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Our Homes & Their Histories

Thanks to listener Sara Shaw, who shared this image of objects they found in their 1909 Salt Lake City home.

When novelist Ella Joy Olsen set out to write her first book, she wanted a topic close to home. And what could be more tangible than the walls surrounding her? Olsen’s first book is an imagined genealogy of her house, exploring the lives of five women who occupied the same space over a century. We’re using Olsen’s work as a jumping off point to talk about how the history of our houses effects the way we live in them today.

Share your stories and ask your questions in today's discussion board below. Ella Joy Olsen and RadioWest producer Elaine Clark will field questions (and get answers to the ones we don't have!)


Want to research your own home? Check out this how to guide from the Utah Division of State History. Here are 10 more hints from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Other Resources:

  • Margaret Lester, Brigham Street [Amazon]
  • For a non-fiction history of a brownstone in New York City, check out Katharine Greider's The Archaeology of Home: An Epic Set on a Thousand Square Feet of the Lower East Side [Independent bookstores|Amazon]
  • Check out the Deliberately Concealed Garments Project for a look at objects embedded in home walls - a history that goes back to the Middle Ages.