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Placing Immigrants in Salt Lake City, 1900

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Placing Immigrants in Salt Lake City, 1900


In 1900, immigration to the United States was at an all-time high and rising. In the midst of the “second wave” of immigration (1883–1914), almost half a million people were arriving at America’s shores each year. That rate of increase doubled in the two decades after 1900. Foreign-born residents made up almost 14 percent of the US population. 1 These new Americans spread all over the country, enriching our cultural and economic geography. Many looked to settle on the remaining frontier lands in the Great Plains and upper Midwest, but most concentrated in cities, especially the entry ports of New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, as well as the industrial cities of the Great Lakes. 2

It is not surprising, therefore, that most studies of the urban geography of immigrants center in the Northeast. The historical narrative has often focused on the tendency of immigrants to segregate and concentrate in ethnic neighborhoods in the major cities of that region. 3 But what was distribution of the immigrant population in other places? Did they congregate in ethnic neighborhoods like those in large cities did?

Salt Lake City at the turn of the twentieth century is an interesting case study for several reasons. First, for a relatively small city compared to New York and Boston, it had a large number of foreign-born residents— about a third of its 60,000 residents. This proportion is less than the 40 percent in major eastern cities like New York, but higher than any city in the West, including even San Francisco at 29 percent. Second, the composition of the immigrant population in Utah was unique. A rapidly growing proportion of the immigrants who arrived in the United States in 1900 were from southern and eastern Europe (especially Italy, Austria-Hungary, Poland, and Russia), joining those who had arrived in the previous wave twenty years earlier, primarily from the United Kingdom and Germany. 4 However, the mix in Salt Lake City, with its continued influx of English immigrants and significant numbers from Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and even Switzerland, was very different from the new trends in the rest of the country. 5 (Table 1 and Figure 2)

The history of immigrants in Utah and Salt Lake City has been explored at length. William Mulder and others have documented the lives of Mormon converts in Scandinavia, including their establishment in Salt Lake City and other settlements. 6 Several studies have been done on Germans, including Mormon converts, Jews, and others. 7 Another commonly studied group has been the Chinese, which formed a very unique community in Salt Lake City despite their relatively small numbers. 8 Other works have placed these and other groups in a broader context; notably, Elliott Barkan’s From All Points compares the immigrant communities in Utah to groups in other areas of the American West, while the landmark volume The Peoples of Utah, published in 1976, highlights the common trends of the various ethnic groups in this state, as well as their unique experiences. 9 These and related studies share several broad findings. First, the experiences of immigrants in Utah were heavily influenced (directly and indirectly) by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, both as an institution and as a community of believers; whether an immigrant was “Mormon” or “Gentile” often had more influence on his or her subsequent life than which country or ethnic group he or she came from. Second, some immigrants made Utah their permanent home, while others came only temporarily.

Figure 1. Percentage of the population born outside the United States, 1900. All maps courtesy of Brandon Plewe.

Figure 1. Percentage of the population born outside the United States, 1900. All maps courtesy of Brandon Plewe.

Figure 2. Percentage of foreign-born residents from Great Britain (England, Wales, Scotland), 1900.

Figure 2. Percentage of foreign-born residents from Great Britain (England, Wales, Scotland), 1900.

Table 1. Proportion of the foreign-born population in 1900

United States - Great Britain 11.2%, Scandinavia 10.8%, Germany 25.5%, Ireland 15.5%, Canada 11.3%, Switzerland 1.1%, South+East Europe 19%, China 1%

Salt Lake County - Great Britain 47.9%, Scandinavia 31.6%, Germany 6.5%, Ireland 3%, Canada 2.7%, Switzerland 2.6%, South+East Europe 1.5%, China 1.3%

One shortcoming of past scholarship is that it has been based on a very selective sample of the entire immigrant community, as necessitated by the availability of historical documentation. For example, the successful immigrant in Utah society (e.g., church, government, business) tended to leave a larger paper trail than more common individuals did; institutions such as churches, societies, and businesses also tended to produce and preserve more records than did individuals.

The existing historical literature is largely missing a spatial perspective that can add essential information to little-discussed immigrant communities and individuals. Little is said in the literature about where immigrants lived, other than passing references to neighborhoods that rarely existed at the same time (e.g., Little Denmark in the 1850s, Greek Town in the 1920s). Where did they live and work? Who were their neighbors? Understanding the geography of the city can help gain a broader understanding of the experiences of its residents.

