Local authors find 'Lost Ogden' for new book

Wednesday , November 04, 2015 - 11:38 AM5 comments

OGDEN — If there were a lost and found for memories in the Ogden area, it would be called Weber State University Special Collections.

The department at WSU’s Stewart Library has long been a repository for all sorts of historical photographs and other documents from this neck of the Northern Utah woods. And now, two members of the Special Collections team have authored a book that rediscovers long-forgotten buildings and businesses from the area.

“Lost Ogden,” by Sarah Langsdon and Melissa Johnson, is a photograph collection that “reveals the stories of the Ogden that once was,” according to the book’s back cover. It features nearly 200 black-and-white archival photos from Special Collections, taken of buildings in Ogden that have either been torn down or drastically altered since the early 20th century.

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“These are amazing photographs,” said Langsdon, who is curator of Special Collections. “When people say, ‘Where’s that building, where did that Ogden building go?’ I can usually point to a spot in the book and say, ‘Here’s a photo of it.’ ”

The book is part of the “Images of America” series by Arcadia Publishing, based in Charleston, S.C. According to Jenni Tyler, marketing specialist with Arcadia, the series has featured cities in all 50 states.

“We’ve hit most of the major cities, now we’re doing some of the smaller ones,” she said.

Previous books in the “Images of America” series from the Beehive State have included “South Davis County,” “Salt Lake City 1890-1930,” “The Avenues,” “Fort Douglas,” “Murray,” “West Valley City” and “Salt Lake City’s Historic Architecture.”

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Langsdon, who has co-authored two previous books for Arcadia, said “Lost Ogden” was an outgrowth of some oral history projects she and her Special Collections coworkers had tackled. The new book looks at buildings and businesses that were in Ogden between the 1920s and 1960s.

“What’s interesting is how much Ogden has changed, and yet it’s still the same,” she said.

The photographs are of more than just the downtown area, according to Langsdon. It includes buildings from the Five Points area on the north to South Ogden at the other end, and from the mountains to the lake. 

“So you understand there was more to Ogden than just the downtown corridor,” she said. “In fact, one of my favorite areas was the little stores that were once found on Polk Avenue.”

Langsdon said the book took about six to nine months to put together, using resources from Special Collections and local newspapers like the Standard-Examiner. All of the proceeds earned by Langsdon and Johnson will be donated to WSU’s Special Collections, “to help fund the care of the collections,” the curator said.

“For us, this is very much a promotion piece about Special Collections,” Langsdon said.

“Lost Ogden” was released in September. It retails for $21.99, and is available at Wisebird Bookery, The Queen Bee and Union Station Foundation, in Ogden; Burch Creek Mercantile in South Ogden; Smith and Edwards in Farr West; and through Amazon, Costco and Sam’s Club.

For more information about the project, call Special Collections at 801-626-6540.

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SEMarkSaal.

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