Calder's Park - Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Chasing Blue Sky
N 40° 42.596 W 111° 52.300
12T E 426370 N 4506923
Quick Description: The Amusement Park, known as Calder's Park, was a major attraction in the Salt Lake valley between 1864 and 1921. It covered 65 acres, south of 2700 South, between 500 East and 700 East in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Location: Utah, United States
Date Posted: 1/25/2013 11:25:41 AM
Waymark Code: WMG7MR
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Thorny1
Views: 1

Long Description:
The historical marker at this location, relates the following concerning Calder's Park:

No. 203
Erected 1954


In the early 1860's George and Mary B. Calder built one of the first amusement parks on this spot. They cleared the land with oxen, planted grass and trees and converted a natural spring of water into a lake for boating. It was spanned by a picturesque bridge. A dance pavilion, racetrack, ball park, merry-go-round and other attractions were built. In the year 1909 it was improved and the name changed to Wandamere. After changing hands several times, Charles W. Nibley purchased the resort and presented it to Salt Lake City for recreational purposes.

Wandamere Camp South Salt Lake County

"When the pioneers first came to the Salt Lake Valley on 24 July 1847, one of the first places considered for settlement was the winding green strip of land that flanked what they soon called Millcreek. While the primary settlement was on the north end of the valley, Millcreek was soon settled as irrigation ditches were dug and some of the valley's finest farms, orchards, and dairies were initiated. The plan for Salt Lake City's blocks ended at 900 South, and the area south, to present-day 2700 South, was referred to as the "Big Field," where the pioneers cultivated crops. The land just south of the Big Field was called Millcreek, after the creek that runs through the area to the Jordan River.

The area continued to be sparsely populated agricultural land, with parcels allocated in five- to twenty-acre units, until about 1870. Around that time, local businesses began to develop; they included Husler's Mill, built about 1865 on the bank of Millcreek on Territory Road, which is today's State Street. Other private, noteworthy developments of that era include Winder Dairy and Calder Park. Winder Dairy is still a prominent name throughout the area today, but it has long since moved to the west side of the Salt Lake Valley.

Calder Park soon developed into one of the finest amusement parks between the Missouri River and the Golden Gate. The soggy swampland created by a spring was cleared to form a small lake for boats and amusement. Other attractions developed over time and included a merry-go-round, bridges, a large dance pavilion, a bandstand with a suspended acoustical shell, a racetrack for horses and later motorcycles, bowling lanes, a roller-skating rink, a log flume-type waterslide, and traditional playground equipment. The park passed through different ownerships including the Rapid Transit Street Car Company which ran the park from 1891 to 1902 and extended streetcar service to the park along 700 East and installed electric power throughout the park. At its peak, the park was attracting over 100,000 patrons per season. The LDS Church Granite Stake assumed ownership and changed the name to Wandamere Park. "Wanda" was claimed to be of Indian origin, meaning "beautiful place," while "mere" is Anglo-Saxon and signifies "little lake" or "clear pond." By 1921 interest in the park was diminishing and it was sold to Charles Nibley, who donated the land to Salt Lake City on the condition that it would always remain open park space. That condition was met by transforming the park into a nine-hole golf course which Salt Lake City still operates." (visit link)

"No more fitting name than "Wandamere," which means a beautiful rural retreat, could be given to this picturesque garden for recreation. It possesses all kinds of attractions for picnic parties and people who by the thousands gather to the delightful park in the summer season. Thousands of dollars have in late years been spent to improve its many features and in the construction of all sorts of contrivances for sport and enjoyment to young and old.

The park contains about 64 acres of ground, and has a small lake for boating and other attractive features. It is the pioneer resort of our city and was for many yeais known as Calder's park. Its location is but five miles southeast of the city and is reached by the street cars, which pass through one of the most attractive parts of the Salt Lake valley." (visit link)

"The history of "pleasure resorts," as they were commonly called in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, is seen by many historians as central to understanding American culture and society in the last one hundred years. However, not much has been written or published about resorts in Utah. By the turn of the twentieth century, resorts of all kinds dotted the state's cities, canyons, and lakes but, aside from Saltair, we know little about them. Many have nearly faded from historical memory (including Bountiful's Eden Park, Salt Lake City's Fuller's Hill, Ogden's Sylvan Glen, Utah Lake's Geneva and half-dozen other resorts, and most of the Great Salt Lake's nearly one dozen). About others whose names are more familiar, only a relatively little is known; they include Salt Lake City's Salt Palace, Majestic Park, and Calder's (later Wandamere) Park, Spanish Fork Canyon's Castilla Hot Springs, Ogden Canyon's the Hermitage, and Emigration Canyon's Pinecrest. Even Lagoon, the most enduring of Utah's resorts, still awaits its historians.

