Last week’s earthquake rattled bricks and facades off of historic buildings from Magna’s Main Street to Salt Lake City’s university neighborhood, according to a list compiled by Utah Division of State History.
Architectural historian staffers from the division have found 126 historic buildings damaged in Wednesday’s magnitude 5.7 earthquake or the aftershocks that followed. The list includes public and religious structures along with private buildings such as the Almon Covey House at 1211 E. 100 South — 111 years old and 16 miles from the epicenter of the quake.
Not all the buildings suffered structural damage.
Christopher Merritt, the state’s historic preservation officer, said staffers did quick, external examinations of buildings to compile the list.
“Once we know which historic buildings are damaged,” Merritt wrote in an email, “that can allow streamlining of service delivery if the state/federal monies are used.”
The list brings the scope of last week’s earthquake, Utah’s largest since 1992, into focus. There were no deaths, and while perhaps only about 100 of the Wasatch Front’s 2 million residents have been displaced, much wider swaths of home and business owners have had to pick up loose bricks or fallen plaster.
On Wednesday, at the Jackson Apartments, near 270 West and 200 South in Salt Lake City, a contractor was removing a brick chimney that became a hazard after the earthquake. The 105-year-old building was constructed in 1914 and is on the Division of State History’s tally of damaged properties.
“It’s just kind of rickety, and that’s why they’re removing it today," said a Jackson Apartments employee who would identify herself only as Tammy. She said a few tenants had been displaced because of concerns about the chimney falling.
On Tuesday, the state launched a website dedicated to the earthquake at dem.utah.gov/earthquake.
The site has information on where to report damage and how to handle anxiety. It also notes that “no government funding is currently available to help with repair costs.”
The highest concentration of damaged historic properties was in Magna, where Main Street is a collection of real estate artifacts from the town’s mining heyday. Magna Mayor Dan Peay on Tuesday said Main Street has been opened to vehicle traffic, but many sidewalks remain closed.
“Our biggest concern," Peay said, "is someone doesn’t walk down the sidewalk and we have another little tremor and the brick falls off.”
None of the historic properties in Magna had earthquake insurance due to the high premiums, Peay said. Some property owners are waiting for state or federal money for disaster relief or funds set aside to help historic buildings, Peay said. Others are paying for cleanup or repairs out of their pockets.
The original Colosimo’s sausage store is one of the damaged properties on Main Street. Brothers Danny and Charlie Colosimo wrote Monday on Facebook that the building sustained no structural damage.
They have hired an engineering firm to make repairs and hope to open as soon as they can, given the ongoing concerns about the coronavirus.
“We are not, I repeat, not folding up our tent," the brothers wrote, “and calling it quits.”