Category Archives: late 20th century

Hill Aerospace Museum

Published / by Max Thompson / Leave a Comment

Write up by: Maxwell Thompson

GPS Coordinates: 

Latitude: 41° 9′ 43.4088” N
Longitude: 112° 1′ 8.5224” W

Historical Marker Text: “1991- This Plaque commemorates the gift of the museum building complex from the citizens of the state of Utah to the United States Air Force—the 1988 and 1989 Utah State Legislatures”

Extended Research: 

The Hill Aerospace Museum is located on the northwest corner of Hill Air Force Base in Roy, Utah. The Air Force base itself was built and activated in 1940 and named after Major Ployer P. Hill, a test pilot who died while testing a plane.[1] The base is the second largest in the Air Force in terms of population as well as its geographic size, with over one million acres of land and 1,700 facilities. For Utahns, the base is the state’s largest single employer site, with over 23,000 people working there.[2] The base was used as a maintenance and supply depot during World War II and then as logistical support for large numbers of aircraft during the Korean and Vietnam wars.[3]

In the 1940s, the museum was originally located on the military base itself, although it was fairly small and only held a WWII display of some weapons and equipment.[4] The Museum grew and eventually moved to its current location in 1987 where it now houses several large planes which are no longer in commission, war equipment, and some educational centers for the children who visit. In 1988, the State of Utah appropriated $5 million for the building of the current museum complex. 

The focus of the Hill Aerospace Museum is on flight and the history of the Air Force. There is a secondary focus on Utah flight history. Throughout the museum there are small plaques with descriptions of Utah Air Force aviators who served their country in different capacities. This is capped off by the Utah Aviation Hall of Fame which is just inside the entrance to the museum. This is a special room that is dedicated to celebrating the contributions that men and women from Utah have made to the world of aviation. With Hill Air Force Base being so close to the museum, there are quite a few aviators who served at Hill who are showcased in the Hall of Fame. 

Inside of the museum are two large areas where different artifacts, mainly planes and helicopters, are displayed. Outside there are very large carrier planes for visitors to see.

 The Museum is comprised of two different sections, both are more like giant plane hangars than a regular museum. Both sections house aircraft from different eras, beginning with World War I, all the way up through some of the popular F-16s that are used in today’s Air Force. Included along with the aircraft, are a series of  uniforms that the military men and women wore while in combat, along with their everyday uniforms. The uniforms are organized chronologically,  set up to parallel the plane era progression.

It is also worth noting that there is an aircraft just outside the museum, which was one of the jets used as  “Air Force One” while  Lyndon B. Johnson was president of the United States. The aircraft has had some work done on it to renovate it after some normal wear and tear from a few years of flight.[5]

In sum, the Aerospace Museum at Hill is filled with planes and helicopters and offers an overview of aviation history. There are plenty of airplanes and aviation artifacts at the museum to capture the attention of visitors, old and young alike.

Former Air Force One plane on display at the Aerospace Museum

For further reference:

Secondary Sources:

“About the Museum,” Hill Aerospace Museum, https://www.aerospaceutah.org/museum/about-the-museum/

“About Us,” Hill Airforce Base, https://www.hill.af.mil/About-Us/.

Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Utah. Hill Aerospace Museum Official Guide Book. 2007.

Hibbard, Charles G. “Hill Air Force Base.” Utah History Encyclopedia. Ed. by Allen Kent Powell. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1994. https://www.uen.org/utah_history_encyclopedia/h/HILL_AIR_FORCE_BASE.shtml


[1] Charles G. Hibbard, “Hill Air Force Base,” Utah History Encyclopedia, ed. by Allen Kent Powell (Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1994). https://www.uen.org/utah_history_encyclopedia/h/HILL_AIR_FORCE_BASE.shtml

[2] Hibbard, “Hill Air Force Base;” “About Us,” Hill Air Force Base, https://www.hill.af.mil/About-Us/, accessed 9 April 2020.

[3] Hibbard, “Hill Air Force Base.”

