Anchorage, Utah is between Syracuse and Laytona, developed during World War II for employees of the Clearfield Naval Depot.
Joseph “Cap” Hill Cabin
After sitting 161 years on its original building site, the Joseph “Cap” Hill cabin was moved to Layton Commons Park in 2017. This cabin is one of the oldest pioneer buildings in Davis County. It was built by Joseph Hill Sr. and his family between 1851 and 1854 and has been in the possession of the Hill family for over five generations.
Joseph “Cap” and Edith Ann Hill
Born in Gloucestershire, England, Joseph and his wife Edith Ann Marsden Hill, joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and immigrated to America in the 1840s with their three children – John C., Joseph Jr. and Alice Ann. They lived in Nauvoo, Illinois for a time and then moved to Utah Territory in September 1850. After arriving in Salt Lake City, the Hill’s move to the Kay’s Ward (later Kaysville) settlement to establish a permanent home. During this exodus across the plains, Joseph served as a captain of 10 wagons, under the direction of Mathew Caldwell, a captain of 50. For the rest of his life, Joseph would be remembered as “Cap” or “Captain” by his many friends and neighbors.
Joseph Sr. and his family worked hard to build a new homestead in what is now West Layton, on the west side of Angel Street. Once the cabin was built, the family established a farm where they raised hay, grain crops and cattle. In the late 1850s, Joseph Sr., hoping to seek his fortune in the gold fields, moved his family briefly to Sacramento, California; however, they returned to Utah in 1862. While passing through Carson City, Nevada, Edith Ann was critically injured in a wagon accident and died on July 4, 1862. After burying his wife, Joseph Sr. returned to Kay’s Ward and took up residence once again in the cabin he had built. He lived there until his death on august 21, 1889; and he was buried in the Kaysville City Cemetery. Following his death, the cabin was used for a variety of purposes until it fell into disrepair.
Eventually, the cabin passed into the possession of Joseph Sr.’s 2nd great-granddaughter, Odessa Webster Hill Harris and her husband Robert Jay Harris. The couple restored the cabin to its current condition in 1990. In 2000, the Harris’ built a beautiful home on the Hill property next to the cabin and cared and looked after the property until their passing in 2017. After their deaths, the cabin was moved to its current location where it serves as a reminder to Layton citizens as well as to all visitors who see it of those who came before us.
The Joseph Hill Family Cabin, built sometime between 1851 and 1858, is a one-story single-pen log cabin, located at 2133 W. 1000 South in Layton, Davis County, Utah. After a period of vacancy and deterioration, the cabin was rehabilitated around 1990 when it was raised and placed on a concrete pad. The rehabilitation included replacement logs from a derelict barn on site, re-chinking, replacement windows and interior casings, gable trim, an interior brick chimney, drop ceiling, and a new roof with wood shingles. Despite these modifications in some materials and workmanship, the Hill Family Cabin retains its historic integrity in terms of location, design, feeling and association of a pioneer-era log cabin. Although the immediate setting of the cabin has been compromised by the landscaped yard, the wider setting is still rural as much of the original farmstead remains agricultural. A new home built on the 1.53-acre property in 2000 is non-contributing. There is also an associated historic outhouse near the log cabin, but the outhouse has been modified and moved, and is therefore considered non-contributing. The Joseph Hill Family Cabin is one of four extant log cabins in the Layton area and the only example that still retains its domestic appearance. The cabin is a contributing resource in its Layton neighborhood.
The Joseph Hill Family Cabin sits on roughly rectangular property of 1.53-acres, a combination of two descriptions into one legal parcel. The cabin is located at the southeast corner of the property in the backyard of the non-contributing house, built in 2000, facing north to 1000 South. The new house was built where a one-story red brick Victorian-era cottage was located before it was destroyed by fire in the 1970s. The property is mostly lawn with pasture on the three adjoining sides. There is one mature elm tree located north of the cabin. This tree is the only remnant of the copse that surrounded the cabin prior to the rehabilitation. There are newer trees with decorative boulder plantings scattered in the backyard. A non-contributing gazebo structure is in one of the plantings. Just south of the cabin in one of the plantings is a wood outhouse. Although historic and associated with the cabin, the outhouse was recently moved and does not retain sufficient integrity to be contributing. There is also new gazebo west of the cabin.
The West Layton neighborhood at the intersection of 2200 West and 1000 South retains a rural feeling despite recent construction activity in the area. There are newer homes on either side of the cabin property, but there is pasture between. A new barn sits southwest of the log cabin on a separate legal parcel. There are onion fields to the north of 1000 South. To the south is undeveloped open pasture, further south and west are marshes at the edge of the Great Salt Lake. The path of the abandoned Bluff Road is visible in aerial photographs in the vicinity of the Joseph Hill Family Cabin.
