Thursday, June 24, 2010

Intro to Salt Lake City

We arrived at the Pony Express RV Resort in North Salt Lake, UT and were greeted by these views of Salt Lake City (SLC) just a few miles from our RV.

To the southeast, the Wasatch Range provided the background for the skyline of SLC, creating quite a beautiful welcome to the city.

Rising above the city was the Utah State Capitol building.

When viewed from a much closer vantage point, the Capitol, set on over 40 acres, with beautifully maintained and sculpted lawns, trees, flowerbeds, and shrubs, presents an impressive picture.

The building was constructed between 1912 and 1916, using granite from nearby Little Cottonwood Canyon. The dome is covered with Utah copper.

By chance, located opposite the Capitol was the Visitors' Center. Two majestic buffaloes also served as greeters.

The Herd About Buffalo public art campaign became a focus of civic pride and a successful fund-raiser for Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the Burchfield-Penney Art Center.

The project officially ended in October 2000 with auctions of the statues, but some of the 154 members of the herd still roam the city. They've become landmarks, beloved "pets" and businesses' trademarks.

After obtaining a city map from the Visitors' Center, we had a brief introduction to the grid system of the city's streets. The origin of the grid is located downtown, on the southeast corner of Temple Square.

Street addresses are coordinates within the grid system in intervals of 100 every street. Simply put, an address, e.g., "840 South 1300 East," . . . well, I'm not sure I can explain it even after driving around the city.

Fortunately, SLC is very car-friendly due to wide, straight roads. So wide, in fact, that we could park the truck on the street in metered spots that were as long and wide as the truck.

The city received high marks for ease of getting around.

The photos were taken on a walk around the downtown area. The city was pedestrian-friendly with benches and trees on Main Street.

We were struck by the number of historic buildings and their well-maintained exteriors. There was a clear interest displayed on restoring and maintaining the elegance of these buildings.

Even when we found these older gems paired with more modern neighbors, the matches seemed to embellish both.

And there was a considerable amount of construction going on downtown. Some signs were dramatic as in the case of this fellow's work (left).

Other examples were more subtle as in the case of the slow "dances" of the multi-story cranes as they completed each maneuver in the construction process.

And woven among all the history and construction was the Utah Transit Authority's light rail system, or TRAX (above). This system also combined "old" and "new"--the old trolley cars and a modern urban rail system.

This walk-and-drive introduction to the city invited further exploration of Salt Lake City.

Now it was time to develop more specific plans to discover the offerings of the city.

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