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The J. Leo Fairbanks House, built in 1908, is both historically and architecturally significant. Historically it is the only house associated with both J. Leo Fairbanks and his father John B. Fairbanks, both of whom made significant contributions to Utah art as artists, educators, and promoters of art. It is also the only extant building that was used as a residence and studio by the entire Fairbanks family, including the nationally famous sculptor Avard Fairbanks, a brother of J. Leo. Architecturally the house is significant as a unique variant of the Colonial Revival style in Utah. Sophisticated early examples of Utah’s Colonial Revival style are very limited, and the Fairbanks house is probably one of the three best documented extant examples of the style in Salt Lake City.

Located at 1228 Bryan Avenue in Salt Lake.

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Built in 1908 for Utah artist J. Leo Fairbanks, this house is both historically and architecturally significant. Historically it is the only house associated with both J. Leo Fairbanks and his father John B. Fairbanks, both of whom made significant contributions to Utah art as artists, educators, and promoters of art. It is also the only extant building that was used as a
residence and studio by the entire Fairbanks family, including the nationally famous sculptor Avard Fairbanks, a brother of J. Leo. Both J. Leo and John B. studied in Paris and returned to Utah where they became best known for their work on religious murals in temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), John B. having painted some of the murals, and J. Leo having restored some damaged murals. Both taught art at the LDS University in Salt Lake City and elsewhere, and each held the position of supervisor of art in public schools, John B. in Ogden, and J. Leo in Salt Lake City. Architecturally the house is significant as a unique variant of the Colonial Revival style in Utah. Sophisticated early examples of Utah’s
Colonial Revival style are very limited, and the Fairbanks house is probably
one of the three best documented extant examples of the style in Salt Lake
City. Two other examples listed in the National Register include: the Walter
E. Ware House, 1184 First Avenue, built ca. 1905 and listed in 1980 as part of
the Avenues Historic District; and the Mort Cheesman House, 2320 Walker Lane, built 1912-13, and listed in the National Register as an individual nomination in 1982.

J. Leo Fairbanks, the designer and original owner of the house at 1228 Bryan Avenue, was born in Payson, Utah in 1878 to John B. and Lily H. Fairbanks. Following the lead of his father, John B. Fairbanks, and having studied under him at the LDS University, he became an artist. In 1901 he replaced his father as a teacher for one year at the LDS University, and then went to study in Paris. He studied with Laurens and Simon, and sculptors Bonn and Verlet before returning to Utah in 1903. He was then employed as supervisor of drawing in the Salt Lake City schools, a position which he held until 1923. He also served as the art director at LDS University and as president of the Utah Art Institute. J. Leo is best known for his many religious (LDS) paintings, and worked on the restoration of damaged mural sections in the Salt Lake City LDS Temple. He devised several successful schemes for mural decoration for the interiors of public halls. In 1924 he moved to Oregon where he became the director of the art department at Oregon State College.

J. Leo was single when he designed and had this house built in 1908. 1
According to his brother Avard, inspiration for the design of the house came
from the old family home in Dedham, MA, the famous Jonathan Fairbanks home, built in 1636, and from European sources to which he had been exposed during his years of study. J. Leo invited his father, a widower, and the rest of his family to live with him, and the house served as the Fairbanks family home and studio for over fifteen years. They had previously resided at 1152 East Bryan Avenue.

J. Leo, his father John B., and his brother Avard were all notable Utah
artists, and each resided in the house for an extended period of time. Some of the second story rooms were used as a home studio. John B. was born in Payson on December 27, 1855 to Utah pioneers John Boylston and Sarah Van Wagoner Fairbanks. He studied art in Paris from 1890 to 1892 under Rigelot, Constant, Lefebvre and Laurens. Although his work includes some paintings, he is best known for the murals he painted in the LDS temples in Salt Lake City, St. George, Utah, and Mesa, Arizona, and for the Century in Progress exposition in Chicago, the San Diego exposition and the Texas centennial. He was a professor of art at Brigham Young University, Weber Stake Academy, and at the LDS University. He became the first supervisor of arts in public schools in Ogden in 1898. Avard, the most famous of the Fairbanks artists, was a child prodigy, and is the best known among traditional realist sculptors working in Utah.4 He spent his childhood in this house. He too studied in Paris at the Academie de la Grande Chaumier et Colaross and then with Injalbert at the Ecole Moderne. He became the first dean of the School of Fine Arts at the University of Utah.

The house was rented periodically during the later years of Fairbanks
occupancy. It was sold to Edward G. Titus, Director of the Utah-Idaho Sugar
Co., in 1925, and he owned the house until his death in 1964. The current
owners are Michael Treshow and Marilyn Tueller who bought the house in 1982 and are restoring it.