Friday, January 21, 2011

Sledding the State Capitol

kw: pastimes, childhood, sledding

To the right in this image is the Utah State Capitol building in Salt Lake City. (Click to see a larger, clearer image. The image is looking due west.) Lined up with the Capitol building and heading south is State Street, and the next major street to the west is Main. The major east-west street that passes the large building on the left is North Temple Street. The Mormon Tabernacle is just out of the picture to the left.

When I was a child the city police would block off that 1/3-mile stretch of State Street for sledding. Parents could drive their children to the entrance to the Capitol grounds, then drive over to Main and down to North Temple, and back over to State to pick them up. Younger kids might be driven back to the top; older kids got to walk back up. I remember that we did this only once, when I was about eight (1955 or early 1956). This hill has about a 6% grade, just perfect for sledding. We were there a couple of hours, time enough to slide down seven or eight times.

I suppose it was done on either a holiday or a Saturday when there was little business along State Street and none at the Capitol. Who can imagine in these days being allowed to sled on a major city street, no matter how nice its hill?

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