[4] “About Us,” Hill Air Force Base, https://www.hill.af.mil/About-Us/, accessed 9 April 2020; “Hill Aerospace Museum,” Hill Air Force Base, https://www.hill.af.mil/Home/Hill-Aerospace-Museum/, accessed 9 April 2020.

[5] Hill Aerospace Museum Plaque.


Cottonwood Paper Mill

Published / by Jaclyn Foster / Leave a Comment

write-up by Jaclyn Foster

Placed By: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, no. 326

GPS Coordinates: N 40º37’603” W 111º48’000”

Historical Marker Text:

Daughters of Utah Pioneers
No. 326
Erected 1966
COTTONWOOD PAPER MILL

In 1880 the Deseret News Corporation purchased a 28-acre millsite including water rights. With Henry Grow, architect and builder, the $150,000 structure, made of granite from nearby quarries with mortar of clay and stone grindings, took three years to erect. The 1860 paper machine from Sugarhouse Mill and some new machinery was installed; a 1500-ft. race brought water through the penstock to encased turbines. The plant could yield 5 tons of paper a day. Chas. J. Lambert, manager, sold to Granite Paper Mills Co. 1892; destroyed by fire 1893; restored 1927 as a recreational center.
Central Company

Extended Research:

The first newspaper established in the Mountain West, the Deseret News, began publication in June of 1850. In order to reduce production costs, LDS leader Brigham Young appointed Thomas Howard, a paper maker from England, to construct a paper mill in Sugar House. The machinery for this mill was updated several times, with thrifty pioneers exchanging parts between beet sugar, iron working, and paper industries. In 1883, under the direction of Henry Grow, Deseret News Company received new paper machinery, and built Cottonwood Paper Mill to house the old machinery for use as a spare. The new mill was built using discarded granite from the construction of the Salt Lake Temple.

After the completion of the railroad, paper became cheaper to import, and the Deseret News sold Cottonwood Paper Mill to Granite Mills Paper Company in 1892. The mill was destroyed by fire in 1893.1

C. R. Savage. Deseret Paper Mill, Mouth of Cottonwood Canon Utah. L. Tom Perry Special Collections

Paper mills produce paper from waste cellulose fibers. In this case, the mill used cotton and linen rags. These rags were cooked and beaten to suspend the cellulose fibers in water. The fibers were collected on framed screens dipped in the water, and the water was removed by stacking frames between felt sheets. After the paper was dry, they were briefly soaked in gelatin or starch solutions, and dried again. This last step was known as “sizing” and prevented ink from feathering.2

Successful operation of the mill was a community endeavor. The mill required a constant supply of rags, which were collected by the Deseret News, public works programs, and church initiatives. In 1861, George Goddard was called on a three-year mission with the sole task of collecting rags for the mill. The calling “was a severe blow to [his] native pride,” but Goddard accepted the assignment. His rag collecting took him from Franklin, Idaho to Sanpete County, and involved preaching sermons on Sunday about rag collection. Goddard collected over 100,000 pounds of rags for the mill. The Women’s Relief Society took over rag collection in 1867 and organized regular rag drives.3

Following its destruction by fire in 1893, the mill remained unused until it was rebuilt in 1927 by J. B. Walker, a private citizen. The mill was transformed into an open-air dance hall, the Old Mill Club, and played a significant role in the local social scene. The club’s use was disrupted by World War II, when rationing increased food prices and military enrollment made mixed-sex activities, such as dancing, impractical. Following the end of the war, the social scene had shifted to drive-in movies, and the Old Mill Club never regained its former prominence, although it had rebranded itself as a “discotheque” by 1970.4 It has remained in the hands of the Walker family, with J. B. Walker’s grandson-in-law managing the property since 1987. The mill was condemned by Cottonwood Heights in 2005 due to earthquake building codes.5

Since its condemnation, the mill has been the target of repeated vandalism and theft. In 2011, thieves stole over $20,000 of copper wiring, and the mill’s historical marker was removed by the owner after he came upon thieves who had cut three of the plaque’s four bolts in order to steal it.6 Today, the mill is a study in contrasts. The crumbling, graffiti-laden building sits just up the road from a private gated community which bears its name and likeness. Residents tell ghost stories about the mill, and when the city of Cottonwood Heights commissioned a book on the community’s history, the mill graced the book’s cover. The mill’s owner envisions a future where the mill is rebuilt and used as an art gallery and dance hall.