This essay presents a different but complementary perspective on the existing historical narrative by leveraging limited historical data retained in public records to gain an understanding of Salt Lake City’s turn-of-the-century immigrant population. Specifically, this study evaluates the geographic distribution of different groups of immigrants. The 1900 US census was the first to record street addresses in the city, enabling a detailed analysis that represented every resident of the city. This task presented several technical challenges, solved using a historical geographic information system (HGIS). 10

Mapping Salt Lake City in 1900

This project is not the first to study the historical geography of a city using individual-level census data, and some of the methods used herein are already in experimental but not common usage. Nigel Stephen Walford’s experiments in address-based mapping of neighborhoods in London from the 1901 and 1911 census developed a methodology that is generally similar to ours, if different in the details. 11 A similar but broader project is the detailed individual-level and neighborhood-level mapping of several American cities (not including Salt Lake City) over several census years by John Logan; one of the subsequent studies they were able to undertake using these datasets focused on the urban segregation of first-wave immigrants (from England, Ireland, and Germany) in the 1880 census, finding that they were moderately segregated in most cities—significantly less so than those arriving in later decades from different parts of Europe. 12 This project is currently expanding to include demographics in more cities between 1900 and 1930, but still not Salt Lake City. 13 Local individual-level historical GIS projects along the same lines are starting to appear in several places. 14

To map every resident mentioned in the 1900 census, it is first necessary to have a digital transcription of the complete census records. Using records from FamilySearch, we generated a database of 12,577 households in the municipality of Salt Lake City, with the demographic attributes of the persons in each household, including individual birthplaces, parent birthplaces, and year of immigration. 15 Street addresses from the 1900 census had to be entered manually. Enumerators appeared to be much less careful about the addresses than they were about other columns, and the way they were recorded in the form was less standardized than other fields. Omissions, misspellings, and other errors were common, which required significant human interpretation anyway. Fortunately, other sources were available to augment incomplete addresses, including a 1902 Polk city directory. 16 This directory only includes about a third of the households found in the census (its sample appeared to miss most of the immigrants, possibly due to a bias in favor of homeowners), but it was still helpful at times to clear up questions that arose from the census transcription, such as blank house numbers or street names.

To map the households listed in the census, one then needs to geocode the addresses. This is typically done using tools such as Google Maps or GIS software by comparing each address to a street map. In this street dataset, each block of a street is attributed with its range of address numbers, enabling the software to interpolate a location along the matching block and on the correct side of the street (since the even/odd standard, known as the “Philadelphia System” from its source in 1790, is practically universal across the United States).

Most of these tools only work with current street data, which does not always work with historical applications, due to the fact that street names and address numbering often changes over time. 17 This is especially true in our situation: about 90 percent of the streets in turn-of-the-century Salt Lake City had different names and/or addresses than they do now (or worse, no longer exist). (Figure 3) Salt Lake City had significantly changed its street naming system several times before and after 1900. In the 1890s, for example, the names of northsouth streets in the Avenues changed from trees to letters, and East Temple and First East became Main and State Streets. In the 1900 census, the old and new names both appear frequently. Sometime soon after 1900, the numbered east-west streets in the Avenues changed from “Street” to “Avenue.”

Figure 3. Salt Lake City street map, 1900. Streets with the same name and addressing in 2020 are shown in black; those that have changed are white.

Figure 3. Salt Lake City street map, 1900. Streets with the same name and addressing in 2020 are shown in black; those that have changed are white.

Figure 4. Location of all residents enumerated in the 1900 census that could be located by address.

Figure 4. Location of all residents enumerated in the 1900 census that could be located by address.

Significant alterations to the street naming system have occurred since the 1900 census. In about 1908, the haphazard naming of eastwest streets in the blossoming suburbs in the “Five-Acre Survey” between 9th and 12th (now 2100) South was standardized to the pattern of consistent names across the city (e.g., Emerson, Harvard, Ramona) in use today. About the same time, the mid-block courts of the central city were renumbered from a street-based system (having 1 and 2 at the beginning of the street) to the city-wide address system numbered from South Temple and Main Street. In 1916, the major east-west streets south of the city were renumbered to match their addressing, with 10th, 11th, and 12th South becoming 13th, 17th, and 21st South, respectively. 18

A major change came in the 1940s with the statewide adoption of the Lyman addressing system (developed by Richard R. Lyman, an LDS apostle, civil engineer, and city planner), which renamed grid streets according to their addresses (e.g., 2nd South became 200 South). 19 In 1972, Salt Lake City finally complied with the county-wide Lyman system, shifting the starting point of the numbering of the western and northern streets from North Temple to South Temple and from West Temple to Main Street, so that 4th West became 500 West (even though it had been 500 in house addresses all along). 20

Given these changes, geocoding the addresses of 1900 required building a historic street map of Salt Lake City. Fortunately, we had at our disposal several good primary sources, especially the 1898 Sanborn Fire Insurance maps and the 1902 Polk directory. 21 With these and other sources, the resultant map provided a nearly complete picture of Salt Lake City in 1900, albeit with some uncertainty in the newer suburbs to the west and south (e.g., Poplar Grove, Glendale, Sugar House) not covered by the Sanborn maps until 1911. The census addresses were then matched to the street data to estimate the locations of most of the households in the city, using a custom database query based on a standard geocoding algorithm. Using this method, about three quarters of the households in the city were successfully located.

