Seth and the City: The Anderson Tower

Michael and I took a walk through The Avenues (our delightful neighborhood) up to the intersection of A Street and 6th Avenue where we discovered a beautiful park overlooking Memory Grove, the Capitol Building and the downtown skyline.

And what to my wondering eyes should appear? A historical marker with an image of a granite tower inspired by a Scottish folly called the Anderson Tower.


Robert R. Anderson, an original settler in Salt Lake, built the tower in 1884 as a tourist attraction for the city. He modeled his tower after the ones he had seen in Scotland as a young boy. He used gray granite from the same quarry that the LDS Church used to build the Salt Lake Temple and when the tower was completed, the three story circular structure stood 54 feet hight with a 25 foot diameter.

He installed a telescope and hoped the tower would be an observation deck. He charged people a fee to go to the top but unfortunately for him, the view from that location is pretty spectacular even without being at the top of a tower, so most who came up that high on the mountain never paid to use the extra elevation. People began to refer to the tower as “Anderson’s Folly.”


The tower was vandalized and boarded up. But it reopened in 1908 for free use to the public. This article from the Salt Lake Herald has information about the reopening and includes a view of Salt Lake from 1908. Eventually the tower again fell into disrepair and was demolished in 1932 and Salt Lake lost an imposing, unique icon.

All that is left today is this foundation and marker placed approximately where the original tower once pierced the sky.


I found additional photos of this tower and the view from it, but as far as I can tell the photos have a copyright. That being the case, check out these links to see more photos.

Lots of historic photos are found in this archive.

And some here.

some image
  • Donna Reiner
    March 8, 2013

    Thanks for the nugget of Salt Lake City history.

  • Ben Williams
    March 8, 2013

    lived here 40 years and learned something new… go visit the historical marker on
    600 East between 300 and 400 south and tell me what you thin…

  • Benjamin Shaw
    March 12, 2013

    Very cool! That view really is quite spectacular without needing to be up any higher!

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