For Future Reference:

Primary Sources

The Paper Mill,” Deseret News, April 8 1893.

Cabrero, Alex. “Thieves make away with $20,000 of copper wiring from Old Mill,” KSL News, November 17, 2011.

Secondary Sources

Arrington, Leonard. Great Basin Kingdom: Economic History of the Latter-Day Saints 1830-1900. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1966).

Roberts, Allen D. City Between the Canyons: A History of Cottonwood Heights, 1849-1953. Available at Cottonwood Heights City Hall.

Saunders, Richard. “‘Rags! Rags! Rags!!!’: Beginnings of the Paper Industry in the Salt Lake Valley, 1849-1858.” Utah Historical Quarterly 62(1), 1994.

Smith, Melvin T. “National Register of Historic Places Nomination: Granite Paper Mill.” National Register of Historic Places Inventory, National Parks Service, (December 10, 1970).

Footnotes:

1. Melvin T. Smith, “National Register of Historic Places Nomination: Granite Paper Mill.” National Register of Historic Places Inventory, National Parks Service, (December 10, 1970).

2. Richard Saunders, “‘Rags! Rags! Rags!!!’: Beginnings of the Paper Industry in the Salt Lake Valley, 1849-1858.” Utah Historical Quarterly 62(1), 1994

3. Leonard Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom: Economic History of the Latter-Day Saints 1830-1900. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1966), 114-116.

4. Melvin Smith, National Register of Historic Places

5. Doug Shelby, interviewed by Jaclyn Foster at Cottonwood Heights residence, February 3, 2019.

6. Alex Cabrero, “Thieves make away with $20,000 of copper wiring from Old Mill,” KSL News, November 17, 2011.

Joseph F. Steenblik Park

Published / by Juli Huddleston / Leave a Comment

Write-up by Julia Huddleston

View of Steenblik Park, February 2019.

GPS Coordinates: 40.787, -111.92H

Historical Marker Text:

Joseph F. Steenblik was a friend of youth and a builder of men in cultural, physical, and spiritual activities. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1904, he lived in the Rose Park area since 1908. Over the years, Joseph promoted many scout activities, such as Scout-O-Rama, and chaired scout fund drives. In addition to his support of the Boy Scouts, Joseph recognized that girls need outdoor outings as much as boys. He was instrumental in the organizing and building of the Rose Park Library, Rose Park Gymnasium, and the local church Stake House. He was a good example of a Good Samaritan, kind to the less fortunate, good to his employees, and exemplified the values of dependability and hard work.

Open 8:00 A.M. to 11:00 P.M.

Leashed dogs only

No alcoholic beverages

Dairy Cats

2007

Day Christiansen

The “Dairy Cats” were developed with the Steenblik Dairy, a longtime presence in the Rose Park Neighborhood, in mind. The cats are sited so children and adults can enjoy them as they visit or walk through Steenblik Park. The four cats are cast in bronze with variations in patina resulting in a diversity of colors combined with the classic richness of bronze.

“Dairy Cats” is a project of the Salt Lake City public art program, managed by the Salt Lake City Arts Council under the direction of the Salt Lake City Art Design Board. Thanks to the neighborhood representatives who assisted with the project, and also to the City Council member Carlton Christensen, Rose Park Community Council, SLC Parks, SLC Housing and Neighborhood Development, SLC Engineering, and the Department of Community Development.

Dairy Cats by Day Christiansen.

Extended Research:

Joseph F. Steenblik Park is a pocket park located in the heart of the vibrant and closely-knit Rose Park neighborhood in the northwest quadrant of Salt Lake City. Real estate developer Alan Brockbank gave Rose Park its name after he saw a corner market store with blooming rose bushes, which the storeowner credited to the fertile soil in the area. Inspired by the roses, Brockbank gave the new streets names of unusual rose varieties such as American Beauty, Rambler, Talisman, Sonata, Autumn, Debonair, and Nocturne.[1] Rose Park consists primarily of one-story red brick houses, with an architectural cohesion not often found in Salt Lake’s other older neighborhoods.