The remaining households turned out to have more significant challenges. These challenges included street names that could not be found in the street data (usually new subdivisions on the edges of the city not covered in the Sanborn maps), households for which the census taker neglected to record the house number or street name, and households for which either of those was unreadable. These difficult-to-identify households were researched individually, using sources such as the city directory, houses shown with addresses on the Sanborn maps, and manual estimation of locations described only approximately (e.g., “2nd West between 10th and 11th South”).

After working through each of the 12,577 households using automated geocoding supplemented by individual research, we were able to geocode 12,171 (97 percent), although one hundred or so of these appeared to be questionable. The remaining four hundred either had addresses that could not be located, incomplete addresses, or no address at all. These were most common in the western and southern fringes of the city, such as the nascent Poplar Grove and Glendale neighborhoods. In fact, we did not include the Sugar House precinct in the southeast corner of our map, because no addresses were recorded in the census there (the large cluster in the lower right corner of the map is the state prison).

Because each member of a household may have a different birthplace, we needed to map individuals, not households. A database query was written that duplicated the location information for each person in a household and matched it with their individual demographic attributes, producing a map of all 56,000 individuals in located households. (Figure 4) A second query was created from this first one to aggregate the individuals by enumeration district and to total each birthplace, producing statistical summary data that could be visualized using choropleth maps.

Integrated Immigrants

The resultant maps indicating the birthplace of Salt Lake City residents showed several interesting patterns. First, the largest single source of immigrants was Great Britain (6,900 individuals, 12 percent of the total population). They were evenly distributed across the entire city; in fact, they formed a larger proportion in the suburban outskirts than in the downtown district. (Figure 5) They were living in neighborhoods of all economic levels. On its own, one could easily explain this away by assuming that a common language enabled them to easily assimilate into the larger population. In line with this hypothesis, Canadians and the smaller numbers from British colonies such as Australia, New Zealand, India, and South Africa (totaling about 650 residents) had the same distribution.

However, Scandinavians (especially Danes), who formed the second largest group, showed a very similar pattern of spread across the city, even though they were not English-speakers. (Figure 6) In the 1850s, a Danish enclave had begun to form in the LDS Second Ward, known as “Little Denmark,” but by the turn of the century that concentration of Danes had diminished. 22 The distribution was not quite as widespread as the British, with several small Scandinavian clusters representing small tenement buildings (for example, having three apartments with all Scandinavian tenants) or single-family homes inhabited by large extended families. Thus, these immigrants had a tendency to live in the same building as others speaking the same language. This was a common practice among immigrants everywhere, but the fact that Scandinavian-born residents did not concentrate in one neighborhood, but were spread around the city, is unusual.

Figure 5. Distribution of residents in 1900 who were born in Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales).

Figure 5. Distribution of residents in 1900 who were born in Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales).

Migrants from several other European sources were also spread across the city, including Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Ireland, although with somewhat larger concentrations of Germans (Figure 7) and Irish (Figure 10) in the central city than the other groups. The German population was growing especially quickly during this period, reflecting nationwide trends. 23

Why were the immigrants from these particular countries integrated into the population at large? What did they have in common? The most obvious connection is that these were the countries in which missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had been preaching and converting tens of thousands since the late 1830s (in Britain) and 1850s (on the European continent). 24 LDS converts were strongly encouraged to “gather to Zion” up until the 1910s, supported by an immigration machine of port agents, funding through the Perpetual Emigration Fund (PEF), and charter ships and trains. 25

As immigrants arrived in Salt Lake City, the LDS church wrestled to balance the value of supporting them in their immediate spiritual, social, and physical needs (which required communicating in their native languages), and the desire to keep the church unified through assimilation of immigrants into the Mormon–American culture. 26 Small Danishor German-speaking LDS congregations may have operated in the city, but they were citywide rather than being focused on a particular neighborhood and were generally short-lived. The LDS church also organized a “Scandinavian Meeting” and a “German Organization,” quasi-ecclesiastical associations that provided city-wide native-tongue leadership and social activities without becoming a full-fledged ward or branch. 27 To further support them in their native tongue, the church endorsed or published foreign-language periodicals, including the German Salt Lake City Beobachter (1890– 1935), the Danish Biküben and Utah Posten (1875–1935), and the Swedish Svenska Härolden and Utah Korrespondenten (1885–1915).

