Among my Great Aunt Winifred's photos were a few striking images of firefighters fighting to save a burning building. For over a year I have been trying to For over a year I have been trying to determine what building, when the photos were captured, and why did she take them?
Last September, I was visiting with my sister who has our grandmother Hilda's photo album from the mid 1910s to 1920s. While scanning it, and every other genealogy clue she had available, I stumbled upon a similar photo in the album, except this one was labeled. Lafayette School Fire - Winter 1922.
I have tried to find why the Lafayette School was important to Hilda and Winifred as both had photos of the fire, but I have been unable to uncover a direct connection. They were both employed with the Salt Lake City Board of Education, so perhaps it was sentimental.
I have most of Hilda's report cards and none indicate she attended the school. I have not yet found Winifred's report cards so perhaps she did, though doubtful. There were also a few mentions in old Salt Lake Tribunes that teacher's certificate examinations were held at Lafayette School, perhaps Hilda & Winifred took their exams there?
There was little information I could find about the school online, yet there was just enough.
The Lafayette School was located at 135 North State Street. It was a four story structure located on the NW hillside of State Street, just north of N. Temple. In the early morning of January 20, 1922, a fire of unknown origin gutted the building.
Excerpt from Public Documents State of Utah 1905 Message of the Governor of Utah to the Sixth Session of the State Legislature of Utah, p. 52. Available on Google Books
At the beginning of the school year the Lafayette School was opened in a commodious modern structure located on State Street between First North and North Temple streets. It has eighteen large classrooms, a library, recitation rooms, several storerooms, a large office for the principal, and assembly room that will seat about four hundred fifty persons, a manual training room and splendidly equipped boiler and toilet rooms. It is built of red brick with a substantial red sand stone foundation, and it has a hardwood finish throughout. Heating and ventilating are most successfully combined in a plant that is conceded to be one of the very best available. Single and adjustable desks and seats have been furnished for the entire building. The Lafayette School was constructed at an approximate cost of $165,000. It stands as a monument to the industry and ability of the Superintendent of Buildings, the late William Pinney, who planned and built it.
...At noon yesterday the Lafayette School was a hollow shell, covered with huge icicles which even the heat contained in the brick walls could not melt. With the exception of one company, held at the central station for emergency calls, all of the fire apparatus was at work at the scene at one time.
Children of the neighborhood, pupils of the school assisted in distributing hot coffee to the firemen, but throughout their work they could not repress their feelings over the fact that there would be no school bell to call them to the classrooms at 9 o'clock in the morning...
In the same paper there was also mention that "To replace the structure gutted by fire will require the expenditure of $200,000 or more." And "The attendance at the school was over seven hundred and with crowded institutions of learning, Salt Lake is somewhat distressed in making arrangements to care for the youngsters who have been deprived of a home of learning."
You can see a beautiful image of the icicle covered classroom on the Utah State Historical Society website here.
These images are just so hauntingly beautiful. I've noticed that Winifred had a strong eye for capturing a moment and I suspect that she took all of these, but I am not positive. There is a small emboss at the bottom of the images "Hopkins Photos." I think that is where she had the images enlarged. I have not been able to find any records for a Hopkins Photos in SLC. I'm also on the hunt for the negatives which might eventually show up among all the boxes I have.
Other images I have found of the school:
I do wish there was more to report, but this was all I could find. As always, if anyone has more to share, please comment or send me an email and I'll update the post.
Until Next Time, Happy Genealogy Hunting!