Even though many of the homes are close to seventy years old, this is not the first housing development to occupy the space. By 1911, the Oakley Park subdivision had become home to many railroad employees of various races, ethnicities, and religious backgrounds due to the proximity to the railroad yards outside downtown Salt Lake City. However, by the mid-1940s the neighborhood was badly blighted, and the health department gave residents an ultimatum to “rid themselves of a collection of horses, cows, stray dogs, hogs, ducks, turkeys, chickens, and goats” or move elsewhere.[2] Brockbank, who created the master plan for the new 2,000-home Rose Park subdivision in 1946, expedited this cleanup effort to meet the post-WWII demand for affordable housing for growing families. While not initially wholly positive for the residents (the new subdivision implemented regrettable restrictive covenant clauses prohibiting people of color from purchasing homes), the area rebounded and is once again welcoming and inclusive, boasting one of the highest rates of racial and ethnic diversity in the Salt Lake valley.[3]

Detail from Sanborn Fire Insurance map showing the Oakley Park subdivision in 1911. Marriott Library Special Collections, Print and Journal Division.

Throughout all these changes, the Steenblik family proved to be a consistent and influential presence in the neighborhood. Joseph F. Steenblik, along with his extended family, was instrumental in both the history and growth of the area. Born in 1904 in Salt Lake City, his parents had emigrated from the Netherlands the year previously. The family moved to Rose Park in 1908, where Joseph and several siblings lived for much of their lives. The family owned and operated Steenblik Dairy, a small-scale dairy farm that supplied milk to Salt Lake’s west side.[4] The dairy, which was located adjacent to the family home at 1442 W. Leadville Avenue, was established around 1920 and was operational into the 1970s. [5] After serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) to Holland, Steenblik married Ruth Reid, and the couple had seven children.

Joseph F. Steenblik’s home, adjacent to Steenblik Dairy. Tax assessment photograph, 1936. Courtesy Salt Lake County Archives.

In addition to working on the family dairy farm, Joseph, alongside his brother Roelof, operated a construction company—Steenblik Construction—which was incorporated in 1952. They were instrumental in aiding with the construction of the Rose Park Stake House, an impressive and unusually large meeting place for the local Latter-day Saint congregations. The building has two chapels, allowing for simultaneous worship services, two meeting halls for social gatherings, a courtyard, a gymnasium, as well as a detached recreation building. Steenblik served as the Stake president (an ecclesiastical position roughly equivalent to a bishop over a Catholic diocese) in addition to other important religious leadership roles.[6] Joseph F. Steenblik died in 1991, at the age of 87.

Steenblik Dairy, commercial tax assessment photograph, 1978. Salt Lake County Archives.

The Joseph F. Steenblik Park was built in 1984 with federal block grant funding, and was named in the “Name the Park” competition proposed by Mayor Palmer DePaulis.[7] In 2007 Salt Lake City commissioned local artist Day Christiansen to create a work of public art that would be emblematic of the neighborhood. Paying homage to Steenblik Dairy, his sculpture Dairy Cats consists of four five-foot tall bronze statues of seated cats that represent mouser cats often found on farms. The park pays tribute to Joseph F. Steenblik and his family’s lasting legacy in Rose Park. His influence is still visible throughout the neighborhood, and has contributed to the vibrancy and resiliency of the community.


[1] Charles L. Doane, Leo W. Russon, Archie S. Hurst, Salt Lake Rose Park Stake History 1955-1980: A Sesquicentennial Project,(Salt Lake City, Utah: Salt Lake Rose Park Stake, Inc. 1980).

[2] Richard W. Bernick, “S. L. Demands West Side Area Cleanup,” Salt Lake Telegram, 6 August, 1948.

[3] Chris Dunsmore, “Rose Park,” Mapping SLC, http://www.mappingslc.org/this-was-here/item/151-rose-park, March 7, 2019.

