Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service

Series 3790

Salt Lake County (Utah). County Commission Minutes

Dates: i 1852-1972.

56 microfilm reelsSkip to Containers

These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.

Scope and Content

The County Commission serves as the governing body that organizes and maintains county services and that manages all county business and property. Minutes are kept by the County Clerk and include both summaries of topics discussed during the meetings and a listing of all orders and decisions made by the board.

Following the formation of territorial government, the legislature in 1852 passed acts relating to the formation and government of counties. There were no county commissions, but the probate judge in conjunction with the county selectmen were invested "with the usual powers and jurisdiction of County Commissioners" and as such were to be known as the county court. The probate court clerk was to keep the records of the court.

The court was authorized to manage all county business and county property. This included auditing all claims against the county and payments by the treasurer. The court controlled all timber and water privileges and could grant mill sites. The members created election precincts, road districts, and school districts and appointed superintendents of such districts. They located sites and oversaw the erection of public buildings. The selectmen in conjunction with the court were to provide for the maintenance of the poor, insane, and orphans. They levied property taxes for county purposes and after 1892 could call for bond elections. They were also responsible for any litigation involving the county.

All these activities are noted in the minutes. The day's entries are prefaced by date, names of those present, where and when they met, and often who gave the prayers. Bids received, and bills and wages paid, in conjunction with the activities are noted. The predominant activities in the first decades involve laying out roads and irrigation canals. Problems involving the construction of dams on the Jordan River are noted in the late 1870s. The creation of election districts and school districts also become more frequent then. Names of individuals appointed as water superintendents, road supervisors, or other county officials (e.g.. collector, fruit tree inspector, coroner, physician, boiler room engineer) are mentioned frequently, often in conjunction with their specific functions. Individual names and actions taken are also noted for the indigent, insane, and infirm.

In 1884 the legislature mandated that business licenses be obtained from the county courts for operation in unincorporated county areas; initially, most applications were for liquor licenses. Provisions were also made that year for the county court to approve the incorporation of towns. Of note in the late 1880s and early 1890s are detailed descriptive transactions relating to the construction of the joint City County Building and the franchising of utility companies and a rapid transit system. The court's role in tax assessment and tax sales also becomes more apparent by those years.

With statehood in 1896 an actual board of county commissioners was created. The probate judge was removed, but the selectmen continued serving as commissioners until elections were held. The county clerk remained the clerk of the board, recording the minutes. The previous responsibilities were maintained and expanded.

Responsibilities noted in the minutes include supervision of the conduct of all county, district, and precinct officials and employees. The commissioners served as canvassers of elections also appointing election officers, setting the boundaries of voting districts, and assigning polling places. The members continued as a board of equalization for county property assessments with the added authorization to refund taxes erroneously collected. They continued to care for paupers and oversee public health and safety. They maintained a salary fund, granted licenses, passed ordinances, and issued bonds. A major addition to their functions was made in 1941 when the commission was empowered to provide for the development and zoning of unincorporated areas of the county and to appoint a planning commission.

Entries after 1896 are prefaced by the names of those in attendance, including commissioners, clerks, and county attorneys; and the time and place held. The entries continue to become progressively more detailed and inclusive. In particular, major functions of licensing and contracting, taxing, budgeting, and zoning are extensively documented.

While other licenses are mentioned, the major type of licensing was business licensing. Characteristic information includes name, type of business, business location, and action taken on applications. Where the county had a more direct interest, detailed contracts are recorded as in the cases of utility franchises, county leases of property or services, and cooperative agreements made with governmental agencies or private corporations.

Adjustments on individual property tax assessments are similarly itemized. Entries recording the commission's role in tax abatement are ubiquitous in the 1930s. Such proceedings frequently include a brief discussion of the family's personal and financial circumstances as well as the tax amount and the description of the personal property or location of the real property in question.

All personnel actions are recorded, by individual name, for county employees from Neighborhood Youth Corps workers to auditor. Such actions include appointments, hourly or salaried wage increases, requests for car allowances or to use county vehicles, and requests for funds to attend conferences. Requisitions, bid proposals, and apportionments are similarly detailed covering everything from needles and thread for the senior citizens' center, to a single file cabinet for the license department, to vehicles for the sheriff's department, to pipe and road base for major road department construction. Both personnel allotments and departmental purchases form part of audits and annual budgets, although these appear just as a dollar value per category/department or sometimes merely a statement that the annual report has been filed.

By the 1950s, details on zoning changes, layout, and improvements on particular subdivision developments assume a major place in the minutes. Information recorded relates to applications for zoning changes; notices of zoning hearings; requests for street lighting; changes in curb, gutter, and sidewalk requirements; and release of escrow funds following specified improvements.

