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Charles Crawforth Farmstead

The Charles Crawforth farmstead is significant as an isolated farmstead in the midst of a farm village settlement region. Deviating from the predominate pattern, the Crawforth farmstead historically demonstrates that Mormon culture in the nineteenth century was not as homogeneous as has often been thought. The opening of a U.S. Land Office in Salt Lake City in 1869 signaled the beginning of a great change in the Mormon Church’s influence on settlement. In the areas already settled, like the Sanpete Valley, little agricultural land remained available. Farmsteads outside the established villages in Sanpete were very rare, and help document the shift there from subsistence agriculture to cash farming–cattle, sheep and cash crops including fruit and sorghum. The outstanding vernacular architecture of the farmstead is an important element of its significance. The large stone I house is a sign of agricultural prosperity and attests to Crawforth’s prominence in the local community.

The text on this page is from the nomination form (#80003956) for the National Register of Historic Places (the farm was added to the register February 19, 1980 and is located at approximately 6700 Crawford Road in Spring City, Utah.

The Sanpete Valley was settled after 1849 by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and land occupance here followed a farm village plan advocated by the church leadership. Mormon town planning in the West was based loosely on the “Plat for the City of Zion” developed in 1833 by the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith. Smith’s plan was built around a nucleated agricultural community where all dwellings and farm buildings would be contained on town lots. Farm acreage would then be located outside the town limits. This town unit, when it reached sufficient size could then be repeated over and over again in other locations. The village settlement pattern was particularly strong in the Sanpete Valley where the persistent threat of Indian attack through the 1870’s made group living attractive. The Crawforth farmstead is located about two miles south of Spring City, a town which has been nominated to the National Register as an excellent and typical example of the Mormon village.

Charles Crawforth was born in Sutton-on-Hall, Yorkshire, England, on May 24, 1824. Following his conversion to the IDS Church in 1854, Crawforth emigrated to Utah and the Mormon Zion. The William Glover Company carried young Crawforth to Utah where he arrived in Provo in 1855. During the next seventeen years he engaged in farming in the Provo area and participated actively in church and civic affairs. In 1873, at the age of 48, Crawforth moved his large family (10 children) to Spring City in Sanpete County. In this new location, farming continued to be his main occupation. The Crawforth family lived within the town limits of Spring City until the big rock house was completed on the outskirts of town in 1884.

Crawforth’s decision to locate outside of town is a departure from the norm. The record shows that he remained active in the LDS Church; religious disaffection seems not to have been an issue in his choice of a building site. The spot where the house stands is extremely attractive and the view northward toward Mt. Nebo particularly inspiring. A sense of individualism and an eye for beauty could well lie beneath Crawforth’s behavior.

Two other changes in the region likely were factors in his move outside the village of Spring City. The opening of a U.S. Land Office in Salt Lake City in 1869 marked the end of a land settlement pattern controlled by the Mormons. Church leaders emphasized throughout the nineteenth century the importance of living together in towns, and the village still dominated the Utah landscape. With the establishment of federal land surveys after 1869, a homesteading pattern of isolated farmsteads filled in the open spaces between established Mormon villages in those counties were land was still available. In the Sanpete Valley, because of its early date of settlement, scarcity of agricultural land had become an issue by the 1870 f s. Two consequences of this scarcity were outmigration (to Emery and Sevier counties) and the attempts to develop cash agriculture cattle, sheep and crops like sorghum and fruit. Crawforth’s development of orchards may have been one reason for his move, which showed that Church control over settlement was declining. The Crawforth farmstead is a reminder that the Mormon landscape was not a strictly uniform landscape.

Charles Crawforth lived in the house from 1884 until his death in 1910. The farmstead was locally a showcase for Crawforth’s talents in landscaping as one observer noted, “he took pride in beautifying his home surroundings and had one of the best kept gardens and orchards in that part of the state.” Later generations of Spring City residents recall stories of peacocks which used to strut proudly around the old house. The cut-stone walk which rings the house seems consistent with this portrait of Crawforth as horticulturalist and landscape architect. Crawforth continued to be a successful farmer and his prestige in the community is evident in the large turnout at his funeral. Bishop Lauritz O. Larsen and Patriarch Rasmus Justesen delivered eulogies at the ceremony.

Following Crawforth’s death the house was passed on to his son, Charles L. Crawforth. The boy’s untimely death in 1918 brought the property into the hands of several family members who sold sections of land to Jacob Johnson, Simon Beck, and Moroni Brough. The house was sold in the 1950’s to James and Dolores Blain and in the 1960’s to Charles Beck. The present owners bought the property several years ago and though the house has been vacant since 1928 they have plans for its restoration.

The Charles Crawforth Farmstead

The Charles Crawforth farmstead is located about two miles south of Spring City, Sanpete County, Utah. The farmstead is composed of a large stone house, a granary/root cellar, a stone carriage house, and a log barn. Found on a small lane which runs off the Pigeon Hollow road, the Crawforth Farm is oriented northward with the view from the farmhouse sweeping up the valley to the snow covered peaks of Mt. Nebo. The farmstead is architecturally important because of its outstanding vernacular buildings and historically intriguing due to its location outside the town limits of Spring City. The area was settled in the 1850’s and 1860’s by member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and land occupation here during the 19th century normally followed an agriculture village pattern which found dwellings and agricultural structures combined within the village boundaries. As an isolated farmstead, the Crawforth farm deviates from the established village pattern and suggests that the Mormon landscape was not as strictly homogeneous as has often been thought.

The Charles Crawforth House

The crawforth house was built in 1884 of locally quarried oolite limestone. The house is gabled and generally conforms to a “two stories high, two rooms wide, one room deep” I house vernacular type. The most prominent stylistic features of the house features which attest to the lingering appeal of the Greek Revival in the area are the front door transom and the pedimented window heads. The brick gable end chimneys are small and appropriate to their function as stove flues father than fireplaces. The stone is evenly coursed ashlar with pronounced raised jointing.

The house has a basic “hall and parlor” floorplan j with an unusual façade fenestration. Normally folk symmetrical design dictates that upstairs openings be located directly over lower openings. The Crawforth house breaks rules with an unusual “four over three” piecing arrangement. The resultant façade, while slightly off balance, becomes an intriguingly complex rendering of the bilaterally symmetrical principle.

The house has a rear “T” wing, also of stone. This section was either original to the house or built shortly thereafter. The stone on this wing is limestone but of a different sort than that found on the two story front section. The stone on the “T” is a softer variety and because it breaks into square blocks quite easily it can be laid up in even courses without the heavy application of mortar. Though worked easily, this stone has the disadvantage of discoloration and the back has yellowed considerably while the front stone remains a rich cream color.

The house is surrounded by a stone path, about six feet wide of cut blocks. This border is a unique landscaping feature and not encountered on other buildings in the Sanpete valley.


A log granary stands just south of the rear of the house. The granary was essential to the Utah farmer and such buildings are found on all farms. The Crawforth granary is a typical example with a gabled roof covering a one story rectangular plan. Grain bins are reached through a side door. The logs here are left round, chinked, and joined at the corners with a variant (due to the round logs) of the half-dovetail notch. The granary shows some deterioration and one side has been damaged. A stone cellar is found beneath the granary and is reached by stairs running from the outside on the north gable.

South and east of the granary is a stone carriage house. This building is large enough to accommodate both a wagon and stable area. There is a large door in the side and the stone here is the same yellowish soft stone that is found on the rear of the house. The roof of this building is now missing.

Directly east of the house and across the yard is the barn. The barn is log and of the “double-crib” type. The logs are left round and joined with a “V” corner notch. The roof is missing from the structure.