ethel’s words

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THE OLD DAYS: EVEN PISSOIRS UNDERGROUND

During the Great Depression in The Thirties, when Salt Lake City’s government was rich, there were services for the City-zens, long gone.

In winter, horses pulling triangles of wood cleared snow off sidewalks. I don’t know how extensive the clearing was.

Two kinds of garbage were put out and no fee was charged. One of the garbage cans contained food waste (usually the nutritious parts of food) and that was picked up by a farmer (one or more?) who raised pigs. (On the sad side, autumn leaves were burned.)

In those rich days, the public parks provided entertainment, equipment for ping pong, tennis, and other games, handed out by the park’s attendant (or attendants). Swimming was provided even at Pioneer Park, accompanied by lifeguards--probably paid by the City.

Downtown were two conveniences (at least two) built under the street, adjacent to sidewalks. Pissoirs underground! They were well-built, quality-tile lined, and always clean. They probably are intact, under the street: one at the southeast corner of Temple Square--that is, South Temple and Main, right beside the sidewalk. The other was at the northeast corner of Third South and State Street--east of State and south of the Third South (Broadway) sidewalk.

But over the decades, as more and more of the City fell to non-tax-paying so-called “non-profits” (what a joke) and churches, these services disappeared, along with many free offerings at City parks, including swimming and tennis at Pioneer Park.

Pissoirs underground don’t sound enticing, but as we cover our beautiful mountains with housing and asphalt to accommodate population growth, we may have to provide pissoirs as New York City has done. Wouldn’t it be remarkable if the old undergrounds could be restored (what a fun archeological dig!) with sunshine and fresh air (fresh air from where?) provided by modern technology.

Ethel C. Hale