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Richard K. Kletting

Richard Kletting was born in Wuttenburg, Germany in 1858. Informally called the "Dean of Utah Architecture," he was Utah's most important architect during the turn-of-the-century period in Utah. He died in Salt Lake in 1943.

When Kletting was 16, he traveled to Paris where he worked with a large contracting firm and became experienced in modern architectural design. He came to the United States in 1883. His first architectural design commission in Salt Lake was the University of Deseret (now the University of Utah ).

In 1893, he was commissioned to build Saltair, a resort on the Great Salt Lake. In 1912, he was selected to design the Utah State Capitol, a gray granite building with classic Greek and renaissance features, was dedicated in 1916.

Biography adapted from Troy W. Gold, Utah History Encyclopedia.

Richard Karl August Kletting, “Dean of Utah Architects,“ helped to change the face of turn-of-the-century Salt Lake City. He was born in Wurttemberg, Germany, on July 1, 1858 to Joseph and Wilhelmia Kletting, and was one of their sixteen children. Kletting's ambition to become an architect began when he was fifteen, when he worked in a stone yard, gaining experience in cutting stones. At the age of sixteen, he became a junior draftsman in government engineering offices on railroad construction work. Kletting later traveled to Paris, where he became well-schooled in modern architecture.

In 1883 Kletting left for America and traveled west until he arrived in Salt Lake City. On the day following his arrival, he was hired as an architect, and began work on what was to become a large number of Salt Lake City buildings. Through his work on both residential and commercial projects, Kletting became the most noted architect in Salt Lake City. In 1892, at the age of thirty-four, he began work on what was to become one of his largest and most distinct works - the original Saltair Resort on the south shore of the Great Salt Lake. Completed in 1893, the resort was unlike any other building in Utah, with its intricate woodwork and Moorish appearance. The most prominent feature was the resort's vast dance floor, proclaimed as the largest in the world. Saltair became one of the Intermountain West's most popular resort attractions.

Even more striking was Kletting's last and most famous work - the Utah State Capitol building,which was completed in 1916. Kletting was chosen over forty other architects in a competition on March 13, 1912. The State Capitol building is a massive and proud structure, of gray granite, with classic Greek and renaissance characteristics, including a well proportioned dome and a colonnade of twenty-four columns.

Other noteworthy Kletting buildings include many schools, including the still standing Oquirrh School, which was constructed in 1909. The McIntyre Building, located at 68 South Main Street, is also a Kletting design. Kletting also contributed to the heritage of fine homes built along South Temple. The Enos Wall mansion in 1905, today stands as the centerpiece structure of the L.D.S. Business College.

After completing the state capitol, Kletting entered semi-retirement, which enabled him to devote some time as a public official. He was an honorary member of the Utah Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and the Utah Society of Professional Engineers, among other groups.

Kletting also had a strong interest in forestry. Having been dedicated to the preservation of Utah's forests, in 1891 he organized the Utah Forestry Association which helped to prevent the mismanagement of Utah's forests and mountains. His efforts were recognized in 1964 when a 12,000-foot peak in Summit County was formally named “Kletting Peak.“ Kletting died in Salt Lake City September 25, 1943.

Biography courtesy Troy W. Gold, Utah History Encyclopedia.

Newspaper Articles

"2 Cultures Blend At Lds Business College." The Deseret News, July 29, 1988.

"12-Year-Old Eagle Scout-To-Be Making Capital Effort To Get Some Belated Finishing Touches Put On Capitol." The Deseret News, April 1, 1996.

"1,000 Bid Farewell To Historic Whittier School." The Deseret News, March 14, 2001.

"Architectural Pioneers Continue Westward Expansion." The Salt Lake Tribune, October 13, 1996.

"Avenues Home Has Links With Germany." The Salt Lake Tribune, October 8, 1995.

"Big Quake Would Doom Capitol." The Deseret News, March 10, 2001.

"Capitol Landscape." The Salt Lake Tribune, August 19, 2004.

"Caption Only: Taking Calls In Capitol Halls." The Deseret News, March 3, 2004. 

"Capitol Idea." The Deseret News, August 6, 2004.

"Dedicatory Program, Lehi Tabernacle, May 15." The Deseret News, May 14, 1910.

"Designs More Inviting To Public." The Deseret News, August 1, 2004.

"Donation For L.D.S. College." The Deseret News, August 1, 1991.

"Downtown's 'Old Brownstone' Is Getting A New Lease On Life." The Salt Lake Tribune, November 22, 1992.

"Drawing Shows Young & Son Would Have Topped Capitol With Figure Holding Seagull And A Wreath. Competition By Design: Getting The People Excited About Architecture." The Salt Lake Tribune, Nov 17, 1991.

"Festive Day Hailed Coming Of A Capitol." The Deseret News, January 31, 1995.

"Fixer-Upper: State Capitol Building Is Closing For 4-Year, $200 Million Renovation." The Deseret News, August 1, 2004.

"For Decades, Saltair Served Utahns As Recreation Mecca." The Deseret News, April 11, 1995.

"Foundation To Honor 9 Sites - And 1 Law." The Deseret News, September 27, 1992.

"Funeral Rites Arranged for Architect." Salt Lake City Tribune, September 27, 1943.

"Groups Honor Architect in Capitol Rites." Salt Lake City Tribune, April 11, 1938.

"Kletting Plans Chosen for the Sate Capitol Building." Salt Lake City Tribune, March 14, 1912.

"L.D.S. Business College New President Restoring Grace Of Old Mansion." The Deseret News, December 12, 1988.

"Let's Finish Utah's State Capitol." The Deseret News, March 9, 1996.

"New Park In S.L. Avenues Named After Utah Architect German Immigrant Designed The Capitol, Saltair." The Deseret News, October 10, 1988.

"New Tower Won't Squash 2 Old-Timers In Salt Lake." The Salt Lake Tribune, September 26, 1999.

"New Salt Palace Has Aura of Tradition." Salt Lake City Tribune, March 12, 1967.

"Old Brownstone May Be Getting Some New Respect." The Salt Lake Tribune, April 19, 1992.

"Old Mansion Just Felt Like Home For New Owners." The Deseret News, January 3, 1996.

"Old Riverton L.D.S. Ward Chapel Son Will be Torn Down for Modern Building." Salt Lake Telegram, November 23, 1939.

"Pioneer Resorts." The Deseret News, March 17, 1942.

"Riverton Ward Chapel Razed." The Deseret News, December 15, 1939.

"Saltair - For Decades A Recreation Mecca." The Deseret News, January 7, 1996.

"Capitol Is Full Of State Secrets." The Deseret News, February 5, 2004.

"Saltair's Journey." The Deseret News, May 25, 2000.

"Saltair's Journey 'Coney Island Of The West' Now A Place For Quiet Picnics And Raucous Concerts." The Deseret News, May 25, 2000.

"S.L. School Regaining Its Original Luster Renovation Gives New Life To L.D.S. Business College." The Deseret News, January 24, 1990.

"St. Mary's Home Marks 100th Anniversary." The Deseret News, October 31, 1993.

"Tenth Ward Square Gets Its Chance To Shine." The Salt Lake Tribune, November 28, 1999.

"Whether Childhood Dream Is Just A Dream, Or Reality, No Matter What, As Grandpa Said, It Is Always Fun." The Salt Lake Tribune, July 31, 1992.


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 Last Modified 6/20/18