rachel quist

archaeology, history, photography, and bits of randomness

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Thoughts on websites

Posted on September 18, 2015 at 4:40 PM

So I pretty much hate this website.

I hate self promotion and I don't like updating the world on my peronsal life.  However, even more than that I do not want other "Rachel Quist" persons to ursurp this web domain.  I was here first and I want to keep it.  I know that sounds selfish and stupid but it is also a defense of territory.  Dumb as it sounds, I will still stand my ground and keep paying the domain name fee to keep it active.  Send comments directly to me, I probably deserve what you have to say.  

Salt Lake City's Chili KIng

Posted on December 11, 2013 at 9:05 PM

It is not known if Otto Branning attended the 1893 World’s Fair or even if he was introduced to chili during his time in Chicago; however, soon after he and his family relocated to Salt Lake City in 1901 he established his first restaurant, a small lunch stand, and by 1903 he had moved his business to a full service chili parlor located at 17 E. 200 South in downtown Salt Lake City.

By 1906, Branning’s Chili Parlor relocated and expanded to two locations becoming the most popular chili places in all of Salt Lake City with locations at 315 S. Main Street and 36 E. 100 South.

Branning advertised nightly specials complete with “moving pictures and an orchestra” and unapologetically advertised his chili parlor as a rambunctious party place. He served chili con carne, tamales, Spanish veal stew, and limburger cheese.

By 1910 he was calling himself the “Chili King” of Salt Lake City. He became so prosperous he was able to move his family into a nice Victorian home located at 153 C Street in the Avenues neighborhood of Salt Lake City.

In April of 1910, a new extravagant hotel opened at 200 South and State Street in downtown Salt Lake City and Branning relocated one of his chili shops from Main Street to the first floor of the Hotel Semloh. There was a saloon next door on the corner that had a window in the wall that could be opened up into the chili parlor. Food could be passed from the chili parlor, if wanted, into the saloon and beer could be ordered from the saloon and consumed at the chili parlor.

1913 Branning wished to relocate to California. He rented out his house at 153 C Street and also sold his chili business at the Semloh Hotel to Sieger Springer, who in March of 1913 reorganized the business as King Chili Co. Springer advertised himself as the “Chili King” and “Successor to O. E. Branning.”

According to Springer family history, Sieger Springer and his wife Martje financed the purchase of the chili parlor by mortgaging their home located at 840 Ashton Avenue. It was a very successful business for one year; then Branning decided to come back to Salt Lake and in an underhanded manner he opened another chili parlor at 103 E. 200 South, just around the corner and only 118 feet way from the Springers. This really hurt business, so in 1914 the Springers sold the parlor in the Semloh Hotel to Ben Helput.

Helput operated Ben’s Chili Parlor at the Hotel Semloh until 1915 when he was involved in a violent altercation at the adjacent saloon and was slashed by a razor. He knew his perpetrator but did not press charges; however, immediately following the altercation he sold his chili parlor to Amasa Belnap who continued to operate it under the name of Ben’s Chili Parlor. Belnap moved to the town of Cornnie in 1917 the chili parlor at the Hotel Semloh was no more. The location became the site of several different businesses including a chauffeur office and doughnut shop. The Hotel Semloh (later known as the Belmont Hotel) was demolished in November of 1935 to make way for a "modern" one-story supermarket.

Read the full article


Book Review: Vacation Boy

Posted on December 6, 2013 at 12:45 AM

So I won a goodreads book giveaway a few weeks ago. I won a copy of Vacation Boy by Jon L Sattler. He happened to be in the Salt Lake City / Park City neighborhood so he personally delivered the book to my door. Not only did I receive a free copy of the book, but I received a free copy of the FULL COLOR version of the book - a $40 value.

The book is a non-fiction travelogue of the author visiting many counties throughout the world. Unfortunately, the chapters are only a few pages long which means that that the author only recounts the locations that he visited and not necessarily the people, the culture, or the experiences. In general, I found the book to be disappointing... much to my disappointment.


