In 1884, Niels and Maria Poulson purchased a house on 1.68 acres of ground, facing Center Street, on block 4, from Lycwigus A. Wilson, who had owned it for just three years. The rock walls of the historic, characteristic “sheepfold” that stood on the front property line just east of the house may have been built by Niels Poulson after he purchased the house and property, or it may have been built by an earlier owner. The east, west, and north solid-rock walls formed an enclosure that gave protection from wind and snow for ewes and their newborn lambs in late-winter lambing. In Western America these enclosures were known as “winter corrals.” Although the builder is undocumented, the corral significantly portrays the pioneer ingenuity to use acquired skills and materials at hand to fill their needs.
A granddaughter remembers her grandfather Neils going to the river for rocks to extend the walls back from the main corral and he did not cover this newer portion with a roof. She also described features of the yard. “Walking areas were cobbled wherever anyone needed to walk. A long grape arbor covered the cobbles between the house-yard and the barnyard.”
Maria Poulson kept sheep in the corral. She sheared them, washed and cleaned the wool, and then carded and spun the wool into yarn to be woven into cloth. “She would go to a friend of hers in Little Denmark, a part of Pleasant Grove west of the cemetery,” to get her weaving done. Maria was an expert seamstress and made the family’s clothing from linen she spun and had woven as well as wool. Niels and Maria died in 1919 and 1924, respectively, and the property changed hands numerous times, but the attractive rock walls remained in tact and were used by other owners for corral and chicken coop purposes.
When the Thornberry Apartments were built, the rocks from the winter corral were dismantled and moved from the original site, 287 West Center, under the direction of the Pleasant Grove Historic Preservation Commission for the purpose of preserving the unique structure. The walls of the historic corral were reconstructed on this site. Eugene and Charles Fowles relaid the rock walls in the summer of 1999. Members of the North Fields Stake rebuilt the roof, using new materials but keeping the historic look of the old. A great deal of youth interest and zeal went into the dismantling and rebuilding of this historic structure.