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In the late 1800s, the neighborhood around 900 East and 900 South became one of Salt Lake City’s first suburbs.
People interested in escaping the crowded downtown area set their sights on this former agricultural area. They built homes on the narrow, deep lots — first in the decorative Victorian and Tudor styles, then later in more modest Prairie or Craftsman designs.
But unlike other Salt Lake City neighborhoods — such as the Avenues or Sugar House — the 9th and 9th neighborhood has no historical protections, said David Amott, executive director of Preservation Utah.
“This is a neighborhood that everyone recognizes as a treasure,” he said, “but it’s largely unprotected and has seen quite a lot of redevelopment.”
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It’s one of the reasons the nonprofit heritage organization is showcasing the 9th and 9th neighborhood during its 50th Annual Historic Home Tour on Sept. 18. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the event. Masks will be required in all indoor spaces.
“We wanted to highlight this neighborhood,” said Ammot, “so visitors and the people who live there could see what a fragile resource 9th and 9th really is.”
The tour runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is being held in conjunction with the 9th and 9th Street Festival, which features food trucks, arts and craft vendors, games and activities for families and children.
Those who register for the home tour will receive a map to the five houses, each representing different styles, said Amott. “The diversity is what makes the neighborhood so appealing — even today.”
Amott said a trolley stop and business district — which still stands — fueled the first wave of homes. Then came the invention of the automobile, which made the whole idea of living in the suburbs possible.
“It’s easy to tell how the home construction transitioned from the late 19th century into the 20th century, he said. “The old Victorian tradition mixed with the needs of the modern family, which had new technology” such as electric stoves and washing machines.
While the homes on the Preservation Utah tour have been painstakingly preserved by their owners, some of the original houses in the area have been lost over the past decade, said Amott, especially as the popularity of the neighborhood has increased.
“Desirability,” he said, “leads to redevelopment.”
And, if left unchecked, that’s something that could ultimately destroy the historic nature of this iconic bedroom community.