I was able to visit the University of Utah for the first time in June, 1998. I was in Utah for the annual meeting of the Society for Prevention Research which was being held in Park City that year. There are several colleges and universities in the metro area, but the U was the only one I was able to visit. Digital cameras existed back then, but I didn’t have one. So, my photos were limited by the amount of film I had at the time for my point-and-shoot 35mm camera. The digital cameras of the era probably had about the same resolution as cheap point and shoot film cameras, so no loss there. I really enjoyed walking around the campus. It is really pretty. It sits on the hills above downtown Salt Lake and the rolling hills and the campus architecture make for a very pleasant campus. With the campus being on the hills above downtown and much of the city, it also has great views. I have never been on the campus at night, but I imagine there are some great views of the city lights from various places on campus. Many universities take advantage of their locations and work that into their campus planning. Utah has done a very good job of it in my opinion.
At the time, I thought I would be back in the area again given that I was living in the west and the fact that the SLC airport is a hub for Delta Airlines. Although I was indeed through the airport many times, I was not able to be back on campus until August 2016. In the interim, the city had hosted the Olympics and a variety of new buildings had popped up on campus. These photos are from both visits. I scanned the old ones from prints and you can see flecks of white on every image where the paper has degraded over time. It gives them an older look which is appropriate since they were taken nearly a quarter of a century ago.
After a walking around for a time, I stopped by the bookstore and bought a University of Utah t-shirt. As a matter of fact, I still have that t-shirt and in my eyes it still more or less fits me (my wife would disagree about the fit!). I did the same in 2016 and admittedly the newer shirt does fit quite a bit better!
The photos below are of the Park Building which is a central administration building on campus. The first photo is from my 1998 visit. It was cloudy that day (it had rained periodically during my multi-day visit to the state) and the clouds make it seem like it is about to pour. It didn't actually rain that day and the clouds made it pleasantly cool. The second photo is from my 201`6 visit. In both cases, I was standing in Presidents Circle when I took the photo. In the latter picture, the flags appear to be at half-staff, but I don’t recall why that might have been. The Park Building was completed in 1914 and was originally called the Central Building and was re-named in 1919. Designed by Cannon, Fetzer, and Hansen, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The building is named for John Rockey Park. Park was the first president of the university when it became known as the University of Utah in 1869. Prior to that, it was known as the University of Deseret. The statute of Park is to the left of the main entrance to the building. The photo of the statue is from 1998.
The next few images are of the J. Willard Marriott Library, named for the man of the same name who founded Marriott International (and interestingly enough, a graduate not of Utah but of Weber State University in Ogden). It had been expanded in 1996, two years prior to my first visit, by more than 200,000 square feet. By my 2016 visit, it had already undergone a renovation and further expansion by about 29,000 square feet. The first three photos are of the library and a walkway by it during my initial visit The next five are from the 2016 trip. Note the addition of windows since the first photos were taken. I imagine the addition added greatly to the light inside the building. They improved the look of the structure on the outside as well. The university has taken to placing slogans with the university’s stylized “U” in the windows, with the slogan “ALL U NEED” in these shots. On the other side, the slogan was “IMAGINE U”. You can see these and note the differences in the appearance of the building in the next three photos. You can see the Social and Behavioral Science Building tower in the background (more on that below).
The first photo of below is the Social and Behavioral Science Building in 1998. The building is not aligned well in the image, but it was the only one I had of it. The one on the right is the same building from a different angle in 2016 (with the Rice-Eccles football stadium in the rear and the library to the right). As fate would have it, in 2016 I was on campus to visit with people at the National Center for Veterans Studies. I was with the Center for Rehabilitation Sciences and Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University at the time, and we had a large grant with the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs (the Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium) and I was there to discuss potential work with them. David Rudd, who is now my boss as President of the University of Memphis, co-founded the Utah center and was dean of Social & Behavioral Science at one point. He was also a department chair at Texas Tech where I did my doctoral studies. Academe is a small world.
The next series of photos are of a waterfall feature by the Carolyn & Kem Gardner Commons. The first photo is from 1998. You will note that the stylized "U" which appears in the three subsequent 2016 pictures had not been installed at that point.
Next up is Rice-Eccles Stadium, home to the University of Utah Utes football program. The site was formerly the Ute stadium (from 1927 to 1971) and then the Rice stadium (until 1997). During my 1998 visit, expansion and modernization was underway. Further expansion came in 2014. The first two photos are from 1998 and the rest are from 2016.
Next up are a number of other buildings which sit along Presidents Circle all of which were taken in 1998. The buildings here are all historic in nature and they look great from the outside (I did not have time to explore the inside of any of them during either visit). First up is the Alfred Emery Building. The structure was designed by Richard Kletting and was the home to the precursor of the current College of Education (it was then named the Normal School). The building opened in 1901 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The second photo is of J.T. Kingsbury Hall which houses a theater. Kingsbury opened in 1931 and was designed by the architectural firm Young and Hansen. The building was renovated in 1997, the year prior to this picture being taken. The building is named for the second Utah president who served in that capacity twice; first from 1892-1894 and again from 1897 to 1916. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The third photo is of the old Utah Museum of Natural History. The university's website indicates that the museum was housed in the George Thomas Building when it opened in 1969. In 2011, the museum moved into the Rio Tinto Center. The Thomas Building, designed by Ashton and Evans, opened in 1935 and was originally the home to the George Thomas Library. George Thomas was president of the university from 1921 to 1941. It too was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Photo five is the William Stewart Building which opened in 1920. Also designed by Young and Hansen, construction began in 1918. It served as housing for a time (including for Army personnel during WWI). In 1998, it housed the Department of Anthropology and still does. The fourth photo is of the James Talmage Building which opened in 1902. It was originally opened as a museum and subsequently named the Biology Building and the North Biology Building before getting its current moniker. Talmage was president of the university from 1894-1897. It was also added to the National Register in 1978. The fifth photo is the LeRoy E. Cowles Building. When it opened in 1901 it was home to the library. By the late 1950's it was the Liberal Arts Building, then the Mathematics Building, until finally receiving its current name in 1980. Cowles was president of the university from 1941 to 1946. As with the others, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
The following photos, all from 1998, are of newer structures away from Presidents Circle. The first is of the Art and Architecture Building which houses the College of Architecture + Planning. I have found that many buildings which house colleges of architecture are not particularly remarkable in their appearance. Utah's building is not garish (as some architecture school buildings are), but is rather plain when compared to the older structures on Presidents Circle. The second and third photos may be of the other side of the building (the Art side), but I don't recall where it was taken. If you know, let me know in the comments.
The Student Services Building, seen here in two photos from 1998, is directly behind the Park Building and just west of the A. Ray Olpin University Union building. The third photo is of the Union.
This set from 1998 includes the Social Work Building, the Francis Armstrong Madsen Building, and what I believe is the Business Classroom Building. I may be mistaken about the last one and if you know better, let me know in the comments. I don't believe the Madsen Building is still there. If I am not mistaken, it was razed to allow for the construction of the new Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building.
Finally, we have some campus art. First up is the Sallie Madison Eccles Sculpture Court. I'm not certain where or what the second photo is (it may be in the Eccles Sculpture Court). The third photo is the Ute Brave Statue, a gift of the classes of 1946, 1947, and 1951. It sits outside the Union Building. It was created by Avard T. Fairbanks, noted artist and Utah native.
University Grounds is a blog about college and university campuses, their buildings and grounds, and the people who live and work on them.
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