Strolling Salt Lake City’s Main Street

How many times have you looked up at the buildings as you pass them and just enjoyed the architecture? I’ve done that many times as a passenger, and sometimes while driving, and every time I wish I could spend more time just enjoying what I see. The only ways are to stop and get out of your car or take a walk down the street so you can really look. Robyn and I did just that in Salt Lake City the same day we discovered the Pop-up Gardens of Main Street.

Salt Lake City has some beautiful historic buildings dotted throughout the city. We only saw some of them as we strolled down Main Street, but we did see some great historical sights like the old ZCMI (Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institute) building, known as the first department store in the US; Ray’s Barbershop, an old barbershop that is set up in the same style as it was originally set up in the early twentieth century; and Lamb’s Grill Cafe, Utah’s oldest restaurant founded in 1919 and on Main Street since 1939. See Robyn’s post for pictures of these sights.

My favorite part about the historical buildings is the intricate architecture. I wonder in awe at the time the masons took to carve the designs into the stone, the vision they must have had to create the beauty seen on these structures. Robyn’s post will have some amazing pictures of this architecture and other places we experienced.

I also love the smell of old things. We went into Ray’s Barbershop to take pictures and we cold smell the age of the building. That was exciting to us because it means that the history is still around to be experienced. We also went into an old used book store, Eborn Books, that has hard to find books and first editions. We could also smell the old books, though it was muted because they were behind glass. We browsed the bookstore and saw several books that are significant to the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints or Mormons. There was another junk and used book store located across the street that we also visited. It also had the old smell, along with old movies, books, costumes, decorations, and many other interesting things randomly scattered through the store.

We then took a break at Boulangerie: Eva’s Bakery where we shared some absolutely decadent pastries. One of the girls behind the counter took several minutes to recommend  pastries that are unique to this bakery. We each purchased a pastry and a cookie to share then went to sit down at a table. The same girl that took such good care of us earlier saw that we were sitting at an empty table and got us plates and glasses of water and generally made sure that we were well taken care of. I would go time and again just because of the service, but the pastries were absolutely decadent and well worth repeating.

We also wandered through the Galivan Center Plaza and sat under a tree and enjoyed a breeze. We also read a poem on a wall just below the plaza that read:

Visions of the end may secretly seduce our thoughts like water sinking into water, air drifting into air; clouds may form, when least expected, darkening the glass of self, canceling resemblances of what we are. Even here, while summer sunlight falling through the golden folds of afternoon brightens up the air, we mark our progress by how much we leave behind. And yet, this vanishing is burnished by a slow melodious light, as if our passage here were beautiful because no turning back is possible. It is our knowledge of the end that speaks for us, that has us weave, as slowly as we can, an elegy to all our walks. It is our way of bending to the world’s will and giving thanks.

This poem says to me that the reason we live our lives the best we can is because we look forward to what we gain at the end of our lives and we want to leave something beautiful of ourselves behind. I feel that this is true of me. I can feel it in my bones.

We ended our day by sitting in a small plaza just off City Creek Mall, but right on Main Street and watched some finches fly in and out of the bushes and just enjoyed the afternoon sun, each other, and the games of the birds. What a pleasant way to end a stroll downtown.

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