The Joseph Hill Family Cabin in Layton, Utah, is locally significant under Criterion A, in three distinct areas:
Exploration/Settlement, Commerce, Transportation, and Ethnic Heritage. The log cabin built by the Hill family is a rare extant example from the early settlement of the area formerly known as West Layton. The exact date of construction is unknown. In local histories, the construction of the cabin has been attributed to either Joseph Hill Sr. upon his arrival in 1851 or his son, Joseph Hill Jr., prior to his marriage in 1858. Both families are considered important early settlers of the Big Field area of West Layton. The Hill cabin was never moved from the family farmstead along the Bluff Road contributing to the cabin’s significance in the areas of Commerce and Transportation. Bluff Road was the preferred route for California-bound gold seekers leaving Salt Lake City to travel around the north end of the Great Salt Lake. The Hill family raised cattle on the flats below the bluff and sold beef and other commodities to the travelers. The family also represents the small minority of Mormon settlers who were lured to California by the promise of gold and silver. Joseph Hill Sr.’s extended family left Layton in 1860 and returned in 1862 after an unsuccessful and tragic journey, which resulted in the death of his wife, Ann Edith Marston Hill. After their return, Joseph Hill Jr. built a red brick house for his wife, Ellen Sheen Hill, and family. During that time Joseph Sr. may have lived in the cabin behind the brick house. The Hill Cabin is the only extant log cabin in Utah that is linked to the Bluff Road and it is the only known cabin in Layton to have continued a residential use into the twentieth century.
The Hill Cabin is also the only documented building in Davis County to be associated with the Japanese soaking tub practice (known as ofuro), which gives the building significance in the area of Ethnic Heritage. The continued maintenance of the log cabin as a residence likely contributed to its easy conversion to a bathhouse/dressing room in the 1940s and 1950s for one of the many Japanese families that rented farms in West Layton. Beginning in the 1920s and continuing into the 1950s, several Japanese families moved to Davis County to become farmers. Because the immigrants were discouraged from owning land, the immigrants share-cropped or rented the farms of older residents. Despite modifications that occurred during a circa 1990 rehabilitation, the building retains many of the characteristics that it had during an exceptional long period of significance that represents a century of productive use. The Joseph Hill Family
Cabin is a contributing resource in its West Layton neighborhood.
The history of Layton begins with the history of Kaysville, Utah. In the winter of 1847-1848, just a few months after the arrival of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon Church) to the Salt Lake Valley, Hector C. Haight kept a herd of cattle in the area, and in April 1850, William Kay and Edward Phillips raised wheat near what became known as Kay’s Creek. They were later joined by several families. By 1853, the population of Kaysville, which included present-day Layton, was 417. Among the settlers who came in 1850 was the family of Joseph and Ann Hill. Joseph Hill Sr. was born in 1806 in Sandhurst, Gloucester, England. His wife, Ann Edith Marston, was born in 1808 in Norton, Gloucester, England.34 They were married in 1828 and had three children, John Calvert (born 1835),
Joseph Jr. (1837) and Alice Ann Marston (1839). The family immigrated to the United States before 1850. Joseph Hill Sr. was designated a captain over a team of immigrants while crossing the plains and was known as Captain or “Cap” Hill for the rest of his life. The family was living in a log cabin on “the salt flats near or on the dividing line between Kaysville and Layton” by time of the 1850 census enumeration. This area was known as the “Big Field.” A hand-drawn map of the early settlement places the Joseph Hill Sr. home north of Kay’s Creek in the northwest quarter of Section 31, Township 4 North, Range 1 West.
Unlike many of his contemporaries, Joseph Hill Sr. did not file for a homestead patent for his land. The first recorded claim to the land was when his son, Joseph Hill Jr., obtained a deed for 159 acres in the west half of Section 31 from the Union Pacific Railroad Company in July 1880. While the exact location of the first home of Joseph Sr. and Ann Hill is unknown, historic records agree that by the time of his marriage, Joseph Hill Jr. lived in a log cabin at the present-day intersection of 1000 South and 2200 West, although neither street existed prior to the 1880s. Joseph Hill Jr. married Ellen Sheen on December 28, 1858. Ellen Sheen Hill was born in 1837 in Berrow, England. She came to Utah in a handcart company in 1856 and settled in west Kaysville with her family. Joseph Jr. and Ellen Hill had two sons and five daughters. They lived in the log cabin until they were able to build a red brick house that faced north to a lane along the north line of Section 31 (today’s 1000 South). The 1870 and 1880 census enumerations show that after Ann Hill’s death in 1862, Joseph Sr. lived next to Joseph Jr. and Ellen. The juxtaposition combined with the Victorian-style windows added to the cabin suggest that Joseph Sr. may have lived in the log cabin on the property until his death in 1889.
