Built in 1895 and located at 15 E Center St in Salem, Utah
The Ira W. Gardner Home was built in Queen Anne Victorian style over several years during the 1890’s for one of Utah County’s prominent ranchers. In Salem, Utah, (population 920) the Gardner Home is considered the town’s landmark residence.
The Ira W. Gardner Home is a two-story Queen Anne style building constructed of light tan colored brick and dark red-brown colored sandstone. The asymmetrical facades, irregular plan, and massing combination roof, variety of textures and colors, and corner turret are among the Queen Anne elements.
The main floor has three entries from the outside and contains living and dining rooms, parlor, kitchen and one bedroom. There are several bedrooms upstairs. The original spacial arrangements of the plan are basically intact. Interior walls, ceilings, stairways, mouldings, fireplaces, and floors are in good condition. The kitchen and bathrooms have been remodeled, but the main living areas have been respectfully treated and are well preserved.
The exterior retains its original appearance with the exception of the porches on the west and south which have been modified. The western porch is particularly out of character.
The Gardner Home is roughly square shaped but is given variety by projecting gabled wings, porches and the corner turret. The vertical effect of the exterior composition is balanced by numerous horizontal belt courses of dark red-brown sandstone. All window bays are square and 1/1 double-hung wood sash windows dominate, although fixed sash picture windows also exist on the first level. The wall surface is given relief by small panels in the brick and corbeled brick patterns in the gable. The gables and tower also have coffered wood panels. Rusticated stone lintels, sills and pilasters and foundation wall add to the textural mix. The cornice is boxed, moulded and has a dentiled frieze. The overall effect of the exterior is one of massiveness and variety with appropriate but not overwhelming detailing.
Ira W. Gardner was born January 9, 1848, at Sweetwater, Wyoming, while his parents were en-route to Salt Lake City after joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) in Massachusetts. The Gardners were among the earliest settlers of Salem, Utah. Following his education in Salem, Ira became a barber, though his major accomplishments were won later in the occupation of agriculture and livestock raising. He became the owner of a large ranch estate and was considered one of the most successful breeders and growers in Utah County.
Because he grazed his livestock in the meadows near Scofield, Carbon County, Ira Gardner worked on his house only during the winter. Though assisted by his son, Eben, it took several years to construct the impressive brick and stone residence. Plans for the home were prepared by Daniel M. Cummings and are still extant. Cummings was a draftsman for the Provo Lumber Manufacturing and Building Company in 1890 and was later listed in Provo directories as an architect. The two-story residence was designed during Utah’s “late” (though not “high”) Victorian period and is possibly more akin to Queen Anne than any other Victorian sub-type. The substantial home has undergone few significant changes and is currently being restored by the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Womble.
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