A few classic Utah locations you may have forgotten about

Things To Do In Utah

Courtesy of Utah State Historical Society

(ABC4) – Ask anyone from Generation X or perhaps a Baby Boomer, and they’ll tell you; things have changed a lot in the Salt Lake City area since the “good old days.”

Many of the most popular restaurants, places for shopping, and other gathering spots in the region have turned over, closed down, been torn down, or simply abandoned over the years, leaving little more than memories and stories of the way things used to be.

Enjoy a bit of classic Utah nostalgia by remembering a few iconic locations and revisiting what became of that space:

49th Street Galleria/Utah Fun Dome

Courtesy of Murray Utah Parks and Recreation via University of Utah historical archives

The iconic, large building on the west side of I-15 in Murray has long had an interesting story. Constructed in 1983 as the 49th Street Galleria, and later rebranded as the Utah Fun Dome, the building housed many family-friend activities, including an arcade, a bowling alley, a mini-golf course, a roller rink, and other forms of amusement. However, things went south rapidly after a 2003 gang-related shooting in the parking that injured four, including a small child. By 2005, the Fun Dome was closed and soon afterward, the iconic glass towers at the entrance were torn down. Investors attempted to convert the space into a school for international students, but nowadays, a nondenominational church, K2, occupies the building.

ZCMI Center & Crossroads Plaza Mall

Courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons

Before the downtown Salt Lake City shopping scene was defined by the City Creek Center Mall, the ZCMI Center and the Crossroads Plaza Mall were the places to be. Opened in 1975 and touted as the largest mall of a downtown metro area in the country, the ZCMI Center Mall was known for its large, open space main plaza area and a giant crystal chandelier hanging in the ZCMI (Zion’s Co-operative Mercantile Institution) flagship store. With its signature neon lights wrapped around the supporting pillars, the gigantic food court was also a hit for many downtown business folks during the lunch rush. Both the ZCMI Center and the Crossroads Plaza Mall were purchased by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and torn down to make way for City Creek, which opened in 2012.

Deseret Gym

Deseret Gym members pose for a photo in 1948 (Courtesy of Utah State Historical Society)

Known unofficially as “the temple of health,” the Deseret Gym had two iterations, one that was opened in 1910 and torn down in 1965 to make room for the Church Office Building. The reincarnation was constructed shortly thereafter and eventually demolished in 1997 to allow for the construction of the Conference Center. In its heyday, the Deseret Gym was considered to be one of the premier exercise facilities in the Intermountain West. The second version, which was more than twice the size of the original, had two pools, a basketball arena, several exercise rooms, and plenty of locker room space. The Gym is occasionally mentioned in General Conference addresses by Church leaders to this day.

Hollywood Connection

Hollywood Connection promotional photo

Located across the street from what is now called the Maverik Center, the West Valley Center family fun center and movie theatres were unavoidable when looking towards the Wasatch Mountains after leaving a hockey game at the area. That building is still there, but all indications suggesting it was once a place for folks to enjoy an amusement ride, some laps around the roller rink, or a flick on one of 15 giant movie screens is no more. The facility closed down operations in November 2014, and a simple online landing page with the headline “All good things must come to an end…” is the only thing that remains.

The Training Table

Courtesy of The Training Table

A true Utah original, The Training Table made its name for its telephone ordering system, enormous plates of cheese fries, and its signature Ultimate Fry Sauce. The restaurant first opened in 1977 and at one point had five different locations. After reportedly suffering from disputes within the family that owned and operated the business, the remaining locations in Sugar House and Sandy abruptly closed up shop for good in December 2016, ending a 39-year-old food service that was uniquely Utahn.

Cottonwood Mall

Courtesy of Utah State Historical Society

When the Cottonwood Mall opened in Holladay back in 1962, it made headlines as the first large-scale indoor shopping mall in the state and one of very few in the entire country at that time. The mall’s early anchoring tenants included ZCMI, JCPenney, an Albertson’s supermarket, and a Woolworth five-and-dime store, which closed down as a department store as the company transitioned into becoming Foot Locker. Plans to refurbish the land or building have been in talks began in 2007, and the structure was torn down in 2009. A standalone Macy’s was there for a while, but that also closed down in 2017. There are still some small shops in the area, but the iconic, pioneering mall is no longer present.

Warm Springs Plunge/Children’s Museum of Utah

Warm Springs Plunge as seen in 1939 (Courtesy of Utah State Historical Society)

If you’ve driven on Beck Street and onto 300 West into downtown from North Salt Lake, chances are you’ve noticed the abandoned shuttered building on the east side of the road. At one point that building, and the property it rests on, was one of the most popular and bustling places in the entire valley if you can believe that. It has also had many different reincarnations. When the pioneers settled in the mid-19th century, they discovered natural hot springs at this location and built a structure dedicated by Brigham Young and used for public dances.

More than 100 years later and after being rebranded as the Warm Springs Plunge, it closed in 1976 and reopened in 1983 as the Children’s Museum of Utah. After closing shortly after the 2002 Olympics, it has mostly been unoccupied, save for a miniature train club that used the basement to house its tracks and tiny landscapes. After the earthquake in March 2020, the club was forced to leave after the building was deemed unsafe. It currently sits in its current state, overgrown with vegetation and with the doors and windows boarded shut.

Snelgrove Ice Cream

The black double-scoop ice cream cone at the Jimmy John’s on 400 S? That used to be a Snelgrove Ice Cream sign.

At one point one of the most beloved ice cream shops in the city, Snelgrove still has a couple of reminders scattered throughout the ice. The giant double-scoop ice cream cone that can be seen in front of what is currently an empty lot on 2100 South? That used to be Snelgrove’s sign. A similar sign can be seen on 400 South, only this one has been painted black by the location’s current tenant, Jimmy John’s. These two signs have been termed “historic” by Salt Lake City and thus are set to remain where they are, black or not, for the foreseeable future.

Derks Field

Courtesy of Utah State Historical Society

Opened in 1947 and serving as the home to several eras of minor league baseball in Salt Lake City, including the Salt Lake Gulls and Salt Lake Trappers, Derks was replaced by the stadium now called Smith’s Ballpark in the early 90s. What made the 10,000 seat stadium most memorable, other than the fact that it offered absolutely zero protection whatsoever from the sun’s rays, was its role in baseball history. The Salt Lake City Trappers, which were owned in part by legendary comedic actor Bill Murray (yes, that Bill Murray), set a professional baseball record in 1987 with 29 consecutive wins. The winning streak caught national headlines and many of the team’s artifacts have been preserved in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

This isn’t a comprehensive list, there are many old-timey Utah places and landmarks that have come and gone over the years. Which ones did we forget? Comment below on the Facebook post!

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