Arrangement

Volumes and their entries are chronological. The first twenty-six volumes have been assigned alphabetical labels, A-Z; no labels were assigned thereafter. Indices are chronological with alphabetized entries. Indices to the first twenty-six volumes are identified as belonging with a particular volume(s); later indices are numbered.

Research Note

Minutes after 1972 are with the Salt Lake County Archives or still with the County Commission. The Salt Lake County Archives also holds the hard copy of all the minutes; the Utah State Archives retained a microfilm copy 1852-1972 only.

Research Note

Given the diversity and extent of the county commission's activities, the minute books should be consulted not only by researchers seeking information on the commission, but by those seeking information on any county agencies, their personnel, or their services to individuals; on private contractors and their plans for work on county projects or private subdivisions; on private businesses operating within the unincorporated county limits; and on private individuals or charitable institutions holding taxable or untaxable property within the county. Virtually any person living in, or any activity taking place in, unincorporated areas of Salt Lake County (up to and including the incorporation of municipalities) was affected by the actions of the county commission and is reflected in the minutes.

Custody History

These records were transferred to the State Archives by the county before the creation of a county archives. Series paper holdings were returned to the county archives 2 October 2001; the State Archives retained a film copy. Any county minutes after 1972 remain with the county.

Access Restrictions

This series is classified as Public.

Preferred Citation

Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.

Processing Note

The minutes of the Salt Lake County Court were transferred from the Salt Lake County Commission to the Utah State Historical Society archives in 1958 and were then microfilmed. In 1964, the county clerk requested the transfer of the commission minutes to 1930. In 1968, minutes were scheduled for destruction following microfilming but apparently were never filmed. Governmental records were transferred from the Historical Society to the Utah State Archives in 1969. By 1989 the holdings of commission minute books spanned the period from 1852 to 1972 and were processed by A.C. Cone. Microfilming was done in 1990. Hard copy 1852-1972, and a film copy, was transferred to the Salt Lake County Archives 2 October 2001.

Finding Aids

Indexes: The volumes have corresponding indices with alphabetized listings by the first letter of the surname and/or the type of proceeding (eg. Appointments, Petitions, Warrants). Within the alphabetized listings, the entries are recorded by date, covering from December 15, 1852 thru December 27, 1972.

Indexing Terms

  • Election districts—Utah—Salt Lake County.
  • Public buildings—Utah—Salt Lake County.
  • Licenses—Utah—Salt Lake County.
  • County budgets—Utah—Salt Lake County.
  • Tax collection—Utah—Salt Lake County.
  • Police—Utah—Salt Lake County.
  • Highway planning—Utah.
  • Fire departments—Utah.
  • Land use—Planning—Utah.
  • Salt Lake County (Utah)—Officials and employees—Selection and appointment.

