Magna, Utah: Saltair - The Cursed Resort"Saltair" is a strange, Moorish structure built on the shore of the Great Salt Lake, in the hope that someone will come. Still hosts seasonal evening events, from shows by Jane's Addiction to food bank benefit concerts.
Visitor Tips and News About Saltair - The Cursed Resort
Saltair III still stands, but the gold has eroded off of the turrets, from what I could find, "Camel Lot" (where they were going to have camel rides) is gone, the landscaping is dying, and there are piles of rubble around the east end of the parking lot. The sign for Saltair's attractions -- a shop, concerts, etc. is handpainted and eroded, and it is closed for the season of winter.
The smell there is incredible -- brine and salt, and I have heard that in the summer it has become most intrusive. According to everyone I spoke to, it is now used for punk concerts and concerts that cannot be hosted in town.[Rom Deussen, 12/03/2007]
I stopped by the "Cursed Resort" and found that a new gift shop had opened inside. A young woman had opened the gift shop and was trying to make a go of it. There were various gift items as well as some snacks. I told her that the place was referred to on RoadsideAmerica.com as the "cursed resort" but that I would update the site and refer to her biz as the "blessed gift shop."
There was a replica of the original resort "under glass" which looked very opulent. Too bad it was lost. It's pretty empty now with just a performance stage.[wynn higley, 07/19/2007]
While driving randomly with my boyfriend one evening, we decided to drive out to the lake on I-80. What was really fun was driving back on one of the old roads that runs right along the lake and parallel to I-80. It almost feels like you are driving against the traffic. You can see all the old buildings along the lakeside, and you get some spectacular views of the lake. While not really on the list of "Must See," it was worth it to go out and watch the sunset.
PS: Saltair remains one of the better concert venues in the city. The acoustics are fantastic.[Chrissy, 05/03/2007]
At first glance, I thought Saltair was a mosque, closed at my first visit to the now receded "great" Salt Lake. On the next day's visit, I found the doors of Saltair open, and people actually taking the half mile trip on the salt-crusted beach, to the stinking water. I wouldn't even attempt it, but, as we say in Tennessee, "When In Rome." It was worth the free admission just to look at the photos hung in the lobby of the Good Old Days, but this isn't a Must See. Either is the "boat trip" at the Marina, as the boat must be dry docked -- no one ever showed up at the 2PM cruise time, so we cruised back into Salt Lake City for dinner![Sharon M, 08/06/2005]
Saltair #1 was one of many resorts built on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. Opened in 1893, it featured swimming, dancing, vaudeville, rodeos, fireworks, and a midway complete with roller coaster, ferris wheel, and merry-go-round. It was extremely popular and did a booming business until it burnt to the ground in 1925.
Saltair II opened the following year, but was never as popular as Saltair I. In 1931 there was once again significant fire damage. By 1933 the lake had shifted so that the resort was over a half mile from the water. Eventually a miniature train was built to take swimmers to the water. Saltair II closed from 1936 to 1945. After reopening it struggled along until 1958, when it closed for good. It stood abandoned until it too was destroyed by fire in 1970.
Saltair III opened in 1982, but the lake shifted and reached its highest water level in history, flooding the first five feet of the pavilion from 1984 until the late 80's. After the water receded it stood vacant until 1993, when it reopened with an added concert stage that showcases local and national acts. It now primarily serves as a concert hall and can be rented out for private functions. But for how much longer is anyone's guess. The picture is from 1990, when the water had receded and Saltair was left abandoned.[Dean Jeffrey, 02/17/2002]
The cursed resort is remembered by some as the shooting location for Herk Harvey's 1962 cult film "Carnival of Souls," and more recently, a 1990s Guns 'n Roses music video.
After the 1979 fire, the resort had been "restored" -- four businessmen moved a surplus airplane hangar in and slapped on a moorish facade for the 1982 resurrection.
We visited in 1995. Out front was a sad little shack with a paddlewheel, signs proclaiming "100th Anniversary 1893-1993," and a couple of train cars in which "Salty's Gifts" resided. There was a strong smell of rotting brine shrimp, and seagulls were everywhere. The Salt Water Taffy cashier boasted that low water salinity in the Salt Lake is 30% -- higher than the Dead Sea's watery 27%. Behind Salty's was the "Camel Lot," where you could ride a camel in the summer. Another gift shop here displayed the "Wee Wee Eel", a red 1964 bullet car that ran on rocket fuel and traversed the salt flats at 250 mph. The Saltair itself is a largely empty space -- rock bands play "painless" concerts throughout the year, far from the city folk who go to bed early with a glass of milk and a cookie.
Saltair - The Cursed Resort
- I-80, Magna, UT
- Great Salt Lake. From Salt Lake City, I-80 West to Exit 104 Saltair, turn right.
- Closed daytime, opens for concerts though.