Figure 6. Residents in 1900 who were born in Sweden, Denmark, or Norway. The LDS 2nd Ward, the location of an early concentration of Danish members, is shaded.

Figure 6. Residents in 1900 who were born in Sweden, Denmark, or Norway. The LDS 2nd Ward, the location of an early concentration of Danish members, is shaded.

By providing non-localized support to new arrivals, these efforts appear to have successfully reduced the impetus to settle in ethnically concentrated neighborhoods. Much has been made of the negotiation that Mormon immigrants had to make between maintaining their national cultural identity and adopting a new religious cultural identity, but at least in terms of residence location, the latter seems to have held sway. 28

Another commonality between these groups was race, at least how it was viewed at the time. The existing white American population almost entirely traced their lineage to English, Germanic, and Scandinavian roots, and their conception of “white” not only included themselves but also immigrants from their same home countries as well. 29 While immigrants as a whole were often looked down upon, these ethnicities were less so than those from elsewhere. It is thus not surprising that immigrants from these countries were significantly less segregated in American cities than those from southern and eastern Europe, let alone Blacks and Asians. 30 The fact that they were even more integrated in Salt Lake City than elsewhere played into the dynamic relationship between the Mormons and the rest of the country during the fraught late-polygamy and post-polygamy era. Even as the LDS church and its members strove to be accepted as thoroughly American, in terms of race as well as other characteristics, the rapid assimilation of immigrants into Utah often strengthened external views of Mormons as a distinct and lesser ethnicity. The historian Paul Reeve shows how popular media of the time often treated Mormons as if they were a distinct ethnic group or race, at the same low level of social desirability as immigrants; the public Mormon encouragement and acceptance of immigration strengthened this racial link, and it is appears that Mormons bought into the tendency to grade “whiteness” in an attempt to be accepted as thoroughly American. 31

Figure 7. Residents in 1900 who were born in Germany.

Figure 7. Residents in 1900 who were born in Germany.

Segregated Immigrants

Mapping immigrants from outside Great Britain and western Europe reveals a very different pattern. Salt Lake City residents born in the Catholic and Orthodox countries of southern and eastern Europe were smaller in number but much more geographically concentrated, living almost exclusively in the downtown area extending a little to the south and west toward the rail yards. (Figure 8)

Like the British, Germans, and Scandinavians, Southern and Eastern Europeans do not appear to have segregated into separate ethnic enclaves by 1900, probably due to their small numbers. Rather, they generally lived among native-born residents and other immigrants.

Over the next two decades, much larger numbers arrived from these countries, joined by immigrants from Japan, Syria, and eventually Mexico, before US anti-immigration laws slowed the tide. 32 A few of these groups eventually formed distinct neighborhoods in the early twentieth century, especially in the same west-central part of town, such as Japanese Town and Greek Town located between downtown and the railroad tracks. 33

As with the northwestern Europeans, this pattern could also be attributed to religion. Prior to the turn of the century, since Latter-day Saint missionaries had had little to no success in southern and eastern Europe and immigrants from that region probably included very few Latter-day Saints, it is probably not a coincidence that the place they concentrated in was a religiously diverse section of Salt Lake City not dominated by Mormons. The city center had not one but two downtowns, with Mormon-owned businesses and institutions centered around Temple Square, and businesses, hotels, churches, and most government buildings not owned by Latter-day Saints concentrated between First and Fifth South—a division that continues in subtle ways to the present. 34 The 1880 census identified the non-Mormon residents to be concentrated in the south-central parts of the city, especially in the 13th (46 percent “gentile” or “lapsed Mormon”) and 14th (50 percent) LDS wards, but to a lesser degree in the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 12th wards. 35 (Figure 9) It makes sense that non-Mormon immigrants would feel more comfortable in the southern part of the central city.

Figure 8. Residents in 1900 from southern and eastern Europe, primarily Italy, Austria-Hungary, and Poland.

Figure 8. Residents in 1900 from southern and eastern Europe, primarily Italy, Austria-Hungary, and Poland.

One might think that the concentration of non-Mormon immigrants would therefore be reflected in the distribution of churches, but the greatest concentration of houses of worship, just east of downtown, did not have a large concentration of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe but did have a large number of non-Mormons in the 1880 census. (Figure 9) The Sanborn maps show the area just east of downtown to be primarily single-family homes; thus, it was possibly a middle-class concentration of native-born non-Mormons. Basically, immigrants from southern and eastern Europe had not arrived in large enough numbers by 1900 to warrant their own churches (i.e., non-English speaking Catholic, Orthodox); many were built over the next twenty years as these immigrants multiplied. Not all the houses of worship catered to southern and eastern European-born residents. The three Scandinavian churches largely consisted of Mormon immigrants who had been reconverted by Lutheran, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, and Methodist missionaries in Salt Lake City in the twenty years prior to 1900. 36 The small St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, located near the railroad tracks, appears to have catered to Irish immigrants.

