The Harper J. Dininny House is architecturally and historically significant as one of the ten remaining houses that were original to Perkins’ Addition subdivision, the most visually cohesive example of a streetcar subdivision in 1 Salt Lake City. Streetcar subdivisions played a major role in the transformation of the land south of the original city from agricultural to residential use in the 1890s, and Perkins’ Addition was considered the standard of subdivision excellence. The Dininny House is one of three houses whose design varies from the standard pattern that was repeated with variations in seven Perkins Addition houses. This variation within a subdivision which is dominated by similar house types indicates that the ideal of personalized expression as a selling point in subdivision development occasionally became a reality. Although a unique type among Perkins Addition houses, the Dininny house has many design features which visually tie it to other Perkins houses.

The Harper J. Dininny House at 925 East Logan Avenue was built in 1891 as one of the thirteen large, brick houses constructed in Perkins Addition
subdivision by Metropolitan Investment Company. Harper J. Dininny, an
attorney, had come from Denver in March 1891 to act as the local agent for
Metropolitan Investment Company, a Salt Lake real estate firm that had been created by a group of Denver real estate developers and financiers.
Dininny, who lived at 810 East 100 South while this subdivision was being
completed in 1891, conducted the company’s real estate development affairs, which were primarily concentrated in Perkins’ Addition. Ha and his wife, Sarah, bought this house in June 1891 for $9280 from J.C. Dobbins, who had received legal title to the property immediately before selling it to Dininny, but who had apparently contracted several months previously to have the house built either for himself or as speculative property.

None of the titles to the Perkins’ .Addition properties were officially
transferred until June 1891, when George W.E. Griffith of Metropolitan
Investment Company was the owner of legal record, even though contracts and agreements for the sale of lots and the construction of houses were being made as early as November 1890 with Gilbert L. Chamberlin, the original promoter of the subdivision.

Harper J. Dininny was born June 7, 1851 in Addison, New York. After attending the local schools there, he went to Union College in Albany, where he graduated with an L.L.B. degree in 1873. He was admitted to the New York state bar that sane year and commenced practicing law in his father, J.W. Dininny’s, office, where he continued for several years. He married Sarah O. Ambler on November 19, 1873.

The Dininnys apparently moved to Denver in the 1880s, where Harper became acquainted with the group of men who, in 1891, formed the Metropolitan Investment Company. One of those men, B.A. Aribler, was probably his brother-in-law. Dininny was apparently respected for his legal judgment and business acumen, because he was sent to Salt lake City in March 1891 to act as attorney and representative for Metropolitan Investment Company.3 Gilbert L. Chamberlin, who had acted as chief spokesman and promoter of the enterprise since November 1890 in til this time, apparently returned to Denver soon after Dininny’s arrival and was no longer actively involved in the development of Perkins Addition.

The Dininnys lived in this house from 1891 to 1894. They moved into other houses in the subdivision when they were vacant, including 950 E Logan Avenue (1894-96) and 1630 South 900 East (1897-1900). Mr. Dininny remained in Salt Lake City for several years after the dissolution of
Metropolitan Investment Company (around 1893), practicing law and becoming involved in local politics. He had served on the fire and police boards soon after coming to the city, and in 1902 served as chairman of of the executive committee of the Democratic State Committee. In 1905 he was elected Salt Lake City attorney, which position he continued to hold until his death in 1917.

Sarah Dininny died in Salt Lake City in 1923. Their only child, Constance,
had married a prominent banker, Melvin H. Sowles, in 1900, and had lived for several years at 259 South 1200 East.

In 1898, the house was sold by Commercial National Bank of Denver, which
received much of the Perkins Addition property via Dininny and Metropolitan Investment Company in the mid-1890s, to Byron F. and Nellie S. Frobes, who had been living at 150 West 600 South. They remained in this house for the next thirty years. Mrs. Frobes (1871-1939), a native of Iowa, had come to Utah in 1893 and first taught school in Ogden before moving to Salt Lake City in 1894. From that time until her death in 1939, she continued to teach in the Salt Lake City high schools. Byron Frances Frobes, born in Pennsylvania in 1862, had come to Utah in 1890 and worked as a telegraph operator for Associated Press before becoming superintendent of telegraphing for the Union Pacific Railroad, He died in 1942 in his home at 1059 East South Temple.

Frank Staats, a contractor, bought the house in 1929 from the Frobes and
divided it into three apartments. He and his wife, Gladys, lived in one of
those apartments until about 1934 when they moved to 976 East 200 South. They continued to own and rent out the apartments in the house until 1944, when they sold it to Melba B. Burnett. Melba and her husband, Kenneth, lived nearby at 1621 South 1000 East and used this house as income property until 1971. That year, the current owners, Lluana W. and Kenneth Earl Timothy, bought the house. They, too, have continued to rent it out up to the present, remaining in their own house across the street from this one at 938 East Logan Avenue.

Related Posts: