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Salt Lake City, Utah letters 

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Shortly after the Mormon's arrival in Salt Lake they built a small playhouse and Brigham Young was determined to construct a first class theatre.  Construction began in July 1861 and the formal opening was in March 1862.  In 1870 the railroad connected Salt Lake City to both coasts and "during the next fifth years practically every notable actor of the American stage" appeared there and was the favorite of many "not only because of the enthusiasm of its audiences, but also because of the atmosphere and character of the house".  [History Am Theatre]

One press note about the Zavistowski sisters impressing the Mormon Prophet Brigham Young in Utah [on their return from Australia in Jan. 1873] made it into the papers and nought was heard again, according to Allister Hardiman


The Walker House 
Salt Lake City Utah
Septr 14th 1886

My dear Son,

Last night we opened to a crowded house and that means something here, for the auditorium of the Mormon Theatre is pretty well as large as the Grand Opera House, NYSaints & Sinners never went better.  Tonight Jim the Penman gives me a rest.  Tomorrow Our Society.

Thursday we leave at  11:30 AM for Pueblo to play there on Friday night.  Sat night Colorado Springs.  Spend Sunday there.  Monday morning, go to Denver about four hours ride.  Remain there one week.  7 Saints and Sinners go to Kansas City for three nights & Matinee, St Jo on Thursday, Omaha Friday and Saturday.  

Went this morning by invitation of the Mormons to hear the big organ in the Tabernacle.  It is fine!  This place seems to be doing well.  Mr. LeMoyne has a brother here in some Commercial business office where there are one hundred clerks employed.  It is the place you know where they can tell the financial business standing of all the men in the state or territory.

Chief Justice Waite is here.  He was in Frisco while we were there, said he now could understand the Chinese question.  Now I suppose he will understand the Mormon question.  There is one thing he will find - the Mormons are very polite people.  With love and Kisses I remain your loving Mother

Grand Opera House, NY See letter of  May 19, 1889, Boston .

The Walker House
Salt Lake City,  Utah
Sept 15th 1886

My dear Son,

You will be thinking "Mother is traveling today" but it is not so.  Yesterday it was decided to play here another night instead of going to Pueblo.  While it is easier work for me, I am not playing tonight and should have played tomorrow night had we stopped in Pueblo, still that much of the journey would have been over and done with.

I do not know how they are going to reconcile the theatre people in Pueblo for our nonappearance.  Probably the rest is not very high and they will pay that, and the Pueblo manager will be satisfied.  For three nights here the business has been very large and a big house is expected tonight for Sealed Instructions.

Then we leave tomorrow 11:30 AM en route to Colorado Springs where we, if on time, are due at 6:50 PM on Saturday - scarcely time to go to hotel before going to theatre to play Saints & Sinners,  Monday AM go to Denver.  I shall not play more than four times in Denver, twice in S[aints] & S[inners] and twice in Our Society, but the last week I shall have to play every night in S[aints] & S[inners].

[Walden] Ramsey is ill - and is going back to San F'co.  He is suffering from the effects of what I warned him against seven years ago.  RUM.  He said then it would not hurt him, but he knows better now.  I am very sorry for him.  He goes back to Frisco because he has a doctor there who will take care of him, and he has a home with Mrs. Eberle.  Now that his Mother is dead, there in no one in New York who cares for him, and he does not want to go there.  All this is nervousness, but he will not listen to anything anyone says to him.  Well dear I have no further news so with love and Kisses I remain your loving Mother

San Francisco, Aug, 23,1888
  Our trip down from Los Angeles to Salt Lake will be very tiresome.  Leaving Los Angeles Sunday morning, we do not reach Salt Lake  until Wednesday noon.  Three nights on the train.  We are to open in Los Angeles on the 17th [crossed out] well! 17th there now! 

S.C. Ewing, Proprietor   Rates $3.00 per day
Opened Oct 1st, 1887       Centrally located 
Salt Lake City,  Utah
Septr 28th 1888 

My dear Son 

Today have been to the Lake by special train.  Have had a very pleasant time.  Mr. [AM] Palmer, [James H] Stoddart, [EM]  Holland[Clarence] Handysides, Mr. & Mrs. [Louis F] Massen, Mr. & Mrs. [Eugene W] Presbrey, Mrs. [Frederic] Robinson, Miss [Virginia] Buchanan.  Misses [Clara] Lipman & the two [Gertie (8 yrs old) and her mother?] Homans, Miss [May] Brookyn, [Jessie] Millward, [Harry] Woodruff, [Alessandro] Salvini, [AC] Hillsdorf & self of the [Madison Square] Company and several ladies and gentlemen of the City.  All went in to bathe, excepting Mr. Stoddart, Mrs. Robinson & self.  

We had lunch and I have just returned.  The lake was lovely. The bathing accommodations are much improved since I was there four years ago. 

We leave here after performance tomorrow night.  Expect to reach Denver early Monday morning.  We go to Ogden thence on the Union Pacific to  Cheyenne  & down to Denver  by the  Burlington &  Denver road. 

My love to Neppie, her aunt and family.  Next week Denver, following week, 8th, 9th, & 10th Kansas City, 11th St Josephs, 12th & 13th Omaha.  Sunday on train to Chicago . 15th  Chicago for two weeks.  Address, "Chicago Opera House".  Love and Kisses from your loving Mother 

next: Chicago Oct. 1890

previous Los Angeles 1890
  T H E  C U L L E N 
               S.C.  Ewing, Proprietor 
                Strictly First Class 
                  Gast St NY&SF  
           Salt Lake City  August 22nd, 1890

My dear daughters

No use writing two letters when you are under the same roof.  The only trouble is, who will answer this?  And that you will have to fight out between you. 

