. Thanks for nothing Salt Lake!
If it weren't for the Jazz games and an occasional event at the Conference
Center... Why would I ever go downtown and put up with the traffic and parking
meters? And then on top of that... Get ragged on for fouling Rocky Anderson's
air???Why would I EVER go downtown for shopping?
Now SLC Rocky Anderson has turned SLC into the Mecca for bar hopping. That's
probably going to work out great for them!
Really? How do I get downtown free from Sandy? I don't see your solution to the
problem, unless you happen to be one of the unlucky few who live downtown. In
that case, you're pretty well trapped anyway.
Having grown up in California I can only reflect on a few trips to SLC as a
child and I do remember the vibrant Downtown. I too remember the downtown of my
youth in California and how it was the place to shop just like SLC was in Utah.
There is a difference though...as malls and shopping in the suburbs grew my
California downtown developed FREE parking (lots and on-street) around the
downtown area as well as a free shuttle up and down the downtown streets. They
beautified the main streets with gardens and more walkways and encouraged more
unique one of a kind shops. Over the years downtown again became the place to
shop and eat and to this day it competes very well against all the malls etc.I think SLC should make it's downtown pedestrian and parking friendly. Today,
living in Utah, I avoid downtown SLC just because of the parking and there is no
draw there except some chuch and historical sites to visit. Why should I fight
the traffic and the parking when I can vist the same stores in the suburbs near
Having grown up in Salt Lake, I remember it as it was in the 1950's. I purchased
a video from PBS Television entitled, Salt Lake City in the 50's. This shows
downtown as it was in it's heyday. It was always enjoyable to go there one the
bus and spend all day going to a movie, shopping in all the stores and eating at
a number of restaurants. I wish the kids of today could have that experience.
I am REALLY tired of the constant complaints that downtown SLC has a parking
problem. Downtown has EXCELLENT public transportation -- AND it is FREE!
The current Mayor, Becker is going to revive the downtown area by allowing more
bars per block. That will really make it come back to life. Alcohol solves all
problems. Thank the liberals that voted for him and the conservatives that
couldn't be bothered to vote.
Downtown SLC doesn't have a feel of friendliness anymore. It's like they're
lurking in the dark to give you a ticket for anything and everything. As if the
taxes weren't enough, they have to try and nail you for another $50 every time
you come downtown for some parking violation or another. Downtown is one of the
most unfriendly places in our state, too bad the coppers and govt hacks have
About 40? years ago, SLC, in its infinite wisdom decided to do a "downtown
beautification". That was when they widened the sidewalks, took out all the
angled parking (you COULD park a lot of cars on the street) and what was worse
was that they tore up ALL of main street from south temple to 400 south to do
it. NO MERCHANTS could survive. They didn't even ALLOW traffic on main street
they had the steet so torn up. Whenever I see the City doing anything now to
"help business" I "gotta wonder"???
I still have great memories of going to downtown Salt Lake. Once Main Street of
democratic thoroughfare. People from all social tiers, all faiths and all
economic levels walked the same street. Today, Main Street demonstrates that in
a nation that values equality, some are more equal than other in Utah.
Get rid of all the parking lots and put the space to good use... you'll get more
people downtown. I think it's also irresponsible to imply that the "era of horse
and buggy" moved directly to that of the automobile. You miss 40 years of
history where the dominant mode of transportation was the trolley. Seeing as our
city has only been around for 150 years, that's a good chunk of it that you
We usually get downtown once a year to see the Christmas lights. Otherwise
anything we want is in our back yard and much more convenient.
Want to get me back downtown? You could start with free and convenient parking.
The parking enforcement trolls must be a major source of revenue for the city.
One day as I was walking downtown, I noticed an expired meter. As a good
Samaritan, I put in a quarter. A parking troll came up and threatened to have me
arrested. I don't go downtown anymore.
This $3,000,000,000 shopping mall will be so neat. I can't wait to get hot
chocolate down there.
I feel shortchanged seeing these pictures and comparing them to the
Crossroads/ZCMI malls of my youth. Downtown was so much better before I was
Auerbach's was the first and only place I shoplifted. After returning from a
shopping trip my Mom discovered that my pockets were full of penny candy that I
apparently grabbed during checkout. I was 3. I vaguely remember crying as we
marched back to the candy barrels and emptied my pockets under supervision by an
Auerbach's employee. Traumatic :)How about Keith O'brien, The
Yardstick, The Paris, JC Penney? All wonderful "gentile" establishments.
Thank you for this story and some memories. The Darling Building was where the
beauty shop pictured was owned and operated by my aunt; Gena Westly for many
I loved the old downtown SLC. I worked at Auerbachs as a teenager wrapping
Christmas presents. At Christmas the stores were not decorated until after
Thanksgiving. You couldn't wait to get to town to see the decorations.There was Grants, Woolworths, movie houses, and lots of great cafe's. Broadway
Music, The Paris and Adrian and Emily's. As a teen you could get to SLC on the
bus for 15 cents hang out all day and get home for 15 cents.
As a kid the downtown was the destination for everyone that lived in the SL
Valley to buy anything you need with specialty shops for any need. It had a
sense of community and pride with all shop owners and citizens working together.
And it would still be there today if the city leaders and property owners had
made any effort.What drove business and shops out was excessive
costs to remain and the loss of parking and streets and cheap imports. Downtown
Salt Lake sold quality and the Malls sold junk that and still do. This junk in
the Malls undermined downtown with cheap imitations of the same products.When we lost the downtown we lost america, and Asia with its inferior
products became the winner. Jobs, incomes, and being a productive nation slowly
diminished until our economy has become what we have, a giant mess.All the downtown has to offer now is a tourist trap living on the past
memories of what it used to be. The downtown wouldn't have a population if it
wasn't for it being a safe haven for illegal foreign nationals and its criminal
foreign national gangs.