If you don’t know by now, I’m a bona fide history geek. I LOVE, when I’m getting ready to list a really old home, I do research to see if there’s some tidbit about the original owners that might give a smile to a potential buyer or even imply there may be ghosts in the proverbial closets. Maybe it was the original house of Brigham Young’s third wife’s shoemaker, or the site of the stable where cannibal Porter Rockwell kept his horses. I’ve listed the home of Earl Glade, the longest serving mayor of SLC during wartime and helped turn KSL into a commercial arm of the LDS Church by broadcasting from his home on Highland Drive. I represented the estate of the late Edie Roberson in the Avenues where she created her fanciful art, and I was happy to point out hidden permanent art she had made part of the home.And as of last week, I’ve been appointed to serve on the Historic Landmarks Commission for Salt Lake City where I will volunteer with fellow commissioners to help determine if a property is worth saving or can be demolished. I served eight years as a Planning and Zoning Commissioner for my city and now I look forward to helping sort out property issues again. Old buildings, no matter what their condition have been a witness to the history of not just the owners but of time and connects us to the past. I feel they etch a sense of place that cannot be replaced by stucco boxes. When we save historic properties we save a piece of our culture, our cities soul.I picked up clients the other day to see condos downtown, and they pointed out what they thought was the ugliest sky scraper in Salt Lake-the vacant Public Safety building on the corner of 200 S. and 300 East. It sits tagged and run down and had several unsheltered people sleeping in the alcove of the front entry. They think it should be torn down. Built in 1958 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011, it is considered as one of the finest ‘Corporate International Style’ buildings’ west of the Mississippi. It was originally erected by Northwest Pipeline and built by contractors Del Webb and had new (at the time) heat resistant glass and aluminum louvers to shade windows on the south and west sides and was built of steel produced by Geneva Steel in Lehi. It will take millions of dollars to remove the asbestos from inside and millions to remodel /update it for commercial or possibly low income housing, but the owner (Salt Lake City Corp) has not announced any plans since ideas were presented to the public in 2015. Should we preserve this building? A building of the same era (1955) was saved from the wrecking ball on Main and 400 South in 2007, rehabilitated and updated and now is owned by the Ken Garff Group. So, would you save the old ‘cop shop’?
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