The National Register of Historic Places is the official federal list of properties that are significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, or engineering.
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The Escalante Historic District is located in the town of Escalante, Utah, and comprises the boundaries most of the entire platted city. Escalante is a small community on the eastern side of Garfield County in south-central Utah. Of the 289 resources in the district, 124 (or approximately 43 percent) are contributing.
The district is historically significant under Criterion A in the areas of Agriculture, Commerce, Community Planning and Development, Exploration/Settlement, and Social History, in that it reflects the evolution of Escalante from isolated settlement to thriving agricultural center to remote, economically challenged community.
The themes of Escalante’s historic district – settlement, prosperity, and transition – reflect Escalante’s rapid growth and decline. The earliest buildings manifest the challenges of providing reliable shelter, employing basic materials with simple floor plans and relatively little ornamentation. Buildings from Escalante’s period of prosperity reflect a growing wealth and stability, with a broader range of materials, larger spaces, and greater ornamentation. And buildings from the last period (decline and transition) show a return to simpler, more basic (less expensive) housing, with an increasing reliance on manufactured housing.
The historic and architectural resources in the district are eligible based on the following areas of significance:
Agriculture (the rise and fall of the livestock industry); Commerce (the concentration of economic activity and dependence on one industry); Community Planning and Development (the application of distinct elements of Mormon town planning); Exploration/Settlement (the unique “hybrid” factors behind settlement); Social History (the adoption of prevailing architectural styles in spite of the community’s remoteness).
The Escalante Historic District is eligible under Criterion C, as well, in that its architecture reflects the various periods of local development (settlement, prosperity, and transition) and the changes in that development (i.e. relative prosperity or paucity) that affected the styles and types of buildings. In addition, the district shows how a remote community such as Escalante still followed architectural patterns found in other rural Utah communities – that even in the absence of immediate stylistic influences or readily available materials, residents of Escalante still adopted and applied prevailing styles and types of buildings. And, finally, Criterion C applies to the Escalante Historic District because of the prevalence of outbuildings – in particular, “backhouses” – that reflect the “holistic” nature of Mormon settlement more completely than other communities.
The period of significance runs from 1878—the date of the oldest existing building—through 1963—the figurative end of Escalante’s isolation. The completion of SR-12 in the late 1950s created a real transportation connection to the “outside world” and impacted Escalante not only economically – by creating new opportunities and reducing the costs and challenges of transportation – but also architecturally – by facilitating the import of a different kind of home: the mobile and manufactured home. It’s safe to say that the completion of the highway had as profound an effect on the architecture of the historic district as any preceding event or condition.
The Lagoon Amusement Park in Farmington, Utah, is the fifth oldest continuously operating amusement park in the United States.1 It is the only extant historic amusement park in the state of Utah. Established in the era of the streetcar (trolley) parks, the one-hundred and twenty-six year history of Lagoon represents the park’s successful transition from a summer bathing resort, to a mechanical amusement park, to a modern-day theme park. In order to adequately illustrate Lagoon’s evolution, the period of historic significance extends from the park’s beach resort beginning in 1886 to the park’s acquisition of the open-air museum known as Pioneer Village in 1976.
The Lagoon Carousel, manufactured circa 1913, and installed at the Lagoon Amusement Park in 1918, has statewide significance as the only historic hand-carved wood carousel currently operating in Utah. The carousel is significant under the National Register of Historic Places Criterion A, for its association with the transformation of the Lagoon Amusement Park in Farmington, Utah, from a summer bathing resort to a modern mechanical amusement park in the first half of the twentieth century. The carousel is the oldest operating ride at the park. Of an estimated 3,000 American carousels in operation in the first half of the twentieth century, the Lagoon Carousel is one of only two-hundred surviving examples. It is significant in the area of Entertainment/Recreation as a representative of the Golden Age of American carousels. The Lagoon Carousel meets the eligibility requirements of the Multiple Property Submission, Historic Resources of the Lagoon Amusement Park, 1886–1976. The period of historic significance, from 1913 to 1963, spans the following four contextual periods: Lagoon Summer Resort and Picnic Grounds Period; 1896–1918, Mechanical Amusement Park Period, 1919–1945; Post-War Modernization Period, 1946–1955; and Theme Park Expansion Period, 1956–1976.