However, religion is not the only explanation for the difference in the distribution of immigrants. As in other US cities, immigrants from southern and eastern Europe were among the poorest segments of the population. As evident in the Sanborn maps, the southern part of downtown Salt Lake City was home to most of the multi-story tenement blocks, while many of the buildings near the railroad on the west side were shanties. Regardless of religion, this area was simply the cheapest place to live, and without the support structures that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided to its own immigrants, they may have had few other options. Such was the pattern in cities across the country.

Figure 9. Percentage of the population from southern and eastern Europe, by census enumeration districts, compared to the locations of non-LDS churches (Catholic, Protestant, Jewish) and heavily non-LDS areas in the 1880 census.

Figure 9. Percentage of the population from southern and eastern Europe, by census enumeration districts, compared to the locations of non-LDS churches (Catholic, Protestant, Jewish) and heavily non-LDS areas in the 1880 census.

Religion and economics also help to explain the mixed pattern of German and Irish immigrants. (Figures 7 and 10) These populations likely included both Mormon converts (especially from each country’s Protestant population), who were more integrated spatially, and immigrants from other religions, who may have been more concentrated. Among this latter group were immigrants from the Catholic regions of Ireland and Germany where LDS missionaries were less successful, and Jewish immigrants from Germany, some of whom had become quite successful in Salt Lake City, including the prosperous Bamberger and Auerbach families. 37 Two significant clusters of Irish immigrants (the large black squares)—both Roman Catholic institutions—was St. Mary’s Academy just west of downtown, and Holy Cross Hospital on 11th East. (Figure 10) Each was staffed with Irish nuns and had Irish students or patients.

As was the case elsewhere in the American West, Chinese immigrants (238 listed residents) were heavily concentrated in Salt Lake City. The majority lived in a single block, between Main and State Streets and First and Second South—the location of Plum Alley, Salt Lake City’s small Chinatown. 38 (Figure 11)

In fact, their distribution was possibly even more concentrated than it appears in the map; comparing the numbers of residents listed on the Plum Alley block (about 350 total) to the number of tenements shown in the Sanborn maps suggests a significant undercount. The entire tenement district appears to be undercounted by the 1900 census takers, suggesting that the other concentrated immigrant populations may have also been larger than the census tabulations. This kind of undercounting in multi-story buildings in poor neighborhoods where many non-English speaking residents lived has been widely documented elsewhere. 39 Outside Chinatown, a significant number of Chinese residents scattered in the northwest edge of town. According to the Sanborn maps and the census records, these were almost exclusively tenant farmers raising vegetable gardens. 40

Figure 10. Residents in 1900 from Ireland.

Figure 10. Residents in 1900 from Ireland.

To what degree could the distributions of the Chinese and Southern and Eastern Europeans be a product of racial/ethnic discrimination? Residential segregation was common in American cities at the turn of the century and would become even more so in the first decades of the twentieth century. 41 Conflating concepts of race and ethnicity, white Americans commonly perceived a hierarchy of preference, with the Germanic (German, British, Scandinavian) people from their own homelands at the top, followed by “less white” Europeans, Asians, and African Americans. 42

For comparison, a map was made of the distribution of Black residents in Salt Lake City. (Figure 12) This map shows some amount of segregation, with an area of concentration along Franklin Avenue (now Edison Street), a poor street of tenements and the city’s Salvation Army. While the Chinese (238) and Black (271) populations were roughly similar in size, and over half of the city’s Chinese population lived on the block including Plum Alley, only 20 percent of the city’s Black population lived on the block including Franklin Avenue, with the rest scattered across the city, largely in single family homes. Moreover, only a third of the residents on Franklin were Black (another quarter were Scandinavian), while over half of those in Plum Alley were Chinese.

Figure 11. Residents in 1900 who were born in China.

Figure 11. Residents in 1900 who were born in China.

Does this mean that African Americans were doing well in Salt Lake City? By no means: discriminatory businesses were common, Blacks were viewed by most Mormons as spiritually lesser (a common feeling in many churches, even in the northeastern United States), and as the Black population grew in subsequent years, their segregation into a concentration along Franklin Avenue (soon rechristened as Edison Street) increased. 43 In the 1910 census, every one of the ninety residents on Edison Street was listed as “Black” or “Mulatto.” 44 That said, it could be argued, at least based on these maps, that the Chinese were treated worse in some ways, while the immigrants from southern and eastern Europe were far less ostracized than Blacks.


