ALL NEWS

SLC to reopen portion of Allen Park, aka ‘Hobbitville’

Oct 1, 2020, 4:18 PM

Utah history...

Allen Park, which sits on 1300 East across the street from Westminster College, is home to several historic buildings and pieces of artwork -- which is why nearby residents pushed for the land to be preserved. (Photo: Utah State History via KSL.com)

(Photo: Utah State History via KSL.com)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A portion of Allen Park, commonly referred to as “Hobbitville” among Sugar House residents, will reopen to the public Sunday in Salt Lake City. This comes nearly seven months after the city purchased the 7-acre site, promising to preserve the historic property. 

The park will officially reopen Sunday, remaining open to the public seven days a week during daylight hours. This is the first time in roughly half a century Allen Park will be available for city residents to use. 

“The preservation of this one of a kind space in our city is an important milestone for us, and for generations of Salt Lakers to come,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall in a statement. “I am happy that the day has finally come when everyone will be able to see and experience what a special place Allen Park is.”

 

The charm of Allen Park, aka “Hobbitville”

Commonly referred to as “Hobbitville,” the quirky neighborhood earned its nickname because of the small homes and log cabins found there. 

Neighbors say high school and college students, claiming to look for the dwarves who are rumored to live there, frequently trespass in the area. 

The park, located on 1300 East across from Westminster College, hosts several historic buildings and pieces of artwork. It was one reason why nearby residents pushed for preservation.

Earlier this year, the future of Allen Park was uncertain as several developers considered what to do with the property. 

Salt Lake City purchased the land for $7.5 million in March, promising to repair and preserve the land. The city promised it would eventually open it as a public art park. While there are still ongoing preservation developments, a portion of the park will reopen. City residents will be able to walk the entirety of Allen Park Drive, just along Emigration Creek. 

“Allen Park is an exciting addition to Salt Lake City’s green space inventory. It features one of the last remaining wild sections of stream,” said Brian Tonetti, executive director of Seven Canyons Trust. “The 1,200-foot stretch of Emigration Creek meanders its way among an old-growth riparian forest, historic homes, and creative works of art. Allen Park provides a community asset to escape the chaos of urban life.”

History of Allen Park

Originally established as a bird sanctuary in the 1930s, Allen Park became a refuge for residents escaping the growing city. The land’s original owner, George Allen, was a prominent local surgeon who served on the Salt Lake Zoological Society. He played instrumental roles in the creation of Utah’s Hogle Zoo and the Tracy Aviary. 

Residents who lived there often joked about the small houses and dwarfed appliances — granting the park its nickname, “Hobbitville.”

However, residents vacated the area in January 2019. That’s because the site’s owners and landlord died, and the city said maintaining it cost too much. 

Uncertain future for Hobbitville

After residents vacated Allen Park, developers attempted negotiations to renovate Hobbitville to create new living spaces. Area residents clamored for its history to be preserved.

“The community concern and community support Utah Open Lands witnessed in the effort to save Allen Park was a clear demonstration that this vital living riparian area and cultural landscape will continue to be a community treasure well worth the multiple efforts that went into saving it,” said Wendy Fisher, executive director of Utah Open Lands.

Developers also ran into several logistical issues with property plans: Parking, city traffic, building renovations, etc. 

The city announced its plan to buy the land and convert it to a public art park in March. 

“Few sites in Salt Lake City can claim as long and as powerful a hold on the public imagination as Allen Park,” said David Amott, executive director of Preservation Utah. “Preservation Utah looks forward to aiding Salt Lake City in restoring, interpreting, and programming Allen Park in the present moment and for years to come.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

Chad Daybell and attorney John Prior on day five of his murder trial on April 17, 2024....

Lauren Steinbrecher

Chad Daybell didn’t steal money from wife’s dead children

On the fifth day of the Chad Daybell murder trial Wednesday, the courtroom’s focus turned to an alleged plot to steal money meant for Colby Ryan‘s two murdered children.

54 minutes ago

12% of women in Utah do not report sexual assault...

Eric Cabrera

Only 12% of Utah women report sexual assault, DA’s Office says

The Utah District Attorney's Office said for every 100 Utah women who are sexually assaulted, 88 of them won't report it.

1 hour ago

SLCPD is reminding anyone in the city this weekend to be mindful of travel impacts during the Salt ...

Devin Oldroyd

Salt Lake City Marathon will cause travel impacts, SLCPD warns

SLCPD is reminding anyone in the city this weekend to be mindful of travel impacts during the Salt Lake City Marathon.

2 hours ago

Image of people playing pickleball at the 11th Avenue Park in Salt Lake City on Thursday, June 30, ...

Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: Kids, stay away from Pickleball

Can’t get a timeslot on the court? Jeff Caplan proposes a new Pickleball Law.

2 hours ago

new byu head coach kevin young...

Sam Herrera and Emma Keddington

LISTEN: BYU welcomes new head coach

BYU is welcoming its new head coach for men's basketball, Kevin Young. Young comes to the university from the NBA.

3 hours ago

An NYU study shows that people with volatile work schedules are more likely to have health concerns...

Emma Keddington

Volatile work schedules linked to burnout and health problems

A new study finds that volatile work schedules causes burnout and is detrimental to overall health.

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

SLC to reopen portion of Allen Park, aka ‘Hobbitville’