Thomas Frazer was the most prolific stonemason in Beaver and the excellent quality of both craftsmanship and design found in his buildings has earned him the title of vernacular architect. He was the only builder in Beaver to make
a full-time living from his construction skills, but like most people in town, he also had a farm to cultivate as well.

Frazer was born a mile from Blairgowrie, Scotland in 1821 and lived the first 40 years of his life there. He acquired his skills as a stonemason in Scotland, a craft which was much in demand when he immigrated to Utah in 1861 as a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormon church authorities asked Frazer and his family to move to Beaver in 1869 to help initiate an aggressive building campaign there and Frazer immediately began to build commercial, industrial, institutional and residential architecture. Unfortunately, only his residential structures are still extant today, but they are more than enough to explain Frazer’s style of architecture.

In his buildings, Frazer commonly employed one or more of six architectural elements:

  1. ashlar stonework;
  2. beaded or recessed mortar joints that were painted white;
  3. cornice-line dormer windows;
  4. bay windows;
  5. a Greek Revival style cornice or decorative barge board;
  6. a center gable.

These six architectural elements not only help to identify Frazer’s work, but they combine to help create his architectural style.

Frazer worked almost exclusively with the local black basalt for about 12 years. He occasionally incorporated pieces of native green or brown granite in his buildings and even less frequently, some red sandstone. The basalt is a very hard stone and was fractured, or chipped, to create the flat surfaces. Circa 1881, the pink tuff quarry was opened near the mouth of Beaver River Canyon, and because it was so easy to carve, it replaced the black rock as the most popular building stone.

A list of extant buildings that Frazer built in Beaver is as follows:

  • 615 North 400 West (Swindlehurst House, 2 room, hall and parlor house, black rock)
  • 595 North 400 West (black rock, 2 room hall and parlor house originally, now with ell extension)
  • 390 North 400 West (Smith House, pink rock, Jerkin Head with earlier black rock section, pink rock section has 2 rooms, black rock has one room)
  • 295 North 400 West ( Robert Stoney House, pink rock, now stuccoed, 1-1/2 stories)
  • 195 North 400 West (Joseph Tattersall House, 1-1/2 stories, black rock)
  • 115 North 400 West (David Powell House, 1I-H/2 stories, black rock)
  • 95 North 400 West (Duckworth Grimshaw House, 1-1/2 stories, black rock)
  • 490 West Center Street (John Grimshaw House, pink rock, now stuccoed)
  • 95 North 300 West (Robinson House, 1-1/2 stories, black rock)
  • 115 North 300 West (North section is pink rock, now stuccoed)
  • 110 North 300 West (1 story, black rock, originally a 2 room hall and parlor plan with an original ell on the rear; several stone outbuildings)
  • 405 North 300 West (Heber Dean House, black rock, now stuccoed, 2 stories with elaborate barge board (which is no longer extant))
  • 590 North 300 West (Thomas Frazer House)
  • 495 North 200 West (2 room hall and parlor house with brown granite lintels, 1 story)
  • 210 West 400 North (Tolton House, 1-1/2 stories, black rock)
  • 325 North 200 West (black rock, 3rd District School house)
  • 195 North 200 West (1 story, originally a hall and parlor house with 2 rooms, black rock now stuccoed)
  • 180 West Center Street (1-1/2 stories, brick)
  • 30 North 200 West (1-1/2 stories, black rock barn, Philo T. Farnsworth Barn)
  • 355 South 200 West (1-1/2 stories, black rock, Scots style masonry)
  • 50 South 100 West (Old Field’s Hall)
  • 90 West 100 North (John Riggs Murdock granary, black rock)
  • 210 North 100 West (black rock, 1 room cabin, Scots style masonry, now painted white and located on north side of a brick house)
  • 30 West 400 North (black rock, 2 room hall and parlor house)
  • 25 South Main Street (Laundromat–black rock complex, including 1 extant wall of the old Beaver Co-op Store (now the bank))
  • About 555 South Main Street (pink rock, now covered with bricktex, 1-1/2 stories, used to have a bay window on the front facade)
  • 95 South 100 East (brick, 11-11/2 stories, a fire in 1978 reduced it to 1 story and it is now covered with aluminum siding)
  • 90 East Center Street (black rock foundation of old County Courthouse)
  • 410 North 100 East (C. D. White House, 1I-K/2 stories, black rock)
  • 480 North 100 East (black rock granary)
  • 510 North 100 East (black rock granary)
  • 190 North 200 East (brick granary, Harriet Shepherd House)
  • 115 South 200 East (1-1/2 story brick)
  • 817 East 200 North (D. I. Frazer House, 11-11/2 story pink rock, mansard roof and Jerkin Heads)