Home » News
Home » News

Letter: Railroad tycoon's money had much to do with 'magnificent' Utah Capitol

Published April 10, 2014 1:01 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I read with interest the center front page Tribune article on April 5 ("Ceremony marks 100th anniversary of Utah Capitol cornerstone," Tribune, April 4) in which the sitting and a former Utah governor "praise a small state for building a magnificent structure."

When elected officials engage in curious historical theater, it appears that any praise of the absent and deceased is expected to redound to present company.

The magnificence of the Utah State Capitol may have had something to do with courage. However, on March 1, 1901, Utah received a check for $798,546.85 from the estate of E.H. Harriman, the Union Pacific railroad tycoon. Mr. Harriman lived in New York, but managed to declare his estate taxes in Utah — avoiding higher taxes back home.

According to Utah's own website: "This payment formed the basis for building a capitol building." Without the extra cash, one can only suspect the Utah Legislature would have settled for something less than magnificent.

The small state's "courage" appears to have been stiffened by this timely but rather random windfall.

McKay Edwards

Salt Lake City




Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
comments powered by Disqus