Mapping the individual residents of Salt Lake City provides a deeper understanding of immigration as an aspect of its urban geography than other statistical approaches do, especially since the 1900 census did not report aggregate statistics at the enumeration district level like those commonly used in demographic studies of other years. This mapping project also adds a new perspective to existing documentary and personal histories of the city’s immigrants. The combination of documents about the personal experiences of an immigrant with knowledge of where he or she lived, in what kind of housing, who their neighbors were, where they worked, and other data from the census has the promise of yielding a more complete narrative of the immigrant experience in Salt Lake City.

One way to get a better picture of the situation would be to widen the scope of time. The year 1900 was a good place to start, as it was a transition between a declining Mormon immigration from a few European countries and an increasing ethnically and religiously diverse immigrant population from different corners of the world. I plan to conduct a similar study of the 1910 census and anticipate finding a pattern of increased segregation among new arrivals. Doing the same for earlier decades is challenging; one source could be the membership rolls of the LDS wards in the city, and Samuel Smith’s ward-level study of the 1880 census could easily be extended to look at birthplace.

Figure 12. Residents in 1900 identifying as Black or colored.

Figure 12. Residents in 1900 identifying as Black or colored.

What do we see in 1900? The geographic pattern of immigrant residence in Salt Lake City varied significantly by country of origin, with those from some countries integrated into the population at large, some extremely segregated, and others in between. As we would expect in any city in the United States at this time, language and socio-economic status played a role. Many, if not most, recent immigrants were relatively poor, and tenements and other low-income housing were plentiful. Most of them lived among immediate neighbors who spoke the same language. However, only the Chinese formed a significant ethnic enclave, and even that was relatively small. For the rest, clusters were limited to single buildings, single institutions, and, at most, groups of ten or fewer neighboring houses.

The discriminatory attitudes of native-born white residents toward immigrants of various ethnicities also probably played a role. Those from the same homelands of Britain, Scandinavia, and Germany were the most integrated, while other Europeans were less so. Chinese immigrants were the most segregated, even more so than African Americans.

Lastly, religion seems to have been a very influential factor, as it was in many other aspects of turn-of-the-century life in Utah. Mormon immigrants were actively encouraged and assisted in integrating (including spatial integration), and eventually assimilating, into the broader Latter-day Saint society. Immigrants of other faiths and sources, largely left to fend for themselves, tended to live in the poorest neighborhoods. This study lends some credence to the notion that people coming to Utah added to their original cultural identity a new identity as either part of the dominant Mormon culture or not.

Which of these was the predominant cause of the geographic distribution of immigrants in Salt Lake City? While the evidence presented here is circumstantial at best and a conclusive analysis would require a significantly larger amount of data and documentation, most of which probably does not exist, an initial hypothesis based on the maps and documentary evidence can be made. For British, German, and Scandinavian-born immigrants, religion was the most important factor, followed by race/ethnicity and language. For Salt Lake City residents from southern and eastern Europe, economics was the primary factor, followed by religion and race/ethnicity. Race/ethnicity was the determining factor for Chinese immigrants, followed by language and economics. Most likely, all these factors played a role in the decisions that each person and family made about where they would live in 1900, helping to create an urban geography for Salt Lake City that was typically American in some ways and unique in many others.


My fall 2019 advanced GIS class was instrumental in the development of this project, transcribing and geocoding the addresses for a large percentage of the city and helping to design the database. Thank you to Gordon Bennett, Corey Bishop, Chris Burchfield, Ryan Howell, Emily Peterson, Caleb Smith, and Eliza Snyder.

1. David A. Gerber, American Immigration: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 2; Philip Martin and Elizabeth Midgley, “Immigration: Shaping and Reshaping America,” Population Bulletin 58, no. 2 (June 2003): 12, at prb.org /wp-content/uploads/2003/06/58.2ImmigrShaping America.pdf; Dennis Wepman, Immigration: From the Founding of Virginia to the Closing of Ellis Island (New York: Facts on File, 2002), 160; U.S. Census Bureau, Table LVI: Percentage of natives and foreign white of total population, in Census Report on Population of the Twelfth Census, 1900, Vol. 1, p. cxvii, at 2.census.gov/library /publications/decennial/1900/volume-1/volume-1-p3 .pdf#page=8.

2. Michael J. White, Robert F. Dymowski, and Shilian Wang, “Ethnic Neighbors and Ethnic Myths: An Examination of Residential Segregation in 1910,” in After Ellis Island: Newcomers and Natives in the 1910 Census, ed. Susan Cotts Watkins (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1994), 175; Silvia Pedraza, “Origins and Destinies: Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity in American History,” in Origins and Destinies: Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity in America, ed. Silvia Pedraza and Ruben G. Rumbaut (Wedsworth Publishing Company, 1996), 14; Wepman, Immigration, 164.

