(*)Desert Star Theater is a dinner theater establishment in Murray, Utah. It started out as a small theater called the Gem, which showed silent movies with a piano for music. It was later closed down and demolished, but rebuilt and expanded into the Iris Theater by owner Tony Duvall. After his retirement, the Iris changed hands several times before being renamed the Vista.
The National Register of Historic Places, notes Iris Theater, Apartments and Commercial Building, built in 1930, is significant for its role in the urbanization of Murray City. With its combination of entertainment, retail, and residential space, the building represents an elaborate example of the multi-use commercial block common during the early twentieth-century development of the city’s commercial business district. The building was owned by the Duvall family who managed the theater while living in the apartments above the storefronts. The Iris building is also significant as the only commercial building in Murray built in the Art Deco style. Though not a particularly ornate example of the style, the building makes a distinctive contribution to the State Street frontage of the Murray Downtown Historic District. The building is in good condition and is a contributing historic resource of the city.
Devereaux House was Salt Lake City’s earliest mansion and, in its day, the most elegant. As a unique mansion in an isolated frontier city, the Devereaux was the setting of many social gatherings that included prominent local citizens and important national and international visitors.
Portions of the house date from 1855, only eight years after the first arrival of the Mormon pioneers in Salt Lake Valley. Extensively added to and remodeled in the 1870’s, the Devereaux House estate featured the mansion, extensive ornamental gardens, a kitchen garden, hothouses, vineyards, orchards, stables, and a carriage house.
Owner Willian Jennings was a patron of the arts and furnished the interior with items collected during trips throughout the United States and abroad.
The coming of the railroad later turned this part of Salt Lake City into a commercial and industrial area, and for many years the mansion stood as a forlorn shell of its former glory.
On March 1, 1971 the Devereaux House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and, in 1978, the Utah State Legislature purchased the property for future renovation. Three years later, the State and Triad Center entered into an agreement whereby Triad would maintain and manage the area once the buildings and grounds were restored. With federal, state, Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency, and private funds, the Devereaux House, Carriage House, and gardens have been reconstructed for the benefit of present and future Utahns.
William Staines and William Jennings:
Two men figure most prominently in the history of Devereaux House.
William Staines was the original occupant of this property. Staines was an English-born horticulturist whose dedication to his “mission to beautify Zion” helped establish the rich landscape tradition which has since characterized Salt Lake City.
A convert to the Mormon faith, Staines, arrived in Salt Lake City in 1847. He acquired the property in 1855 and developed a cottage-style home in the midst of extensive English gardens. He later served as superintendent of Brigham Young’s gardens.
William Jennings purchased the property in 1867 and developed the present Devereaux House, incorporating Staines’ original cottage in the expanded structure.
Jennings was also an English convert to the Mormon church. Arriving in Salt Lake City in 1852, he entered the mercantile business. Taking advantage of the business opportunities of a rapidly-growing regional center, Jennings branched out into freighting and banking, becoming Utah’s first millionaire. In 1864 he founded the Eagle Emporium, which was later sold to the Mormon church and became the forerunner of the present-day ZCMI department store. In 1882 Jennings was elected Mayor of Salt Lake City, serving one term.
A hospitable and gracious host, Jennings entertained the famous and influential of the day. Devereaux House was the scene of lavish dinners and accommodated such prominent guests as Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes, and General William T. Sherman.
The Samuel H. Allen Home is a historic house located at 135 E. 200 North in Provo, Utah. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Dr. Samuel H. Allen relocated to Provo in 1892, and built his beautiful home using local workers and materials. For a few years, he also ran his medical office out of his home, but the office was moved to the Knight block after it was built. In 1903 Samuel R. Thurman bought the home from Allen. S. R. Thurman had previously been mayor to the city of Lehi prior to moving to Provo in 1882.
In 1882 he was elected the youngest member of the Utah House of Representatives, a position to which he was privileged to return for several election years in a row. Thurman was also politically involved as a member of the Utah Constitutional Convention of 1882, and as a chairman of the committee which drafted the first part of the Provo People’s Party in 1882. As national parties began to replace these local parties, Thurman, like many Mormons of that era, became a Democrat, as well as a judged on the Supreme Court of Utah. It was not long before Thurman sold the home to John W. Taylor.
John Taylor settled his third wife, Nellie Eva Todd, in this home, while his second wife, Nettie, lived at 287 East 200 North. John W. Taylor, the son of the third president of the LDS Church John Taylor, operated four farms in the area for income. In 1915, Taylor was excommunicated from the church, and his financial situation forced him to sell the home.
Taylor sold this house to Dr. David Westwood, who had become vice-president of the Provo General Hospital, Provo’s first hospital. Westwood used part of the home as his office. Later, his son John T., a dentist, and his family also lived in the home and shared an office (65 E 2nd N) with him. During the 1940s, the house was left vacant when the Westwood’s moved away. In 1952, Monroe and Shirley Paxman bought the home and have continued to live there since. The Samuel H. Allen House was designated a historic Provo City landmark on April 28, 1995.
According to its 1978 NRHP nomination, the home “is a good example of the architectural transition from the Queen Anne style to turn-of-the-century revival styles, which emphasized symmetry and classical detailing.”
Except for wide, curved horizontal and vertical brackets, the porch is classically detailed. This is one of the tallest and largest historic houses in Provo, and its two-story carriage may be the single largest building of its type. The heavy landscaping somewhat obscures the building’s massiveness. The single-family dwelling has four major projections, each gabled, extending from the rusticated stone lintels, ornamental porch and bargeboards, polychrome color scheme, and combination of square and slanted bay wings. In good condition and relatively unaltered, the house is architecturally significant, as is the monitor-form carriage house, the lower level bays of which has been filled with windows.