Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Utah's Mysteries: "Hobbitville"

Entrance to Allen Park / AKA "Hobbitville"

"Hobbitville" is located at 1865 South 1300 East in Salt Lake City. There have been many legends and mysteries surrounding this "tiny village". Stories of devil worship, evil hobbits, and mystical creatures have been told among the locals for many years. Legend has it that if you run through "Hobbitville" at night, magical creatures and evil hobbits will come out and lock you in their tiny cages. What exactly is this place, and are there any truth to the legends?

Dr. George Allen
Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society,
all rights reserved.
Sorry to break the news to you, but "Hobbitville" is nothing more than "Allen Park", a bird sanctuary built in the 1930s by Dr George Allen and his wife Ruth Larsen Allen. There are no magical creatures, hobbits, or devil worshipers residing here. The cages are not used by evils hobbits to lock up their unsuspecting prey; instead, they were used to house bird and wildlife specimens. 

Dr Allen was an avid bird collector, and over a thirty year period collected over 700 different bird and wildlife specimens from around the world. He built Allen Park as a place to house them. Back then, this place wasn't so mysterious; until Dr Allen's death in 1961, it was open to the public for viewing every Sunday. 

Read more about Dr. Allen HERE in this biography titled "Utah: The Storied Domain", vol. II, pages 122-124 by J. Cecil Alter. Thanks to the Utah State Historical Society for finding this information for us! The picture to the right was also obtained and used by permission from the Utah State Historical Society.

What about the small buildings?! Aren't there at least magical hobbits roaming the village?
Sorry, but no. In the 1930s and 1940s, Dr Allen needed a way to fund his bird sanctuary, so he began renting out houses on his property to local residences. He relocated several small structures and cabins to Allen Park. Because of the small nature of the structures, many of these houses were rented out by singles instead of families. Some of the cabins were even built by local local carpenters in exchange for free medical care by Dr Allen. This 8 acres of property is still home to many local nature lovers. In fact, there are homes available for rent right now! Drive up there, and call the number on the sign at the entrance to Allen Park.

If you want to check out Allen Park, please note that it is private property, and trespassing is against the law. Feel free to drive past on 1300 East, but be respectful of the residents that live there. You wouldn't want somebody driving through your nature-filled, quiet property, would you? 

History Examiner

Read more about Utah's Mysteries!

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