The Granite Lumber Company Building constructed c. 1900-1908 & 1919 is significant under Criterion A for its contribution to the historical development of the business district of Sugar House. The building has a
prominent position in the center of the Sugar House commercial area and was one of the early two-story buildings in the area. The Granite Lumber Company Building represents the retail emphasis of the Sugar House
business district since its earliest days. It has always housed retail operations on the first floor with various offices and residential space above. The two-story two-part block brick commercial building was built in two sections in c. 1900-08 and 1919 in the Commercial style. It is significant for its association with the “Early Settlement and Industry, 1848-1909” context of the Sugar House Business District Multiple Resource Area
nomination. It is the oldest known building in the commercial section of Sugar House that retains its historic integrity and one of only a few commercial buildings that retain any architectural integrity.
Below is what the location looked like in 2020:
The Granite Lumber Company was founded in 1901 by Nephi Hansen who was known as “the mayor or Sugar House” for his leadership in the commercial and civic affairs of Sugar House. He played an important
role in the development of the Sugar House business district and was involved in founding a number of its leading firms; Granite Lumber Company, Sugar Banking Company, Granite Furniture Company, Hygeia Ice
Company, Hansen Auto Company, Builders Finance and Granite Holding Company. Most of these companies had a physical presence in buildings along 2100 South in the center of Sugar House. He was involved in a
variety of business ventures, constructing and managing commercial buildings in Sugar House and at one time was president of seven companies. He believed in spreading the word on the businesses in Sugar House and published a newsletter in 1920 from the Granite Lumber Company, “Splinters, ” that publicized Sugar House, its history and its businesses.
Nephi J. Hansen was born in Salt Lake City in 1868 to Peter and Rosanna Jenne Hansen, Danish immigrants and converts to the LDS Church. He attended school in Sugar House in the adobe schoolhouse then the
University of Deseret. In 1901 Hansen founded the Granite Lumber Company that he headed until his retirement in 1949. 15 While a representative to the State Legislature in 1921 he wrote the first bill to authorize moving the state prison from its Sugar House site. Nephi Hansen was active in Sugar House business and civic affairs until his death in 1951. He belonged to the Sugar House Businessmen’s League, the Commercial Club, and served on the county board to oversee road improvements and other organizations. He was an early landowner in Sugar House, purchasing properties on the northeast and southwest corners of the intersection of 1100 East and 2100 South, as well as various other sites.
The Granite Lumber Company carried lumber, building supplies and hardware in its retail store. It gradually changed to a greater emphasis on retail hardware and its name changed to the Granite Lumber and Hardware Company (1921) and finally the Granite Hardware Company (1928). It had a construction business as well and was responsible for building many of the early Sugar House commercial buildings as well as its own addition to the west in 1919. The Great Depression affected retail businesses severely, especially those associated with new construction and building. The Granite Hardware Company had financial difficulties from 1929-1931, The Granite Hardware Company was able retain ownership of the building but ceased retail operations.
In 1932 the Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI), an LDS-church affiliated store that had cooperative and branch stores in Utah and Mormon-populated towns in nearby states, opened the Granite Mart
in the former Granite Hardware Company space in Sugar House. ZCMI was organized as a joint-stock company by the Mormon Church in 1868 to do joint purchasing for Mormon stores. In the early 1930s it had both wholesale and retail operations, up to 150 at one time. The Granite Mart was used as an outlet for merchandise from the stores that ZCMI was closing in the 1930s. Richard H. Madsen, the president of ZCMI,
acquired the property privately and continued to use the name Granite Mart for the department store that operated on that site until the late 1960s. At that point the building was rented for other retail operations. Ownership changed again in 1992 and the building continued to be occupied by retail companies on the first floor with offices and residential space above. The current occupant is “The Blue Boutique, ” a Sugar House business for the last eighteen years.