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Eleventh Avenue: Historic Homes Tour 2005

Thursday, 25 February 2010 12:50

100_1580webOur 2005 Historic Homes Tour was held May 21, showing seven homes from B to H Streets along 11th Avenue in Salt Lake City.

On the northern edge of Salt Lake City and to the east of Utah's magnificent capitol building, you can see the rising slopes that make up the Avenues neighborhood.
Salt Lake City's Avenues district creates distinctive neighborhoods known for their charming historic houses, mature streetscape, and a prominent, small block grid plan that climbs up the hill and reinforces the continuity of the street grid below.

Historically, the Avenues has attracted prominent architects, lawyers, doctors, and business leaders who wanted the luxury of being close to the city. The ten-acre blocks of the original plat, that the Avenues were known for in the nineteenth century were subdivided creating a tighter knit community where close proximity to your neighbor meant knowing them. At this time, Victorian styles were what mostly represented the variety of architecture built in the Avenues.
With the building of the LDS hospital in 1904, and the creation of a water main on 13th Avenue, more people moved to the upper Avenues, typically considered to be above 6th Avenue. People began building houses on 11th Avenue in the late 1900s. New residents maintained the traditional values that the Avenues created a wholesome foundation for a good life where they could raise strong families.
In combination they all add to the unique appeal the Avenues are best known for.
In general, many of the houses found on 11th Avenue are smaller and shorter in height than those in the lower Avenues but do not lack in personality. During the 1910s and 1920s, several new styles of architecture emerged in the Avenues. These new styles along with new forms were tailored to fit the neighborhoods unique small, close lots. Bungalows were a perfect fit and sprung up everywhere. The Arts and Crafts movement was popular here, and appeared as frequently in this neighborhood as in any other part of the city. The period revival styles such as Tudor Revival and Colonial Revival are also well represented throughout the upper Avenues as their character helped define American values after World War I.
The years of the Great Depression changed the types of homes previously seen in the Avenues. The architecture changed to frame family life rather than merely serve as ornament. These pragmatic but attractive homes are still the perfect backdrop to family life.
To make room for transportation by automobile to the upper Avenues the city removed many of the historic trees found lining the streets since the early 1900's. In 1923 the Salt Lake Shade Tree Commission was formed to bring the neighborhood back to its look of the past as well as the natural condition that once existed in the Avenues. In 1932 the Commission assigned certain trees that could be planted in the Avenues. In fact, they alternately assigned London Planes and Norway Maples to the lettered streets and numbered avenues. By the late 1940's the early trees planted in the Avenues were almost extinct. Today the trees that still exist from the earliest planting have plaques to mark their historic value.
Diversity in the architecture and population of 11th Avenue is still the strong suit of this Salt Lake City historic neighborhood. Utah Heritage Foundation thanks all the residents of the 11th Avenue neighborhood for helping preserve an amazing piece of Salt Lake's history.