Sorry [pregnant] Neppie does not always feel first rate but such is the nature of her case - be all right by and bye.  You will please give my love to Mrs. Walton and tell her she shall have a photograph.  I am only too pleased to know she wants one.  The only request I have in return is that she will take good care of Neppie in October. 

I think Alice [Zavistowski Webb] ought to have known my address.  That is an easy excuse for not writing.  "Tabor Opera House",  Denver, Col. will reach me for the next two weeks but "Theatre" is quite sufficient when AMP Dramatic Co is put on the envelope.  He [AM Palmer] is the Star. 

Glad you had such a nice trip on the Republic and that my grandson enjoyed it.  Also that he sings "Annie Rooney" in the same style I do -- words and music to suit ourselves.  I heard it so often at DeYoungs that I cannot get the air out of my head - all other airs come instead of it - yet all to the words of little Annie Rooney.  I told Maud [ Harrison] in the dressing room the other night that if I was annoying her just to mention it, for I was not conscious of the noise I made, and if she asked me to stop I would remember it. 

I think we leave here early Saturday Morning to take the same train we arrived at Ogden [Utah] by this Morning.  It is called the Overland Flyer.  We go to Cheyenne [Wyoming] by that and then down to Denver.  

Do not see the Rio Grande road this time.  We shall have the same "Buffet" car we have rode in from Los Angeles.  It waited for us in Sacramento and will wait here, and be switched off at Cheyenne to take us down to Denver.  Same porter and waiter all the way -- both pleasant and convenient.  

Salt Lake is growing.  I mean the City.  Several of the Company took train at 1:45 PM to go to the Lake.  They will not get back until 6 PM  Maud [Harrison] was not feeling first rate so she is asleep on the sofa.  We have parlor and bedroom together with bathroom and sofa bed in parlor, quite snug for two nights. 

At Ogden this Morning I read that it was 894 miles and a 7th to San Francisco so I am that much nearer to you all.  At Denver I shall be 1000 miles nearer.  From Ogden to Omaha is 1084 miles and a 7th.  

Hattie's birthday is Sunday.  I shall celebrate it by travelling towards her - the best I can do,    With love and Kisses to my dear children.  God bless you all your  loving Mother 

Neppie was expecting Edward Phillips Nickinson in Oct. 1890.

next: Denver Aug. 1890

Los Angeles, Sept. 7, 1896 
The ride to Salt Lake City from Seattle will be a long hot one, two nights on the road.  Also from Salt  Lake to  Kansas will be hard, but it will be getting cooler by that time. 

Portland, Sept. 15, 1896  On Saturday by boat to Vancouver, back by boat to Seattle for Monday and Tuesday next -- and from there to Salt Lake another two nights on train.  From there to Kansas City which will take two, if not three on train.  But then the hardest part of the travel will be over, but by that time it will have been pretty severe.  And I imagine rather exhaustive to the treasury.  But we have our salaries up to date and have no right to criticise our management. 

previous: Seattle

T H E   K N U T S F O R D 
                      G.S. Holmes 
                      Salt Lake City
                      Salt Lake City Sept 26th 1896

My dear daughter Neppie, 

On Sunday Morning in Vancouver, BC Mr. [Daniel] Frohman invited me with three others of the company to take a drive in  Forest Park, and a more beautiful drive I never enjoyed.  The grand old trees & the water views were beautiful.  We were driven by the same man who had taken Li-Hung-Chang through the City and Park five days before.  We were a little too late to see the great man -- who was royally received in  Vancouver. 

It is four thousand miles from Vancouver to New York.  Perhaps you didn't know I had been so far away.  Last night Mr. [Gustave] Frohman came behind the scenes very much elated over a letter he had rec'd from his brother Charles [Frohman] saying that in May next he was going to send Gay Parisians and Too Much Johnson to Australia.  The Company would start out from New York in May and be back in November.  Did not exactly ask me to go, but was doing all he could to get my ideas about it.  I do not see much money in it for myself.  There would be ten weeks at least going and returning, without any salary and under heavy expenses all the time.  I think in the end I would be paying for the privilege of playing.  And it would pay better for me to watch Albert's garden "sass" [salsify?] grow and help to eat it when it was ready next summer. 

I find some changes here in the way of new buildings.  This hotel is new and very nice.  The Mormon Temple is finished and has been "consecrated and dedicated".  Now no one but a baptised Mormon can enter the building.  They consider it "The Holy of Holies".  It looks very handsome from the outside. 

I hear of no change in the route, but go on just as you have it.  Beginning with Decatur,   Ill on the 12th and one night stands to follow until Omaha,  Neb where we play three nights beginning on 22nd of Octr.  Your loving Mother 

Too Much Johnson by Maurice Ordomean (adapted by Wm. Hooker Gillette) Dec 1894

Li Hung Chang toured  Europe and the  US as part his journey to the coronation of the Czar.  Though he is described as a senior Chinese diplomat this was not an official state visit (though it received extensive press coverage).

next:  Kansas City 1896

Mrs. Frank Leslie, California: a pleasure trip from Gotham to the Golden Gate, April, May, June, 1877 http://members.door.net/nbclumber/Leslie/Summary.htm  
Chapter VII Salt Lake City  http://members.door.net/nbclumber/Leslie/Ch07.htm
Salt Lake City History, http://www.utah.com/cities/slc_history.htm 

Last revised Jan. 17, 2005

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