Cosmic Roots and Branches: The 9th & 9th Community

The Alternative scene at the corner of 9th South and 9th East continued to evolve after 1967’s Summer of Love, through tumultuous 1968, and welcomed the Woodstock Generation home, as the Sixties turned into the Seventies.

A new timeless elegance was gaining popularity, and a shop named Mother’s Earth Things opened up to fill this need.

The three male partners of the Cosmic Aeroplane pose with the two female partners of Mother's Earth Things, and their sister Jill -- Photo courtesy of S. Jones.

The three male partners of the Cosmic Aeroplane pose in denims with the two female partners of Mother’s Earth Things from 9th & 9th, modeling vintage dresses along with their sister. (L to R) Sherm, Jill, Tamara, Jack, Steve, and Linda — Photo courtesy of Steve Jones.

Although it may have been the first so-called head shop in Salt Lake City, the Cosmic Aeroplane was not the only Alternative business at 9th & 9th.

(L to R) Cosmic Aeroplane ad from the Daily Utah Chronicle, October 4, 1967; Sherm Clow and guest outside the Cosmic Aeroplane 1967-1969; Cosmic Aeroplane ad from Flash 'Zine Fall 1969 showing their change of address and announcing their future move to South Temple.

(L to R) Cosmic Aeroplane ad from the Daily Utah Chronicle, October 4, 1967; Sherm Clow and friend under Peter Brandt’s sign, outside the Cosmic Aeroplane 1967-1968; Cosmic Aeroplane ad from Flash ‘Zine Fall 1968 showing their change of address and announcing their future move to South Temple.

Just around the corner facing eastward across Ninth East, was a sandwich joint named Desolation Row — same as Bob Dylan’s famous recording. Singer Richard Cordray of Smoke Blues Band ran the place.

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During 1968, Desolation Row occupied the approximate location of  Audrey’s Olde English Fish and Chips in 1974, and Pago Restaurant in 2016 — Photo by Ross Terry, featuring Smoke Blues Band’s very first drummer “Rotis.”

Read about “Rotis” and “Smoke” in this review by Reverand Willis:

Desolation Row moved to First South and Seventh East, next to a new poster and head shop named Kamaran, in a building that continues to host other businesses like Utah Guitar & Banjo and Wasatch Touring, both of which were considered Alternative when they started. Future sandwich shops at the 9th & 9th were successful for another two decades.

(L to R) Phillips Gallery advertisement from the Daily Utah Chronicle on October 5, 1967; Full-color poster advertising the Underground movie Festival -- courtesy of Steve Jones and Charley Hafen.

(L to R) Phillips Gallery advertisement from the Daily Utah Chronicle on October 5, 1967; Full-color poster advertising Underground Films by Dennis Phillips — courtesy of Steve Jones and Charley Hafen.

Phillips Gallery also started out at the 9th & 9th, then moved to their permanent location on east 2nd South by the autumn of 1968, where they still thrive well into 2016.

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(L to R) Mother's earth Things occupied the storefront at 875 9th South, after the Cosmic Aeroplane vacated the space; The Tower Theater showed Woodstock in 1970 -- the same year that Mother's earth Things opened its doors.

(L to R) In 1970, Mother’s Earth Things initially occupied the storefront at 873 9th South. The Tower Theater showed Woodstock across the street during that same year.

Linda Huntington and Tamara Buranek were the two initial partners of Mother’s Earth Things, but Linda became sole owner after awhile. She is pictured (above right) with Ken Rogers and other staff from neighboring Skin Company Productions, who also hosted Darel Barton’s sign business — Barton created a large-scale painting over the front of the whole Stone Balloon Waterbeds building on the southeast corner of 9th & 9th.

Influences were many, but Mother's Earth Things continued to inspire and be inspired -- Photo and clipping courtesy of L. Huntington.

Influences were abundant, but Mother’s Earth Things continued to inspire and be inspired in turn — Photo and clipping courtesy of L. Huntington.

The main business of both Skin Company and Mother’s Earth Things was high-quality hand-crafted clothing. Huntington had fashionable jewelry in stock after moving forward from items like candles, tie-dye, and woven wall hangings. Her store expanded over two bays instead of one, and also organized a mutual advertising campaign for the other Alternative shops that chose to do business on and around 9th East & 9th South.

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From the Street Paper, Spring 1972 — published in association with Steve Jones at the Cosmic Aeroplane on 376 South Temple.

(Above) Various Alternative businesses at the 9th & 9th pooled resources for 9th & 9th Community ads. (Below) An example of a ledger from this period of time — group ads in multiple publications cost only tens of dollars.

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Ledger courtesy of Linda Huntington.

A freewheeling D.Y.I. spirit and style ruled early campaigns, but they became more and more sophisticated over time.

From Westminster College 1972 -- Courtesy of Linda Huntington.

From Westminster College’s Concours newspaper, Winter 1972 — Courtesy of Linda Huntington.

Linda Huntington’s long-running friendship with nearby Westminster College was an important component of the 9th & 9th Community’s success in the neighborhood.

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From Westminster College’s Concours newspaper, Winter 1973 — Courtesy of L. Huntington.

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Round Records was also a poster shop, with a unique visual flair:

(Clockwise Right to Left) Original art by Larry Farrington; Original art by Neil Passey; Daily Utah Chronicle ad with P.D. image by Virgil Finlay, a favorite artist among Round Records customers.

(Clockwise Left to Right) Original art by Larry Farrington; From an original ad by Neil Passey; From a Daily Utah Chronicle ad with P.D. image by Virgil Finlay, a favorite artist of Round Records’ clientele.

