Little Known Facts in History, Volume II

Date:  Sunday, March 23, 2014
Speaker:  Rick Alvarez, Ph.D.

Rick Alvarez has a BS in Operations Research from the US Naval Academy, an MA in History and a PhD. in Middle East History from the University of Utah. He served as a US Navy fighter pilot flying the F-4 and F-14 in the early 1970s and as an instructor for the Imperial Iranian Air Force in Isfahan, Iran until the overthrow of the Shah in 1979. Rick worked with Delta Air Lines for over 25 years, retiring as a Captain in 2004. He subsequently taught World History and Latin American History at the University of Utah and Salt Lake Community College. He was recently employed by L-3 Communications as a program manager for an extensive USAID project in Egypt since 2008.

“History studies often focus on infamous personalities and well-known events that are immortalized by multiple retellings over long periods; histories often supported by evidence well-removed from the actual events and lives of the participants and witnesses. This presentation will include little-known facts concerning well-known people, including Charles Lindberg, the famous aviator, and Ernest Shackleton, Antarctic explorer. In addition, a possible answer to a mystery that remained unsolved for over 130 years, as well as a little-known material that helped the British establish an empire “over which the sun never set.” The goal of this presentation is to encourage individuals to explore history with an open and inquiring mind.”

Speaker Suggested References and Resources:
Beattie, Owen and Geiger, John, Frozen in Time, The Fate of the Franklin Expedition. Greystone Books, 1998.
Headrick, Daniel R., The Tentacles of Progress, Technological Transfer in the Age of Imperialism, 1850-1940. Oxford University Press, 1988.
Bickel, Lennard, Shackleton’s Forgotten Men, The Untold Tragedy of the Endurance Epic. Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2000.
Huntford, Roland, Shackleton. Carroll and Graf, 1985.
Berg, Scott A., Lindberg. Carroll and Graf, 1998.


Great Salt Lake: An Inland Sea of Paradoxes

Date:  Sunday, March 9, 2014
Speaker:  Hob Calhoun

Hob Calhoun brings a unique perspective to this talk. His university studies included everything from birds to algae, from genetics to public land management. After spending
5 years as a Land Planner in the Washington, D.C. area and 4 years living on the largest island off the coast of Maine, he embarked on a 9-month epic journey around the U.S. to find the perfect next place to live. During this trip he fell in love with our mountain and desert landscapes here in Utah as well as Great Salt Lake. At this presentation, you will perhaps detect glimpses of his story as he explores the Great Salt Lake with us using some gorgeous photographs.

Probably Utah’s most widely recognized topographical feature, the Great Salt Lake is possibly also the state’s least appreciated and understood one. One might describe Great Salt Lake as an inland sea of paradoxes. To quote Terry Tempest Williams: “Great Salt Lake is Trickster. Nothing is as it appears. It is wilderness adjacent to a city: a shifting shoreline that plays havoc with highways; islands too stark, too remote to inhabit; water in the desert that no one can drink. It is the liquid lie of the West. Yet love this body of water—its paradoxical nature, the way it will not be tamed.” We will not try to tame the Lake at this presentation but simply spin some stories that will help us to appreciate it and understand it a little better.

References and Resources:
Commonly Asked Questions about Utah’s Great Salt Lake and Ancient Lake Bonneville. J. Wallace Gwynn, Utah Geological Survey, 1996.
Great Salt Lake. Gary Topping. Topping has assembled some of the best historical and contemporary writing on Great Salt Lake. The authors include historical figures such as Osborne Russell, Jedediah Smith, John C. Frémont, Howard Stansbury, and, less known, Alfred Lambourne, a turn-of-the-century artist and western Thoreau who sought solitude and contemplation by building a house on remote Gunnison Island. Also included are selections from more recent writing about the lake, among them pieces by well-known historians Dale Morgan and Brigham Madsen and other essays that look at the varied ways, recreational and economic, that people have used or sought to use the lake.
Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place. Terry Tempest Williams, Vintage Books, 1991.
Visions of Antelope Island and Great Salt Lake. Marlin Stum, Utah State University Press, 1999.
An excellent website from U.S. Geologic Survey:
Another website worth looking at: