The first Saltair, completed in 1893, was jointly owned by a corporation associated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called Mormons) and the Salt Lake and Los Angeles Railroad Company (which originally served the site). Saltair was not the first resort built on the shores of the Great Salt Lake, but was the most successful ever built. It rested on over 2,000 posts and pilings, many of which remain and are still visible over 110 years later.
Saltair was a family place, intended to provide a safe and wholesome atmosphere with the open supervision of Church leaders. While some of the other resorts in the area were seen as "spiritually bleak," a young courting Mormon couple could visit Saltair without worrying about gossip, which was more prevalent at the time, when Mormonism was more culturally conservative than it is today. Train schedules from Saltair to stations near home were well known, and so long as the boy got the girl home at a reasonable time after the train arrived, parents weren't worried – in part because, from the moment of arriving at the station before the outing until they left the station coming home, they were usually never out of sight of trusted members of the Church. More than once, a couple on the way home found themselves in the same car as their parents, who themselves had been dancing at Saltair.