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American West

Arguculture: Changing face of the American West

 

Today Salt Lake County is full of high-tech businesses, shopping complexes, and growing subdivisions. However, not long ago agriculture was a prominent part of the County's economic and social way of life. Using a variety of documents and photos from the collection of the Salt Lake County Archives, this exhibit illustrates three different aspects of Salt Lake County's agricultural past.

Agriculture: A Community Endeavor

In Salt Lake County farming was more than just a solitary farmer out in his field raising crops. From extension workers and local officials inspecting crops, to boys participating in an agricultural "Boys Club," these photographs from the 1920s reflect the way in which agriculture in Salt Lake County was a family and community affair.

Celery Week 1925

Members of the Chamber of Commerce's Utah Celery Week Committee visit celery grower Jim Bo, 1925.

Poultry Culling

Poultry Culling Demonstration by Professor William Warner in Bluffdale, 1925.

Inspecting Wheat Field

Professor J. G. Hoges in inspecting the wheat field of Gus Kaisworm in Taylorsville, 1922.

Milk Cooling House

A milk house built cooperatively by the Bluffdale community for the proper cooling of milk, 1922.

Boys Club

Boys Club members and their crops, 1925.

Farms of Salt Lake County: Then & Now

In the early 1920s, Salt Lake County had over two dozen farming communities, many of which were participating in agricultural improvement activities. Many areas now considered commercial or residential were once the site of farms or dairies. Examples of this were Plainview Farm in Draper and a farm owned by Niels August Pierson that was once located in Midvale.

Plain View Farm in 1922

Plain View Farm belonged to the Sjobolm family and was part of a thriving farming community. As of 1922, Plainview Farm was one of 90 farms in the Draper area. One of the farm's owners, Andrew Sjobolm, was the Director of the State Extension's Community Executive Committee for the Draper area. In 1922 Sjobolm led several agricultural improvement projects, including efforts to create a milk cooling and separating plant to serve the community.

Plain View Farm 1981

Plain View Farm, 1981 - Mel Lewis Collection: P0683, Multimedia Archives - Special Collections: J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah

The barn of Plainview Farm remained standing well into the late 20th century as indicated by the photograph above, taken in 1981.

Plain View Farm 2009

Original location of Plain View Farm, 2009

Today, what was once an integral part of an agricultural community has been replaced, transformed into a suburban shopping complex.

N.A. Pierson Farm - Center Street, Midvale

N.A. Pierson Farm 1937

N.A. Pierson house, ca. 1937

N.A. Pierson Farm 2009

N. A. Pierson house (behind trees on the left), 2009

This farm, owned by N.A. Pierson in the 1920s and 1930s, was located about two blocks west of the current Midvale Center Trax Station on the north side of Center Street (7720 South). Pierson participated in a number of State Extension projects as indicated by the photographs below.

N.A. Pierson and his wheat crop

N.A. Pierson and his certified wheat crop, 1922.

potato disease studies

At the farm of N.A. Pierson in Midvale. A field excursion in the interest of potato disease studies, 1922.

Harvesting seed wheat

Harvesting seed wheat at the N.A. Pierson farm, 1922.

Chattel Mortgages

From the 1920s through the 1940s, the Salt Lake County Recorder officially recorded what were known as Chattel Mortgages. In these Chattel Mortgages, people would mortgage personal property in exchange for a loan from an individual or a business. Common items of value mortgaged in these arrangements were livestock and farm or dairy equipment. The listing of these items was often very detailed, extending to the names of the individual animals and drawings of brands or earmarks that distinguished each animal.

cattle earmarks

Chattel Mortgage documenting the earmarks of sheep included in the mortgage.

On April 10, 1934, Pearl Thurman, in order to obtain a loan for $2345.00 from Sam D. Thurman, mortgaged 25 cows:

Names of Thurman's cows
Sources

Exhibit Homepage:

  • Barn in Draper, 529 West 12300 South, ca. 1970s
    Tax Appraisal Cards and Photographs, 1936-1987; Salt Lake County Assessor; Salt Lake County Records Management and Archives, West Valley City, Utah.
  • All other photographs:
    Annual Report of Extension Work: Agricultural Agent of Salt Lake County, 1922; Utah Cooperative Extension Work in Agriculture and Home Economics; Salt Lake County Commission Correspondence, microfilm 003746. Salt Lake County Records Management and Archives, West Valley City, Utah.
  • Annual Report of Extension Work: Agricultural Agent of Salt Lake County, 1925; Utah Cooperative Extension Work in Agriculture and Home Economics; Salt Lake County Commission Correspondence, microfilm 003759. Salt Lake County Records Management and Archives, West Valley City, Utah.

Agriculture: A Community Endeavor

  • All photographs:
    Annual Report of Extension Work: Agricultural Agent of Salt Lake County, 1922; Utah Cooperative Extension Work in Agriculture and Home Economics; Salt Lake County Commission Correspondence, microfilm 003746. Salt Lake County Records Management and Archives, West Valley City, Utah.
  • Annual Report of Extension Work: Agricultural Agent of Salt Lake County, 1925; Utah Cooperative Extension Work in Agriculture and Home Economics; Salt Lake County Commission Correspondence, microfilm 003759. Salt Lake County Records Management and Archives, West Valley City, Utah.

Farms of Salt Lake County: Then and Now:

  • Plain View Farm, 1981
    Old Plain View farm barn; Mel Lewis Collection, P0683; Multimedia Archives, Special Collections Department, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • Plain View Farm Location, 2009
    Photograph taken by Archives staff
  • N. A. Pierson Farm, Center Street, Midvale - House ca. 1937
    Tax Appraisal Cards and Photographs, 1936-1987; Salt Lake County Assessor; Salt Lake County Records Management and Archives, West Valley City, Utah.
  • N. A. Pierson Farm, Center Street, Midvale, 2009
    Photograph taken by Archives staff
  • All other photographs:
    Annual Report of Extension Work: Agricultural Agent of Salt Lake County, 1922; Utah Cooperative Extension Work in Agriculture and Home Economics; Salt Lake County Commission Correspondence, microfilm 003746. Salt Lake County Records Management and Archives, West Valley City, Utah.
  • Annual Report of Extension Work: Agricultural Agent of Salt Lake County, 1925; Utah Cooperative Extension Work in Agriculture and Home Economics; Salt Lake County Commission Correspondence, microfilm 003759. Salt Lake County Records Management and Archives, West Valley City, Utah.

Mortgaging Bessie: Borrowing and Lending in Early 20th Century Salt Lake County:

  • Earmarks describing mortgaged sheep:
    Chattel Mortgage Entry #636985, Chattel Mortgages, Book 2-G, 1925-1944; Salt Lake County Recorder; Salt Lake County Records Management and Archives, West Valley City, Utah.
  • Pearl Thurman's mortgaged cattle:
    Chattel Mortgage Entry #729733, Chattel Mortgages, Book 2-G, 1925-1944; Salt Lake County Recorder; Salt Lake County Records Management and Archives, West Valley City, Utah.