Thomas Kearns Mansion and Carriage House
Built 1900-1902 of Sanpete Limestone.
Architect Carl M. Neuhausen.
Governor’s Mansion 1937-1957.
Thomas Kearns rose from modest beginnings to become a successful financier and United States Senator. He was born on April 11, 1862, on a farm in Ontario, Canada, the son of Margaret and Thomas Kearns. His family moved to Nebraska when Thomas was seven. At the age of 17 he went to South Dakota when gold was discovered in the Black Hills» After that he went to Arizona where he worked as a miner and a teamster. In 1883 he arrived in Utah and secured employment with the Denver Rio Grande Railroad. He went to Park City, Utah, in the summer of 1883 and worked in the mines. Working in the Ontario Mine, Kearns met his lifelong friend and advisor, David Keith. By 1892 Kearns, Keith, John Judge and others, leased mining property in Park City and formed the Silver King Mining Company. The profits from this mine were great, and the land holdings of this company increased. In 1907 the Silver King Coalition Mines Company was formed with Kearns as vice-president and Keith as President. In 1901 he acquired the Salt Lake Tribune. He was a noted philanthropist, and erected St. Anne f s Orphanage in Salt Lake City and gave generously to Catholic charities. He was a staunch Republican and was elected to the United States Senate in 1901. In Washington he became a close friend of Theodore Roosevelt.
He married Jennie Judge, of New York, in 1890. They had two sons and two daughters. Kearns died in October 1918. The home remained in the family until 1937 when Mrs. Judge donated it to the State of Utah. It was used as the governor’s mansion from 1937 to 1957, when it became the offices ‘of the Utah State Historical Society. In 1978 the home was vacated for a massive renovation and restoration project. After it was completed it started being used as the governor’s mansion.
The Kearns Mansion has a stone exterior richly detailed with round towers at three of its four corners.
At the time of the building, the mansion contained 28 rooms: 6 baths, ten fireplaces (of which nine remain), an all-marble kitchen and bathroom, a bowling alley, ballroom, billiard room, two parlors, two dining rooms, and three vaults (one for silver, one for wine, and one for jewelry). Cost of construction was approximately $250,000.00.
The carriage house is one of Utah’s most elaborate and best preserved carriage houses. It was built to serve-the Kearns Mansion, built by mining magnate Thomas Kearns. For many years it was the home of the Utah State Institute of Fine Arts. In 1978 the Institute moved next door to 617 East South Temple.