By the 1880s, residents of the Layton area wanted to separate from Kaysville, which had been in incorporated in 1868. They questioned Kaysville’s authority to tax their property without providing municipal services. The Layton Ward of the LDS Church, named for early settler Christopher Layton, was established in 1889. The West Layton Ward of the LDS Church was organized in 1895, one year after a court case was decided in favor of the residents. Layton became an independent unincorporated area in 1902 and an incorporated town in 1920. By the time of incorporation, roads along the section lines (e.g. 2200 West) were created to connect to Gentile Street, the main east-west road to the Layton’s growing
commercial district and the railroads.
Only a tiny fraction of the thousands of log cabins built by Mormon pioneers exist today. Of the twenty-seven log cabins built before the coming of the railroad that appear in the Utah SHPO’s database of historic resources, seventeen have been moved to museums or city parks for display. For example, the circa 1865 Levi Roberts cabin originally built on Kay’s Creek was moved to This is the Place State Park on the east bench of Salt Lake City in 1977. The Layton area is current represented by only four extant log cabins: the Hill cabin, the Higgs cabin on Fort Lane in East Layton, the Webster cabin on Angel Street (moved 500 feet), and the Kay cabin (moved to Syracuse). More importantly the Hill Cabin is the only
surviving cabin that sits on its original farmstead and was associated with the emigrant trail along Bluff Road.
Henry Blood House
The Henry H. Blood House was built about 1896. The house is important because of its association with Henry H. Blood, prominent Davis County Businessman and Governor of Utah from 1933 to 1940. The house was designed and built by William Allen. One of Utah’s most prominent architects, Allen designed many Davis County buildings although he was largely self-trained. Architecturally the house remains intact and sound and is an illustrative model of the late nineteenth century architectural tradition.
Henry H. Blood was born October 1, 1872 in Kaysville, Utah. The son of William Blood and Jane Wilkie Hooper, Henry H. Blood worked on his fathers farm and attended school until 1901 when he left to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ Of latter-day Saints in England. After returning home in 1904 he taught one year at the Brigham Young College in Logan then in June 1905 accepted a position of secretary, treasurer and manager of the Kaysville Milling Company.
Henry H. Blood married Minnie A. Barnes June 4, 1896. A native of Kaysville, she was born the day after Henry Blood, October 2, 1872. They had four children, two sons and two daughters. Their house in Kaysville was apparently constructed shortly before or after their marriage in 1896. The lot in which
the house is constructed was acquired by Henry Blood’s father, William Blood, in 1890 and sold to Henry in April 1895 for $200.
Architect for the house was William Allen. Born January 1, 1870 in London England, Allen left England in 1862 at the age of 12 and arrived in Utah in 1863. He moved to Kaysville where he remained until his death on October 11, 1928. Allen worked as a farmhand then followed the trade of his father as a
brick mason. He studied architecture and drafting by correspondence; and became Davis County’s most prominent architect. In addition to the Henry H. Blood house, he designed the Kaysville Presbyterian Church, (1888) Davis County Courthouse (1889-90), Barnes Brick Building (1910), Kaysville Tabernacle (1912), Kaysville Elementary School (1918) and homes for John R. Barnes, John G.M. Barnes, Hyurum Stewart, James Smith, John Barton and his own home. Davis County, with its emphasis on agriculture was not a highly prosperous area of the state and the Henry H. Blood home, along with the John G.M. Barnes home is one of the largest and most elaborate homes in Kaysville.
Henry Blood did not aspire to the Governorship until fellow Democrats urged him to seek the nomination in the best interest of the party. Entering the race three weeks before the State Democratic Convention, Blood succeeded in overtaking Clarence Neslen, former State Legislator and Salt Lake City Mayor, and won the nomination 463 votes to Neslen’s 337.
The election of Henry H. Blood and other Democratic candidates for State and National offices in Utah was the result of the strong appeal of Franklin D. Roosevelt. In Utah Roosevelt received 116,750 votes while Blood’s total was 116,031. Blood’s Republican opponent, William W. Seegmiller received 85,913
votes. In 1936 Blood won re-election with 109,656 votes compared with 80,118 votes for Ray E. Dillman a Republican and 24,754 for Herman W. Perry and Independent candidate. Despite the efforts of many, Blood declined to run for a third term in 1940.
