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With an Early Birdseye View of Salt Lake City

A quite scarce 19th-century guidebook to Salt Lake City, illustrated with a wonderfully detailed folding engraved birdseye view of Salt Lake City, one of the earliest such views of the city.

This is the 1887 edition of Joseph Hyrum Parry's Guide to Salt Lake City - apparently the third of 13 editions printed between 1883 and 1902. The folding view is a wood engraving after John P. Sorenson and shows the city from the Northwest (thus looking Southeast) over the neatly developing cityscape. This panoramic map view depicts an expanding Salt Lake City as its built environment spreads out in all directions. The western boundary of the city this view is the Jordan River, with the Wasatch Range providing the eastern and northern boundaries. The Mormon Tabernacle and Temple are shown near the center of the image. The view is signed in the printing block: Bond & Chandler, Chicago. It is interesting to note the nail or screw heads visible in the print, particularly along the top edge of the engraving, suggesting that the printing block might have been repurposed (or perhaps repaired) at some point in time.

The printed caption below the birdseye view image reads: "Copyrighted, 1878, by John P. Sorenson, of Sorenson & Carlquist, Furniture Dealers, 116 Main Street, Salt Lake City, Utah."

In addition to the folding view there are full-page illustrations showing "Salt Lake City from Arsenal Hill" and "Salt Lake City from Ensign Peak," the latter showing the Mormon Tabernacle and Temple prominently and out of proportion to the rest of the city. Other illustrations depict: the University of Deseret, Black Rock and Garfield Landing, Brigham Young's residence, Salt Lake Assembly Hall, the Great Organ, the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City Temple, and a separate overall view of the Temple Block.

The text of the guidebook contains historical information about Brigham Young and the first settlement of Salt Lake City, as well as the usual information of interest to potential immigrants. Also included are the Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (pp. 47-48).

The advertisements for local Salt Lake businesses are quite interesting, and include the following establishments: Henry Dinwoodey, furniture dealer (with cut illustrating his shop); C. C. Amussen, watches and jewelry; Sam Levy, Havana cigars; Valley House, Continental Hotel, Metropolitan Hotel, Spencer House; and Spencer & Kimball's shoe store.

Joseph H. Parry's ads figure quite prominently, including his offerings of Mormon publications and Photographic and Stereoscopic views of Salt Lake City and portraits of leading members of the Mormon Church.

The following features and landmarks are named on the birdseye view:

Utah Central Railroad

Utah Western Railroad

Union Depot

Warm Spring Creek

River Jordan

Warm Spring Bath Houses

Smelting Works

Union Square Ward

Irrigation Creek


This edition is quite scarce. Only a single copy of this 1887 edition has appeared at auction in recent years. OCLC locates six copies of this 1887 edition in institutional confines (New York Public, Library of Congress, BYU, University of Utah, Utah State University, and Oberlin College).

Also of interest: OCLC locates a single copy of a later variant of the birdseye view, dated 1893, held at the University of Utah. That variant appears to be a lettersheet issued as an advertisement for the Valley House Hotel.

Condition Description
12mo. Original light blue printed wrappers. [4], 48, [4] pages plus folding bird's eye view of Salt Lake City (on sheet measuring 17 x 10 inches). Complete. Numerous in text engravings. Title leaf and the two preliminary ad leaves torn at gutter margin, and nearly detached. The folding view is detached. Otherwise a clean, very good copy.
Flake 7103.
George Reynolds Biography
Bond & Chandler Biography
Joseph Hyrum Parry Biography