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Saltair pilings
About the photograph:  I am standing on the shore of the Great Salt Lake in the center of pilings that once held a railway line that led to Saltair, the LDS Church’s day-trip resort.  I am looking back at I-80; to my left, it is fifteen miles to Salt Lake City. To my right, it leads to Tooele (pronounced “Tuh-WILL-uh.”)  The sand I am standing on is soft, alkaline, dry and dusty on the surface, spongy and unstable underfoot.  The smell is pervasive, a reek of sulfurous decay, redolent with rotten eggs and dead brine shrimp.  It’s an enervatingly hot day, and I am glad to have brought adequate water.  Few places in Utah show such compelling and dramatic reminders of impermanence.

Saltair was once a thriving and popular destination, drawing thousands of visitors per day in the teens and twenties; business declined in the thirties, but still the owners (a major partner was the LDS Church) thought it would be profitable to rebuild Saltair in a new, improved, larger-than-ever manner.
Saltair Brochures
“A Pleasure Palace on Stilts”

The railroad was called the Salt Lake, Garfield & Western:

Salt Lake, Garfield and Western sign

Saltair 1, destroyed by fire on 22 April 1925
Saltair 2, closed in 1958, destroyed by fire in 1970
Approximate location of Saltairs 1 and 2

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Near Saltair 3
Rusting trolley car near Saltair 3
Abandoned garbage near Saltair 3
View from Saltair 3
Saltair 3, opened in 1983, flooded in 1984, reopened 1993
Location of Saltair 3

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There is a book on Saltair:
Saltair, by Nancy D. McCormick and John S. McCormick, 1985, Bonneville Books, 136pp.


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