“Hawarden,” a Granger landmark since its construction, is a locally significant example of the kind of imposing residence that the Bennions, successful agricultural entrepreneurs, could afford to mark their social and economic achievements “over Jordan”. Its Box Style design reflects the contemporary tastes in large, single family homes. The simplicity of form and detail, square massing and box-like proportions are characteristic of this mode. The Bennion family was prominent in local history, and “Hawarden” is one of the few historical reminders of past eras in a rapidly growing community known principally for extensive tracts of ranch-style homes.
Ira Wainwright Bennion, who built the house in 1906, was born in the neighboring “over Jordan” community of Taylorsville. Building on the work of his pioneer parents, Ira Bennion expanded the family interests to encompass cattle ranching in Utah and sheep operations in Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, and Utah.
Because of its heavy demands on time, and the necessity of being separated from his family for many weeks of each year, Ira Bennion eventually withdrew from the family business. During one of his missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ira had visited Hawarden, his father’s boyhood home in Wales. This beautiful and historic spot, alive with memories of border wars between England and Wales was the site of a major confrontation between Parliamentarians and Royalists during the English Civil War. At the time of Bennion’s visit, Hawarden was also the country seat of William Evart Gladstone, a major figure of 19th Century English politics and a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Impressed by these family associations, Ira Bennion returned to the United States and upon retiring from the family business, acquired farm land on the “Jordan range” where he had once herded cows as a boy. When his very substantial family home was built, he had a tablet of stone engraved with the name “Hawarden” placed on the front wall – a practice common in Great Britain. Eight of his fifteen children were born in the house, which he continued to occupy until his death in 1927.
Built in 1906, “Hawarden” in Granger stands as a stately representative of early twentieth century residential architecture in rural Utah. Constructed of red brick using common bond coursing, the two and a half story home rests on a concrete foundation. The Box style regularity of the hipped roof and rectangular plan is broken by a gabled side bay, for whose curving portion rough faced brick of identical color was used. The pedimental gable is shingled, has a moulded wood cornice and pent end. A. one story, hipped roof front porch has coupled Tuscan supports and a plain balustrade. At the foundation level of the porch, coupled rough faced ashlar stones are located beneath the columns. The symmetry of the primary façade changes with the side entrance placement, a typical feature of this architectural style. A. later, one story brick addition at the rear of the home replaces the original rear porch. A. wide moulded cornice marks the top of the wall.
Window treatment on the Hawarden House is plain but sensitively varied. Facade piercing respects the proportions of the home and its horizontal orientation. The main entance features a two-panel door with upper light and transom light, framed by Classical Revival pilasters. Side panels have leaded glass upper lights. The entire entrance configuration creates a Greek Revival allusion, which is consistent with the ornamental scheme.
At the second story level of the main façade are a pair of tripartite windows. A. central double hung, sash window is flanked by pilasters similar to those at the entrance, and by oblong side lights of the same height which have leaded glass border designs. Centered between these windows is a carved stone tablet with a foliated scroll ornament bearing the inscription HAWARDEN, the Welsh estate after which the home was named. Sills for these windows are dressed red sandstone.
Side elevation windows are generally double hung, sash types with dressed red sandstone lintels and brick of red sandstone sills. In the gable area of the southern projecting bay, however, is a fine Palladian window, contributing further to the emphasis on classical detail.
North elevation windows conform to the given window configurations in type and proportion, except for a double-hung and semicircular window combination creating a round arched window unit which lights the interior stairway. Lighting the upstairs hall is a double hung, sash stained glass window.
The original façade piercing pattern on the West (rear) façade has been altered by the later brick porch enclosure. The second story door probably opened onto a balcony.
Interior alterations of the Hawarden House include updating by the installation of electricity, a bathroom on each floor and a natural gas furnace. The original large kitchen has been converted into a formal dining room. Closets have been added to the upstairs bedrooms, and two of the bedrooms have been combined to create a master bedroom suite.
The present owners are carefully restoring the home, reversing later modifications by removing false ceilings and stripping woodwork. The original main fireplace with carved mantel is extant.
Hawarden and the surrounding grounds stand together in the midst of urban sprawl as an imposing remnant of the culture they represented. Structurally sound and with only sympathetic modifications, Hawarden is an important local example of early twentieth century domestic architecture in a rural setting.