National Register of Historic Places in Salt Lake County

National Register #75001814: Bamberger House in Salt Lake City
16 June 2011
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National Register #75001814
Bamberger House
623 East 100 South
Salt Lake City
Built c.1880

A Utah Division of State History interpretive plaque is mounted on the house:

Simon Bamberger House

This house was constructed c.1880 as the residence for the Simon Bamberger family. Born February 27, 1845 of Jewish parents in the german village of Eberstadt in Hesse-Darmstadt, Bamberger immigrated to the United States in 1859 at the age of fourteen. He worked in his brother's clothing store until coming west with the Union Pacific Railroad construction crews as a manager of a company store. Arriving in Utah in 1869, he was successful in several business ventures including the Bamberger Railroad which ran between Ogden and Salt Lake City. Simon Bamberger was elected governor from 1917 until 1921. In 1979 the house was renovated for offices by John B. Anderson.

Simon Bamberger was one of the most significant figures in Utah political history. His election as governor in 1916 bridged the chasm between Mormons and non-Mormons which had cut through Utah politics for nearly a half century.

Despite anti-Semitic incidents in the 1916 campaign, Bamberger won the support of many Mormons partly because of his support of prohibition along with his personal abstention from alcohol and tobacco. According to one anecdote:

On a visit to Sanpete County, Bamberger alighted from the train and was met by a local delegation headed by a tall, robust Norwegian with a flowing beard. In contrast, Bamberger, who was short and stubby, heard this towering Norwegian greet him with a menacing threat.

"You might just as vell go right back vere you come from. If you think we lat any damn Yentile speak in our meeting house, yure mistaken!"

Bamberger looked up into the face of the determined looking leader and slowly replied: "As a Jew, I have been called many a bad name, but this is the first time in my life that I have been called a Damn Gentile!"

Instantly the menacing attitude of the leader of the committee relaxed, and, throwing his arm around Bamberger's shoulders, he exultingly exclaimed, "You a Yew, an Israelite! Hear him, men, he's not a Yentile; he's a Yew, an Israelite!" and then to Bamberger: "Velcome, my friend, velcome, our next Governor."

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