[4] “Roelof Steenblik Obituary,” Salt Lake Tribune,  December 26, 2002.

[5] Doane, Russon, and Hurst, Salt Lake Rose Park Stake History 1955-1980: A Sesquicentennial Project, Salt Lake City, Utah: Salt Lake Rose Park Stake, Inc. 1980, 2.

[6] Doane, Russon, and Hurst, (Salt Lake Rose Park Stake History) 207.

[7] Susan Lyman, “Mini-Parks Neighborhood Folk Heroes Find Their Place in the Shade,” Deseret News, August 28, 1988. Accessed via the Deseret News online archive.

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

Richard W. Bernick. “S. L. Demands West Side Area Cleanup.” Salt Lake Telegram, 6 August, 1948.

Alan Brockbank papers, Ms 604, Marriott Library Special Collections, University of Utah.

Roelof Steenblik Obituary.Salt Lake Tribune.  December 26, 2002.

Salt Lake County Tax Assessment Records, Salt Lake County Archives.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, University of Utah Marriott Library.

Secondary Sources:

Doane, Charles L., Leo W. Russon and Archie S. Hurst. Salt Lake Rose Park Stake History, 1955-1980: A Sesquicentennial Project. Salt Lake City: Salt Lake Rose Park Stake, 1980.

Dunsmore, Chris. “Rose Park.” Mapping SLC, http://www.mappingslc.org/this-was-here/item/151-rose-park. March 7, 2019.

Lyman, Susan. “Mini-Parks: Neighborhood Folk Heroes Find Their Place in the Shade.The Deseret News, August 28, 1988.

 


James E. Talmage Building

Published / by Courtney Edwards / Leave a Comment

Write up by Courtney Taylor

James E. Talmage Building

Placed by: The University of Utah Alumni Association

GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 40º 45’  51.702” N Longitude 111º 50’ 58.59” W

Historical Marker Text

James E. Talmage-scholar, scientist, educator, author, and church leader-was born in England and came to Utah when he was ten years old. He earned the A.B degree at Lehigh University. and the Ph.D at Illinois Wesleyan University. For his work in chemistry and geology he was elected to membership in the Royal Society of Edinbirgh. He gave vigorous leadership to the University as Professor of metallurgy and biology, as Deseret professor of geology and as the University’s second president from 1894 to 1897. His major educational concern was to build a sound system of teaching for the people of Utah who, in the 1880’s were still somewhat remote from the established centers of learning, and to incorporate into the University curriculum the expanding body of scientific knowledge.

The land on which this building stands was deeded to the University during President Talmage’s administration. Construction of the building, to be known as the Museum, was begun in 1900, but so many new buildings were going up in Salt Lake City that skilled laborers and quality brick and stone were in short supply. The building was not completed until late in 1902.

The Museum building contained classrooms, offices and laboratories for biology, geology and mineralogy; geological and biological museums; an assembly room and gymnasium. About 1920, geology classes were relocated and the Museum become known as the Biology Building until, on June, 1976 in ceremonies sponsored by the Alumni Association, it was officially named the James E. Talmage building.

Extended Research:

James E. Talmage was a respected member of the academic community as well as a leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Talmage was the fourth president of The University of Utah from 1894-1897 but it was not until 1976 that the building was named the James E. Talmage building.

Talmage had a life full of educational and academic success. He grew up in Provo, Utah and worked at Brigham Young Academy (now Brigham Young University). He had a love of knowledge and pursued degrees in chemistry and geology. He studied at Leigh University and Johns Hopkins University. He became one of the first Mormons to receive a PhD.1 After his time as president of the University of Utah he was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While he was an apostle he also published a book well known in the Church called Jesus the Christ. 