3. Pedraza, “Origins and Destinies,” 15.

4. U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States, Vol. 23 (1900), Table 123, p. 398, 2.census.gov /library/publications/1901/compendia/statab/23ed /1900–07.pdf#page=14.

5. U.S. Census Bureau, Census Report on Population of the Twelfth Census, 1900, Vol. 1, Table 33 & 34: Foreign Born Population, p. 732, 2.census.gov/library/publications /decennial/1900/volume-1/volume-1-p13.pdf

6. William Mulder, Homeward to Zion: The Mormon Migration from Scandinavia (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1957), 157, 196; Rachel Gianni Abbott, “The Scandinavian Immigrant Experience in Utah, 1850–1920” (Ph.D. diss., University of Alaska–Fairbanks, 2013).

7. Ronald K. Dewsnup, “German-speaking Immigrants and the State of Utah: A Brief History” (M.A. thesis, University of Utah, 1983). See also a special issue on German-speaking immigrants of Utah Historical Quarterly, volume 52 (Fall 1984), with articles by Allan Kent Powell, Ronald K. Dewsnup, and Douglas D. Alder, at jstor.org/stable/i40215857.

8. Daniel Liestman, “Utah’s Chinatowns: The Development and Decline of Extinct Ethnic Enclaves,” Utah Historical Quarterly 64 (Winter 1996): 70–95, at jstor .org/stable/4506227; Michael Lansing, “Race, Space, and Chinese Life in Late-Nineteenth-Century Salt Lake City,” Utah Historical Quarterly 72 (Summer 2004): 220, at jstor.org/stable/45062869; Don C. Conley, “The Pioneer Chinese of Utah,” in Chinese on the American Frontier, ed. Arif Dirlik (Rowman & Littlefield, 2001).

9. Elliott R. Barkan, From All Points: America’s Immigrant West, 1870s–1952 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007); Helen Papanikolas, ed., The Peoples of Utah (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1976).

10. For those interested in the technical details, the historical GIS database was built on a PostgreSQL database to allow collaborative editing, and the data was entered and visualized using the QGIS open-source GIS software, chosen for its direct accessibility to the database and a particular visualization technique not found in other GIS software. Samuel A. Smith, in a 2008 master’s thesis, used HGIS methods to visualize the territorial census of 1880, including an analysis of Salt Lake City at the level of LDS wards (street addresses were not recorded in 1880). His focus was not on immigrants, but on the Mormon/non-Mormon distinction, which was recorded by Utah census takers in 1880 despite not being part of the official form. Smith, “The Wasp in the Beehive: Non-Mormon Presence in 1880s Utah” (M.A. thesis, Pennsylvania State University, 2008), at etda.libraries .psu.edu/catalog/8769.

11. Nigel Stephen Walford, “Bringing Historical British Population Census Records into the 21st Century: A Method for Geocoding Households and Individuals at Their Early-20th-century Addresses,” Population, Space and Place 24 (May 2019), at DOI:10.1002/ psp.2227.

12. John R. Logan, Jason Jindrich, Hyoungjin Shin, and Weiwei Zhang, “Mapping America in 1880: The Urban Transition Historical GIS Project,” Historical Methods 44 (January–March 2011): 49–60, at DOI:10.1080/0161 5440.2010.517509; John R. Logan and Weiwei Zhang, “White Ethnic Residential Segregation in Historical Perspective: US Cities in 1880,” Social Science Research 41 (September 2012): 1292–1306, at DOI:10.1016/j.ss research.2012.03.010.

13. Allison Shertzer, Randall P. Walsh, and John R. Logan, “Segregation and Neighborhood Change in Northern Cities: New Historical GIS Data from 1900–1930,” Historical Methods 49, no. 4 (2016): 187–97, at DOI:10.1080 /01615440.2016.1151393.

14. Notable examples include HistoryForge for Ithaca, New York (historyforge.net/), and the Keweenaw Time Traveler for Houghton, Michigan, (keweenawhistory. com/), although these were developed using bespoke methods that are not easily scaled up to broader use.

15. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Family- Search Developer Program, FamilySearch, familysearch .org/developers/.

16. The Salt Lake City Blue Book [Householders’ Directory], 1901–1902 (Salt Lake City: R. L. Polk & Co., 1902), at archive.org/details/saltlakecityblue00rlpo.

17. Walford, “Historical British Population Census Records,” 9; Logan, “Mapping America in 1880,” 56.

18. “Names of Streets South of City are Officially Changed,” Deseret News, May 11, 1916, 16, at news.google.com /newspapers?nid=Aul-kAQHnToC&dat=19160512.

