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6 lost Utah attractions your (great) grandparents used to visit

By Robert J. DeBry & Associates | Posted - Jul 8th, 2019 @ 8:01am



Millions of domestic and international tourists flock to Utah each year to experience its natural beauty and vibrant history. Lucky travelers to the Beehive state are rewarded with their choice of 3.5 distinct geographic regions, five national parks, 45 state parks, five national historic sites and trails, and a dozen national monuments and recreation areas, according to Utah.com.

But some of Utah’s most famous tourist attractions no longer exist at all. Your grandparents and great-grandparents might remember some of these iconic tourist attractions nestled in different corners of Utah. But these few sites no longer exist. Here are six former hot spots that most Utahns can't even remember.

Saratoga Resort

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many resorts popped up across Utah. They were “the products of a rapidly changing society, one that was becoming less rural and agricultural and increasingly urban and industrialized,” Utah History Encyclopedia concludes.

With this boom of excitement around industrialized resorts, entrepreneur John Beck purchased 1,000 acres on Utah Lake. He named the 27 acres immediately surrounding the springs "Beck’s Saratoga Springs," reports the Saratoga Springs Owners Association.

For 25 cents, one could bathe in two large plunge baths and six hot tub baths, claims a Sept. 14, 1891 advertisement in the Lehi Banner. The ad also claimed that "these springs possess wonderful medicinal properties...for rheumatism and diseases of the skin," quotes the Utah History Encyclopedia.

Over the years the resort grew in popularity. Pools, slides and other carnival-like attractions were added to appease the growing crowds. Unfortunately, the fun came to an end when a 1968 fire destroyed most of the resort. What was left was ruined by flooding in 1984.

It eventually closed permanently in 1993.

Utah Lake Sho-Boat

It might not seem like it, but Utah Lake is actually quite massive. According to the Utah Lake Commission, it's the third largest natural freshwater lake in the western United States. Only Lake Tahoe and Flathead Lake outrank it. Because of its size and location, the lake has drawn boaters, fishermen and entrepreneurs for decades.

In 1932, the 90-foot "Sho-Boat" was built by Hewitt Strong and Elmer Smith, offering travelers weekend trips to Bird Island on Utah Lake, the Deseret News reports.

For the price of 50 cents per adult and 25 cents per child, passengers cruised the lake while being entertained by stunt performers on the water, according to information fromUtah Lake State Park. There was also a stage onboard, a dance floor, kitchen, and bathrooms. “A ride on the Sho-Boat was considered a luxury cruise during the Great Depression.”

The Sho-Boat cruised Utah Lake for 14 years and was the largest vessel ever to inhabit the lake, Utah Lake State Park notes.

The Bridal Veil Falls Tram

The 607-foot-tall, double waterfall known as Bridal Veil Falls rests just off the main road winding through Provo Canyon. Visitors used to be able to get a whole lot closer than just the highway without getting their shoes muddy.

For decades, visitors to the falls could ride an aerial tramway to the Eagle’s Nest Lodge and Restaurant, high above on a cliff overlooking the falls. Beginning in 1961, guests attending weddings, receptions and reunions could take the tram up to their scenic party.

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“Known as ‘The Sky Ride,’ the Swiss-made tramway held the record for being the steepest in the world and was the only tramway to be constructed alongside a major U.S. highway, past a major waterfall, and with a river running directly below it,” Intermountain Histories notes.

In the summer of 1993, three years before its destruction by a powerful avalanche, more than 27,000 people rode the tramway to the Eagle’s Nest.

Owner David Grow hoped to return the Eagle’s Nest and tram to its former glory, but a 2008 fire ended the dream.

Wall Arch, Moab

More than 1.5 million visitors travel to Arches National Park each year to participate in all this southeastern Utah gem has to offer. The once-quiet town of Moab is now always bustling with out-of-state and even foreign tourists.

It's not hard to see why people are drawn to the red rock. Arches National Park houses 2,000 arches. One of those — the Wall Arch — was ranked the 12th largest until it collapsed in 2008. This popular, natural sandstone arch was located along the highly traversed Devils Garden Trail within the park.

At its largest, it spanned 55 feet, according to the Utah Geological Survey.

Park City Silver Mine

Park City's early history began with silver mining. In fact, mining was so legendary there that it was once possible to plummet 1,500 feet into the earth via elevator to tour the high-producing Ontario Silver Mine, Only In Your State says.

Visitors could spend 90 minutes below ground, learning about the workings of the popular silver mine. In 1998, the mine tours closed, presumably because of the old and dangerous structure of the mine, according to All Seasons Resort Lodging.

Saltair

1893 was a big year for recreation in Utah. The infamous Saltair Resort was constructed and it brought big crowds to the state.

Saltair was advertised as the “Coney Island of the West.” People could get to Utah via a direct train route out of Salt Lake Valley, making the trip much more accessible than earlier years.

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Guests would swim in the buoyant waters of the Great Salt Lake and enjoy the lavish beach resort attractions. The resort included one of the world’s largest dance halls, a merry-go-round, carnival games and a roller coaster, the Deseret News says.

“Being one of the first amusement parks in America, it became the most popular family destination west of New York, according to the Saltair's website.

Sadly, the Great Saltair saw its end on April 22, 1925, when fire hit the main Saltair pavilion and spread to several of its sister buildings. Despite rebuilding and reopening a year later, Saltair never regained its former popularity and was again destroyed by fire in 1970.

The rebuilt resort is now a popular concert venue outside of the bustle of the city.

In its century or so of being an official state, Utah has seen its fair share of wonders come and go. While there are many sites and attractions lost to history, there are still many historical marvels standing today. Visit Utah.com for the scoop on everything there is to see and do in Utah.

Robert J. DeBry & Associates

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