He took his job as University of Utah president very seriously and in correspondence with Elder John M. Whitaker he mentioned that it was “hard for me to do any lecturing outside the regular lectures at the institution”.2 He worked hard and he accomplished a lot in his academic life and took his job very seriously as president of the university. He was busy in his church life as well as home life as he was a father to eight children. Eventually he died from inflammation of the heart on 21 July 1933.3

The James E. Talmage building’s purpose changed over time. It was first erected as a museum building in 1902 but has primarily served as a science building. The building was built by architects Samuel C. Dallas and Williams S. Hedges who designed the building in a second renaissance revival style as the unique columns in the front of the building attest.4

The medical school took over use of the building from 1905-1920. In 1959 it was changed to the biology building to accommodate classrooms for a growing student population. Then in 1976 the building was renamed the James E. Talmage building in honor of the former university president. It is located in President’s Circle and the building is still used for science related studies.5

1 Bowman, Matthew Burton. The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith. New York: Random House, 2012.

2 “Correspondence between John Mills Whitaker and James E. Talmage.” James E. Talmage to John Mills Whitaker. January 25, 1894.

3 Hardy, Jeffery S. “Mormon Missionary Diaries.” https://lib.byu.edu/collections/mormon-missionary-diaries/about/diarists/james-edward-talmage/

4 1992. https://preservationutah.org/images/stories/education/uofupresidentscircle.pdf.

5 “James E. Talmage Building | History of the Health Sciences.” J. Willard Marriott Digital Library. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6p87n57

Primary Sources

1992. https://preservationutah.org/images/stories/education/uofupresidentscircle.pdf.

“Correspondence between John Mills Whitaker and James E. Talmage.” James E. Talmage to John Mills Whitaker. January 25, 1894. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=917332

Secondary Sources 

Hardy, Jeffery S. “Mormon Missionary Diaries.” https://lib.byu.edu/collections/mormon-missionary-diaries/about/diarists/james-edward-talmage/

“James E. Talmage Building | History of the Health Sciences.” J. Willard Marriott Digital Library. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6p87n57.

“James E. Talmage (1862–1933).” James E. Talmage (1862–1933). https://www.lds.org/study/ensign/2010/03/small-and-simple-things/james-e-talmage-1862-1933?lang=eng.

“James E. Talmage Building.” Digital image. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=1036000.

Beehive House

Published / by Daniel Wahlquiest / Leave a Comment

Write-up by: Daniel Wahlquist

Placed by:

Young Men’s and Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Associations and Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association

GPS Coordinates:

40°46’9” N 111°53’23”W

Transcript of marker:

No 50 June 9, 1935 The Bee-Hive House Erected about 1852 by President Brigham Young as the official residence of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and occupied by him from the time it was completed until his death in 1877. From 1852 to 1855 it also served as the executive mansion of Governor Brigham Young of the Territory of Utah. It was also the home of Presidents Lorenzo Snow (1898-1901) and Joseph F. Smith (1901-1918), both of whom died here. The bee-hive is the state emblem signifying industry.

Extended Research:

The Beehive House was built in 1854 as the primary residence of Brigham Young as the first territorial governor of Utah and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is located in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City at the intersection of State Street and South Temple (during the time of the home’s construction it was called Brigham Street).[1]  It is a two-story building with cement coating, large wrap-around porches, and topped with a large gilded beehive which inspired its official name: the Beehive House.[2]  

Figure 1: Beehive House and Eagle Gate (“Courtesy of the Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.”
Figure 2: Truman Osborn Angell (Courtesy of Temple Square Hospitality, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.”)

The LDS architect of the Beehive House was Truman Osborn Angell. He was the LDS church’s resident architect and designed many of the prominent buildings in Utah Territory. His projects included but are not limited to the Salt Lake and St. George Temples; The Council House; the Social Hall; the Old Tabernacle; several meeting houses; the Utah Territorial Statehouse located in Fillmore; Brigham Young’s first grand residence, the White House; and the later addition to the Beehive house, the Lion House. Angell was a finish carpenter by trade and gained valuable experience working on various projects for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including the Kirtland and Nauvoo temples. He was called on a European mission and in addition to preaching the LDS gospel, Angell was assigned to study architecture. While Angell had close relationships with many church leaders throughout his life, the most influential was Brigham Young who married his sister Mary Ann. He enjoyed a close relationship with Brigham Young and looked up to him as a father figure.[3]

Figure 3: Interior Room of Beehive House by Michael McConkie, (Courtesy of the Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints).

