Utah History to Go
The White Book Road Guide
From War to war


World War I and Utah
Utah's Capitols
Herbert S. Auerbach, Renaissance Man
Utah's "Ugly Duckling" Salt Flats
Publicizing Bryce Canyon
The Last Indian Uprising
Home Industry 20th Century Style
Some 80 Utah Nurses Served in World War I
World War I Heroine Maud Fitch Lived in Eureka, Utah
Mexican Families and the Sugar Industry in Garland
The Development of Zion National Park
The Twenties
Artist John Held, Jr. Created Cultural Icons, 1920's
Media Development in Weber County
Silent Films Intrigued & Occasionally Offended
Coal Production Amid the Wars
Sheep Fueled 1920's Economy
Military Installations
Boxcars and Section Houses
Jack Dempsey Loved Fighting, Mining, and Cowboying
Radio in Utah Began in May 1922 on Station KZN
The Cigarette Ban of the 19020's Caused an Uproar
Prohibition Failed to Stop the Liquor Flow in Utah
Lawyer Ran For President on the Farmer-Labor Ticket
George Sutherland Served on the U.S. Supreme Court
Alice Stratton Feared and Made Fun of "Kaiser Bill"
Klansmen at a Funeral and a Terrible Lynching
President Harding's 1923 Visit to Utah
Growing Crops For the Cannery
Dinosaur National Monument
The Fathers of Capitol Reef National Park
Ogden's the Bigelow-Preserves a Historic Area
Philo T. Farnsworth's Invention
The Beginnings of Commerical Aviation
The White Book Road Guide
The Great Depression
Depression Memories
"Even Grasshoppers Were Starving" During Drought
New Deal Agencies Built 233 Buildings in Utah
"Alphabet" Agencies in Utah County
The Civilian Conservation Corps Was a Boon to Utah
The Civilian Conservation Corps
Marriner S. Eccles Helped Design FDR's New Deal
Reed Smoot and the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, 1930
Reed Smoot & America's Natural Resources, 1903-33
Children in the 1930's Hoped to Become Nurses & Pilots
Arches National Monument
A Labor Inspector During the Great Depression
Clean Clothes Blowing in the Breeze
Utah's Rosies in the War
Garfield County Airport Has Unusual Hangar
Marie Ogden Led Spiritual Group in San Juan County
Uinta Basin Group Trekked to the 1933 World's Fair
Helen Hofmann Bertagnole-"Utah's Queen of Swing"
World War II in Utah
How Trains Helped Win a War
The War Effort at Home
Topaz Relocation Center
Topaz: Japanese American Interned in UT During WWII
Japanese Agricultural Colony at Keetley
Utahn Survives the Attack at Pearl Harbor
The USS Salt Lake City Made History
Utah Naval Officer Died a Hero's Death at Pearl Harbor
Rhymes Filled Children's Autograph Books
Utah's Rosies Upshot
Women Workers and Housing Issues
World War II Claimed the Lives of Four Utah Brothers

Miriam B. Murphy
History Blazer, October 1996

The White Book Road Guide published in 1920 by F. D. B. Gay was produced "from the standpoint of the man in the car." This guide and others published by Gay not only catered to the needs of early automobile tourists but also reflected his desire to market "the scenic wonders of the western states to America." Born in Massachusetts in 1878 and educated at Harvard and Northwestern, Gay had a long and varied career as a newspaperman and was associated with the San Francisco Examiner, Chicago Tribune, New York World Herald, Rocky Mountain News, and the Deseret News. Like many a traveler before and since, he became enamored of the southern Utah scenery. Associated with the Auto Club of Southern California, he secured "from them the first money to mark the roads of southern Utah." As field secretary of the Associated Civic Clubs of Southern Utah and the Scenic Highways Association, he reportedly "mapped and routed the first roads of southern Utah."

The 1920 guide takes the tourist in his automobile from Ogden to the Grand Canyon along what is essentially Highway 89. The driver is given exact mileage between towns and told precisely where to turn. For example, on the Sevier River route between Richfield, Sevier County, and Marysvale, Piute County, the guidebook notes that at Elsinore (7.4 miles from the Commercial Bank corner in Richfield) gas could be obtained at the drug store on the corner and to turn right there and at 7.7 miles turn left and follow the main road. After driving straight through Joseph, at mile 15, turn right with the poles. On reaching mile 16.7 the Cove School should be on the right. Where the road forks at mile 17.4 the driver should keep left for Marysvale. After crossing the river twice and a railroad siding once the road would take the tourist on into Marysvale, a distance of 30.5 miles from Richfield.

This particular guide was produced in cooperation with Josiah F. Gibbs and J. Cecil Alter. Alter, founding editor of Utah Historical Quarterly and head of the Weather Bureau in Salt Lake City for many years, waxed eloquent about "Automobiling to Wonderlands" and the beauties of Fish Lake, Bryce's (sic) Canyon, and Grand Canyon. "The Grand Canyon, like a love affair, must be experienced for it cannot be described," the ardent Alter wrote. Gibbs described the majestic grandeur of the Tushar Mountains straddling the border of Piute and Beaver counties, but another purpose of his writing was to promote Marysvale as the center of "the coming precious metals district of Utah."

In addition to the precious metals pouring from the Deer Trail Mine, "vast deposits, beds and lodes" of alunite ore were being refined at the Mineral Products Mill a few miles outside of Marysvale--"sufficient to supply the United States with pure potash and potash-fertilizer during centuries to come." Marysvale, "a mountain hamlet in the rough," was the ideal spot from which to explore by auto or saddle horse "the great heart of the Tushar," including Mount Belknap. From the top of this 12,139-foot peak virtually all of central, southern, and southwestern Utah could be seen. Indeed, "from the U.S. geodetic station, perched on the highest spot of Belknap's...dome, one may look out and over one fiftieth of the earth's circumference!"

Tourists would have found their needs well supplied in Marysvale in 1920. B. H. King, proprietor of the Pines Hotel, promised "Good service, reasonable rates. Special attention to Traveling Men and Tourists. Meals are served. Rooms are convenient." G. T. Eayrs, owner of the Eayrs Drug, offered refreshing fountain drinks and confectionery as well as the usual drug store items and supplies for travelers such as thermos bottles and film. If one had not packed the appropriate attire or equipment for travel, Marysvale boasted a J. C. Penney outlet and the Marysvale Cash Store. The Wallace Johnson Garage stocked automotive supplies. In the days before credit and debit cards, the Marysvale branch of the State Bank of Piute did not promise travelers quick cash (although a letter of credit from a Salt Lake City bank might have worked as well), but it did promise "information on the wonderful mineral resources, potash deposits, sheep and cattle, also...the best fishing and camping spots in southern Utah."

Although few travelers to scenic southern Utah today would want to rely on The White Book Road Guide, for historians Gay's guidebooks are like time capsules revealing distant times and places.

Sources: The White Book Road Guide  (Provo: F. D. B. Gay, 1920); "Utah Booster Succumbs at Home in Provo," Salt Lake Tribune, February 15, 1941


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