Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service

Archives Building on Capitol Hill, 1984-2004

Written by Glen Fairclough in February 2004

Archives Building

Archives Building on Capitol Hill

Research Center Quilt

Star Quilt in Research Center

Archives Research Center

Research Center Books

Microfilm Camera

Microfilm Camera

State Road Laboratory Building (Road Commission Annual Report)

Historic Photos of Building


Utah's 64-year-old State Archives Building, which houses the Division of Archives and Records Service, originally was constructed in 1939. The Utah State Archives moved its administration, records management, and micrographics, sections from the Capitol basement into the refurbished, two-story building in the northwest corner of the Capitol grounds in February 1984.

In the archives research center, situated on the main floor just inside the south entrance, researchers have easy access to many state and local government records. A catalog, agency histories, and finding aids such as series inventories and indexes assist researchers in locating public information. Lockers, large research tables, a photocopier, several microfilm reader-printers, and a personal computer with Internet access are available for public use. A collection of Utah history books is also accessible in the research center along with the records management and archival resources included among the holdings of the staff library. Reference copies of microfilm are stored in a vault near the research center are easily accessible.

The public research center opened on March 10, 1986, about two years after the archives moved into the building. An open house for the convenient new facility was held March 28. The archives contracted with Utah Correctional Industries to build the bookshelves, tables, chairs, and filing cabinets which furnish the room. The eye-catching quilt hanging on the west wall behind the reference desk was made for the research room by Adeline Leonard Wakefield Starr (1908-2004 ) of Huntington, Utah, in 1985. The space now occupied by the research center space previously had been used for storage of master microfilm. Prior to the opening of the archives research center, researchers had to travel to the offsite records center in West Valley City located about ten miles southwest of the Capitol.

Microfilm operations, also conducted on the ground floor, include document preparation rooms, several camera rooms, a darkroom, a developing lab, a microfilm copy center, two microfilm inspection and quality control stations, and a computer data entry station.

The facility also houses a main floor conference room and an upstairs training room and break room, rest rooms, and offices for employees of the division's administration, records analysis, and patron services sections.

The Division of Administrative Rules, which was created within the Division of Archives in September 1984 and became independent the following year, continued to share office space in the building until moving into the remodeled State Office Building in 1993.
Prior to becoming the home of the Archives, the building's long history includes occupancy by several other state agencies.

The structure initially was designed as a laboratory building for the twenty-year-old Materials Department of the State Road Commission, which was operating out of the Capitol basement. It was designed by the Bridge Department and built under its supervision. The contract was let in December 1938 and the building was completed and occupied in September 1939. The federal Public Works Association participated in the building's construction costs. The new building enabled Materials Department operations to be concentrated under one roof. It provided facilities for the making of chemical analysis, and for the testing of cement, oil, gasoline, and soils; together with ample space for the efficient handling and testing of gravel, steel, and other construction materials. The Materials Department occupied the building until moving to its new laboratory facilities in 1965.

Following a $250,000 remodeling project undertaken especially to meet the needs of the State Chemist, the former State Road Testing Building at 30 East 4th North became home to four laboratory divisions of the Department of Agriculture in 1966. The General Laboratory or Office State Chemist, which moved from the Capitol basement where it had been for 34 years, was joined in the enlarged structure by the Weights and Measures Office and Laboratory, the Seed Laboratory, and the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. The Weights and Measures Office and Laboratory moved into a new weights and measures center, which was completed in October 1975. The agriculture laboratories remained in the building until the completion of the new Department of Agriculture building, which was dedicated September 17, 1982.


Utah Department of Agriculture, Annual Reports, Series 178; Report of the Utah State Department of Agriculture, 1970, Agricultural Laboratories, page 12.

Utah Department of Agriculture, Annual Reports, Series 178; Report of the Utah State Department of Agriculture, 1972, Agricultural Laboratories, page 33.

Utah Department of Agriculture, Annual Reports, Series 178; State of Utah Department of Agriculture Biennial Report, 1976 [Special Bicentennial Report], report of the Division of Agricultural Laboratories, page 27; report of the Division of Animal Industry, Diagnostic Laboratory, page 36; report of the Division of marketing and Consumer Services, Weights and Measures, page 56.

Utah Department of Agriculture, Annual Reports, Series 178; State of Utah Department of Agriculture Biennial Report, July 1, 1982 to June 30, 1984, page 2.

Utah Secretary of State, Compiled Digest of Administrative Reports, Series 3530; Report of the State Road Commission of Utah, Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1965, page 97.

Utah Secretary of State, Public Documents Serial Set, Series 240; Sixteenth Biennial Report of the State Road Commission, 1939-1940, page 47.