Built in the mid-1860s for John B. Kelly, who is reported to have established
the first printing and book binding company in Utah, this house is significant as one of only two documented examples of a variant of the temple-form house in Utah which have survived to the present. The temple-form house originated from the Greek Revival period of American building, and typically has its short end to the street and a pedimented gable façade in imitation of monumental classical buildings. In its most common form the house had symmetrical fenestration with a door placed to the side of center, and an opening leading to a side passage containing the staircase. Popularized by such books as Asher Benjamin’s Builder’s Companion and Minard Lafever’s Modern Builder’s Guide, it became one of the traditional house forms in New England and in the upper Midwest. The temple-form house migrated to Utah with the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. The temple-form house type is important because it is one of several early house types in the state, and because it is a type traceable to a New England cultural hearth, it documents the important New England heritage of the early Mormon movement. It is one of seven basic house types that were found in Utah during the early years of settlement. These types are all traditional and include: the square cabin; the rectangular cabin; the hall and parlor house; the central passageway house; the pair-house; and the double pen house. The temple-form house was popular in early Salt Lake City, a fact that is supported by early Sanborn-Paris Insurance maps, early photographs of the city, and a surprisingly accurate “bird’s eye view” rendering of the city in 1870. Early residential development took place on the blocks which now comprise the city’s central business district. The temple-form house was found primarily in an area which changed dramatically during the late nineteenth century, consequently very few of these houses survive today. The pure temple-form was often modified in a number of ways The most common type is referred to as a “modified” temple form in which the door is set in the side wing. Another variant of the house type is evident in the Kelly House. The door is centered on the gable façade, it does not have a central or side passage, and may or may not have side wings (see plan).
The Kelly House is one of only two houses identified in the state to have a door centered on the gable facade and two side wings. The other example is the Alma Staker House in Mount Pleasant, listed in the National Register.
Located at 422 South 200 West in Salt Lake.
John B. Kelly is reported to have established the first printing and
bookbinding business in Utah soon after his arrival to the territory in 1853. Born in 1823 at Douglas, Isle of Man, he apparently received some training there in the printing and bookbinding business. He joined the LDS Church in 1841 on the Isle of Man and served as a missionary there before “gathering to lion” in 1853. His wife, Emma Sims Kelly, and their young
children emigrated with him.
John Kelly probably built this adobe house in the mid-1860s, although it is
possible that he built it several years earlier, soon after he first arrived
in Salt Lake City. John and Emma raised their twelve children in this home,
and both lived there until their deaths.
John operated his own printing and bookbinding business for a few years after first arriving in the city, but “he suffered in his business relations as a
bookbinder,” so he sold the business to the LDS Church-owned Deseret
News. He continued, however, to operate the business as an employee of the
newspaper and served as the foreman of the book bindery in connection with the News office for many years. Kelly trained his sons in the business, and two of them, Albert H. and George B., established their own business, Kelly Brothers, later Kelly Company, which has continued in operation up to the present in virtually the same line of business.
After John B. Kelly’s death in 1883, his wife Emma continued to live in the
house until her death in 1899. Their son, Albert, built his house next door
at 418 South 200 West in 1883, and several other Kelly family members lived in the neighborhood. A daughter, Lillie Kelly Homer, and her husband, William B., moved into this house after Emma’s death and continued to live here for many years. William was a conductor for the Salt Lake City Railroad.
Around 1905 several frame apartment additions were built on the rear of the house, but it was not until the 1920’s that the house itself was divided into apartments. Lillie K. Homer lived in one of the apartments until 1949, after which her granddaughter, Barbara Homer Perrine, assumed ownership of the property. Mrs. Perrine has continued to own the house up to the present, renting out the apartments in the house until the past few years when the house was left vacant.
As it was originally designed in the mid 1860s, the Kelly House consisted of a 1 1/2 story central section flanked by one story side wings, all built of
adobe. It is a type of vernacular house commonly referred to in architectural literature as a temple-form. The temple-form house originated in the Greek Revival period of American building, and is typified by the massing of a central unit flanked by smaller wings on either one or both sides. The center unit is gabled, one room wide and two rooms deep. The side projecting wings are usually identical in size and always remain subordinate in height to the center block.
The Kelly House, following the designing rules for the temple-form type, was built with a dominant 1 1/2 story central mass flanked by identical single story side wings. The central section is oriented with the gable end to the street, and the side wings are perpendicular to it. The house is symmetrical in massing and piercing. A door is centered between two windows on the first floor of the central section with a single second story door centered over the one on the first floor. The windows are the double hung sash type with six over six lighting. The door on each of the side wings has side lights and is flanked by a band of windows, all of which were later additions to the house. Decorative elements are limited to a simple classical porch which has Tuscan columns and dentils on the frieze. According to a photograph taken in the 1890s, there was a simple balustrade on the roof of the porch. It has been removed.
Major alterations have been made to the original adobe structure. Those which have survived to the present consist of a single story brick addition to the northwest corner of the house made by 1931, topped by a small stucco and frame section made by 1958, and a frame hallway enclosing a staircase to the upper story. A staircase was originally enclosed in the house, but was moved to the outer wall when the house was divided into apartments by 1931. The house was divided into three apartments which resulted in the closing off of the north wing and the second story from the rest of the house. Except for the relocation of the staircase, the sealing of a door into the north wing, and the brick addition to the west side which necessitated the removal of the west wall of the north wing, the changes made to accommodate apartments have left the original house completely intact. The addition of the enclosed porches to the side wings was done within the historic period and in a manner which leaves the original form intact and easily identifiable. The adobe walls were stuccoed by the 1930s to protect their surface from erosion . The photograph mentioned above also indicated that there was once a jigsaw cut bargeboard on the eaves. It was probably added sometime in the 1870s or 1880s, and has since been removed.
The interior of the house has surprisingly received few alterations which
affect its original integrity. The shapes of the original rooms have been
maintained, and only the west wall of the north wing has been removed. The original Greek Revival type moldings still exist throughout most of the
house. The change of the staircase location is imperceptible, a closet having
been built in its original location. The entrance to the north wing from the
interior is still evident, that space having been filled in by a set of shelves.