CHRISTOPHER LAYTON (1821-1898) -Layton City named in his honor – Director Utah Central and Utah Southern Railroad, Served in Utah Territorial Legislature as Davis County Selectman (commissioner) – President and founder Farmers Union Store in Layton – Brought first alfalfa seed and dry farming to Utah – Organizer of Central Canal Co. bringing water from Weber River into Davis County.
WIVES: Mary Matthas, Martha Otterson, Sarah Martin, Sarah Barnes, Isabella Golightly, Caroline Cooper, RoseAnn Hudson, Hanna Maria Septima Sims, Mary Jane Roberts, Elizabeth Hannah Williams – 65 Children – which means there are a whole lot of you descendants out there !!!
Bronze Statue of Christopher Layton on display at Layton Heritage Museum
The Layton Cold Storage once stood on the corner at 156 West Gentile in Layton. The owner was B. M. Anderson, aka “Uncle Andy” He did a thriving business in the 1940’s and 50’s. Besides his meat lockers, he sold a few groceries. He was famous with all of the local children because of his “penny candy” he sold with a big smile. He loved all the kids and they loved him. Every year for his birthday he would treat the local children to a free movie and treats at the Ritz Theater on Main Street. In later years the building became the home of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, after the building was torn down, it was replaced by lawn as it remains today.
Ann Dibble Call “We loved the Layton Cold Storage. When we were at Layton Elementary we were absolutely forbidden to cross the tracks during school hours to go there. Penny Candy and a jovial Mr. Anderson tempted many! There were not alot of home freezer units in the 1950’s. I loved going in the walk in freezer with my mother. We rented a locker, got the key from Mr. Anderson, and as we entered and picked up our meat stored there, it smelled cold, so very cold.”
In the above photo school children are visiting the Layton Cold Storage. Besides getting their penny candy fix, they are contributing to the March of Dimes Drive. To the kids B. M. seemed to stand for “Big Man”. Mr. Anderson was over 6 feet tall. Some of the students which have been identified include: Verland Buckley, Joan Sill, Floyd Morgan, Dee Meibos, and Toma Miya.
OGDEN STANDARD EXAMINER MAY 22, 1953 – HEY YOUNGSTERS! UNCLE ANDY’S PARTY IS SATURDAY – It reads as follows: “B. M. Anderson, “Uncle Andy” to most Layton youngsters is giving his annual party in the Ritz Theater tomorrow. This is the fifth year in a row Mr. Anderson has given the party for the children. It includes a two hour show, popcorn, candy, balloons, and just about everything else. Helping with the annual event this year are the Ritz Theater operator, The American Legion, Sons of the American Legion and The Boy Scouts. The fun gets going at 10 AM. It’s open to all Layton, Sahara Village, and Verdeland Park youngsters”
Olive Nunn Wixom (1903-2003) owned a local hand dipped chocolate business for many years. The cover for the box was designed by her husband Earl Partridge Wixom (1900-1988). He was an artist with a Master’s Degree in Art and Ceramics.
This set of scales originally belonged to Frank Adams, who opened one of the earliest grocery stores on Main Street in Layton. Olive worked there as a checker at Adams Market. Frank later gave her space in his store to have a glass fronted candy case where she sold her hand dipped chocolates. Frank sold the scales to Olive and they sat on top of the candy case. She used them for the rest of her life as she moved her business to various places over the years, and for many of those ran it from her own basement and later her daughter in law’s LaRue’s basement. The scales were originally white, Olive’s husband Earl painted them gold.
A BIT OF HISTORY: Ernest Layton Home located at 341 Church Street
“The home was built about 1911 by Ernest Layton, a local businessman and descendant of Christopher Layton. Ernest, called “Ern” by his friends owned a farm implement and hardware store on Main Street in Layton. He also had a car dealership where he sold Chalmer’s cars. Ernest was born August 25, 1869. He married Andra Elizabeth Flint in 1899. They had three children, Itha Flint Layton, married to Clair Whitesides, Leda Flint Layton, married to LeGrande Hess, and Golden Flint Layton. It was Ernest’s second wife Laura Lucy Sandall who lived with him in the home on Church Street. She was famous for her delicious apple pies. At that time the home included 8 1/2 acres of land. Rudy Van Orden purchased the home from Laura Sandall Layton. Brian and Carol McKinlay owned the home and remodeled the kitchen. They sold it to Dorcas Stevens – Lakeside Review 9-15-1992″
In 1870 at the age of seventy eight, Elias Adams, local pioneer and brick maker, built a two story brick home complete with basement at 2000 East Gentile. He was assisted by Joseph, Joshua, and Hyrum Adams. One of his sons rigged up a pulley system to transport buckets of water to the house from a spring in a nearby hollow.
