Archive for November, 2017

November Announcement for the Utah Westerners

Salt Lake City’s Magnificent Knutsford Hotel


Walter Jones

“Salt Lake City’s Magnificent Knutsford Hotel: How an Opulent Building’s History Reflects the Ongoing Transformation of a Farm village into a Sophisticated Urban Center.”  In this talk Walter Jones will present five features of the hotel’s history:  Its role in changes in land use in SLC; its reflecting the development of a increasingly beautiful architectural landscape; how the hotel’s management represented many newcomers who became attracted to the city more and more for economic rather than religious reasons; the manner in which the hotel became a center for social activities; and, finally, what happened to the Knutsford property after the closure of the hotel.  The presentation will feature a PowerPoint selection of slides that illustrate the Knutsford’s eminence in the city’s history.

Walter Jones is from Casper, Wyoming and once wrote a history of that city’s early 20th century red light district, titled History of the Sand Bar, 1888 – 1977 In 1967, he graduated from the University of Wyoming after which he immediately joined the United States Army and became a Korean language interpreter, translator, voice-intercept operator, and interrogator.  Following his four years of active duty experience, he attended Brigham Young University where he constantly felt pressure to visit barbershops in order to avoid the scrutiny of standards-committee representatives who enforced short-hair rules and regulations.  

In 1973, Walter married Helen Walker and started a 42 year career of being a librarian, 33 years of which were at the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library.  While working in libraries, he joined the Army National Guard and worked his way up the enlisted ranks to become a command sergeant major, first for the 141st Military Intelligence Battalion, then the 300th Military Intelligence Brigade, and finally the 144th Combat Support Hospital.  After retiring from the military, Walter began a part-time career of teaching Utah and American history at Salt Lake Community College.

             During all the years from the time he graduated from BYU, he has done research and has written about local history subjects such as Casper’s red-light district, the oil fields of southwestern Wyoming, and various Utah subjects that include the Chinese of Salt Lake City and a history of Salt Lake’s Knutsford Hotel of which you are about to witness the results of his most recent historic project. Currently, Walter and Helen have two children and five grandchildren.


November 13, 2017 at 11:04 am Leave a comment

October Announcement for the Utah Westerners

Alf Engen – Snapshot of a Sports Icon


Alan Engen

Over the course of the 20th Century, many athletes have been honored for the contributions they made to Utah’s sports history.   Names such as Jack Dempsey, Gene Fullmer, Alma Richards, Herman Franks, Merlin Olsen, Missy Marlowe, and Karl Malone are just a few examples of individuals who have demonstrated athletic excellence in various sports.  However, there is only one person who was named the overall Utah “Athlete of the Century” in December 1999. He was ski legend, Alf Engen.

Please join Utah Westerner, Alan Engen, for a presentation on his famous father by looking back on Alf’s life from a very humble beginning in Norway to becoming one of the greatest all-around skiers to ever grace the sport.  Viewing a selection of Alan’s personal historical ski photos, he will present a first hand account of his father’s life, including the many contributions and honors he received up until his passing in July 1997, at age 88.

At the conclusion of Alan’s presentation, he plans to show a fifteen-minute DVD on his father which was presented by Alan at the prestigious MOUNTAINFILM Festival in Telluride, Colorado during May 1997.  According to Jim Petegrew, Telluride Event Coordinator, “The film was given top billing at Telluride’s Sheridan Opera House on the opening night of the MOUNTAINFILM festival, playing to a packed house.  When the film was completed, it left the audience spellbound and resulted in a standing ovation for Alan’s film which he scripted, narrated, and produced.”

This particular dinner presentation, provides a unique opportunity to look behind the scenes of this ski sport icon by a person who participated with Alf in a number of activities highlighted.   It is anticipated that this presentation will be both entertaining and of historical interest…and will be videotaped by members of the Alta Historical Society.

Alan K. Engen has been a member of the Utah Westerners since 1999.  He is a nationally respected ski historian, author, and has played an important role in helping to promote and record Utah’s rich ski history.  Although currently retired, he was Alta’s Director of Skiing up until April 2011 and has been honored in several halls of fame organizations… including the U.S. National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, located in Ishpeming, Michigan.  He and his wife, Barbara, have been married 55 years and have two sons and four grand-daughters.

November 13, 2017 at 11:03 am Leave a comment

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