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  • Alfred McCune HomeAlfred McCune Home Salt Lake City, Utah
    The Alfred McCune House is a turn-of-the-century mansion sitting on Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City, Utah, which had been constructed for Alfred W. McCune, containing 21 rooms, and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Alfred had been born in India, where his father, Matthew McCune, was stationed with the British army, and it was there that Alfred converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The whole family would then immigrate to Nephi, Utah, although Alfred never joined the church. Alfred contracted to construct part of the Utah Southern Railroad by the age of 21, and became a well known railroad builder. He soon became connected to other millionaires of the late 19th century and would become a partner in the Peruvian Cerro de Pasco mines, with Frederick William Vanderbilt, J. P. Morgan and William Randolph Hearst. He soon would have interests in Montana, Utah, British Columbia and South America. Alfred became respected by his peers, for his likable personality, integrity and helpful donations to needy causes. He became interested in politics and civic service, and in 1899 ran for senator on the democratic ticket, against incumbent Frank J. Cannon and others. No one was able to get a majority, and became a part of history as the period when Utah couldn't seat a senator in Washington. Alfred would try again later, but would be beaten by Thomas Kearns. Elizabeth, his wife, had as many interests as Alfred, serving in many capacities in the LDS church, becoming good friends with Susa Young Gates, the daughter of Brigham Young. In 1889, she would go to the International Congress of Women in London, since she was an avid supporter of women's rights, and when she was voted patron, she would be entertained by Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle. Alfred was hopeful of making his mansion a showcase, and sent his architect S. C. Dallas to Europe and throughout the nation on a two year exploration looking over designs and techniques. Dallas decided on a Gothic Revival style with some East Asian attributes, and actually the mansion is a copy of one the couple saw while driving through New York City and noticed it while on Riverside Drive. As the mansion was being constructed, Alfred and John R. Winder went to the First Presidency of the LDS church hoping they could rent the Gardo House for a couple of years while the mansion was built and they said yes. The McCune's home site was picked so that the mansion could rise up with great elegance over the houses nearby, and they spared no expense to have it done. Alfred acquired oak from England, mahogany from San Domingo, and a rare white mahogany from South Africa, with the red roof tiles coming from Holland and a huge broad mirrored wall that came from Germany. A special railroad car had to be constructed to carry it overland, but no expense was questioned. The interior walls had Russian leather, moiré silks and tapestries, and the exterior used Utah red sandstone, while the fireplaces would use exotic stone like Nubian marble. It was finished in 1901 at a cost of more than $500,000, with the McCune's living there until 1920. They would move to Los Angeles then, donating it to the LDS church, which transformed it into the McCune School of Music until 1963. Then it became the Brigham Young University Salt Lake City Center that stopped in 1973. It was sold and became the Virginia Tanner Modern Dance School, that had lessons given in the ballroom. After that, it has continued to be private, and is now available for short term rentals and other occasions like weddings. In 1997, Philip McCarthey, one of the shareholders of the Kearns-Tribune Corporation, that published the Salt Lake Tribune, purchased the mansion and starting renovating it in August, 1999, just after the Salt Lake City tornado that had knocked off one of the chimneys. Philip finished the work in November 2001.

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  • Utah's Hogle ZooUtah's Hogle Zoo Salt Lake City, Utah
    The Hogle Zoo is found in Salt Lake City, Utah and is the state's biggest zoo with animals coming here from many ecosystems, and is found at the beginning of the Emigration Canyon. It was started and operated by the Hogle family in 1931, although its first location was in the city's Liberty Park. Just before it moved to its current locale, their Asian elephant Alice had the first baby born in the state so they named him, Prince Utah, but he sadly died within a year. Present exhibits include three elephants including one baby, deer, monkeys, many North American birds and numerous mammals. Mr. and Mrs. James A. Hogle opened the zoo on August 1, 1931, and took care of it until it was taken over by the city and is now supported with tax dollars and private donations that are raised by the Utah Zoological Association. They celebrated their 75th anniversary in 2006, and gave free admission to anyone that had been born in 1931. There are about 1100 animals living here that represent 250 different species, and occupies about 42 acres of land that was owned by the Hogles. They just recently counted their 1 millionth visitor and also had their first African elephant baby born. Some of the fabulous critters that live here include; Arizona mountain kingsnake, golden lion tamarin, spider monkey, amur leopard, amur tiger (Siberian), snow leopard, African elephant, giraffe, long-tailed chinchilla, white rhinoceros, long-eared owl, eastern black and white colobus monkey, red panda, pallas' cat, American bison, cougar, western lowland gorilla, New Guinea snake-neck turtle, amur leopard, and brown tufted capuchin monkey.

January 11, 2011