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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Saltair, Why Do You Give Me The Creeps?

by MAB (bio)

Like many a good Mormon, I spent some time in and around Salt Lake City. I haven't been back though for more than seven years. What's keeping me away you might ask? Well, one thing is the Saltair Pavillion. That mysterious palace of salt sends chills down my spine. Now, I'm not normally a fearful person, so the effect that edifice has on me is a bit mysterious. It periodically haunts my thoughts even though I've never been there, just drove past it a few times as a teenager.

So when its dark force recently paid my otherwise pleasant thoughts a visit I decided to learn a bit more about it. Wikipedia came to my aid as it always does. What I found there reinforced my fears. Here's a synopsis:

  • The first Saltair was built in 1893 at the Southern end of the Great Salt Lake (with the LDS church as part owner)
  • Became a major tourist attraction that had a train track built to reach it
  • Destroyed by fire in 1925 (fires are creepy right?)
  • Was rebuilt but patronage dwindled due primarily to economic factors (and ghosts, probably)
  • The structure was hit by fire again in 1931
  • In 1933 the water receded so much that a train track was built to ferry people from the resort to the water (even the salty water is afraid of this place)
  • Over the next few decades it continued to struggle against competitive entertainment venues
  • In 1970 an arsonist set fire to the Saltair by lighting the middle of the dance floor on fire
  • The third Saltair was built in 1981 in a different location
  • A few months after it re-opened it was flooded
  • After it was repaired the waters receded and it was left 'high and dry'
  • Apparently it was spruced up again and several bands played there recently, including Ke$ha who performed to a sold out crowd on her 'Get Sleazy Tour' in 2011
  • The resort was used in a 1962 horror film called 'Carnival of Souls'

The 3rd incarnation is much less grand than the first.

Here's a video made by a Saltair security guard. Notice what he says at minute 9:00.

MMM readers, have any of you been there (did you 'get sleazy' perhaps)? It could be that my fears are unfounded and it is a delightful place. Odd, though, that Saltair pops up in my mind from time to time like it's the house of usher.

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