Cosmic Locations in the XXI Century

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:

(Right) In 2013 new construction had replaced the old commercial spaces where the Cosmic Aeroplane did business between 1967 and 1969.; (Left) The woodman building still stood in 2013.

 (Left) The Woodman Building still stands, and proudly boasts its alternative identity at 9th and 9th.

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.

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Arching sign adjacent to the Woodman Building — Photo by Greta DeJong

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:

Standing at a Crossroad by T. Langdon Fisher — CATALYST Magazine May 1997

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The color photo below shows closeups and reflections at the approximate Ninth South Cosmic locations in 2013:

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(Top) Location of the old Cosmic Aeroplane, Mother’s Earth Things, and Round Records. (Bottom) The original Cosmic Aeroplane at 871 East 9th South in 1967.

What IS that place reflected in the window? Blogmeister Michael saw the movie Woodstock there when it was a new film:

The Tower Theater continues as an

The Tower Theater continues as an “Art House,” run by the Salt Lake Film Society, helping to anchor the alternative character of the 9th & 9th community.

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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:

(Above) The southwest corner of South Temple and Fourth West in 2013; (Below) The Cosmic Aeroplane and neighboring businesses at the same corner in 1972.

The Cosmic Aeroplane and neighboring places at the same corner in 1972. The Railroad Exchange bar later became the Sun Tavern, and 369 South Temple was absorbed into their business as the East Room.

Besides the Union Pacific Depot, this landmark still stands:

The Devereaux Mansion in 2013, part of the Gateway/Triad development, was surrounded by an industrial yard in the late 60's and early 70's.

The Devereaux Mansion in 2013, part of the Gateway/Triad development, was across the street from the Cosmic Aeroplane, in the late 60’s and early 70’s, but surrounded by an industrial yard.

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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.

Former Cosmic Aeroplane building prior to demolition in December 2013 -- photo by M.E.

Former Cosmic Aeroplane building in December 2013 — photo by M.E.

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 Cosmic Aeroplane at 366 South West Temple -- Photo courtesy of Steve Jones and his family.

The Cosmic Aeroplane at 366 South West Temple circa 1975 — Color photographs courtesy of Steve Jones and his family.

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Interior photos of 366 So. West Temple (1974 – 1976) including the Public Piano made famous by Neil Passey’s poster and the Cosmic’s traditional Public Pay Phone.

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.

Details of former 366 S. Wst Temple prior to demolition -- photo by M.E.

Details of former 366 S. West Temple prior to demolition — photo by M.E.

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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:

258 East 1st South was the address of a dress shop in 2013.

 Stew Ellington’s photo of the Cosmic Aeroplane and Blue Mouse theater circa 1985.  A business called Comics Utah gracefully took over the storefront at number 258 during the 1990’s.

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.

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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.

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(L) Downtown Artist Collective; (R) Nostalgia Coffee House & Cosmic Mural — 2016

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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:

Cosmic mural in Nostalgia Coffee House in 2013 -- photo by M.E.

Left portion of the ‘Cosmic Mural’ in Nostalgia Coffee House. The right portion honors Ken Sanders Rare Books, which is about two blocks away — photo by M.E.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Email: mike_evans_exile@yahoo.com

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About Michael Evans

Michael has lived in Montana, Washington State (East and West), Holland, and England, but he was born in Salt Lake City, and graduated from the University of Utah.
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9 Responses to Cosmic Locations in the XXI Century

  1. ken meyer jr says:

    I used to spend so much time in both places, but esp the Aeroplane, from about 79 to 84 or so (and was a KRCL dj, but I think it was after it had moved from above the Mouse). God, I loved that store. I still have some KRCL program guides from that era.

  2. Mary Woodhead says:

    My husband Bob Bauer did the photograph for annual calendar one year, with a shot of the Burr trail pre-pavement. We still have extras.

  3. Marisa Cole says:

    I saw Laurie Anderson Home of the Brave at the Blue Mouse Theater circa 1986. I was going to Ricks College Idaho then though soon to be expelled for my art and spent many a weekend in Salt Lake trying to catch what urban I could after growing up in Portland OR and not fitting in in Rexburg. I also bought vinyl at the Cosmic Areoplane a collecting habit I still do today! 😉 a I am curious if the Blue Mouse had connection to the Blue Mouse in Portland and in Tacoma where there is still a historical Blue Mouse Theater in operation.

    • After checking with a former owner, the answer is:
      “Although I was aware of Blue Mouse theaters in the Northwest, neither I nor the original founders had any connection with them.”
      Great question! Thanks for asking, Marisa!

  4. Marisa Cole says:

    It is possible the name is universally relating to a famous “Blue Mouse” theater in France. The historical Blue Mouse in Tacoma references this. If the Cosmic is still around, I will have to visit again for nostalgia and for….vinyl. mmmmm vinyl. LOL

  5. Jim Bunnell says:

    My first encounter with The Cosmic Aeroplane was in 1973 at the West Temple location (that photo brings back such memories!). As a teenager, I was writing record reviews and managed to get on a lot of record labels’ publicity mailing lists, which meant free albums in the mail all the time.

    I’d travel from Price to Salt Lake every other month to sell unwanted promo LPs there. When I moved to the city in 1975, the store helped pay my rent for quite a while. But then the South Temple location opened, and I found myself spending my trade-in $$ and more on books and records. Such an incredible store!

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