As Governor Henry Blood adopted a conservative fiscal philosophy along with a whole hearted acceptance of the New Deal Programs. While drastically cutting state expenditures, except for welfare for which he secured the passage of a 2% sales tax, Blood actively sought Federal funds for Relief Projects. He
recognized that the depression was caused by under-consumption rather than over production and since the state could not inflate currency by fiscal or monetary policies as the Federal Government could he saw his role as an executor of Federal Relief projects. Thus he made many trips to Washington in the interests of Utah Relief Projects. Blood found strong resistance to proposed Reclamation Projects, nevertheless, he and other Utah officials were persistent in behalf of the State’s interests. Harold Ickes, director of the
Public Water Administration wrote,
“A delegation from Utah, headed by Secretary Dern, and including Governor Blood, came in to nag again about some Reclamation Projects for this state. This group has been hanging about Washington for more than three weeks. At intervals they came to see me, then they go to see Colonel Waite (Ickes second-in-command) and then they go over to the White House. They seem to be proceeding on the theory that they can just wear down our resistance and get what they want.“
To New Deal Administrators Utah’s request for funds for reclamation projects, which would serve to increase Utah’s agricultural capabilities, seemed incongruous with the New Deal Agricultural program to resist production. Nevertheless, Blood’s efforts were successful and several important reclamation projects including the Deer Creek and Moon Lake projects were undertaken.
While seeking every possible Federal dollar for his state, Blood emphasized that his efforts depended, in large measure, on a strong relief commitment from the State. He strongly advocated the 2% sales tax for welfare relief at the same time he drastically reduced state expenditures with a program of economy, retrenchment and curtailment of services. By the end of his second term, he had reduced the states net
With 33,000 Utah families on relief in 1933 economics was the prime career of Blood during hte 1930s. However other issues were also important during Blood’s administration.
The repeal of the 18th Amendment was a difficult issue for Blood. As a loyal member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints he was opposed to the consumption of alcohol and supportive of prohibition. Nevertheless, it was apparent that Utah’s citizens favored repeal and on November 6, 1933 Blood telegraphed President Roosevelt that Utah had become the 36th state to ratify the Twenty-first amendment.
Another issue was the attempt by the National Miners Union to secure control of Utah’s Coal fields. In open conflict with the United Mine Workers of America, the National Miners Union were pro-communist and advocated what others felt were extreme measures to meet the needs of Utah’s coal miners. When a strike broke out, Blood, well aware of the potential financial cost to the state, refused to call out the National Guard as his predecessors had done in similar labor difficulties and insisted that local officials handle the situation.
Henry Blood was also the first Governor to occupy the Thomas Kearns Mansion the present official Governor’s Residence.
In reflecting on Blood’s career as Governor, his biographer wrote: “It must said, the Blood was not a ‘popular ‘ governor. The people’s reaction to him was not one of great emotionalism. He was admired and respected but not loved, and he had no sizable personal following among the electorate. One astute political observer doubted that Blood could have been elected governor on his own, that is, if there had been no depression a factor beneficial to virtually all Democratic candidates.“
“Carried into office by the tide of history or not, Blood was the governor and an outstanding one during these crucial years…he was outstanding in his capacity for work; his total immersion in the day-in, day-out grind of overseeing state government attests to this. Secondly, he was outstanding in that if there was any possibility of receiving aid from Washington or of increasing the flow of monies he spared no effort. Though some might feel that his assiduous pursuit of the federal dollar somehow represents a compromise with his own financial conservativeness, this writer does not. One may practice frugality and humanitarian ism at one and the same time without conflict. As long as people were suffering, and as long as their suffering might be relieved somewhat by the soothing balm of federal aid his willingness, even eagerness, to initiate or to enhance the stream of cash into Utah is considered human and wise. If he had spurned aid from the federal government which unlike the state can “create” funds by the stroke of a pen he would have been derelict in his duty as governor and as a human being. On the other hand, Blood has nothing to do with the creation of the New Deal, and his statements and actions during the period prior to the inauguration of Franklin Roosevelt make clear that he had no intentions of foreshadowing the president’s program on a state level. Blood was no innovator or original thinker in the area of social and economic equality. As has been stated before, he was merely the expediter of federal programs within his state, but he did that well and willingly. He accepted the necessity of those parts of the New Deal which provided work, money, and goods for the jobless and destitute.“
In 1941 Henry Blood was called by IDS Church leaders to serve as President of the California Mission. On June 19, 1942 he died in a Salt Lake City Hospital of a cerebral hemorrhage and pneumonia. In October 1942 Mrs. Blood deeded the home to her daughter Evelyn B. Sims. In 1947 ownership of the home passed from the Blood family to Bimden and Ila Cottrell. In October 1961 the Cottrells sold the home to LeGrande Evans. In 1963 Evans sold the house to Donna H. MsCowen and in June 1971 Mr. MsCowan sold the house to the present owners Dennis and Genene Hill. The house is well maintained and continues to
function as a residence.