Vacation Boy: Does This Count as a Career?: Eclectic Tales of Adventure from Around the Globe

Vacation Boy: Does This Count as a Career?: Eclectic Tales of Adventure from Around the Globe
by Jon L. Sattler
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a book that I really wanted to like. I love travel books, especially those that explore the intricate cultural exchanges beyond the beaten path and are part of the indigenous culture. This book promised to be such an adventurous read but it proved to be more of a travel checklist without any deeper cultural experience or recollection. I was disappointed.

The chapters are short and recollect where and when the author traveled, very much like a day-planner would account. There is very little account of who he encountered and no internal assessment/recollection of the cultural differences or challenges.

I have traveled to many of the places that the author has and his description of the locations and/or people do not remind me at all of my travels. Rather, the book reads like a travel brochure of the locations he has visited.

For example, the Galapagos Islands (of which I have visited and was enchanted), he describes in all of three and a half pages, of which two pages are on a snorkeling trip in which he encounters a shark. Intriguing, but not interesting. The islands are such a rich history of biology, geology, and history that so much more could have been written.

The most disappointing part (of the whole book really) is that there is no discussion or recognition of a "sense of place" within the world. Unfortunately the author comes across in his writings as a superficial traveler of the world. The worst part about the whole thing is that I don't think the author himself is superficial, I just think he has a difficult time expressing his experiences in the form of storytelling.

In sum, it is not a book I would recommend as a travelog or as peak into any cultural experience. But, I would not necessarily criticize the author for trying to write such a book.

I have to say it, but for anyone who has truly traveled and enjoys travel logs and books, this will be a disappointment.

**As a disclaimer, I won a full color copy of this book in a Goodread.com giveaway; but this giveaway has reflected my opinion of the review of this book.**

View all my reviews

Making Jalapeno Jelly

Posted on November 1, 2013 at 11:15 PM

Jalapeno-Cilantro-Lime Jelly

A receipie modified by me... I hope it turns out!

  • 4 cups mixed green peppers, especially jalapenos (seeds left in)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl, divided
  • 1 box SURE-JELL For Less or No Sugar Needed Recipes Premium Fruit Pectin
  • 1/2 tsp. butter 

PLACE peppers, vinegar, lime juice, and water in 6- or 8-qt. saucepot.

MIX 1/4 cup of the sugar (from the measured amount in bowl) and pectin. Add to pepper mixture in saucepot; mix well. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil for1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

LADLE immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. (If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)

A new history article for Halloween

Posted on October 28, 2013 at 10:45 PM

True tales behind haunted places: Capitol Theatre


n the afternoon of July 4th, 1949, part of the basement of the Capitol Theatre caught fire while 600 holiday patrons watched a Rita Hayworth double feature.


Mr. Charles Whitney, Assistant Theater Manager, first smelled the smoke and immediately started evacuation of the theater. He dispatched 19 year-old Herbert Schoenhardt, Chief of Staff of Ushers, and 17 year-old usher Richard Duffin, to investigate the source of the fire.

The two ushers carried fire extinguishers and found that the fire had quickly spread to packing crates and cardboard boxes creating a blistering inferno. “The flames were so hot we couldn’t get near them and I emptied the extinguisher, but it did no good,” Mr. Schoenhardt later reported.

Read full article.

Two West Desert Air Beacon Towers

Posted on August 28, 2013 at 1:00 AM

I recently found about these strange concrete arrows in the West Desert and could not restit trying to relocate them.  Two of them were located near the turn off to my work at Dugway, so I figured I could easily stop by and check them out. Here are the two that are relatively near mny work turnoffs.

** The Map of the West Desert **

Last Updated by Scott on Jul 23 +40° 45' 0.09", -112° 38' 53.66"

This is at Exit 77 on I-80, the Dugway Exit at Timpie Springs


Last Updated by Scott on Jul 22 +40° 49' 35.42", -112° 54' 20.66"

This is the military exit (Oasis) on I-80 with No Services

Historic Airway Beacons - General

Posted on August 28, 2013 at 12:40 AM

Recently, through the relatively new facebook group https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/652953058063286/" target="_blank">THE COWBOYS OF SCIENCE, I have become aware of Historic Airway Beacons.  I must admit that this sort of obscure history is right up my alley and I have never heard of it before.... and there are plenty of locations in Utah's West Desert to check out.