19. Richard R. Lyman, “New Street-numbering System for Salt Lake City,” American City 57 (1942): 62. Lyman was an LDS apostle, son and grandson of apostles, and a civil engineering professor at the University of Utah, but his most lasting legacy was either the street naming and addressing system that is ubiquitous across Utah (and was adopted in a more subtle way in cities such as Los Angeles and Phoenix), or the fact that he was the last LDS apostle to be excommunicated in office in 1943. Gary James Bergera, “Transgression in the LDS Community, Part 2: Richard R. Lyman,” Journal of Mormon History 27, no. 4 (2011): 173, at jstor.org/stable/23292607

20. “Streets to Turn Uniform,” Deseret News, August 5, 1972, 2B.

21. Salt Lake City, Utah, 1898 Insurance Maps (New York: Sanborn-Perris Map Co.), at collections.lib.utah.edu/search ?facet_date_t=%221898%22&facet_spatial_coverage_t =%22Salt+Lake+City%2C+Utah%22&facet_setname _s=uum_sfim.

22. Mulder, Homeward to Zion, 157, 196; William Mulder, “Scandinavian Saga,” in The Peoples of Utah, 172.

23. Dewsnup, “German-speaking Immigrants,” 35.

24. Sonne, Conway B., Saints on the Seas: A Maritime History of Mormon Migration, 1830–1890 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1983), 28–31.

25. Douglas D. Alder, “Die Auswanderung,” Utah Historical Quarterly 52 (Fall 1984): 373–75.

26. Allan Kent Powell, “The German-speaking Immigrant Experience in Utah,” Utah Historical Quarterly 52 (Fall 1984): 340.

27. Mulder, Homeward to Zion, 200, 250; Powell, “German-speaking Immigrant Experience,“ 340.

28. Dewsnup, “German-speaking Immigrants,” 80; Mulder, Homeward to Zion, 248; Abbott, “Scandinavian Immigrant Experience,” 343.

29. Matthew Frye Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998).

30. Logan and Zhang, “White Ethnic Residential Segregation.”

31. W. Paul Reeve, Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).

32. Dewsnup, “German-speaking Immigrants,” 43.

33. Thomas G. Alexander and James B. Allen, Mormons and Gentiles: A History of Salt Lake City (Boulder, CO: Pruett, 1984), 135; Linda Sillito, A History of Salt Lake County (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1996), 135; Greek American History, Preservation of American Hellenic History, pahh.com/hca/history.html; Helen Z. Papanikolas, “The Exiled Greeks,” in The Peoples of Utah, 409–36.

34. Gary Topping, “The Gentiles,” Mapping Mormonism: An Atlas of Latter-day Saint History, 2d ed., ed. Brandon Plewe, S.K. Brown, D. Q. Cannon, and R. H. Jackson (Provo, UT: BYU Press, 2014), 112; Donald W. Meinig, “The Mormon Culture Region: Strategies and Patterns in the Geography of the American West, 1847–1964,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 55, no. 2 (1965): 191–220, at DOI:10.1111/j.1467–8306.1965 .tb00515.x; Sillito, History of Salt Lake County, 134.

35. Smith, “Wasp in the Beehive,” 87.

36. Mulder, “Scandinavian Saga,” 174–76; Salt Lake City Blue Book, 86.

37. Eileen Hallet Stone, A Homeland in the West: Utah Jews Remember (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2001), 11; Juanita Brooks, History of the Jews in Utah and Idaho (Western Epics, 1973), 117; Jack Goodman, “Jews in Zion,” in The Peoples of Utah, 187–221. A cursory attempt to map a few Jewish households listed in these sources showed them mostly concentrated in the central and northeastern parts of the city, but not all were immigrants.

38. Liestman, “Utah’s Chinatowns”; Lansing, “Race, Space, and Chinese Life,” 220.

39. Miriam L. King and D. L. Magnuson, “Perspectives on Historical U.S. Census Undercounts,” Social Science History 19, no. 4 (1995): 455–66, at DOI:10.1017 /S0145553200017466.

40. Lansing, “Race, Space, and Chinese Life,” 221.

41. Logan and Zhang, “White Ethnic Residential Segregation.”

42. Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color; Shertzer, et al., “Segregation and Neighborhood Change.”

43. Ronald G. Coleman, “Blacks in Utah History: An Unknown Legacy,” in The Peoples of Utah, 115–40

44. United States Bureau of the Census, Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910, Salt Lake County, Enumeration District 144, sheets 8A-9B, at familysearch.org/ark: /61903/3:1:33SQ-GYBF-9F4.