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The John E. Booth House house is a historic house located in Provo, Utah. John E. Booth was a significant Provoan, and was extensively involved in Provo’s community and religious affairs. Located at 59 West and 500 North and less than one acre in size, the John E. Booth House was built in 1900, and happens to be the only two-and-a-half story Victorian Mansion in Provo, Utah. This house is significant not only as a Victorian mansion, but due to the fact that its “Bricks were individually painted to create a variegrated design effect” (Historic Provo p. 10). The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The house was designated to the Provo City Historic Landmark Register on May 26, 1995.

 

“The plan of this two and one half story brick house derives from the vernacular L-plan and has a T extension in the rear. A hip roof and a gable roof section intersect to form the L. The extension has a hip roof. From each end of the hip roof are gable projections with pent roofs like the pent roof of the gable on the facade. Two tall chimneys with elaborate corbelling project from the hip roof section. Divisions between stories are subtley emphasized. Pairs of stringcourses divide the basement, first, second and third stories from one another. The division between the basement and first floor is further emphasized by color differentiation in the brick. The red brick of the basement was left unpainted, whereas the brick and mortar joints of the rest of the house except that on the T extension, have been painted various shades of brown and tan to that on the T extension, have been painted various shades of brown and tan to create a varigated effect. The division between the second and third floors has, in addition to the stringcourses, a line of obliquely set bricks that runs beneath the stringcourses at the height of the second story lintels. The fenestration of the facade is simple and carefully balanced. On the east half, the gable end, a simple Palladian window is centered on the top half story and a broad single sash window with a stained glass transom and stone lintel and lugsill is centered on each of the two lower stories. A single story square hip roof brick entrance chamber fills the angle of intersection of the hip and gable roof sections. Above it is a simple double hung sash window. On each story of the west half of the hip roof section is centered a single window similar to those on the gable end. Windows on the east, west and south sides of the building are long, narrow, have jigsaw cut detailing in the decorative arch above them, and are topped with a segmented reliving arch. Classical detailing includes: a boxed cornice on the main roofline and on that of the brick entry which is completely supported by brackets except on the T addition; the pediment over the entrance supported by a Classical pier and pilaster which has a fan type of decoration on the tympanum; and dentils which line the lower edge of the transom of each single sash window. Major alterations include a change in the size of the opening of a window on the east wall and the addition of two frame extensions to the east and west sides of the T extension.” The changes to the building do not affect the historical meaning of the house.

 

John E. Booth:
Born in England in 1847, John E. Booth traveled to Utah with his parents in 1857 as a result of his family converting to the L.D.S. faith. Attaining his early education in England and his latter in the United States, studying at the University of Deseret and teaching in various towns throughout Utah, Booth eventually began to study law under the direction of John B. Milner. Booth began practicing law in 1875, the same year that he became the city attorney for the city of Provo. While serving in Provo, Booth was also a district judge. Active in politics as well as law, Booth served in the Utah Territorial Senate from 1890 to 1891, Mayor of Provo, and president of the local schoolboard. Booth was also a businessman, serving as director of several businesses and banks in the city of Provo, and heading the Utah Valley Iron Mining and Manufacturing Company.

Very stalwart in his faith, John E. Booth served in many capacities in the Mormon religion throughout his life. He served in the position of a bishop (the man who presides over the local congregation), for the Provo Fourth Ward for over twenty years. Although he was a polygamist, having taken two wives in the early 1870s, both died approximately ten years later. He married again, but only one wife. John E. Booth died in 1920, and left the house to his widow. Selling it to her daughter and spouse, Elsie and Isaac E. Brockbank in 1923, the house still remains in the Brockbank family today.