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Outrage in Salt Lake City after a historic structure was improperly demolished



Salt Lake City, Utah – Residents of Salt Lake City were incensed when the demolition of a historic structure began on Easter Sunday, turning it into a focal point of dispute.

The Fifth Ward Meetinghouse, which is historic and is situated at 740 S. 300 West, is now in ruins as a result of improper destruction that started early on Sunday morning without demolition permission ever being obtained.

The neighborhood’s residents were disappointed by this.

“I’ve been watching this sitting empty, wondering what was going to happen with it, being terrified that it was going to become one of those ugly boxes that our city keeps putting up,” resident Kelly Colobella said.

The 1910-era historic structure is now in parts, with its cornerstone serving as a reminder of its illustrious past.

The meetinghouse provided services to a wide range of people, including at one stage, mostly churchgoers who were Native Americans.

Over the years, it underwent numerous changes after the church sold it.
Colobella reflected on its previous incarnations, which included a rock and punk club called The Pompadour in the 1990s and a Tibetan temple, among many other places.

“Started coming here when I was like 13 probably, and I saw a lot of really good bands here,” she said. “I saw Nirvana play here; yeah, it’s like where I fell in love with music.”

Residents were taken aback by the building’s demolition on Sunday, especially since it wasn’t planned to be demolished at all.

No building permits were issued for the address, according to city officials, which prompted an immediate response.

Officials from Salt Lake City stated in a statement:

“The City was alerted by multiple sources of an illegal demolition occurring at 740 S 300 W, also known as the Fifth Ward Meetinghouse. There are currently no known building permits issued for this address, so a Stop Work Order was immediately posted at the site. The City will continue to monitor the site to ensure that no further work is done without the appropriate permits and inspections. City staff will reach out to the owner to work on a remedy that complies with the City’s historic preservation regulations.“

Nonetheless, pictures demonstrating the magnitude of the demolition demonstrate that the harm had already been done. Unauthorized demolition occurred to the structure, even though it was recognized as a local historic landmark and included in the National Registry of Historic Places in 1978. The historian Rachel Quist voiced her disappointment.

“It’s pretty insane because there’s a historic marker on the building, and to see it so blatantly destroyed on a weekend is pretty crazy,” she said.

Quist underlined the need to follow preservation guidelines, saying, “It is protected as historic by the municipal historic register. The Salt Lake City Historic Landmark Commission must approve a demolition permit granted by the city.

To assure adherence to historic preservation guidelines, Salt Lake City officials are currently in communication with the owner to address the matter.
But Colobella is still upset about what happened.

“Knowing it wasn’t supposed to be demolished and it’s just happening… that’s pretty infuriating,” she said.

So far, attempts to obtain a response from the real estate developer have not been fruitful. Due to its historic significance, the owner is required by local laws to restore the portion of the structure that has already been demolished.




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