1 04, 2017

Downtown Alliance

By |2017-04-26T13:06:27-07:00April 1st, 2017|Chamber History, Strategic Partners, Strategic Partners|0 Comments

From Blight to Boom: Downtown Salt Lake’s Last 25 Years Crossroads Mall and ZCMI, two large enclosed shopping malls bustled; but the residential population was decreasing, many parts of downtown were blighted and Main Street was failing. The Utah Jazz still played in the Accord Arena, within the walls of the Salt Palace Convention Center. [...]

29 01, 2015

Mr. Utah

By |2017-03-07T15:06:56-07:00January 29th, 2015|Backman Years, Chamber History, Policy|0 Comments

Gus Backman took the helm of The Chamber of Commerce and Commercial Club of Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1930, and during the next thirty-four years made it and himself a major influence within the city and the state. Although he purposely tried to avoid the spotlight, by the time he was finished he had [...]

28 01, 2015

The Veterans Hospital: Backman’s First Assignment

By |2017-03-07T15:06:56-07:00January 28th, 2015|Backman Years, Chamber History|0 Comments

The new Veterans Administration hospital on the 12th Avenue is shown in 1933. The Chamber has been a leader in tapping the federal government’s largesse for building projects and other improvements. In October 1930, the Chamber of Commerce and Commercial Club leaders hired Gus Backman as its top staff member and gave him [...]

27 01, 2015

Hard Times

By |2017-03-07T15:06:56-07:00January 27th, 2015|Backman Years, Chamber History|0 Comments

A camp for Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) nestles among the pines at Tusher Ranger Station near Beaver in June 1933. The Chamber signed up CCC workers for the federal project, wishing it had more job openings to offer. The Great Depression struck Utah harshly, and long. Utah was one of the hardest hit [...]

26 01, 2015

How the City got Hogle Zoo

By |2017-03-07T15:06:57-07:00January 26th, 2015|Backman Years, Blog, Chamber History|0 Comments

Salt Lake City got a first-rate zoo in the middle of the Great Depression because of the passionate interest of several deeply committed people, an enthusiastic public and a Chamber of Commerce that helped bring them together. As early as the 1890s Salt Lake City had a small display of animals that it kept at [...]

25 01, 2015

Watering the Desert

By |2017-03-07T15:06:57-07:00January 25th, 2015|Backman Years, Blog, Chamber History|0 Comments

In Utah, the second driest state in the nation, water is everything. With it, we can settle valleys, grow crops, raise children and support industries. Without it, no growth is possible. So it’s little surprise that from the beginning the Salt Lake Chamber was involved in water issues. The earlier Chamber called for a multi-state [...]

24 01, 2015

Flat, Fast, and Salty

By |2017-03-07T15:06:57-07:00January 24th, 2015|Backman Years, Blog, Chamber History|0 Comments

The Bonneville Salt Flats are among the world’s natural wonders, and the Salt Lake Chamber helped make them famous, thanks to the persistence of a local hero. The Salt Flats cover hundreds of square miles of some of the most desolate land on earth, home to no growing thing, hostile to travelers. It’s a dazzling [...]

23 01, 2015

Alta: Going to the Mountain

By |2017-03-07T15:06:57-07:00January 23rd, 2015|Backman Years, Blog, Chamber History|0 Comments

Alta today is known throughout the sports world as a premiere resort destination for serious skiers, with its high altitude and fine, paper-dry powder that drifts down over the Wasatch. But in the 1930s, it was just an idea. Bringing that transformation about took the vision and dedication of a large number of people. The [...]

22 01, 2015

Covered Wagon Days Becomes an Institution

By |2017-03-07T15:06:57-07:00January 22nd, 2015|Backman Years, Blog, Chamber History|0 Comments

Most Salt Lake City residents take it for granted that the city’s July 24 celebration, marking the 1847 entry of the Mormon pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley, always seems to come off like clockwork each year. In fact, it was not until a committee of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce organized the celebration [...]

21 01, 2015

Did Rhumba Lessons Help Change Utah History?

By |2017-03-07T15:06:57-07:00January 21st, 2015|Backman Years, Blog, Chamber History|0 Comments

The story of Utah’s World War II-era economic boom may have been written differently, if it were not for the kindness of a man who became the larger-than-life secretary of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. That kindness came when Gus and Nancy Backman “adopted” a homesick young pilot named Hank Arnold, who whiled the [...]

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