Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Saltair History

I received an email today asking me about Saltair and its history, and it got me thinking a lot about it again. I am absolutely FASCINATED with the history of Saltair, and if I believed in past lives, I would be convinced that I frequented the original Saltair in the late 1800s, early 1900s. It is absolutely fascinating to me!

Below is the information I gathered quickly to send to the reader that emailed me asking about it. He wanted to know where he can find the original site, and any other information about its history. I hope you find it as interesting as I do. (Please excuse the rough draft style of this post. I wanted to at least get the info out there for you.)

If you have any questions about Utah history, or anything about Utah, feel free to email me any time at I would love to answer your questions, and point you in the right direction.

Reader Question:
Yesterday I came across your web site. I think it is really cool. I have lived in Utah my whole life and I want to see more of Utah. I have a question about Saltair. I have heard of it, but recently I have become more interested in it. I want to see the site of where the original Saltair was. Do you have any advice on how to find it and what to look for? Thank you for your time.

Answer and Resources:

You have come to the right place! I am a HUGE fan of Saltair history, and love anything and everything about it! I will talk for hours about it if you’ll let me! Here is a great, short documentary: 

Do you know where the current Saltair building is? If you go there, then get on the frontage road and head Eastbound. The original site of Saltair is approximately 2.2 miles East on the frontage road from where Saltair stands now. One thing you used to be able to look for is an old broken down railroad car, but they recently cleaned that up. Old slides from the waterslide that used to be there have also been cleaned up and trashed. So sad that so much history has just been thrown away.

SO… you can look for a small road leading to a fence on the Left side of the road. The Audubon Society of Salt Lake has put up memorial plaques dedicated to the original Saltair. The road that those are on are to the RIGHT of where Saltair used to stand. Park your car there, and go inside the fence for the bird viewing area. (This is public land….it is legal for you to cross the fence.) Then walk to the road on your left. This is the old road leading out to Saltair.
Here is more info: 

When we went on a “treasure hunt” there a few years ago, we found old dishes dating back to the 1920s. It was so fascinating to me because my Great Grandmother, who came to Utah from Denmark, used to take the old train out to Saltair for their big dances, and used to eat at the Ship Café. Those dishes could have been ones that SHE personally ate off of. SO cool! In the 1920s, a fire burned down the Ship Café, and all of the furnishings and dishes went underwater. Because of the low water levels now, all of those dishes are just sitting in the sand. You don’t even have to look for them…..they are everywhere! SO fascinating to me!

Did you know The Beach Boys frequently visited the original Saltair building?
Here is a great article from The Bonneville Mariner about it: 

Here are some really cool newspaper articles that talk about Saltair:

Another great resource for information on Saltair is The Bonneville Mariner. He is my HERO when it comes to anything and everything about Saltair! Here are the articles he has written about Saltair: 

There were three different Saltair buildings. One was built in the late 1800s, and burned down in the early 1900s. The second one was built in the same location to replace the first one, and burned down in the 1970s. Here is a video of that fire: 

When Saltair II burned down, the last and final one was Saltair III, and that’s the one that stands today. It was relocated from another part of Utah, and is an old airplane hanger. 

Here are pictures of old Saltair:,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.42080656,d.aWc&fp=30db8ea9b60033d9&biw=1440&bih=799 

Let me know if you have any more questions. I think in my “past life” I was a lady who frequently visited Saltair during its glory days and attended dances there. ;) My Grandma talks a lot about the old roller coaster that used to be there, and how “wild” it was. It was the wildest roller coaster in all of America, according to many people. There was also an old merry go round there. My grandma also recalls the dances they used to have there. Popular bands like The Glenn Miller Band and Nat King Cole performed there.

The scary movie, Carnival Of Souls, was filmed at the original site of Saltair. You can see what it looked like by watching parts of the movie here. It was absolutely grand! 

For some fun information about Saltair, click on this video and forward it to 3:25. Make sure to read the innotations: 

Here is where you can see inside Saltair: 

Here is some footage of the 1984 flood at the Saltair building where it stands now: 

Like I said, I could go on for HOURS about Saltair history. This is my favorite part of Utah history, and it amazes me there isn’t some kind of monument or museum celebrating it.


  1. I too am fascinated by the history of SaltAir. I wonder why it was so easily abandoned, and why Lagoon was successful. I guess lake stink was the death of Saltair. Either that or fluctuating lake levels really were responsible.

  2. I love to see the old photos of people partying while they float in their bloomers out on the lake! My father-in-law talks about going out on the party boats on Utah Lake before Geneva Steel came to town and it sounds so fun! Definitely an era gone by I'd love to have lived in.

  3. I am interested in sharing information on history concerning the Saltair Resort. My father was manager and worked there from 1930 - closing of the resort. I spent much time there myself as a youth, and as an employee. I would like to share many little-known facts, oddities, peculiarities, etc. about the resort and buildings and giant racer that few living people would know. If you know anyone planning an article or publication I would be glad to share!! My e-mail:


Thank you for your comments!