Holladay to have a history museum at lastMay 08, 2023 10:25AM ● By Zak Sonntag
Casto Home sits vacant, but anticipates more action with new museum.
The City of Holladay will begin work on its biggest-yet tribute to history: The Holladay Historic Walk, a first of its kind museum with integrated outdoor features coming the City Park.
The project marks a major victory for local historians who’ve long lobbied for a museum to honor the heritage of Holladay, one of the city’s oldest continually inhabited settler communities in Utah—dating to John Holladay survey in 1849.
“I’m so excited with this project. It’s like a baby—I’ve seen it growing…and I’m finally seeing come to light,” said Sandy Meadows, chair of the Holladay Historical Commission, whose helped curate the content for the museum.
The Historic Walk aims to provide an inspirational view of Holladay from its earliest beginnings to present day. Exhibits, displays and public art murals will be integrated with the existing Holladay City Park at 4850 S. 2300 East, adding to the popular park’s list of offerings.
“It is so unique. It’s unlike any other museum I’m aware of. They have created something that’s going to be like a walking exhibit,” said Meadows, who brought to the project her 12-year experience at the Church History Museum. “It’s not a normal museum.”
The project will be realized through a $750,000 TRCC grant from Salt Lake County awarded to the city this year, adding to the sizeable sum of outside money the manager’s office has won for the City of Holladay.
Leaders were able to snag the grant with a strong application that emphasized the city’s standing fiscal responsibility, robust community support for public works projects, and a record of meeting match funding.
The county grant, however, does not cover the full cost of the project, and the city is now determining ways to come up with the unsecured funds. Some money may come from the city’s general fund, but the city also anticipates fundraising an additional $150,000.
Holly Smith, who is the project lead at the city manager’s office, said during a public hearing her team is confident the project will come to completion with the help of donations from residents, local businesses, prominent community members and partner organizations.
Dan Gibbons, councilmember and Historical Commission adviser, says the museum has been a longtime coming.
“We’ve had a discussion about how to get some sort of museum to celebrate the history of Holladay,” he said, noting that the ambition was pushed off for lack of funding, a problem that is addressed in large part by the self-sustaining design and integrated outdoor concept. “This is a great solution because it doesn’t require that we have any extra staffing.”
The move will also restore some utility to the Casto Home, a historic structure moved at great expense to only sit vacant at the northwest corner of the park. The Historic Walk will culminate at the Casto Home.
Being integrated with a popular park, the city estimates the History Walk will see tens of thousands visitors annually. Meadows, however, believes the museum will not be a secondary stopover for park visitors, but a destination unto itself.
“This is going to be a shining star for Holladay City. It’s going to be so unique and beautiful and wonderful,” Meadows said. “I think that people are going to come from everywhere to see it because there’s nothing to my knowledge like it around Utah.” λ