Henry Blood’s home in Kaysville is a two story structure in the Queen Anne style. It was designed by William Allen, a largely self-trained architect/brick mason who worked extensively in Davis County. Allen’s
influence may be seen in other substantial brick and stone homes in Kaysville.
Begun ca 1896 (possibly as early as 1895) the original house was a multiple hipped roof structure, square in general plan. An octagonal corner tower, side bays and hipped dormers vitalized the scheme.
Victorian exterior ornament abounds. Carved segmental window insets, turnings of porch elements and dormer ornament are fanciful Queen Anne characteristics.
In 1915 the home was extensively enlarged with a rear addition. With this addition a new kitchen, pantry and screen porch were added on the ground floor and bedrooms on the second floor. ‘The original kitchen became a dining room. This extension was sympathetic to the original in scale, proportions,
materials and detail. The rear dormer dating from this period is a facsimile of the originals. A hipped roof porch off the kitchen entrance has Tuscan supports and a low balustrade.
The interior of the hone retains its original integrity, and reflects the high Victorian style. The 1915 addition was as compatible and well-executed inside as it was outside, though the interior details reflected the Classical Revival style of the period and not the earlier Victorian exuberance.
Door and window surrounds are wide molded elements in the period fashion. Rectangular terminations contain circular molded or floral motifs. Doors have molded panels. Brass door hardware is extant. Sconces and girandoles for electric lights date from an early period, though possibly not original. The Dado of the dining room is Linerusta Walton molded in a low relief pattern.
The parlor fireplace displays Adamesque characteristics in the proportions of the flanking capitols and the applied swags. Elegantly carved, the oak balustrade of the stairway exhibits the eclectic tendencies of Victorian interior design.
95 South 300 West in Kaysville, Utah
The First National Bank of Layton, built in phases between 1905 and 1945, is a one-part commercial block in the Victorian Eclectic style. The bank building is significant under Criteria A arid C for its association with the development of Layton, and for its association with Davis County’s most prominent and prolific architect at the turn of the century, William Allen. In 1905, the First National Bank was the third bank to be established in Davis County and during 2005 celebrated its centennial as the oldest continually operating business in Layton. For a century, the bank has been an integral part of the Layton City and Davis County economies. The bank building includes a 1915-1916 expansion, which provided office space for the Layton Sugar Company, the area’s largest employer at the time. During the 1940s, the bank building expanded again mainly due to the rise in population associated with the development of Hill Air Force Base (Hill Field). Between 1905 and 1916, the bank building was designed, constructed and expanded by Davis County’s most respected architect, William Allen. William Allen began his career as a brick mason and ended it as a contractor and self-taught architect. He was among the first architects licensed by the State of Utah, and the only licensed architect in Davis County for many years. Of Allen’s over one-hundred documented works, six are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and another is pending. The First National Bank of Layton is a contributing historic resource in Layton, Utah.
Layton, Davis County’s largest city, was originally an outgrowth of Kaysville, a Mormon pioneer town first settled in 1854. By 1886, a separate precinct and post office were located in a small business center north of Kaysville. The community was named Layton, for Christopher Layton, a prominent early settler of the area. In 1902, the community of Layton legally severed the ties with Kaysville and became an unincorporated area. With a population of 500, Layton was incorporated as a third-class town in 1920. In 1950, after a decade-long boom period which accompanied the development Hill Air Force Base, the population reached 3,456 and Layton was declared a third-class city.
Layton’s historic business district is clustered near the intersection of Gentile Street and Main Street, which for many years paralleled the track of the original Utah Central Railroad (the tracks were removed in 1953). The Layton business district was also serviced by the Oregon Short Line (later Union Pacific, 1912-present) on the west side of town and the Bamberger Electric Railway (1906-1952, later obliterated by Interstate 15) east of the commercial district. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Layton’s business district included two general stores, a meat market, saloon, coal dealer, blacksmith shop, barber shop, hotel, and the Layton Milling and Elevator Company, which in 1903 shipped more flour than any other Utah mill. Through the first half of the twentieth century, the economy was predominantly agricultural. The most important cash crops were alfalfa, grain, onions, and potatoes. A cannery was built to process tomatoes and peas, and a factory was established in 1915 to process sugar beets. The business district was the support and shipping center for products of Layton fanners.
