Feb 28, 2023 - News

Salt Lake City's Green Book stops

A dance hosted by the USO and YWCA, June 2, 1943. Photo courtesy: Utah State Historical Society.

For Black History Month, we're looking at some of the Salt Lake City sites featured in the 1966 edition of the "Travelers' Green Book."

Details: The annual guide, which was published from 1936–1966, identified lodging and restaurants Black Americans could travel safely to during the Jim Crow era of codified segregation and discrimination.

Context: Throughout this time, it was notoriously difficult for Black entertainers, including singer Ella Fitzgerald, to find lodging in Salt Lake City after performing in white-only hotels, as detailed by a 2020 story in Utah Historical Quarterly, which was published by the state's historical society.

Zoom in: Four hotels and the Young Women's Christian Association in Salt Lake City were featured in the 1966 travel guide. All but one of the sites have since been demolished or converted for other uses.

  • The Sam Sneed Hotel, later named the Jenkins Hotel and also featured in the guide, was at 250 S. West Temple. The site is now a parking lot across the street from the Radisson Hotel downtown.
  • The St. Louis Hotel (242½ W. South Temple) was located on the same block as the Sam Sneed Hotel and no longer exists.
  • The site of the old Harlem Hotel (528½ West 2nd St.) is no longer there and the area is under construction.
  • While the address is different, the YWCA (306 East 3rd St.) is still located on the same corner.

The bottom line: While most of these locations no longer stand, they're a stark reminder of the few spaces where Black Americans felt safe in Utah's capital city nearly 57 years ago.


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