Letter: We’re losing Salt Lake’s architectural and cultural history

(Jeremy Harmon | The Salt Lake Tribune) Ken Sanders outside his book store in Salt Lake City on Jan. 16, 2020.

Like so many others, I find the news of Ken Sanders inevitably closing his downtown bookstore to be devastating.

It seems every time we blink, more of Salt Lake City’s rich architectural and cultural history is being replaced by a boxy concrete development inexplicably given a woman’s name from the early 20th century.

This, however, feels different. For the last 50 years, Ken Sanders has been a collector of all things Salt Lake City, thus becoming the ipso facto mainstay of our beautifully weird counterculture. Everything about this news and development feels like the city’s heartbeat is about to cease.

Not surprisingly, the overlord of cookie-cutter tract homes and McMansions already littering Utah’s landscape, Ivory Homes, is the culprit. As untouched and undiscovered as we feel here in Salt Lake City, a corporation is coming in to push people around and smother history in its path.

Anyone who knows Ken or has even visited his store is familiar with his personal connection to Edward Abbey and “The Monkey Wrench Gang.” The disease of corporate greed and sprawl that Abbey fought against has now come after his friend, Ken, and his passions for good books, collectables and a unique little store to hold them all.

It’s seemingly too late. The time has come and gone. We the residents of this great city must make the decision just like Abbey and his gang did in the desert so long ago: If we don’t stand up to it now, when will we?

Sam Warchol, Salt Lake City

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