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Read more about Round Records in
Cosmic Music: Jordan River Avant Garde

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A former partner of the Cosmic Aeroplane brought his own ideas and personal charm back to the 9th & 9th Community:

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Manifesto for The Connection 1971 — Courtesy of Larry Ficks. For awhile, they had quotations from underground comic books painted on the walls by Blogmeister Michael, a U. of U. art student at the time.

The Connection — was ex-Cosmic partner Jack Bills and new co-partner Larry Ficks, who was later a prime time DJ on KRCL 90.9 FM — a non-commercial community radio station that continues to broadcast over the air and Internet in 2016.

The Connection’s sandwich shop was a commercial success, and Nature’s Way gradually integrated this practical service into the neighborhood after the original partners left, under the management of Ed Hurd.

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Read the CATALYST Magazine article about The Connection and Mr. Hurd — Courtesy of Linda Huntington, with the gracious permission of Greta DeJong:

“The Last Lunch” by Bruce Plenk, CATALYST Magazine October 1993

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Advertisements from 9th & 9th Blue Poster.

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Daily Utah Chronicle advertisement circa 1974 — Courtesy of L. Huntington. (Mounted with 9th & 9th Blue Poster — see below.)

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Mother’s Earth Things achieved high standards of elegance in their products and advertisements:

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Graphics courtesy of L. Huntington.

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Membership in the 9th & 9th Community pool increased to remarkable levels.

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Combination map and advertisement from the Daily Utah Chronicle circa 1975 — Graphic courtesy of L. Huntington.

After awhile it seemed like nobody wanted to be left out — The 9th & 9th Community developed its own identity over the following decades, and continues to exist in 2016 with different names and faces.

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Read the color advertisement above at a larger size.

(Please wait for big PDFs to load.)

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Large Blue 9th & 9th Poster — details and view of mounted pieces behind glass. (Courtesy of Linda Huntington.)

Relish the details within this large-sized version of the Blue 9th & 9th Poster
(circa 1976) by the late Carl Howard.

Large Blue 9th & 9th Community Poster

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Mother’s Earth Things not only excelled at creating stylish custom clothing throughout the existence of the shop, but contributed to the wider cultural community.

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From Utah Holiday Magazine Vol. 5 Number 1 November 10, 1975. Modeling by: (L to R) Jill Huntington; Tamara Buranek; and Sandy Anderson

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(Left) Cover of Utah Holiday Magazine Vol. 5 Number 1 — November 1975; (Right) Page 113 of Utah Holiday Magazine, November 1981; Models: Susan Keller (left) and Evelyn Tuddenham (right) — Fashion photography by Bob Bauer.

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Starting in 1971, the Annual May Fest at Westminster College always involved Mother’s Earth Things and neighbors from the 9th & 9th.

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May Fest 1974 — Exquisite artwork by Neil Passey. (Courtesy of L. Huntington)

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View this stunning poster in a much larger size

Full Poster by Neil Passey — PDF

(Please wait for the file to open.)
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Westminster College’s fine Jazz program led to many concerts over the years, sometimes with help from Ms. Huntington and the Salt Lake Jazz Society. Venues included the Olympic Club, Mule Hollow in Big Cottonwood Canyon, and other mountainous venues.

The Salt lake Jazz Society sponsored festivals in the mountains at Park City.

“Park City Jazz 77” The society sponsored festivals in and around the local mountains. (Silver sticker courtesy of L. Huntington.)

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Two posters from Mule Hollow shows in 1977 — Courtesy of L. Huntington.

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Another Alternative business corner at 15th East & 15th South developed east of Westminster College, with staffers from the Cosmic Aeroplane and Round Records, in genial alliance with The King’s English bookstore.

From Jazz Voice newspaper Spring 1985 — Courtesy of L. Huntington.

Cosmic descendents like Raunch Records and Blue Boutique migrated near Westminster College in the Sugar House area, near the Olympic Club, and both stores anchored a stubbornly-resilient Alternative business district around 11th East and 21st South at various times.

The 9th & 9th Community maintained a unique attitude and atmosphere.

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The entire corner of 9th & 9th was represented on silver paper with contrasting green and red colors by the late Carl Howard circa 1978 — Courtesy of L. Huntington

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To read this poster, check out the larger version HERE

(Please wait for the PDF to load.)

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The row of storefronts that hosted the original Cosmic Aeroplane, Round Records, and Mother’s Earth Things, not to mention a series of bike shops, was replaced by new construction and a variety of businesses, but the original Woodman Building that housed Stone Age Crafts proudly declares the 9th & 9th Center with an arched sign rising over and spanning their driveway in 2016. Cosmic / Connection partner Jack Bills once lived in the upstairs apartment.

The Wooman Building in 2014 -- Photo by M.E.

(Far Left) The Woodman Building and 9th & 9th Sign in 2013 — Photo by M.E.

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 after Mother’s Earth Things closed 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 would also move across the street to 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.

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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UPDATE: As of 2016, 9th & 9th has avoided massive demolition projects and the resulting sprawl of overlarge replacement buildings, unlike the Downtown and Sugarhouse areas.

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Southwest corner of the 9th & 9th Community at sunset — Photo by M.E. (2015)

The 9th & 9th celebrates an annual street fair too.

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Southeast corner of the 9th & 9th at sunset, prior to Sept. 13 — Photo by M.E. (2015)

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All the images on this page are under Copyright, and used with permission in the context of this article.
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We actively request your contributions of pictures, memorabilia, and oral histories concerning the Cosmic Aeroplane and related enterprises — 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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One Response to Cosmic Roots and Branches: The 9th & 9th Community

  1. Pingback: Cosmic Roots & Branches: Mothers, Mayfest, and Jazz | Cosmic Aeroplane 1960's to 1990's

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