This ornate mansion was built in 1904 for Matthew and Angelena Walker. Matthew Walker, an English immigrant, was the youngest of the four brothers whose mercantile, banking, and mining enterprises made them some of Utah’s most influential men. Designed by local architects Walter Ware and Alberto Treganza, the Italian Renaissance Revival three-story 18,700-square-foot home, cost an estimated $275,000 to construct. It was host to frequent social events, including Sunday evening recitals by local and national musicians in the dramatic two-story main hall capped with a magnificent stained glass skylight.
Following the death of Matthew, the house was sold in 1923 to David Keith, Jr., and in 1941 to the Aviation Club of Utah, an organization of military and civil aviators. It was converted to offices with construction of the large office addition and parking structure. Very invasive changes were also made to the highly decorative interior. On the exterior, many historic features were removed or covered. Even with these modifications, the building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 as part of the South Temple Historic District.
In 1999 the building was purchased by Philip G. McCarthey who started a complicated, multi-year restoration guided by local preservation architects MJSA Architecture and carefully executed by Lowell Construction. The mansion once again features cream-colored stucco walls with brick quoins and arches; a red clay tile-hipped roof with decorative eaves, ridge caps, and chimney tops; a large veranda at the front, an enclosed conservatory to the west, and a porte cochere entrance at the east, all with second story balconies. Large intricate windows and dormers allow daylight into the restored interiors that required two years of effort to completely upgrade the building structure, install new mechanical systems, and restore the extensive historic finishes and features. The impact of the modern addition was diminished with a recessed balcony and a long strip skylight that now separates the addition from the historic mansion. The historic entry with semi-circular entry stairs was restored and the driveway installed.
Its historic role as a focus and location of social, civic, and commercial exchange has also been significantly restored. The mansion’s physical restoration was celebrated on the new owner’s 50th birthday on July 16, 2002. In addition to Mr. McCarthey’s many businesses including insurance, financial services, and the Salt Lake Tribune Publishing Company, the home is the site of many charitable events, reinforcing its important role in the great community.
The comprehensive restoration received a preservation award from the Utah Heritage Foundation in 2002. The Walker-McCarthey Mansion new stands as an outstanding example of historic preservation and restoration in the South Temple Historic District.