In the winter of 1886 Elias fell off the porch onto the frozen ground. He died of his injuries a few days later on February 17, 1886, one day before his ninety fourth birthday.
SOURCES: History of Davis County by Glen M. Leonard pg 123; Layton Historical Viewpoint Rebecca Adams Nalder; Elias Adams The Pioneer, Memorial Dedication pg 24; Familysearch.org
Davis Drive In 1334 North Main, Layton, Utah (area currently Kohl’s Department Store)
Article – Deseret News November 28, 2015
Remembering the Davis Drive-In
If you lived in the Mala, Green Leaf or other Layton subdivisions just west of I-15, it was common 25 or more years ago after dusk to hear faint, almost ghost-like conversations outside, or through the window. That was one of the effects of the former Davis Drive-In movie theater, as the soundtrack noise fanned out.
Today the theater is gone, having had almost a 50-year-run, but going the way of many such outdoor theaters. Modern audiences favor the air-conditioned indoor theaters. Kohl’s Department store and other modern development now sits where the drive-in used to be.
The Davis Drive-In had opened in 1945, as World War II had just ended. It was the only drive-in found in north Davis County.
Charlie McElyea, Layton, had worked as a part or full-time employee at the Davis Drive-In for some 35 years, including 25 years as the manager. Back in its early years, the drive-in was the only business around, with open fields everywhere, McElyea once told the Deseret News.
Another Layton resident, the late Gail Strasburg, also worked many years in his youth at the Davis Drive-In. He once said he really enjoyed working there and that it was a tradition for many area families to go there – not just for the movies, but to be out in the evening air, socialize and be much more active/loud than indoor theater goers can be today.
In March 1958 the Davis Drive-In was the first theater bought by Tony Rudman, Sr., who later helped found the Trolley Theatres and Westates Theatres chains.
Two months after his father bought the Davis Drive-In, Tony Rudman Jr. was born. As a boy, TJ’s job was to patrol the drive-in. “Sneaky teens clambering out of car trunks would freeze in the beam from Tony’s flashlight,” Tony Rudman, Jr. recalled.
On the Fourth of July the Rudmans would also entertain audiences at the Davis Drive-In with fireworks. “We’d shoot ’em into an alfalfa field,” Tony Rudman, Jr. said. “We’d always set it on fire, and always had the fire department there to put it out. It was a great way to grow up.”
The prime years from the Davis Drive-In were probably from 1968-1980. During that 12-year span, Layton City didn’t have an indoor theater – the Davis Drive-In was supreme.
Soon the Davis Drive-In was located just across I-15 from the popular Layton Hills Mall, which opened in 1980 and also included an adjacent indoor move theater. That nearby movie complex expanded even more in 1990.
“Drive-ins are just a thing of the past,” McElyea had told the Deseret News. “Indoor movie attendance, dollar houses and videos are raising heck … Drive-ins are a lot more expensive to operate.”
The advent of video rentals in the 1980s also put pressure on Drive-In attendance.
While indoor theaters could gain considerable profit from selling concessions, there’s no way to stop drive-in patrons from bringing in their own food at a drive-in. In fact, that uniqueness became the trademark of a drive-in.
The Davis Drive-In used old carbon-type projectors, that would one day be very expensive to replace. A theater’s movie rentals also became particularly expensive. By the late 1980s, theaters had to turn over about 80 percent of their gate profits back to the movie distributors on first-run movies. For second-run flicks, the figure was 50 percent, but such films attracted a lot fewer patrons.
In the 1950s, McElyea had said he could rent a new movie for only $150 a week. Vandalism and theft also plagued drive-ins — a stolen or broken car speaker costs more than $30 to replace.
The Davis Drive-In employed as many as 16 people in its heyday, with two screens, with a capacity of 800 to 900 cars each.
Some drive-ins started having expanded operations to include weekly swap meets, in order to make ends meet – and that was briefly tried at the Davis Drive-In. However, it didn’t work well and was not financially practical.
In the spring of 1991 the Davis Drive-In opened for its final season. Believing that the 23-acre site was worth more as prime commercial property than as a drive-in, the Rudmans put the theater up for sale. In November of 1992 developers demolished the Davis Drive-In to make the site more attractive to a potential buyer.
However, Kohl’s didn’t open until 2004 on the former drive-in’s site. Today, the Motor-Vu Drive-In in Riverdale, some 9 miles distant is the closest outdoor theater to Layton. Only a handful of drive-ins remain in Utah today.
SOURCES: Deseret News Archives, personal interviews.
Aerial View of Davis Drive In
The First Movies shown at Davis Drive In April 21, 1950