The very first automobile was spotted in Salt Lake City on April 12, 1899.
"First horseless carriage seen on Salt Lake streets" was an April 13, 1899, headline in the Salt Lake Herald newspaper.
That first machine of its kind in Salt Lake was a Winton Motor Carriage and sold for $1,500. (That equals more than $37,000 in 2017 values.)
The newspaper report said the auto attracted "much attention" as it traveled along Main Street, State Street and West Temple Street. It seemed to especially delight young boys in town, who lined up along the road to watch it.
The Salt Lake Hardware Company bought the horseless carriage and brought it to Salt Lake City from Cleveland, Ohio, with the help of George E. Aris, son of a well-known Utah miner.
By 1906, autos were much more common along Salt Lake streets. However, traffic control was an increasing concern, as well as "fast driving," the earliest term for speeding.
In other historical matters, most may erroneously believe that a West Davis Highway corridor was first proposed by Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt back in 1996, almost exactly 21 years before the Utah Department of Transportation announced its specific corridor for such a major highway.
However, “Davis urges wider road, inter-regional highway” was a Dec. 3, 1948, headline in the Davis County Clipper newspaper.
Thus, it was some 48 years before Leavitt when this regional highway was first proposed.
That Davis Clipper story said that such a road should cross Farmington Bay, before “skirting Davis County towns to the west.”
In northern Davis County, the story said the road would follow the old Mormon Pioneer trail corridor — the Bluff Road (essentially where UDOT’s current plan to build the four-lane highway is).
“Purpose of this highway will be to rid the incorporated towns of Davis County of nuisance traffic, such as through traffic,” the 1948 story said.
At the time, it was stated that the road would tie into Salt Lake City’s Seventh West Street on its extreme southern end. On the north end, it would connect with Ogden’s 24th Street viaduct.
It was noted the road would add three to four miles to the overall distance between Salt Lake and Ogden with the looping westward. Yet it was believed that could be a bargain in future years when development would slow the speed limits on Highway 91, then the main corridor through Davis County. (I-15 didn’t come along until the mid-1960s.)
Purchasing the necessary right of way as soon as possible was stressed as the key to making the highway affordable.
Of course, the road never happened and was off the radar for nearly a half-century.Comment on this story
The Clipper story also mentioned that a “scenic highway” should be built from Farmington to Bountiful, along the mountainside.
UDOT did another study on a possible "West Davis Highway" in the early 1960s, but no other action was taken.
It was July 16, 1996, when Leavitt announced his “Legacy Project” — the Western Transportation Corridor — at a press conference in West Haven.
Then, on July 6, 2017, UDOT announced the specific route for its 19-mile section of West Davis Highway after many years of debate.