East Mill Creek History: 1855 to 1961

1855: "Suzy" Susanna Bradford & Emery

No one represents the quick fortunes and high living mining brought to Utah more than Her Royal Highness Susanna Bransford Emery Holmes Egeria Delitch Engaliltcheff. Known to her friends as “Suzy,” Susanna Bradford was visiting relatives in Park City in 1884 when she met and married Albion Emery. 

At the time, Emery was being used as a front for investors in silver, who were horrified when he died still holding their stocks. Susanna inherited Emery’s estate, and not only held onto the stocks, but added to them every chance she got. 

1894: First Electrically Lighted Area Home

By 1894, Bradford was earning over $1000 a day in interest. Although her main residence was the world famous Gordo House on South Temple, “The Silver Queen” built a beautiful home in East Mill Creek where she enjoyed the cool summers next to the creek and often entertained 100’s of guests a week. 

As the first electrically lighted home in the area, people from all over the valley drove past in the evenings to see the hundreds of electric lights and decorations displayed at her parties. This home not only outlasted her 4 marriages, the Gordo House, and her $100 million dollar fortune, it outlasted “Suzy” as well.

It has been beautifully restored and still stands at:
2610 Evergreen Avenue
Millcreek, UT 84106

Hi-Tech Boom

Long before Bill Gates started tinkering in his garage, a hi-tech boom had come and gone in East Mill Creek. 

Even as a child, Nathanial Baldwin had tinkered with technology. Before he was 15 he had built his own bicycle and steam engine. After working his way through the Brigham Young Academy (BYU) in Provo, he studied physics and electrical engineering at Stanford, but returned to Utah as a young man and was a professor at BYU until his devotion to the “doctrine of polygamy” cost him his position. 

Hydroelectric Plants

After settling in East Mill Creek Baldwin supported his family by running hydroelectric plants in Heber City and in East Mill Creek. After being unable to hear speakers in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, he experimented with compressed air and produced one of the first amplifiers. He invented the world’s first headphones, but until the U.S. Government ordered 100 sets in 1917, no company would produce them.

To fill the order, Baldwin built a plant at 2300 East and Evergreen Avenue, damned East Mill Creek and built a generator out of bicycle wheels and piano wire to power the machines. Hydropower soon lit not only his factory, but provided electric light for the entire neighborhood. 

Radio Speakers

Baldwin designed radio speakers, including the “Deluxe Mater-Baldwin Throatype Clarophone” said to be shaped like Enrico Caruso’s throat and according to legend, Philo T. Farnsworth built the worlds first television in the Baldwin Factory.

1924: Business Investments & Bankruptcy

Unlike Bill Gates, Baldwin was neither a financial genius nor a good judge of character. He paid his employees the princely sum of $4 a day, and turned down an offer of more than $1 million for his plant to protect their jobs. He financed construction of twelve bungalows, known as “polygamy alley,” along Evergreen Avenue. 

From a high of more than 200,000 orders for headsets in 1922, competition, a cash flow crisis, and foolish investments led to bankruptcy in 1924. 

1930 Mail Fraud

On the advice of shady partners he entered into illegal business ventures which led to his conviction of mail fraud in 1930 and 2 years in McNeil Island Federal Prison. 

1961: Death & Factory Remains

He returned to Utah a broken man, and although he continued inventing until his death in 1961, he never recaptured his lost glory. The remains of his factory still stand, hidden behind the East Mill Creek Library, a forgotten monument to a troubled genius.