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Sugar House Journal

The legends of Sugar House

Oct 05, 2017 16h08 ● By Natalie Mollinet

Dilworth’s inspired name came from Jane Dilworth who is said to roam the school’s empty halls at night. (Natalie Mollinet/City Journals)

Sugar House is over 150 years old, giving ample time for ghosts to make mischief and spooky stories to start. 

One of the most notorious places for hauntings in Sugar House is Westminster College, established back in 1875. Students and staff who learn and teach in the older buildings have their stories to tell. One such building is Foster Hall, located on the north side of campus. According to Linda Dunning’s book, “Spectators in Doorways: History and Hauntings of Utah,” professors have had strange things happen in their offices in Foster Hall’s attic. Professors will leave for a moment only to return with something out of its place. These strange incidents have happened to different professors throughout the years. 

At the Gore Business School’s auditorium, the back elevators move on their own, down to the first floor. The doors will open and no one will be inside. Could be an elevator glitch, but the more you talk about the ghost in the auditorium, the more active the elevator becomes. The story goes back as far as the building itself. When the building was dedicated, the president was giving a speech and during the speech, the elevator doors opened behind him. 

One of Sugar House’s most beloved buildings has some eerie stories of its own. Even though the Sprague Library is empty due to flood damage, there might be one person hanging around. The legend goes that a transient broke into the library trying to escape the cold Utah winter. He shattered a window but instead of finding a place to stay warm, he bled to death from the cut he received from breaking the window. There have been reports of mysterious footsteps and electronics turning off and on by themselves. 

Highland High School has its own stories as well. Even though the school wasn’t built on top of the old Sugar House Prison itself, there are rumors of weird things at the school. One rumor that floated around was that there was an electric chair under the stage. This has since been disproven by one of the former stage tech teachers who said was not real. Another rumor is that there are tunnels under the school that were once used to transport dead bodies from the prison. That also was debunked. 

Last but not least, Dilworth Elementary has a namesake ghost story. The school has a history of providing students with a good education thanks, in part, to a dedicated teacher who the school was named after—Jane Dilworth. She was asked by Brigham Young to start a school for children and did so. The school was named after her because of her being honored as the first teacher in Utah. She died in Huntsville, Utah in 1877 at the age of 45. It has been said that her spirit walks the hallways at night to make sure the education system she started here in Utah is continuing.