The Cosmic Aeroplane first opened its doors in June 1967 at 871 East, near the corner of Ninth East and Ninth South in Salt Lake City …
View from across the Ninth South, looking northward at the Cosmic Aeroplane’s first locations — (Right) In 2013, new construction had replaced the old commercial spaces where the Cosmic Aeroplane did business between 1967 and 1969. Former Cosmic partner Jack Bills lived upstairs in the Woodman Building while he was running his own shop “The Connection” in a storefront around the corner to the east:
The 9th & 9th Sign was the topmost illustration of a CATALYST Magazine article by T. Langdon Fisher about late 20th Century changes facing the 9th & 9th Community.
Fisher’s article bridges the time between the closing of Cosmic ally Mother’s Earth Things and the Millenium. Fisher describes stores which were still in operation at the 9th & 9th in 1997: Great Harvest; The Tower Theater (reborn); Chameleon Artware, Cahoots; and the Coffee Garden — which would win a future turf struggle with Starbucks, but move across the street in a retail space where Salt City CDs once thrived. Alternative publisher Angela Brown worked at Salt City while editing S.L.U.G. — the magazine she eventually owned.
Along the way, CATALYST also tells about the history of this quirky corner going back to 1878 — and how it grew through the 1960’s. There are also contemporary photos of the corner with the original Coffee Garden. UPDATE: As of 2016, 9th & 9th has avoided massive demolition projects and the resulting sprawl of overlarge replacement buildings, unlike Salt Lake’s Downtown and Sugarhouse areas.
Link to a PDF of the original story, courtesy of Linda Huntington, with the gracious permission of Greta DeJong:
The color photo below shows closeups and reflections at the approximate Ninth South Cosmic locations in 2013:
What IS that place reflected in the window? Blogmeister Michael saw the movie Woodstock there when it was a new film:
In 1969, Steve Jones moved into 396 West South Temple, an L-shaped building near the corner of Fourth West and South Temple, just across from the Union Pacific Railroad Depot ...
The southwest corner of South Temple and Fourth West in 2013 — former site of numerous long-gone railroad bars, soul food eateries, and even the Cosmic Aeroplane:
Besides the Union Pacific Depot, this landmark still stands:
When we moved (to 366 South West Temple), things picked up immediately … it was more convenient and closer to downtown …
The building that housed the Cosmic Aeroplane at 366 South West Temple was demolished in the winter of 2013-2014.
The color snapshot above indicates the depth of the old store as seen looking from across West Temple, looking westward. The photo below shows the front of the Cosmic Aeroplane, looking southwest circa 1974.
The picture below, pointing south-southwest, shows how an electric sign was built over the brick facade and the plate glass was covered by new windows. The street number was also changed, as were the street numbers of various other businesses on West Temple.
In 1976 the new Cosmic Aeroplane had its grand opening (at 258 East South Temple) and it was immediately successful. The first year saw $100, 000 in sales. By 1979, that figure was up to $1.1 million …
Color Photo — 258 East First South was the address of a dress shop in 2013:
KRCL-FM, a still-successful community radio station with multiple ties to the Cosmic Aeroplane, occupied their very first facilities upstairs next door, just above the Blue Mouse sign.
The Downtown Artist Alliance opened a gallery at 258 East First South in 2016 — making the entire building into an Artist Row with designers and architects, including Nostalgia Coffee House, which features a variety of art shows on their own walls.
Nostalgia Coffee Shop, at the far west end of the Cosmic Aeroplane’s final building, continues to honor the memory of its predecessors with their Cosmic Mural:
The doors finally closed for the last time on February 1, 1991 …
Richard Montague, long time bookkeeper for the Cosmic, took over the gift shop side and ran the business as Stargazer, but it only lasted until the end of 1991.
Via Steve Midgely Photography: Here is a photo I took of the Cosmic Aeroplane just before they closed their doors. Please make use of it as you see fit, all rights are granted.
We actively request your contributions of pictures, memorabilia, and oral histories concerning the Cosmic Aeroplane — please contact our blogmeister:
Blogmeister Michael Evans is an author and historian.
There is more about music and the 9th & 9th Community in his book — The Great Salt Lake Mime Saga and Amsterdam’s Festival of Fools.