Thanks to the EAA I was able to learn the basics about the airway becons and their locations in Utah.  Here is some history on the project.The Development of Night Navigation in the U.S.By John Schamel

After World War One, the U.S. Post Office began operating a series of air mail routes along the East Coast. On August 20, 1920, the Transcontinental Air Mail Route was opened. Extending from New York to San Francisco, it was the first airway to cross the nation. Airways in those days were merely concepts – air navigation charts didn’t exist. Pilots used railroad or early road maps since flying was a fair weather daytime activity. Mail planes of the day normally came equipped with a compass, a turn-and-bank indicator, and an altimeter. Pilots were often skeptical of their instruments and would only fly along a well-known route.

And there was the problem. Mail could only fly in the daylight. Many skeptics looked at Air Mail as an expensive frill, since it offered no clear-cut savings in time. Mail could cross the nation by rail in three days. The short daylight hops aircraft could give to the mail weren’t cost effective.

And there was the problem. Mail could only fly in the daylight. Many skeptics looked at Air Mail as an expensive frill, since it offered no clear-cut savings in time. Mail could cross the nation by rail in three days. The short daylight hops aircraft could give to the mail weren’t cost effective.

In February 1921, a grand experiment had been conducted. Two flights would fly the Transcontinental, one in each direction and the flights would continue into the night. Despite a raging blizzard across the Great Plains and the Midwest, one flight was able to make it with its load of mail from San Francisco to New York. The determination of one pilot, Jack Knight, who flew three segments of the route, made it succeed. Jack was able to find his way across the snow swept plains by following the bonfires lit by supportive citizens and postal employees.

Using six aircraft and six pilots, the air mail relay took slightly more than 24 hours to cover the distance from San Francisco to New York. Proof of substantial timesaving was made.

A 1923 experiment conducted by the Army Air Corps in Ohio showed that pilots could navigate at night using rotating light beacons. With this example, Paul Henderson, who was the Second Assistant Postmaster General in 1922 was able to press his requests for the development of a similar system for the Air Mail routes. Congress, in 1923, approved funding for the lighting of the Transcontinental Air Mail Route. Work started immediately on the Cheyenne to Chicago segment. Being in the middle of the nation, flights starting at daybreak on the coasts would be able to fly to either end of the lighted segment before dusk.

What resulted was the first ground based civilian navigation system in the world. Beacons were positioned every ten miles along the airway. At the top of a 51-foot steel tower was a 1 million candlepower-rotating beacon. Pilots could see the clear flash of light from a distance of 40 miles. Also at the top of the tower were two color-coded 100,000 candlepower course lights. These pointed up and down the airway. They were colored green, signifying an adjacent airfield, and red, signifying no airfield. The course lights also flashed a Morse code letter. The letter corresponded to the number of the beacon within a 100-mile segment of the airway. To determine their position, a pilot simply had to remember this phrase – “When Undertaking Very Hard Routes, Keep Direction By Good Methods” – and know which 100-mile segment they were on. The beacons were also built to aid daytime navigation. Each tower was built on an arrow shaped concrete slab that was painted yellow. The arrow pointed to the next higher numbered beacon. An equipment/generator shed next to the tower had the beacon number and other information painted on the roof.

Regular scheduled night service on the Transcontinental Air Mail Route started on July 1, 1924. Now operating around the clock, Air Mail was able to cross the nation in 34 hours westbound and 29 hours eastbound. By the fall of 1924, the lighted segment extended from Rock Springs, WY to Cleveland, OH. By the summer of 1925, it extended all the way to New York.

An English aviation journalist, visiting the U.S. in 1924, wrote, “The U.S. Post Office runs what is far and away the most efficiently organized and efficiently managed Civil Aviation undertaking in the World.”

