Salt Lake City

Public Lands Department

Allen Park

Allen Park News

Adaptive Reuse and Management Plan

Public Lands received CIP funding in 2021 to develop an Adaptive Reuse and Management Plan for Allen Park. This plan was also established as a priority in the Public Lands Master Plan and General Obligation Bond in 2022. The plan will be rooted primarily in public engagement and recommendations in the Cultural Landscape Report (CLR) to develop a high-level plan for site management and adaptive reuse of the landscape and critical structures and artwork on the site. To learn more about the plan, visit the project website here.

Cultural Landscape Report

Public Lands has been working with a consultant, IO Landarch, to develop a Cultural Landscape Report for Allen Park. The CLR includes a comprehensive site history of Allen Park, an analysis of existing conditions, an evaluation of elements of the site that retain historic integrity, and treatment and management recommendations for historically, and culturally sensitive site improvements in the future. View the completed CLR here.

The Cultural Landscape Report will provide Public Lands staff, including operations managers, planners, and groundskeepers recommendations for site care, maintenance, and capital improvements that will preserve, and potentially even enhance the historic integrity of the site. In addition, if the City chooses to pursue Historic Landmarking of Allen Park and/or its features at the national or local level, the CLR provides recommendations and information needed to complete this process. The completion of this document is the first step and one of the guiding documents that will be utilized in the development of the Adaptive Reuse and Management Plan.

Allen Lodge Roof

Public Lands has been working with a contractor to get the Allen Lodge at Allen Park watertight for the 2022-23 Winter season. This will involve the removal of the tiles and significant art features on the roof and applying a waterproof material on the exterior of the building. In addition, we will be shoring up the interior with temporary shoring posts to eliminate interior sag and prevent further damage. This will provide water-proofing to the structure for up to five years. Public Lands has been working with the Preservation specialists in the Planning Division to work towards a culturally, and historically sensitive solution to structural repairs. All artwork on the roof will be salvaged and conserved, and there will be no long-term impact on the interior artwork or ceiling painting.

After a contractor was selected and the scope of work had been confirmed, Public Lands was made aware that the contractor is no longer able to complete the work due to unforeseen circumstances. Public Lands is now pursuing a State contract to complete this work as soon as possible, as this is a very high priority for the department. Utilizing a state contract will allow the work to begin as soon as possible, but due to the change in the contractor, there will be a delay in the project start date. It is anticipated that the work will begin in early 2023.

Public Lands had a structural assessment completed on the Lodge, which showed deficiencies in the structure that prevents any staff from going on the roof. Therefore, all work on the roof, temporary or permanent, must be done by a professional contractor. Public Lands is monitoring the condition of the lodge and working to begin work as soon as possible.

Utility Work

Public Lands and Engineering are currently working on a design for water lines to be installed under Allen Park Drive for irrigation to the site, fire suppression, and sewer. Irrigation and fire suppression lines are a high priority for Public Lands and will be implemented first. In order to maximize consultant fees and City time and effort, Public Lands has requested the design of a sewer line simultaneously. However, this design is being done on a separate plan set and implementation will be dependent on the recommendations in the Adaptive Reuse and Management Plan. The City held a 70% design review meeting on Friday, October 14th, and is anticipating the design to be complete by December 2023, with construction on the fire suppression and irrigation lines beginning in early Spring 2023.

Opening of Allen Park on October 2020

Allen Park History


Allen Park’s history first begins with its namesake- Dr. George Allen. As a doctor, he was known to have a kind heart; he took great care of the working class during the Great Depression, never turning down a financially constrained patient. Dr. Allen was also known for his eclectic interests-ranging from creating mosaic poetry to collecting and caring for exotic birds. It is important to note that he also helped launch Salt Lake City’s Hogle Zoo and Tracy Aviary.

In 1931, George and Ruth Allen purchased the property, known as Allen Park, which stretches for nearly two city blocks on 1300 East along Emigration Creek. The former farmland began to take the form of a charming sanctuary for both birds and people with trees, shrubs, nooks, benches, poetic mosaics, fountains, and nesting boxes. At one point, you could find an elephant, chimp, reindeer, raccoon, coyote, and a sandhill crane named Sandy.

During the 1940s, Dr. Allen added 15 little hodgepodge duplexes to sustain the park financially. Over the years, students, professors, hippies, loners, and artists lived in the wonderment of Allen Park. Once the park became neglected and overgrown, the peculiar homes led to the long-standing myth that Allen Park was a “hobbitville.” 

For decades Allen Park has been loved and bemused by Salt Lake City. It is a cultural icon, between its lore, artwork, and preservation of nearly 8 acres of a unique ecosystem. Through tremendous effort between the community, grassroots organizations, and public entities, Allen Park will be preserved as a one-of-a-kind public open space in Salt Lake City.