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.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Salt Lake City Police have arrested two people in connection to a fatal shooting on Wednesday, Feb....
Mark Jones

SLCPD arrest two people in connection to a Wednesday shooting

Two people have been arrested in connection to a Wednesday shooting, according to Salt Lake City Police. The victim, a 35-year-old, died at the hospital.
23 hours ago
Utah 2022 legislative session...
Mark Jones

Bill would require buildings to post signs for events meant for adults

One Utah lawmaker is proposing a bill that would require signs be posted on public buildings that will be hosting events meant for adults.
23 hours ago
Multiple dollar bills are pictured, social security will see a bump...
Mark Jones

Eyeing retirement: How much money is enough after you leave a job?

How do you know when it's time to leave a job or if you'll have enough for retirement? Dave and Dujanovic talk to a financial planner about this important question.
23 hours ago
Salt Lake City Police are investigating a fatal stabbing at the Palmer Court Apartments on Thursday...
Mark Jones

One person dead following a stabbing in Salt Lake City suspect still at large

One person died following a stabbing in Salt Lake City on Thursday afternoon, according to Salt Lake City Police. Police are still searching for a suspect.
23 hours ago
UDOT crews fill potholes...
Devin Oldroyd

UDOT uses public’s help locating potholes

UDOT spokesperson John Gleason says the department is monitoring where the potholes are, thanks in large part to the public.
23 hours ago
interest rate...
Curt Gresseth

Interest rate ticks up. Time to tame your debt.

The chief financial analyst for Bankrate.com joins the show to talk about the rising interest rate and how you can get out from under the debt you have accumulated.
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
SLC to reopen portion of Allen Park, aka ‘Hobbitville’