On July 1, 1927, the U.S. Post Office ended its Air Mail operation. The Transcontinental Air Mail Route, and other air mail routes, were turned over to the fledgling Airways Division in the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Lighthouses. The Airways Division continued with the development of lighted airways. An improved version of the beacon was fielded in 1931. On January 29, 1929, the rotating beacon at Miriam, NV was turned on, lighting the last beacon in the Transcontinental Air Mail Route.

By 1933, the Federal Airway System operated by the Airways Division comprised 18,000 miles of lighted airways containing 1,550 rotating beacons and 236 intermediate landing fields. Air Mail pilots routinely navigated the skies during the night, following the “signposts” of the rotating beacons.

About the author …John Schamel joined the FAA in 1984 and has been an Academy instructor since 1991. He taught primarily in the Flight Service Initial Qualification and En Route Flight Advisory Service programs. He has also taught in the International and the Air Traffic Basics training programs at the FAA Academy.

An example of what these towers and arrows looks like:



Be sure to check out my real life reconnaissance of two West Desert Beacon Towers. 

Teenager Ducks

Posted on June 27, 2013 at 11:00 PM

And here are the ducks today.  As you can see they are mostly full grown.  The yellow chick has grown into a white duck while the black one has remained black.

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Super cute baby ducks!

Posted on June 27, 2013 at 6:55 PM

These are our baby ducks, only about 1 week old

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Our baby ducks are now 6 weeks old (teenager ducks) and still cute, just not super cute as when they were babies.

Wright Brothers come to Utah for the International Aviation Carnival, April 1911

Posted on April 20, 2013 at 10:25 PM

In 1911, an unusual aviation competition occurred at what is now the Salt Lake International Airport. The Great International Aviation Carnival was to be held at the new Salt Lake aviation site, located at Basque Flats (named for the Spanish-French sheep herders who worked the near desolate area west of Salt Lake City) which had recently replaced the old Buena Vista airstrip located near the Utah state fairgrounds. The new aviation site was barely more than an open field with a cinder-covered landing strip but it was still an improvement over the old field.

That same year on April 5-10, brought aviation pioneers representing Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company and a team representing the Wright Brothers to Salt Lake City.

Read Full Article Here

Environmental Freelancing

Posted on December 18, 2012 at 2:05 PM

So, for about a year or so I have been freelance writing.  Mostly environmental or historic type articles.  Here is one of the articles I wrote last year based on a fishing trip we took. Enjoy.

What Camping Can Teach Us About Sustainable Living

Last week my family and I decided to go out for a weekend offishing and camping. We decided to only eat the fish that we caught and takesome produce from our home garden; we would not bring any store-bought food provisions.  This idea seems rather simple but in practice it was rather nerve-racking and somewhat difficult butit showed us how being self-sustainable, even for a weekend, takes planning and determination.


First we packed our gear: fishing poles, water filter, firstaid supplies, tent, sleeping bags, firewood, and one cast iron griddle.  We packed a small cooler with garden produce, frozen water containers that would melt into drinking water, and dry ice to ensure the fish would keep fresh.  We loaded up and headed out into the mountains to a small lake with reports of good fishing.


Although the cooler was loaded with cucumbers, tomatoes,onions, potatoes, blackberries, and a few chicken eggs, frankly, I was a little nervous about the venture.  While we try to practice sustainable living at home it felt completely different to be entirely reliant on what we grow and what we catch for food – no grocery store or farmers’ market for backup, no electricity or natural gas for cooking, and no running water.  We would need to conserve our supplies and preserve what we caught.


We set up camp at a primitive campground – an established metal fire pit and a picnic table was provided, but no running water or other amenities.  We were the only ones there.  Fishing was slow until dusk arrived and then the fish started hitting the surface, feasting on insects that covered the lake.  We easily caught several fish but only kept the three largest trout for our dinner.


