“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Salt Lake City in Salt Lake County, Utah — The American Mountains (Southwest)

Social Hall


Original building, 1852; Glass monument, 1992

Social Hall Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bryan R. Bauer, August 27, 2010
1. Social Hall Marker
Inscription. This glass enclosure marks the site of Social Hall, Utah’s first theater. Mormon
settlers built the Social Hall in 1852, just five years after their arrival in the Salt Lake Valley. The simple adobe building was evidence of the strong tradition of theater in Mormon culture. The original Social Hall was demolished in 1922. In 1990, workers discovered the hall’s foundation while excavating for a walkway beneath State Street. Two years later, a glass structure mirroring the original size and shape of Social Hall was built on top of the foundation. To see the Social Hall foundation and an exhibit about the building, enter the glass structure and proceed to the basement level.
Erected by Utah Heritage Foundation. (Marker Number 8.)
Location. 40° 46.084′ N, 111° 53.277′ W. Marker is in Salt Lake City, Utah, in Salt Lake County. Marker is at the intersection of State Street (Highway 89) and Social Hall Avenue, on the right when traveling north on State Street. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 51 South State Street, Salt Lake City UT 84111, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Social Hall (here, next to this marker); The Salt Lake Theatre
Social Hall Museum image. Click for full size.
By Bryan R. Bauer, August 27, 2010
2. Social Hall Museum
(about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); A Private School House (about 500 feet away); Eagle Gate 1859 (about 600 feet away); The Bee-Hive House (about 600 feet away); The Lion House (about 600 feet away); Brigham Young’s Office (about 600 feet away); Beehive House (about 600 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Salt Lake City.
More about this marker. This building is Tour Stop 8 on the Utah Heritage Foundation Downtown Walking Tour.
Regarding Social Hall. Photo #3 Caption:
The Social Hall
Utah’s first theater, the Social Hall, was built on this site under the direction of Brigham Young during the summer of and fall of 1852. During the next ten years, the Social Hall served as a favorite place for plays, dances, socials, and many community needs. After the Deseret Dramatic Association moved its performances to the Salt Lake Theater in 1862, the Social Hall became a church cultural hall, then a school, a gymnasium and library, and, finally, once again a theater. The building
The Original Building - The Social Hall image. Click for full size.
By Bryan R. Bauer, August 27, 2010
3. The Original Building - The Social Hall
was closed in December 1921 and then torn down.

Photo #4 Caption:
Gymnasium and Library
In 1893, Maud May Babcock outfitted the upstairs of the Social Hall as the Utah School of Physical Culture, the first fully equipped gymnasium in Utah. The Mutual Improvement Associations of the LDS Salt Lake Stake added a library reading room in the lower level and managed the gymnasium after 1898.
Construction of the Deseret Gymnasium on the LDS Church Administration block in 1910 once again left the Social Hall seeking a tenant. It was used for lectures, an art gallery, church cafeteria, a University of Utah teachers’ training school, a Red Cross volunteer center, and for various kinds of amateur plays and entertainment before it was renovated in 1918 for the University of Utah’s “Little Theater”
Varsity Theater
After forty years of serving other purposes, in 1918 the Social Hall was renovated for use as a theater.
The building was loaned to the University of Utah for use as a drama class laboratory. The architectural firm of Miller, Woolley, and Evans restored the building to its original use by fitting out the interior for a theater. The exterior was replastered and painted yellow and white. Actors used the dressing rooms on both sides of the behind-stage Green Room, and in the basement. Narrow stairs
School Uses of Social Hall image. Click for full size.
By Bryan R. Bauer, August 27, 2010
4. School Uses of Social Hall
connected the two levels. A plaque on the new front porch announced the schedule of plays offered by the University of Utah’s student “Varsity Players.”
During two seasons, September to April students offered entertaining plays at popular prices and featured visiting directors and actors.
This renovation postponed demolition of the building for three years. After a futile search for a tenant the building was closed in December 1921 and the torn down the following year.
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicEntertainmentSettlements & Settlers
Excavation of the Original Footings image. Click for full size.
By Bryan R. Bauer, August 27, 2010
5. Excavation of the Original Footings
"Scandalous" Women's Workout Outfit image. Click for full size.
By Bryan R. Bauer, August 27, 2010
6. "Scandalous" Women's Workout Outfit
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bryan R. Bauer of Kearns, Ut 84118. This page has been viewed 632 times since then and 41 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Bryan R. Bauer of Kearns, Ut 84118. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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