Capitol Grounds Commission Minute book
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Dates: i 1888-1896.
These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.
An agency history is available.
Scope and Content
On 6 March 1888, a legislative act created the Board of Commissioners on Capitol Grounds with the principle duties of taking possession of capitol grounds conveyed by Salt Lake City to Utah Territory; to grade, fence, lay off, improve, and beautify that land; to construct a reservoir in conjunction with the city to supply water to those grounds and any buildings later erected there; and to test stone and obtain plans, estimates, and specifications for a territorial capitol building and any related structures. This book contains the minutes of that commission from 31 March 1888 to 30 January 1896. A copy of the act creating the commission precedes the minutes.
Entries were made by the secretary of the commission and signed by the chairman. The first secretary was hired, George Blair, who served through April 1892. In October 1891, it was found that "the Secretary has not been recording the Minutes of the Commission in a record book considered not Suitable for the purpose; and have instructed him to Secure a Suitable book for that purpose; and Copy the Minutes in the same as suggested by the Commission." (p. 48). This volume is apparently that second copy. In June 1892, the paid secretarial position was abolished for reasons of economy under the limited appropriation made by the legislature that year. Minutes were henceforth kept by one of the members, Joseph Stanford, serving as secretary.
Each entry gives the date, place, and time of the meeting. The first entry lists the names of the members. Thereafter there is simply notation of a roll call and whether or not a quorum was present. Time of adjournment and date of the next meeting is noted at the end of each entry; the daily business is detailed in between.
Business includes reports on bids received and awarded for such things as grading and fencing. Setting the secretary's salary, arranging for members' per diems, and obtaining supplies also were among the first orders of business. Construction of the reservoir and pipelines in City Creek was a major topic. There are regular engineer reports on costs, specifications, and progress. Bids were taken and progress noted on planting and mowing lawn, planting trees, etc. What species of trees and where on the grounds they were planted are specified. Stone for a building was tested and such minor structures as an equipment shed were built. Capitol building plans were solicited from architectural firms in 1889-1890 and a recommendation made to the legislature on the selection; the plan was approved with modifications. Preparation for expanded roadways in conjunction with the grounds is also noted. Commission business matters, such as the keeping and auditing of the books, are also discussed, particularly in conjunction with the transition from George Blair to Joseph Stanford.
Reports to the legislature for 1888-1890 and 1890-1891, summarizing the commission's activities and including complete financial statements, are copied into the minutes. Reports to the 1894 and 1896 sessions are mentioned but not included, as plans were made to have them typewritten.
In 1894 the commission recommended that construction begin on one wing of the territorial capitol. The issuing of territorial bonds to finance construction passed the House but was killed in the Senate. Maintenance of the grounds was continued for two years on limited funding; there were no funds for further improvement. No entries are made in the minutes from 5 April 1894 to 30 January 1896. Following statehood on 4 January 1896, the commission met for the last time on the 30th to summarize the activities of the last two years, arrange to prepare a report to the governor, and to settle the financial accounts. The commission dissolved and no further plans were made for a building until the creation of a new state Capitol Commission in 1909 to once again begin the process of obtaining plans.
Account ledger from the Capitol Grounds Commission, Series 1130, contains accounts of financial transactions discussed in these minutes.
This series is classified as Public.
Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.
- Public buildings—Salt Lake City (Utah).
- Capitol Hill (Salt Lake City, Utah)—Water-supply.
- Utah—Capital and capitol—Planning.
- City Creek Reservoir (Utah).
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