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The Arthur Taylor House documents and illuminates some of the social and economic aspects of ranching in Southeastern Utah. Its size and sophistication, in comparison with the crude homes of most of Moab’s citizens, clearly marks the importance of ranching in the area during the late 19th century. Equally important are the home’s associations with members of the Taylor family who were pre-eminent in the promotion of ranching in Grand County. The Old Taylor Homestead is one of the few remaining historical and architectural assets of the town of Moab, which has suffered the baleful effects of uranium booms and tourist infestations, It is an essentially intact late nineteenth century farm complex, with a two story, T-plan main house of brick.

Located at 1266 U.S. Highway 191 in Moab, Utah and added to the National Historic Register (#80003908) on February 28, 1980.

The Taylor family arrived in Moab in 1881, and with their arrival, large scale cattle ranching got under way. The industry suffered from a grat deal, of lawlessness in the area, and cattle rustling was a continual problem. Amusingly, and accurately, local lore recalls that many local ranchers actually got their start in cattle ranching by establishing their herds with cattle stolen from longer established neighbors. The Taylor’s were the principal targets 6f much of this rustling, and the losses they were suffering contributed to their decision to switch to sheep ranching. The first to introduce sheep into Grand County, they were inevitably involved-in the range war that followed.

It was profits from sheep that enabled the construction of the Taylor Homestead to begin in 1894. The bricks were made in Moab by another member of the family, Elmer Taylor, while paints from the interior walls came from the Carter Brothers of Prove. When the Arthur Taylor’s moved into the house, the GJ:and Valley Times reported,, “Mr and Mrs Arthur Taylor had a parTy on Monday evening to celebrate the occupancy of their new mansion.” The Taylors were thus established as the leading family of Moab, and the object of considerable envy by the residents of the log cabins that constituted most of the dwellings in town.

Following Arthur Taylor, the home passed to his brother Lester Taylor and later went through a succession of hands residence, it is now used for refrigerated storage. Materials and building techniques place this structure at a date close to that of the main house. Of brick on a rough faced, ashlar foundation (now stuccoed with concrete), the gable areas are shingled. Segmental arches and wooden segmental insets complete the two-over-two windows treatment. A screened frame porch was part of this structure originally, resting on the same stone foundation.

Though adapted for use as a restaurant, the present owners have restored the interior of the Taylor home to its original character as much as possible. Woodwork was refinished and missing millwork has been reproduced and replaced. Facsimile wallpapers and paint colors were made after consulting a surviving early resident, Lydia Taylor Skewes.

The home has been rewired and period fixtures used. A second floor bathroom added ca 1945 was left intact. The first floor bathroom was divided into men’s and women’s sections in accordance with the restaurant code.

Outbuildings formed an integral part of any farm complex. At the Taylor farmstead the many extant outbuildings contribute to preserving the character of the original site.

Three original, rough-faced sandstone outbuildings survive, all with gable roofs. For the one story smoke-house, sandstone was used for the lower elevation level, while yellow brick was used on the upper portion. Dug partly into the hill is the icehouse. The creamery also remains, though the stone has been stuccoed. Frame storage sheds, corrals and chicken coops dot the complex.

The Taylor home exemplifies a common approach to domestic architecture in America. An established vernacular form with comfortable associations socially and historically was chosen. Yet in desire to keep up with current taste, details were applied which were not integral to the overall form.

The social and economic conditions which allowed the Taylor family to prosper and build are gone, but the home that was the result remains as a landmark of later nineteenth century architecture in rural Utah.

The Taylor Farmstead in Moab, Utah, remains as an essentially intact late nineteenth century farm complex. Begun in 1894, the farmhouse is similar in form and detail to other domestic architecture of the period. The T plan, one of the popular pattern book plans, was used extensively during this era throughout the West. Applying period ornament to a vernacular architectural type in order to update the appearance was a popular move – a comfortable step – embracing the vogue and the traditonal at once. Substantial scale and materials added to the pretentious detail crate an imposing result.

A full two stories, the Taylor home is large in comparison to other homes in the region. Brick for the walls was made locally by a family member. The lighter colored quoins may have been from another source. Rough faced, regular coursed sandstone was used for the massive window sills and the foundation (now stuccoed with concrete).

Window treatment for the Taylor Home is arranged around double hung, sash windows. Brick segmental arches with archivolt bands, and wooden segmental insets with an incised scroll motif seen commonly in Utah architecture are uniform. In the double unit window configurations, a classical vernacular pilaster divides the windows. Surrounds are of a plain, moulded style.

A porch and balcony in the Eastlake Style mark the main façade. The original arrangement (see ca. 1896 photo) was later modified by the addition of a roof over the second story balcony. Originally polychromed, the porch is now painted white. Scalloped shingles on the pent roof complimented the vergeboard drapery of quatrafoil motif, which is now missing. Later modifications were made to include the roof over the second story balcony. Here, square posts with milled bracketing replaced the turned balusters. Rafter ends have decorative rounded shapes.

Rear extensions and interior modifications began ca. 1943 and continued until the present ownership, under which a readaptive restoration was launched. The original rear porch has been enclosed. To accommodate the home’s present use as a restaurant, a kitchen has been added at the rear.

This modern kitchen connects the farmhouse to a one-story, rectangular brick structure. Probably originally a three-room before finally ending up as a prize to be carefully restored to its former grandeur. The present owners are making a worthwhile effort to rescue the building from dilapidation and to make it once more a showplace of Moab, and a reminder of the colorful ranchers who built Moab and Grand County.