Memorabilia from the Cosmic Aeroplane at 369 W. South Temple
“Space was a consideration, and the West Side seemed like an interesting place … Posters were a big thing at the beginning, dance posters, W. C. Fields posters …“
In 1969, Steve Jones moved the operation into an L-shaped building near the corner of Fourth West and South Temple, just across from the Union Pacific Railroad Depot ...
The following PDF consists of two scanned xerox pages from a reference book published by Polk’s Directory circa 1970-1971, Listing businesses on South Temple, including the Cosmic Aeroplane.
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Steve Jones and Sherm Clow took on a third partner named Jack Bills:
The timeless photo above was an advertisement for newly-opened Mother’s Earth Things at the fertile Alternative business district at 9th East and 9th South. It featured the staff of both stores. The women were wearing antique vintage clothing, and the men were in contemporary denims.
Bills later partnered with Manus Monroe, Larry Ficks, and others in an Alternative Shop called “The Connection” in the 9th & 9th Community — around the corner from the Cosmic Aeroplane’s first address.
(Thanks to Steve Jones for the microfilm scans from the Marriott Library)
Thinking big in 1970 — Cosmic Enterprises Incorporated Non-Profit Coffeehouse
There were plans for a coffeehouse in the rear room that never came to fruition for a variety of reasons, but the short-lived campaign still sold a few shares.
The Daily Utah Chronicle on the University of Utah campus published
“We Honor … Sherm Clow” at the eve of his graduation, June 30, 1970.
… Sherm Clow first came to the attention of of most of the campus in the spring of 1967 when he and Steve Jones opened Salt Lake City’s first head shop, the Cosmic Aeroplane. Of the shops that flourished and died died through the Age of Flower Children, the “Airplane” is the only one still surviving … Projected is a People’s Coffeehouse for which shares are now being sold at $10 each.
Unaccredited feature, legendarily ascribed to Nick Snow —
Follow the link below to read the entire article as a PDF File.
The Cosmic Aeroplane’s huge back room was used for weddings by Reverend Willis of the Universal Life Church, and rehearsals by a Modern Dance group called Clock Mother & Company (with Wendy Leoff, Meridoc, Duffy, and P.T. Holly.)
The Smoke Blues Band rehearsed, and even performed at the Cosmic Aeroplane.
The Human Ensemble launched a successful dramatic company from the Cosmic Aeroplane’s back room on South Temple:
The entrepreneurial Human Ensemble utilized the rear room at the South Temple Cosmic Aeroplane as a theater from 1970 and late into 1971 during their first year of operations. They began in the social hall of the Unitarian Church near the University of Utah, and later took over a reclaimed building in Arrow Press Square named the Glass Factory for a decade or more.
Cosmic Aeroplane’s partners cooperated in publicity campaigns for other Alternative businesses, helping create footholds at the 9th & 9th, plus their neighbors nearer the Union Pacific Depot on South Temple in Salt Lake City.
The Railroad Exchange expanded and became an Alternative bar called Ben’s Railroad Exchange, which featured the former “Smoke Blues Band” playing as “Rocks & Gravel” and local progressive ensemble “Wood,” among others. This space expanded further, eventually metamorphosing into the Sun Tavern — one of the first openly-gay establishments in the Western USA at the dawn of the “Disco Era.”
East of the Sun Tavern during the 1980’s, a Dance Club called The East Room filled the space once occupied by the Cosmic Aeroplane.
Color Photo Archive — 1969 to 1973
All pictures courtesy of Steve Jones
Painted windows, walls, and floor by Richard Taylor of Rainbow Jam
Any and all material related to the Cosmic Aeroplane at its various locations is welcome, please inform us via the comment section below!