THE WORLD OF JACK HAMMER

Main Street, 1948Photo Courtesy Utah State Historical Society

People say a picture is worth a thousand words. Maybe they just don’t like readin’…
This is where I live and work: the squeaky clean streets of Salt Lake City in 1948. When I came home from The War  in ‘46 I was 23 years old, too old to go back to school or live with Mother. Instead I took a job as a night watchman at Auerbach’s department store babysitting mannequins. I’ve been trying to use my skills from my years in the Army as MP, so I set up my own little business as a Private Investigator finding stray dog, cats and husbands. I rent a little two-room office on Main where I work and sleep. If you need a good P.I. ask for me, Jack Hammer, Mormon Detective… If you just want to read my story, contact me.

Auerbachs ext

Broadway in Salt Lake City ca. 1948
Broadway is the home to the Auerbach Department Store where Jack works as a night watchman. Excerpt from HINT OF COPPER: “Stars faded over the Wasatch as I finished my shift at Auerbach’s. Mountains east of the city gathered detail, emerging gradually from silhouette shapes set against a lime-white sky. I spent my nights protecting department store dummies. That was my side job, the one that kept me afloat in ‘48.”  

 

main street 1947 copy

Main Street in Salt Lake City ca. 1948 looking south
Jack’s case, involving stolen Nikola Tesla’s stolen secrets, plays out along Main Street. The photo show banners hung across the street in preparation for the Days of ’47 parade. The Walker Bank tower, shown at the center left in the distance, figures into Bosko Cvito’s big test in HINT OF COPPER, when lights suddenly go out all over the rest of the city. Jack’s office, in the Karrick Building, is opposite the bank and another 1/2 block south.

 

UTOCO smallState Street in Salt Lake City ca. 1948 looking north
Jack parks on State, and walks north to The Beehive Cafe from Auerbach’s. In the LOST RHOADES MINE AFFAIR, he fills his car with gas at the UTOCO but suffers a flat tire, delaying his arrival at County General Hospital.

 

33rd south stateTiny’s Barbecue at 33rd South in Salt Lake City ca. 1948 (looking west across State Street)
From HINT OF COPPER: “Tiny’s was across the street, nestled between tall trees and the Texaco. The clapboard cafe was all signage, not much bigger than the gas station. The windows were open and the smell of wood-smoked meat drifted toward me. I jaywalked straight to the front entry.”

 

IMG_3463Inside the Naple’s Cafe ca. 1948
Jack meets Marko for lunch in HINT OF COPPER, in a small cafe similar to this one. Marko feeds Jack ethnic dishes from his homeland in the new country of Yugoslavia and is confused to discover that Jack will not drink beer. Marko buys his cigarettes from the machine in the center-left of the photo. Jack later meets Aleks here one night when Marko is absent, but his cheeseburger is cold.

 

Peter Pan StairInside the Peter Pan Billiards Hall ca. 1980                          Photo courtesy James Davis, SLC.
The Peter Pan Billiards Hall, a few doors north of Jack’s office in the Karrick Building, boasted serious pool and money pool on 12′ slate tables. Jack gets a lesson in pool from Red, and uncovers a hint of Bosko’s possible travels to Bingham in HINT OF COPPER.

 

IMG_0404Bingham City Hall on the Right ca. 1948
Jack leaves his car parked here, just outside the Bingham Hotel and across from the tunnel to Copperfield (right of photo), in HINT OF COPPER. The building at 520, next to the Telephone Building, became a euphemism for ladies of the evening. The crowds gathered in the photo background  are standing at the road to Carr Fork and Highland Boy. The Gemmel Club and the funicular tram are up this street, roughly a block. The City Hall and Police Station are in the brick building on the right.

 

HouseTraditional Brick Bungalows in Salt Lake City
Low hip roofs and covered porches are common elements of any number of small, brick homes built in Salt Lake City, starting in the early 1900’s. Garages were added later in many, as separate buildings behind the main structures.

 

1947 Beehive Cafe_Whitehall Hotel_Tuxedo HotelOutside The Beehive Cafe
This photo, from 1947, looks south down State Street and toward Murray. The Beehive Grille and Cafe was located at the base of the Whitehall Hotel, shown in the right side of the photo. The dark brick structure at the center-left of the photo was the Public Safety Building, where Jack’s Uncle Jim had his office.

 

beehive-cafe---CopyInside The Beehive Cafe ca. 1948
Jack’s girlfriend, Sadie, waitresses here during the breakfast hours. The padded door at the rear opens to the mysterious Twilight Lounge. Jack frequents the cafe’ to spend time with Sadie and often sees his uncle, Jim, at the counter.

 

Bingham FunicularTram to the Office in Bingham ca. 1948
Two small, cable-driven cars rode up and down the hillside from the base of the hill near the Gemmel Club in Carr Fork, in Bingham. Jack made his way up to the mine offices and walked in on somebody else’s appointment, providing him crucial information regarding how much was at stake in the investigation.

 

colliseumColiseum at the Utah State Fair Park ca 1940’s
No longer standing, the Coliseum Building stood at the west end of an outdoor garden parkway, flanked by smaller buildings. It was west and south of the rodeo grounds. The Coliseum had a dirt floor, suitable for showing livestock and other agricultural events. In HINT OF COPPER, Jack confronts Sadie’s kidnappers here.

 

Text Copyright 2014-18 Steven R. Burt  All Rights Reserved
Photos Courtesy Utah State Historical Society and James Davis

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