$150K preservation grant awarded for Salt Lake City building in national contest

$150K preservation grant awarded for Salt Lake City building in national contest

(Carter Williams, KSL.com, File)

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SALT LAKE CITY — A century-old building rich with women’s history in downtown Salt Lake City was one of 13 national winners of a building preservation grant after voting for a contest ended Tuesday night.

The Utah nonprofit Better Days 2020 and the owners of Clubhouse, an artist studio run in the old Ladies’ Literary Club building, were awarded $150,000 as a part of the 2019 Partners in Preservation: Main Streets campaign hosted by National Geographic.

“This stunning and historic venue is one of Salt Lake City’s best secrets. Playing a role in preserving and updating the Clubhouse is an important part of our mission to popularize Utah’s women’s history,” Neylan McBaine, CEO of Better Days 2020, said in a statement Thursday.

Jessie Jude Gilmore, co-owner of Clubhouse, told KSL.com on Sept. 24 — when the voting campaign began — that any money won would be used to make improvements to the building, including making it ADA accessible. Other plans were to renovate the building’s basement to make it a possible recording studio and a print lab. They also hope to turn the front parlor into a public coffee shop with an outdoor patio over the course of the next few years.


The contest focused on preserving buildings that had ties to women’s history to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment that allowed women the right to vote, which passed Congress in 1919. It was later ratified in 1920.

The Ladies’ Literary Club building itself was completed in 1913 and was a place women in Salt Lake City could go to study art, literature, music, history and current events of the day.

The Janesville Woman’s Club building in Janesville, Wisconsin was the contest’s top overall vote-getter. The 1928 building was described as “a safe roof during wars of strife; a window into the community’s needs; and a grand entrance into a country of greater gender equity and racial justice,” on the contest’s website.

The other 11 winners were:

  • Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace in Savannah, Georgia
  • Odd Fellows Building in Astoria, Oregon
  • Chester County Historical Society in West Chester, Pennsylvania
  • Monroe County Courthouse in Monroeville, Alabama
  • Holly Union Depot in Holly, Michigan
  • Casa Belvedere in Staten Island, New York
  • Union Block in Mount Pleasant, Iowa
  • Dr. Justina Ford Home in Denver, Colorado
  • College Hall in Painesville, Ohio
  • Elisabet New Museum in Austin, Texas
  • The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com.


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