The Lagoon Flying Scooter, installed at the Lagoon Amusement Park in 1941, is significant statewide under Criteria A and C for its association with the inventor, Alvin Bisch, and the manufacturer, the Bisch-Rocco Amusement Company. The Flying Scooter was an amusement park ride invented by Alvin Bisch in 1934 and produced by him and his partner, Ralph Rocco, between 1935 and the early 1960s, and sold to parks throughout the United States. The Flying Scooter was unique among amusement park rides of the period in that it provided the rider a means to change the trajectory of the ride with a pivoting rudder. This interactivity and control over the ride experience continues to be rare for the amusement ride industry even today and contributes to the ride’s ongoing popularity. The ride is significant in the areas of Invention, Engineering, and Entertainment/Recreation. Currently there are only twelve extant Flying Scooters manufactured by the Bisch-Rocco Amusement Company in operation. The Lagoon Flying Scooter is the oldest example of the ride in continuous operation at the same park as its first installation. It retains its historic integrity in terms of location, design, association, and the historic ride experience. The Lagoon Flying Scooter is also significant under Criterion A for its association with the transformation of the Lagoon Amusement Park from a summer resort pleasure garden to a modern amusement park in the first half of the twentieth century. The ride meets the eligibility requirements of the Multiple Property Submission, Historic Resources of the Lagoon Amusement Park, 1886 ─ 1976. The period of historic significance from 1941 to the 1962 reconstruction spans three contextual periods: Mechanical Amusement Park Period, 1919 – 1945; Post-War Modernization Period, 1946 – 1955; and Theme Park Period, 1956 – 1976.
The Lagoon Roller Coaster, built in 1921, at the Lagoon Amusement Park in Farmington, Utah, is significant statewide under Criterion C in the area of Engineering as a rare extant example of the work of master roller coaster designer John A. Miller. John A. Miller is widely regarded as the most prolific and innovative coaster designer of the twentieth century. During his nearly fifty-year career, Miller designed 140 coasters and filed over 100 patents related to coaster technology and ride safety. The Lagoon Roller Coaster is one of only seven surviving and operating historic coasters designed John A. Miller. The Lagoon coaster was constructed in his most productive period during his partnership with engineer Harry C. Baker. The firm of Miller & Baker Inc. designed thirty-nine coasters between 1920 and 1923. The Lagoon coaster is one of only three extant examples of the company’s work. It is the third oldest surviving example of John A. Miller’s work and features many of the ride and safety innovations that Miller invented in the first half of his career. The Lagoon Roller Coaster has had only minor modifications, mostly in-kind replacement materials, since its original 1921 construction, and retains its historic integrity in terms of location, setting, design, workmanship, and the feeling of a traditional wooden roller coaster. The Lagoon Roller Coaster is currently the sixth oldest operating roller coaster in the world and the fourth oldest in the United States.
The Lagoon Roller Coaster is also significant under National Register of Historic Places Criterion A, for its association with the transformation of the Lagoon Amusement Park from a summer resort pleasure garden to a modern amusement park in the first half of the twentieth century. The coaster was built at the beginning of a phase of the park’s history marked by the incorporation of new technologies to enhance the patron’s experience. The coaster’s station and lift hill were destroyed by a 1953 fire that ravaged half of the park. The rebirth of the park after the fire began a second period of expansion and modernization, of which the wooden roller coaster remained an important element. The Lagoon Roller Coaster is Utah’s only extant traditional roller coaster. It is one of only twelve surviving coasters out of approximately 1,500 that were built during America’s Golden Age of roller coasters in the 1920s. The roller coaster is significant in the area of Entertainment/Recreation as a representative of that era and meets the eligibility requirements of the Multiple Property Submission, Historic Resources of the Lagoon Amusement Park, 1886 ─ 1976. The period of historic significance from 1921 to the 1954 reconstruction spans three contextual periods of the Multiple Property Submission: Mechanical Amusement Park Period, 1919 – 1945; the Post-War Modernization Period, 1946 – 1955; and the Theme Park Transition Period, 1956 – 1976.
Click here to see the entire Lagoon Roller Coaster National Register nomination and photos (pdf file)