The First National Bank of Layton was established in 1905. At the time it was only the third bank in Davis County, and one of only two national banks that were established that year. The Layton Bank was established during a period of banking expansion that followed the depression years of the mid-1890s. The bank required a $20,000 minimum of capital in order to comply with Utah’s 1888 Banking Act. The original thirty-nine stockholders raised $25,000 (250 shares of $100). Most of the stockholders lived in Layton with a few living in the nearby communities of Ogden, Kaysville, Plain City and Syracuse. Among the stockholders were several prominent members of the Ellison family, whose descendants own the original bank building. The first officers of the bank were James Pingree, President; E. P. (Ephraim Peter) Ellison, Vice-President; Rufus Adams, Vice President; James E. Ellison, Cashier; and Laurence E. Ellison, Assistant Cashier.
The bank officials selected Kaysville architect, William Allen, to draw up plans for the new bank building. William Allen had designed E. P. Ellison’s Farmers Union store in 1892. The bank was built on land across the street from the store at the corner of Main and Gentile Streets. The land was originally patented to Thomas Sandall in 1875, but was not purchased by the bank until 1911. The one-story brick building first opened its doors for business on May 15, 1905. On October 20 and 21, 1906, an east wind blew through northern Davis County causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage. Among the casualties of the disaster was the Layton Bank Building, which was “completely destroyed roof and walls.” An examination of the building concluded that the “violent wind blew in the bank’s east window, creating intense internal air pressure, which caused the front brick wall to explode onto Gentile Street.”
The bank moved its operations temporarily to the Farmers Union Store, while William Allen redesigned the bank. Though the disaster had occurred just eighteen months after the bank’s opening, the board of directors was determined to persevere. The Davis County Clipper reported on the first annual meeting after the windstorm stating “No quarterly dividend was declared, probably, it had been paid to the east wind that blew the bank building down. It is thought that it will probably take another quarterly dividend to pay for the damage done by the wind.” Another article in the Davis County Clipper described the construction enhancements of the new building: “The Layton bank which is being rebuilt is as strong physically as the Bank of England is financially. Iron anchors, several feet long, were placed in the walls and other irons were put between the courses of brick in such a way as to hold the building together.”
The bank moved from the store back into the new building in the spring of 1907. In October of that year, two burglars broke into the bank vault, but were unable to open the safe where the money was kept. A second attempt in May 1910 was also unsuccessful. By that time, the Layton Bank had a time-locked safe. Frustrated in their attempt, the two thieves locked cashier, Laurence Ellison and night-watchman, Hyrum Evans, in the vault. Ellison and Evans managed to escape and the would-be robbers were apprehended. Laurence Ellison, who had been promoted to Cashier after his brother James left, was the bank’s lone employee, until he was joined by Vird Cook in 1913. Vird Cook, who was nineteen at the time, spent the next forty-six years working in the bank. By 1914, the assets of the bank had grown to $187, 907. During its first decade, the Layton Bank’s stockholders and customers included most of the business owners and farmers of Layton.
Agriculture had been the economic base of Layton since the pioneer era, but by the 1890s many farmers were
beginning to specialize. In particular, the sugar beet was an important cash crop in northern Davis County, with many thousands of tons of sugar beets shipped to sugar plants in Lehi, Utah, and later Ogden, Utah. In 1913, Kaysville-Layton area farmers and businessmen organized the Layton Sugar Company in 1913. The company was incorporated in 1915, with E. P. Ellison as one of the founders. By the fall of 1915, the Dyer Construction Company had completed a $500,000 sugar plant on a forty-eight-acre site near the Denver & Rio Grande tracks in west Layton. The first year the plant processed 25,000 tons of beets from farms in Kaysville and Layton. In the next two years, the output doubled. The factory employed approximately 300 men working round-the-clock shifts. James E. Ellison served as manager and president of the company.
