Tooele Valley Museum Collection

The Kirk hotel on the southwest side of Vine was built in 1928.  An application for placement on the National Register of Historic Places explains that it is indicative of the “boom and bust” economic cycle experienced by mining communities.  When it was built, it was a fine hotel, but it was in a small city.

Its original owner was Phillip Kirk (1882-1936), who was born in England to a poor family. At the tender age of 8, he began working in a brick factory.  A couple years, he came to America with a group of Mormon pioneers and arrived in Salt Lake City in 1862.  His father worked in Tooele’s mines until 1926.  Phillip Kirk struck it rich in the local mine industry, and later decided to build a hotel in his hometown.  The Tooele Transcript-Bulletin reported that International Smelting and Refining Company provided some backing for the hotel.  The newspaper described the hotel as

“modern to the last let[t]er..from the modern heating plant under the basement floor to the large spacious ball room on the top story.”  “The new structure is of three stories, brick and cement construction and entirely fireproof throughout.  It has modern equipment in the kitchen, lobby and elsewhere… The main dining room has capacity for 200, which an additional fifty can be accommodated in the club dining room…it represents an investment of about $150,000.”

Served at the opening banquet was

“Peerless mist, cocktail, consommé, Fillet of Sole and tartare sauce, baked chicken and dressing, au Gratin Potatoes, sliced tomatoes, strawberries and cream cake, coffee, or chocolate”

The grand hotel failed during the Great Depression.  The building has operated as mixed short and long term rentals until the present.  Major interior alterations were made to ensure that it could operate as an apartment building.

It is hard to believe that a hotel so grand was built in a small mining town.  But, it illustrates the initial rush of prosperity that mining brought to Tooele Valley.  As is usual with the mining industry, the rush could not be sustained.  Fortunately, the building was maintained for us to enjoy today.

Tooele Valley Museum Collection