Container List

REEL VOLUME DESCRIPTION
1 -- Index for Volume A
2 A Minutes, 15 March 1852-15 April 1857
2 -- Index for Volume B
2 B Minutes, 1 June 1857-20 February 1874
3 C 20 February 1874-14 October 1882
4 -- Index for Volume D
5 D Minutes, 27 October 1882-14 October 1890
6 -- Index for Volume E
6 E Minutes, 25 October 1890-6 March 1893
6 -- Index for Volume F
7 F Minutes, 9 March 1893-25 February 1895
7 -- Index for Volumes G & H
7 G Minutes, 28 February 1895-1 June 1896
8 H Minutes, 8 June 1896-4 January 1897
9 -- Index for Volumes I & J
9 I Minutes, 4 January 1897-8 November 1897
9 J Minutes, 15 November 1897-17 October 1898
10 -- Index for Volumes K & L
10 K Minutes, 21 October 1898-5 June 1899
10 L Minutes, 12 June 1899-1 July 1901
11 -- Index for Volume M
11 M Minutes, 8 July 1901-30 March 1903
12 -- Index for Volume N
12 N Minutes, 2 April 1903-13 June 1905
13 -- Index for Volume O
13 O Minutes, 15 June 1905-31 August 1908
14 -- Index for Volume P
14 P Minutes, 1 September 1908-27 June 1911
14 -- Index for Volume Q
15 Q Minutes, 1 July 1911-13 June 1913
15 -- Index for Volume R
15 R Minutes, 16 June 1913-17 April 1914
16 R Minutes, 17 April 1914-4 January 1915
16 -- Index for Volume S
16 S Minutes, 4 January 1915-31 December 1915
17 S Minutes, 31 December 1915-2 March 1916
17 -- Index for Volume T
17 T Minutes, 3 March 1916-26 June 1918
18 -- Index for Volume U
18 U Minutes, 28 June 1918-3 January 1921
19 -- Index for Volume V
20 V Minutes, 3 January 1921-29 December 1922
20 -- Index for Volume W
20 W Minutes, 2 January 1923-11 July 1923
21 W Minutes, 13 July 1923-31 December 1924
22 -- Index for Volume X
23 X Minutes, 2 January 1925-3 January 1927
24 -- Index for Volume Y
24 Y Minutes, 3 January 1927-31 December 1928
24 -- Index for Volume Z
25 Z Minutes, 2 January 1929-31 December 1930
25 1 Index, 2 January 1931-30 December 1932
26 -- Minutes, 2 January 1931-30 December 1932
26 2 Index, 2 January 1933-31 December 1934
27 -- Minutes, 2 January 1933-31 December 1934
27 3 Index, 2 January 1935-30 December 1936
27 -- Minutes, 2 January 1935-31 January 1936
28 -- Minutes, 31 January 1936-30 December 1936
28 4 Index, 4 January 1937-30 December 1938
28 -- Minutes, 4 January 1937-27 October 1937
29 -- Minutes, 27 October 1937-30 December 1938
30 5 Index, 3 January 1939-30 December 1940
30 -- Minutes, 3 January 1939-30 December 1940
31 5A Index, 3 January 1941-4 January 1943
31 -- Minutes, 3 January 1941-4 January 1943
31 6 Index, 11 December 1942-30 December 1944
32 -- Minutes, 4 January 1943-30 December 1944
32 7 Index, 30 December 1944-6 January 1947
33 -- Minutes, 30 December 1944-6 January 1947
34 8 Index, 6 January 1947-31 December 1948
34 -- Minutes, 6 January 1947-28 July 1948
35 -- Minutes, 28 July 1948-31 December 1948
35 9 Index, 3 Januaery 1949-30 December 1950
35 -- Minutes, 3 January 1949-31 May 1950
36 -- Minutes, 31 May 1950-30 December 1950
36 10 Index, 1 January 1951-31 Decmber 1952
36 -- Minutes, 1 January 1951- 13 August 1952
37 -- Minutes, 13 August 1952-31 December 1952
37 11 Index, 2 January 1953-31 December 1954
37 -- Minutes, 2 January 1953-28 July 1954
38 -- Minutes, 28 July 1954-31 December 1954
38 12 Index, 3 January 1955-30 December 1955
38 -- Minutes, 28 July 1954-31 December 1954
38 12 Index, 3 January 1955-30 December 1955
38 -- Minutes, 3 January 1955-30 December 1955
38 13 Index, 3 January 1956-30 December 1956
39 13 Index, 3 January 1956-30 December 1956 (continued)
39 -- Minutes, 3 January 1956-31 December 1956
39 14 Index, 2 January 1957-31 December 1957
40 -- Minutes, 2 January 1957-31 December 1957
40 15 Index, 3 January 1958-31 December 1958
40 -- Minutes, 3 January 1958-25 June 1958
41 -- Minutes, 27 June 1958-31 December 1958
41 16 Index, 2 January 1959-30 December 1959
41 -- Minutes, 2 January 1959-2 December 1959
42 -- Minutes, 30 November 1959-30 December 1959
42 17 Index, 4 January 1960-30 December 1960
42 -- Minutes, 4 January 1960-30 December 1960
42 -- Minutes, 2 January 1961-3 April 1961
43 -- Minutes, 31 March 1961-29 December 1961
43 18 Index, 2 January 1961-29 December 1961
43 19 Index, 3 January 1962-31 December 1962
44 19 Index, 3 January 1962-31 December 1962 (continued)
44 -- Minutes, 3 January 1962-31 December 1962
45 20 Index, 2 January 1963-30 December 1963
45 -- Minutes, 2 January 1963-30 December 1963
45 21 Index, 1964
46 21 Index, 1964 (continued)
46 -- Minutes, 3 January 1964-30 December 1964
46 22 Index, 4 January 1965-30 December 1965
47 -- Minutes, 4 January 1965-30 December 1965
47 23 Index, 4 January 1966-30 December 1966
48 -- Minutes, 4 January 1966-30 December 1966
48 24 Index, 3 January 1967-29 December 1967
49 -- Minutes, 3 January 1967-29 December 1967
49 25 Index, 3 January 1968-30 December 1968
50 25 Index, 3 January 1968-30 December 1968 (continued)
50 -- Minutes, 3 January 1968-6 November 1968
51 -- Minutes, 6 November 1968-30 December 1968
51 26 Index, 2 January 1969-31 December 1969
52 26 Index, 2 January 1969-31 December 1969 (continued)
52 -- Minutes, 2 January 1969-31 December 1969
52 27 Index, 2 January 1970-31 December 1970
52 -- Minutes, 2 January 1970-2 April 1970
53 -- Minutes, 2 April 1970-1 December 1970
54 28 Index, 4 January 1971-30 December 1971
54 -- Minutes, 4 January 1971-30 December 1971
55 29 Index, 3 January 1972-27 December 1972
55 -- Minutes, 3 January 1972-17 July 1972
56 -- Minutes, 12 July 1972-27 December 1972