What is known about early resorts in Utah suggests they have come in a variety of kinds and sizes, from modest health spas, such as Castilla Hot Springs, to quiet mountain retreats, like the Hermitage or Pinecrest, to elaborate amusement parks, like Saltair, which by the 1920s was drawing half a million patrons a season. Also, most were relatively short-lived, including Eden Park (1894-96), Syracuse (1887-91), Lake Park (1886-95), Utah Lake's Murdock Resort (1891-97), and the Salt Palace (1899-1910); Saltair (1893-1958), Saratoga (1885-present), and Lagoon (1896-present) are notable exceptions. Those that did survive any length of time evolved in the direction of, or began as, full-fledged amusement parks, offering a variety of attractions.

Many resorts came of age in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the products of a rapidly changing society, one that was becoming less rural and agricultural and increasingly urban and industrialized. The resorts eased people's adjustment to life in that kind of society in several ways. They provided an appealing urban experience, one that offered fun and excitement, thereby legitimizing it. Even though resorts often promoted themselves close to nature, with their midways, boardwalks, concessions, and mechanical rides, they were clearly urban. At the same time, they provided a temporary escape from the city with its disagreeable features, dirt, pressures, clamor, danger, and drabness.

Resorts were viewed as a sign of an area's growing maturity and coming of age. Thus, when Saltair was built in 1893 it was taken as an indication that Utah in general, and Salt Lake City in particular, had evolved from a strange, provincial backwater to an increasingly modern and up-to-date, city and state.

A major factor in the success of resorts was the development of urban railway systems, which made it possible for large numbers of people to easily and cheaply travel to them. Indeed, railroads commonly owned and operated resorts on or at the end of their lines as a way of stimulating passenger traffic. When, for example, the Great Salt Lake and Hot Springs Railway Company began the construction of tracks from Salt Lake City to Ogden in 1891, they proceeded in stages, laying track first to an existing resort, Beck's Hot Springs, four miles to the north, then going as far as Bountiful, where they built Eden Park, then moving to Farmington, where they built Lagoon, and finally, in 1908, reaching Ogden.

Though resorts have sometimes been seen as serving a democratic function, catering to anyone who could pay, since they were rigidly segregated until the 1950s, they in fact demonstrated the very real limits of democratic theory and practice in Utah as elsewhere in the United States. In July 1910 Saltair's management ejected an African-American from the resort solely because of his race. He sued; but the court ruled the resort acted within its rights if it refunded the twenty-five cents the man had paid for admission, and ordered it to do so.

The heyday of resorts like Saltair was over in Utah, as it was in the rest of the country, by the 1950s. Since then, though Lagoon has continued to prosper, the term "resort" has increasingly come to mean "ski resort." More than a dozen of these dotted the state by the 1990s, attracting hundreds of thousands of both in-state and out-of-state skiers. And, in many ways, the modern-day counterpart of pleasure resorts is the shopping mall with its myriad attractions and entertainments, crowds of people, fun, and excitement." (visit link)
Date Park Opened: 1/1/1864

Date Park Closed: 1/1/1921

2730 South 700 East
Salt Lake City, UT USA

Current Use or Function:
The area is currently a Salt Lake City owned nine hole golf course, known as Nibley Park Golf Course.

Is the park still there?: No

If not, what is in its place now?:
A Salt Lake City owned nine hole golf course

Visit Instructions:
You must post at least one original picture at the posted coords to post a visit log for this waymark. Extra points if you are in the spirit of the park (i.e., in costume, etc.).
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Chasing Blue Sky visited Calder's Park - Salt Lake City, UT, USA 4/13/2011 Chasing Blue Sky visited it