Cooking on an open fire, even with a cast iron griddle, is a much different experience.  It takes patience to create the hot coals,  observation to spot the griddle hot spots, and a certain amount of skill to navigate the flare-ups.  Our dinner consisted of fresh caught trout, roasted tomatoes, and a side of garden cucumbers and tomatoes.


As we ate our dinner, alone in the primitive campground, we discussed how people are growing up so far from nature and the outdoors that they no longer have any sense of what a natural experience, such as camping, is like. They are unaware of the natural cycles and balance that humans share with the Earth’s natural ecology.


Seasonality of produce is lost to generations as are the concepts of sustainable hunting and fishing. Food preservation and storage,once a major emphasis of all families, is a skill that most households no longer practice.  Home canning, pickling, drying, and even the method of proper freezing of produce, fish, meat, and sauces has been replaced by the convenience of the grocery store.


The fish dinner with our homegrown garden produce was certainly an example of the local food movement and one of the best meals I had eaten in a very long time.  Our family camping trip rekindled my desire to eat fresh, sustainable, and local and tocontinue our efforts at water conservation and urban homesteading.

I Drink for a Reason

Posted on December 4, 2012 at 1:35 AM

I Drink for a Reason

I Drink for a Reason by David Cross
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This was horrible! I could not get through more than the first... say 20% of the book. I kept on thinking it would get better but all it really is David Cross spewing his hatred for everything and in a manner that is not so funny. I really wanted to like the book but it was just awful. Pass.

View all my reviews

Help my kitty Spumonia!

Posted on October 13, 2012 at 7:05 PM

My poor kitty Spumonia was infected by a carrier cat who we fostered for 3 weeks. Spumonia, who is about 12 years old, was exposed by the carrier cat (who showed no symptoms).

Feline calicivirus (FCV) is an upper respiratory infection of cats. FCV can cause a rapid epidemic, with a mortality rate of up to 67%. Initial clinical signs include discharge from the eyes and nose, ulceration in the mouth, anorexia, and lethargy, and occur in the first one to five days. Later signs include fever, edema of the limbs and face, jaundice, and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome.

Go to her GIVEFORWARD site to help out.  Many thanks.

The warm springs resort: a favorite of Salt Lakers for more than 100 years

Posted on May 23, 2012 at 1:15 AM

One of the earliest forms of recreation for the Salt Lake Pioneers was the use of hot springs, of which the Wasatch Front had an abundance of.  The nearest mineral hot spring to Salt Lake City was Warm Springs along what is now known as Beck Street.

In 1885 mining entrepreneur John Beck developed a pleasure resort on property near Beck's Hot Spring. The spring the largest, hottest and farthest from the city, became a major resort in the west until a disastrous fire in 1898. Although the area continued to be used for recreation under various owners for the next several years, the glory days were over.

Read the full article.

Driving Along I-80 South of the Great Salt Lake

Posted on April 11, 2012 at 9:55 PM

 I love how the mountains slowly come into view as I drive closer, and then eventually past them.



Welcome to rachelquist.com!

A collection of archaeology, history, photography, and bits of randomness.

About Rachel

Rachel Quist is a professional archaeologist living in Salt Lake City. She has extensive knowledge of the archaeology of the Great Basin, early Euro-American transportation routes, Cold War military industrial material culture, and the geomorphology of closed basin lake systems. When not making discoveries about the past she can be found working her small urban homestead in Salt Lake City where she tends to native plants and heirloom vegetables.

View her full bio here.

Contact: rachelquist@gmail.com




My Bookshelf

Rachel's bookshelf: currently-reading

Earth: A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race
1 of 5 stars
I wanted to love this book but I just don't. I find the book really boring. The book is supposed to be a semi-satirical view of the history of the world, including human evolution and civilization development... you would think this would...
At the Abyss: An Insider's History of the Cold War
4 of 5 stars
Did you known that Nancy Reagan was a assigned a handler? How about the philosophy war among the Reagen staffers regarding how to treat the USSR and handle the cold war. An interesting perspective one the "Great Communicator."
Faithful Place
5 of 5 stars
intriguing, well written.... and this is from someone who normally does not like mystery novels.