On August 25, 1915, the minutes of the First National Bank of Layton record that a committee was organized to “investigate the feasibility of remodeling the bank building and making an addition thereto to be rented to the Layton Sugar Company.” In September, the bank board approved plans for the addition and a charge of $60 per month rent to be paid by the Layton Sugar Company. William Allen was again chosen as architect for the addition and remodeling. The Davis County Clipper reported that expanded bank would have several objectives: “to furnish a larger home for the bank, provide offices for the sugar company as well as for professional men, etc.” 10 The newspaper continued to monitor the progress of the building. According to one report the contractors, Hyde and Sheffield, “have employed all the bricklayers in Davis County that they could get and some few from the outside” for the bank building and another project. As the construction neared completion in January 1916, the Clipper published the following glowing report: “The brickwork on the First National Bank addition is completed and the new metal cornice is in place. The metal cornice was placed on the old building so as to make it harmonize perfectly with the new. The cement trimming about the door and windows gives it a massive and attractive appearance. The mason work has also been done with skill. The
building is certainly a credit to Architect Allen.”
The Layton Bank weathered difficult times through the 1920s, including a successful robbery in 1920 in which the robbers made off with several thousand dollars in war bonds. In 1924, the bank installed the security alarm box still extant on the south elevation. Utah experienced several years of depression even before the stock market crash of 1929. However, the First National Bank of Layton thrived, most likely because it had several large depositors, including the sugar company and the Davis and Weber Counties Canal Companies, in addition to its community customers. The bank hired several bookkeepers, including its first women employees, Beth Green and Norma Underwood. In 1922, the Kaysville Weekly Reflex printed this description of the bank’s operations: “The bank does a business extending over the state of Utah and into Nevada and Canada, where Layton people have large interests” 13 In the 1930s, the old system of banks issuing currency was abandoned, and today the few surviving First National Bank of Layton notes are held by collectors. The 1939 remodeling of the bank’s interior utilized the popular Art Deco style of the period. That same year, the decision to build an air depot near Ogden would greatly impact the economy of Layton.
The bulk of the Hill Field base was within Davis County with Layton as the closest established community to the base’s main gate. The base was operational by November 1940, and even before the United States’ entrance into World War II, the economy of Layton was booming. Although the bank benefited from proximity of the base; with so many employed in war-related services, the bank had difficulty finding employees. The Layton Bank even changed its hours to accommodate paydays for Hill Field employees. In 1941, Laurence E. Ellison was elected president of the Utah Bankers’ Association. The bank began planning to expand its facilities and build a new vault in 1944, but wartime shortages of materials postponed the project. Though the exterior of the expansion was almost complete in October 1945, the interior work was not completed until 1946. The addition and remodeling included a new bank vault, new safe deposit boxes, a paneled boardroom, kitchenette and restrooms. The addition also doubled the size of the sugar company offices. When the Layton Sugar Company went out of business in 1959, and the bank operations took over the entire building.
In the post World War II years, the First National Bank of Layton became an even more integral part of the economic community. The bank was one of the first in Davis County to offer loans guaranteed under the G.I. Bill. Many important businesses were started with loans from the Layton Bank. One example was Rufus C. Willey of Syracuse, who was a bank customer and founder of the R.C. Willey Company, today Utah’s largest furniture and appliance retailer. Through the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the bank continued to upgrade and modernize. A night depository box was first installed in 1954. The glass vestibule was installed in the 1970s. In 1981, the bank moved across the street to the restored Farmers Union Building, where it currently conducts business. During the move, the marble teller stations and the vault were also moved. The L.E. Ellison Family Company purchased the building in 1985. In the 1980s and 1990s, the building was used for a variety of businesses including a print shop, coffee house, computer store, bridal & photography, beauty salon, and most recently, a jewelry store. The building has been vacant since 2003.
The First National Bank of Layton, built in four phases between 1905 and 1945, is a one-part commercial block, located at 50 West Gentile Street in Layton, Utah. The building is brick masonry with stone and concrete foundations. The current roof is flat and built-up. The original bank building, a one-part Victorian-style commercial block with an angled entrance, was constructed in 1905. In October 1906, the building was partially destroyed by a windstorm. Between 1906 and 1907, the bank building was rebuilt using the surviving stone foundation and two brick walls. Most of the Victorian elements of the 1905 building were replicated during the 1906-1907 reconstruction, but the parapet was built higher and other modifications were made. In 1915, the bank building was expanded to the east and a new entrance was built flush with the south elevation and featured stylized classical elements. In 1945, the building was expanded to the east and in the rear, creating a wedge-shaped east elevation that followed the line of Layton’s Main Street. The interior of the bank has been remodeled several times, with the extant finishes dating from 1939 to the 1980s. The bank building has been vacant since 2003.
