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First Ladies have come to Utah since 1875, but were often ignored

Posted at 5:20 PM, May 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-05 19:20:57-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Once the transcontinental railroad made quick trips across the country possible, President’s began to visit Utah and they were often accompanied by their spouses.

The first sitting First Lady to come was Julia Grant with her husband, President Ulysses S. Grant. Their train stopped in Ogden for a short time and they had a more extended stay in Salt Lake City. At the time, Utah was still a territory.

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For at least half a century, First Ladies were treated as afterthoughts in newspaper coverage of the visits.

That began to change with the wife of a man often considered one of the least successful presidents in American history.

In the story above, we go through the early visits of first ladies to Utah through the words of Utah newspaper reporters, as collected in the Utah Division of State History archives.