Amazing Ogden Historical Find in the DI Box

Shelly and Dave Hestand with the picture

Bob DeBoer worked at Weber State University for years, including when I covered the place, so when he died last September I was, of course saddened.

And I’m not saying I’m glad, now, that he’s dead, but we did just get this really cool picture from his kids, with promise of more to come.

How cool? Wow, very cool.

The picture is a panoramic shot taken in 1923 of the artesian wells in Ogden Valley. These wells used to supply much of Ogden’s drinking water. The park they were in was also a popular recreational destination.

Bob’s daughter, Shelly, is married to Dave Hestand, a Facebook friend. He said as the kids have been going through Bob’s stuff they’re sorting out what they don’t want and putting it in the Deseret Industries box. That, Dave said, is where he spotted this picture, and grabbed it.

On the back it has stickers saying it belonged to the Hotel Bigelow, which was located where the Ben Lomond Hotel is today. There’s a handwritten notation that it is also the property of the Chamber of Commerce.

I showed the picture to Ward Armstrong in the Browning Arms Museum here at Union Station. He remembers the artesian park as being off cemetery point in Huntsville, about where the three arms of Pineview Reservoir come together. This particular view, he said appears to have been taken looking southeast from a point about where the yacht club harbor is now.

1919 Ogden Standard

I did a little digging and found that Goshen Studio was run by George W. Goshen. He did the usual society photos, high school graduations and the like, but he was also a regular photographer for businesses and government agencies promoting Ogden.

1919 Ogden Standard

From news accounts, he was always there with his camera to shoot promotional pictures to show the rest of the world how fun Utah was. Need a movie of bathing beauties at a local resort? He was there.

Group of businessmen touring Utah? He went along.

In 1919 Goshen shot movies of the 50th Anniversary of the Driving of the Golden Spike at Promontory wouldn’t you give a body part or two to see those films today? I sure would.

Which is why Goshen was taking pictures of the city’s artesian wells. The city’s water was nationally famous, Ward Armstrong said, and worth publicizing.

The artesian wells are gone now, of course. In 1934 the Pineview Dam was built, flooding much of the lowland of the valley and burying the wells. Ward said they were still visible in the 1950s when the reservoir was emptied so the dam could be built higher.