Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Good Old Days

A friend send me a copy of Grove Gilbert's 1928 USGS report Studies of Basin-Range Structure yesterday. 

Gilbert was scientific giant who did a number of pioneering studies of the geology of Utah and the western U.S.  He named Lake Bonneville, the historical lake of which the Great Salt Lake is a remnant. 

The report appears to have been published posthumously (Gilbert died in 1918).  What caught my attention are the many photos of the undeveloped Wasatch Front, which I've added to the end of this post and which would have been taken probably in the early 20th century.  They are a reminder of how rapidly we have transformed the landscape in the short period of a century (or less). 

What will Utah and our beloved Wasatch Mountains look like in 2050 when we are told the population will be twice what it is today? 


  1. Man i wish they could send some of this

  2. Ive long wondered what the sparsely populated Wasatch Front would have looked, so this is fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great photos thanks! There also used to be a hot spring fed lake in what is now the North Salt Lake refinery area, Warm Springs park is a tiny remnant, check out the recent Catalyst magazine article:

  4. In 1982, Rogers at Columbia University examined the question of how Gamble's Oak Forest changed along the Wasatch Front. He compared 49 historical images from Gilbert with 400 contemporary matching photographs. Includes many then and now images of familiar undeveloped places throughout northern Utah.

    Roger, G F. 1982. Then and now. A photographic history of vegetation change in the central Great Basin Desert. Salt Lake City Utah. University of Utah Press. Marriott Library special collections.

  5. Thanks Jim and Anonymous, I love seeing how land used to be. Slow down humans!