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Utah State Historical Society Archives

Thowback Thursday: How Salt Lake City’s skyline has evolved over the years

By Carter Williams  |  Posted May 19th, 2016 @ 10:00am


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SALT LAKE CITY — It’s hard not to notice the construction of the 111 Main Tower in downtown Salt Lake, especially as it alters the city’s skyline.

The 24-story building is slated to be completed and open later this year. It will be the third-tallest building in the city when completed.

As the Salt Lake skyline changes, this week’s Thursday throwback takes a look back at the Salt Lake City skyline and how it has evolved over the years.

The beginning

An illustration of Salt Lake City in 1851 and first known daguerreotype of the city by J. Wesley Jones. (Photo: Photo Courtesy Utah State Historical Society Archives)

View of Salt Lake City from what is now Capitol Hill sometime around the 1870s. Photo shows road construction on North Main Street. (Photo: Photo Courtesy Utah State Historical Society Archives)

Salt Lake City as appeared in an 1886 edition of Harper's Weekly. ( Photo Courtesy Utah State Historical Society Archives)

Salt Lake City's growth didn't really begin until the late 1800s and early 1900s. The completion of the Salt Lake Temple in 1893 and Salt Lake City County Building in 1894 opened the gates for a Salt Lake City skyline.

People celebrate the laying of the final capstone on the Salt Lake Temple sometime around 1893. (Photo Courtesy Utah State Historical Society Archives)

The Boston Building (1908) and Newhouse Building (1909) began Salt Lake's race of building skyscrapers. In 1912, the Walker Bank Building opened as the city's new tallest building and — at the time — one of the tallest buildings in the Intermountain West.

And urban growth continued from there.

The Walker Bank Building mid construction in 1912. (Photo: Photo Courtesy Utah State Historical Society Archives)

Construction of State Capitol Building in 1914. (Photo: Photo Courtesy Utah State Historical Society Archives)

Salt Lake City at 200 South, looking east from West Temple toward Main Street in 1918. (Photo: Photo Courtesy Utah State Historical Society Archives)

Salt Lake City at 400 South on April 16, 1952. (Photo: Photo Courtesy Utah State Historical Society Archives)

Exterior of the First Security Bank building (now the Ken Garff building) in 1961. The building was completed in 1955. (Photo: Photo Courtesy Utah State Historical Society Archives)

Here is a look at how the city grew from the view of the Salt Lake City County Building from 1911 to 1964:

View of Salt Lake City from the top of the City and County Building in 1911. (Photo: Photo Courtesy Utah State Historical Society Archives)

A view of Salt Lake City from the top of the City and County Building in 1920. (Photo: Photo Courtesy Utah State Historical Society Archives)

A view of Salt Lake City possibly from the City and County Building on October 10, 1933. (Photo: Photo Courtesy Utah State Historical Society Archives)

A view of Salt Lake City possibly taken from the City and County Building in June, 1964. (Photo: Photo Courtesy Utah State Historical Society Archives)

Salt Lake City's skyscaper surge

The city’s skyline has taken the most drastic changes over the past 50 years. The top 13 and 17 of the top 20 of Salt Lake’s tallest buildings have been completed since 1966.

The LDS Church Office Building completed in 1973 was the city's tallest building until the Wells Fargo Center (originally the American Stores Tower) opened in 1998.

Construction of the LDS Church Office building in Salt Lake City during the late 1960s. The building opened in 1973. (Photo: Photo Courtesy Utah State Historical Society Archives)

View from South Temple Street in 1972. (Photo: Photo Courtesy Utah State Historical Society Archives)

Salt Lake City skyline taken from Welfare Square on Jan 6, 1998. (Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News)

View of Salt Lake City from KSL, during Olympics on Feb. 21, 2002 (Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News)

James Wright cleans windows in at the Wells Fargo building Oct 24, 2002. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

A large crane lifts large neon letters made by Rainbow Neon Sign company of Salt Lake City up onto the Walker Center in Salt Lake City, Utah Saturday, Jan.12, 2008. (Photo: August Miller, August Miller/Deseret News)

222 Main Street building (center) on Thursday, March 18, 2010. (Photo: Michael Brandy, Deseret News)

Aerial view of Salt Lake City, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. (Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News)

The new 111 Main Tower will join among the tallest buildings in the city when completed later this year.

A view of 111 Main Tower's construction from Temple Square in December 2015. (Photo: Carter Williams)

A mockup of the new 111 Main Tower in Salt Lake City (Photo: City Creek Reserve)

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