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5 famous Utah attractions lost to history

By Robert J. DeBry  |  Posted Apr 2nd, 2018 @ 8:00am


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Utah has no shortage of attractions and landmarks that enthrall thousands of local, national and international visitors each year. But even with all we enjoy today, a look back at Utah's history exposes a host of attractions lost to the sands of time.

Here are several of Utah’s most well-known tourist attractions that no longer exist (or at least are no longer open for the public).

Castilla Hot Springs

Many hot springs resorts have come and gone over the years, and Castilla Hot Springs in Spanish Fork is one of them. Founded in 1889, the popular resort sported indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a dance pavilion, a saloon, a baseball diamond, several private cottages and a three-story red sandstone hotel.

Sadly, over the years people lost interest, and the resort no longer saw visitors by the 1930s. According to the Utah Division of State History, in the 1940s a fire destroyed most of the hotel, and what remained was eventually torn down. Today, only a few ponds created by the springs mark the spot where the once-thriving resort stood.

Alpine Sliding Rock

One of the more recent attractions to be shut down, Alpine Sliding Rock used to be a favorite of sweaty hikers looking for some cool refreshment on a hot day. The smooth natural waterslide in the hills of Utah County was an annual favorite for many. However, the slide and swimming hole has always been on private property, and as of December 2014, real estate development plans were put forth to permanently close Sliding Rock, as detailed by Utah Valley 360. While it technically was never available to the public in the first place, Alpine Sliding Rock had become a landmark destination for Utah County residents.

Nutty Putty Cave

First explored in 1960 by Dale Green, Nutty Putty Cave became immensely popular for a range of explorers, attracting up to 10,000 people a year. Named for its soft brown "nutty putty" clay that seemingly covered everyone that emerged from its depths, the cave was a unique Utah landmark. However, all that changed in 2009 when John Jones became stuck in the cave and died after a 27-hour effort by rescuers, says the Deseret News. Out of respect for the family and for the safety of future cavers, the cave was then sealed with concrete.

Utah Lake Sho-Boat

Who would have thought that Utah Lake could offer such great entertainment? A popular attraction during the Depression, the SS Sho-boat was the real deal. According to information from Utahlake.gov, the vessel was 90 feet long and 22 feet wide and was all about escape. A trip to Bird Island, onboard entertainers, a dance floor and a skiing stuntman were all part of a nice afternoon out on the algae bloom-filled Utah Lake.

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Saltair

Any list of Utah attractions wouldn't be complete without the famous Saltair being mentioned. The history of Saltair is a fascinating one, according to The Saltair. Designed by famous architect Richard K.A. Kletting (who also designed the Utah State Capitol) and intended to be the "Coney Island of the West," Saltair did enjoy its moment in the sun before having its moment(s) in the fire. Opening in 1893 to widespread acclaim, Saltair attracted visitors from all over the nation. With attractions like a massive dance hall, carnival games, a roller coaster, floating in the Great Salt Lake and a merry-go-round, Saltair was the biggest attraction west of the Mississippi. However, after nearly burning down not once, but twice, the attraction that stands today is but a shell of what it used to be, typically only operating as a concert venue.

Of course, these are but a few of the forgotten Utah attractions. Some equally honorable mentions could include the Saratoga Resort, 49th Street Gallery/Fun Dome, Park City Silver Mine, Baron Woolen Mills, the Bridal Veil Falls tram and the Geneva Resort.

If you find yourself needing an attorney, look no further than the firm of Robert J. DeBry and Associates.

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