Then & Now: A Historical Photo Comparison of Downtown Salt Lake City

Contained within the J. Willard Marriott Library’s Special Collections are thousands of historical photographs depicting areas of Utah as it once was. As time has progressed, many of these features have been destroyed to make way for future developments, resulting in the history of an area being lost or forgotten.
In an effort to recover this lost history and reconstruct a vision of our past, the GIS Services unit, in collaboration with metadata Librarian Ken Rockwell, teamed up to create an interactive geospatial interface displaying historical photographs and modern day screenshots for a comparative analysis of each location. Utilizing Google Earth to plot each photograph in its appropriate geospatial location along with a comparative screenshot obtained from Google Street View, viewers are able to view how the area in each photograph appeared in the past and how it appears today.
This project demonstrates the importance of preserving our local history. By examining changes to an area over the course of several decades, an image is depicted demonstrating where we are and where we have come.
This project can be viewed through a direct link to Google Earth (KMZ).
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  • Elizabeth Giraud
    Posted at 18:17h, 19 September Reply

    What collection(s) would I find these photographs in at Marriott Library? Thank you.

    • Rachel Riter
      Posted at 21:14h, 20 September Reply

      Hi Elizabeth,

      The historical photos were primarily from the Shiplers Commercial Photographers. Some are from the State Historical Society’s collection (which we host on our servers), but most were from our own collection of Shipler photos, called Shipler Studio Photograph Collection.

  • Elizabeth Giraud
    Posted at 21:46h, 20 September Reply

    Thank you so much, Rachel. I enjoyed the map and photographs of the post.

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