The primary function of the Beehive House was to serve as an official residence of Brigham Young in his role as both President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as the territorial governor.  It housed a small number of his family, out of town visitors, and provided a place to entertain visiting dignitaries and celebrities. Notable visitors included President Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Twain, Horace Greely, and Tom Thumb.[4]

Figure 4: Brigham Young’s homes, Salt Lake City (Courtesy of the Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.)

Brigham Young had several residences in the Salt Lake Valley as well as throughout the Utah Territory. In 1856, two years after the Beehive House was complete, he constructed the Lion House that served as housing for several of his wives and children.[5] The Beehive House however, was home to second wife (nonplural at marriage), Mary Ann Angell.  She lived in the Beehive house on and off until 1860 when she moved into what was referred to as the White House (or Mansion House), a few blocks away.[6] She tended to enjoy a more secluded life and the hustle and bustle of the Beehive House did not suit her. Upon Mary Ann’s relocation, Lucy Decker, Brigham’s third wife moved in with her seven children and assumed the role of managing the home.  Near this time, Brigham deeded the Beehive House to Decker.[7] She lived there until she sold it to John W. Young, a son of Brigham and Mary Ann Young.[8]

Figure 5: Beehive House (Courtesy of the Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.)

Brigham Young wore many figurative hats. He was a business man, provider and patriarch to twenty-seven wives (although sealed to fifty-six, only twenty-seven were a part of his households) and fifty-seven children, politician and religious leader.[9] It was his style to be all of these at all times. It was common for Brigham Young to bring up secular matters in religious sermons and vice versa. He would preach to his children and discuss politics with various family members. His finances were similarly difficult to separate. Young trusted his bookkeeper to keep clear books, but his various accounts would borrow from one another.[10] This resulted in a level of uncertainty about who actually owned his various properties. For example, who was the owner of the Beehive House? Was it Brigham Young’s family home, an official state home, or was it church property where the president resided? The answer was that it was all of these. Since Brigham Young deeded it to Lucy Decker, it can be assumed he saw it as a personal family home. This issue however did cause some disagreements after Young’s death in 1877.

Figure 6: Beehive House and Eagle Gate with Cobblestone Wall (Courtesy of the Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.)

Living in the home was a communal experience. Despite the fact that the Beehive House served as the official residence of only a single family, it was also considered a home of last resort for newly arriving young people from Europe that had no family or friends to stay with. Young men were given jobs and young women, much to Lucy’s chagrin became students of the art of domesticity.[11] Nearly every morning Brigham Young would eat breakfast at the Beehive House with Lucy and her children. He would then go to the office located between the Lion and Beehive Houses. He would eat dinner with nearly fifty family members at the Lion House in the evenings followed by a family prayer. This tradition was faithfully observed regardless of what was on his agenda. He would frequently put meetings on hold and join his family.[12]

Figure 7: Deseret New Clipping January 20, 1893

During the time Brigham Young lived there, the Beehive House also served as a form of refuge and security from unfriendly forces. Several times when a flag was raised above the Beehive on top of the house, hundreds of men would come and surround the house to protect Brother Brigham. To further protect the residential compound, a nine-foot cobblestone wall was built. In addition to protecting his family, it provided work for the aforementioned young men arriving from abroad.[13]

In 1888, John W. Young purchased the property from Lucy Decker.  During the period of his ownership the home underwent major renovations and nearly doubled in size. In 1893, Young lost the home to pay off debts incurred in a lawsuit. The home was auctioned off and purchased by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It then served as the official residence of the President of the Church.[14] In 1900, LDS President Lorenzo Snow moved into the Beehive House and lived there until his death. His successor Joseph F. Smith lived there until is death in 1918.  Heber J. Grant, Smith’s successor, chose not to reside in the Beehive House. The home remained vacant for a couple of years and underwent some minor renovations.

Figure 8: David A. Smith on porch of Beehive House (Courtesy of the Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.)
Figure 9: President Joseph F. Smith in automobile in front of Beehive House (Courtesy of the Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.)

In 1920, following trends set in other cities, the Church decided to transform the Beehive House into a boarding home of sorts for women working or attending school in the city. Most young women living in the Beehive House either worked at the Church Office Building or attended LDS University. This use continued into the late 1950s. 

In 1959, the Church decided to restore the Beehive House to what it was like in its original form. A group was created, mostly comprised of Brigham Young’s descendants, to discover the original structure, assemble original furniture and furnishing and design a layout using a variety of written descriptions. In 1970, The Beehive House became a part of the National Register of Historic Places.  Since that time, it has been open to the public for tours.[15]


[1] Leonard J. Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses. (Chicago, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1985), 169.

[2] Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses, 170.

[3] Paul L. Anderson, “Truman O. Angell” Architect and Saint,” Supporting Saints: Life Stories of Nineteenth-Century Mormons (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1985), 133–73.

[4] Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses, 329; National Register of Historic Places, Beehive House, Salt Lake County, Utah, National Register #702439002.

[5] R. Scott Lloyd, “Lecture at Church History Symposium discusses the Beehive House, the Lion House and the young women of the Church”, Deseret News, 10 March 2016.

[6] John G. Turner, Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet. (Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012), 236.

[7] Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses, 329.

[8] Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses, 329; John G. Turner, Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet, 236.

[9] Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses, 420-421; Jeffery Ogden Johnson, “Determining and Defining ‘Wife’: The Brigham Young Households,” Dialogue, A Journal of Mormon Thought 20 (Autumn 1987):57-70.

[10] Leonard J. Arrington and Ronald K. Esplin, “Building a Commonwealth: The Secular Leadership of Brigham Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly 45, no. 3 (1977): 216-232; Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses, 178-182.

[11] Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses, 330.

[12] Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses, 329; John G. Turner, Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet, 236.

[13] National Register of Historic Places, Beehive House, Salt Lake County, Utah, National Register #702439002; John G. Turner, Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet, 298.

[14] National Register of Historic Places, Beehive House, Salt Lake County, Utah, National Register #702439002.; “The Beehive House Sold,” Deseret News, January 20, 1893.

[15] National Register of Historic Places, Beehive House, Salt Lake County, Utah, National Register #702439002; Lloyd, “Lecture at Church History Symposium”.

For Further Reference

Primary Sources

Photograph Citations:

Figure 1

F.I. Monsen and Company (Photography Studio). Beehive House and Eagle Gate.

Figure 2

Tammy Reque, “Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About the Salt Lake Temple,” Temple Square Blog, July 20, 2018.

Figure 3

Lion and Beehive houses, 1983.

Figure 4

Brigham Young’s homes, Salt Lake City.

Figure 5

Horrocks, Samuel 1873-1927. Photographs of historical buildings in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Figure 6

“The Beehive House Sold,” Deseret News, January 20, 1893.

Figure 7

Charles W. Carter glass negative collection, circa 1860-1900; Items 121-135; Salt Lake City, Beehive House and Eagle Gate; Church History Library.

Figure 8

Beehive House, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1918 January 17.

Figure 9

Beehive House family photographs, circa 1896-1917; Beehive House Family Photographs; One of the first automobiles in Salt Lake City; Church History Library.

National Register of Historic Places, Beehive House, Salt Lake County, Utah, National Register #702439002. 

Secondary Sources

Anderson, Paul L. “Truman O. Angell” Architect and Saint,” Supporting Saints: Life Stories of Nineteenth-Century Mormons. Provo: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1985.

Arrington, Leonard J., Brigham Young: American Moses. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1985.

Arrington, Leonard J.  and Ronald K. Esplin, “Building a Commonwealth: The Secular Leadership of Brigham Young”, Utah Historical Quarterly 45, no. 3 (1977): 216-232.

Johnson, Jeffery Ogden. “Determining and Defining ‘Wife’: The Brigham Young Households,” Dialogue, A Journal of Mormon Thought 20 (Autumn 1987):57-70.

Lloyd, R. Scott. “Lecture at Church History Symposium discusses the Beehive House, the Lion House and the young women of the Church”, Deseret News, 10 March 2016.

Turner, John G. Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012.