The original 1905 building measured approximately forty-three by twenty-two feet. The longest elevation faced south onto Gentile Street with the shorter end on Main Street. The main entrance was angled and faced southeast toward the intersection. 1 The foundation was rock-faced sandstone. The face brick was laid in a stretcher bond. There was a corbelled brick base with a sandstone stringcourse, which also served as the sill. Historic photographs show the south elevation divided into two bays by brick pilasters. Each bay featured a large plate-glass window with several courses of segmental-arched rowlock brick. A decorative stringcourse highlighted the arched windows. A similar bay was on the east elevation. The angled entrance featured stone steps, double wood-sash doors, with transoms and a segmental-arched hood. Above the fenestration were three corbelled brick courses and a brick parapet with a metal cornice. A decorative block with the date “1905” was above the entrance. The west elevation had a small window near the south end (now filled-in), but otherwise the west and north elevations were blank. On October 20-21,1906, a windstorm blew in the east window creating a vacuum, which caused the roof to collapse and the south elevation to explode. Between late 1906 and 1907, the bank building was rebuilt using the original foundation and surviving north and west walls. The
rebuilt structure was similar in design to the original, but featured a much higher and stronger parapet. The new parapet was completely brick and featured a dog-tooth course above the original corbelling. The brick masonry
was reinforced with iron bars and anchors. The sloped roof was reinforced as well.
Between 1915 and 1916, an L-shaped addition was constructed effectively expanding the building twenty feet to the north and twenty-five feet to the east. The addition created a south facing entrance and an extra bay to the east. The addition was designed by the same architect-builder as the original building, and the brickwork is nearly identical. The main difference between the old and new bays is the use of concrete for the foundation and sills, rather than stone, and vents in the dogtooth course. The new steps are also concrete. The new entrance features a slightly projecting surround of cast concrete. The flanking pilasters were banded, as were a dividing mullion and pilasters (with capitals) in the slightly recessed double doors (the mullion was removed in the 1970s). Above the arched opening is a cast concrete panel with the words “First National Bank.” These elements give the building’s entrance a stylized classical appearance. The brick parapet was also enlarged in 1915-1916, and with accent block appeared as a classical balustrade. The date “1905” is in a block above the main entrance.
The building was expanded again in 1945-1946. During this phase the east elevation was demolished and the façade was expanded by another bay, which replicated the 1915-1916 addition. A similar, but smaller bay faces east. The remainder of the east elevation addition angles to the northwest along the line of Main Street. The angled wall is constructed of brick on a concrete foundation and features a geometric design of corbelled brickwork. The parapet is plain and has been used as a signboard. There is a simple metal coping along the parapet. The brickwork for the north elevation addition is similar. There are windows (now filled with glass block, date unknown) in the north and west corners of the building, but no other openings. The different building phases are best discerned on the west elevation where the joints between additions are visible. There is a double-door service entrance in the center of the west elevation (probably 1980s). Other modifications to the exterior include the installation of an interior alarm box (circa 1924, south elevation), exterior paint (white in the 1960s and currently tan with darker tan and gold accents), and the removal of the double entrance doors to provide a single glass door into a vestibule (circa 1970s).
The interior of the building has been remodeled several times. The original 1906-1907 interior featured a marble lobby with a pressed-tin ceiling. The vault was built out in the northwest corner. During the 1915-1916 expansion the lobby was not altered but additional vault and office space was added to the rear. The addition included office space for the local sugar company to the east, which had its own vault. In 1939, a major interior remodeling included the removal of the original ceiling and a change to the teller cages. The 1939 interior remodeling had some elements of the Art Deco-style. 2 Further remodeling accompanied the 1945-1946 addition. The banking space was expanded to include the 1915-1916 spaces and the vault was moved to the rear. Decorative plaster work was added to the ceiling and walls of the main banking space (extant). The rear addition included an upper-story accessed by a central closed stair. The rear addition has three rooms (currently finishes from the 1980s) and parts of the 1915-1916 building exterior are visible on the south walls. On the main floor, a wood-paneled board room was installed (extant although slightly damaged). In the northwest corner a kitchenette and restrooms were installed (extant). The glass vestibule was installed in the 1970s and a night depository box was added. There is a wall-mounted safe near the vestibule (date unknown, possibly 1980s). The marble teller counter and the vault doors were relocated to the Farmers’ Union Building (listed on the National Register in November 1978) across the street when the bank moved its operations there in 1981. In the bank area, many of 1939-1946 features and finishes have survived. To the east, where the offices were located, most of the current interior finishes date from the 1980s after the bank moved out.
The First National Bank of Layton sits on a wedge-shaped parcel of 0.1779 acres. It is located at the angled corner of Main Street and Gentile Street. There is a sidewalk and planters on Gentile Street, but only a sidewalk on Main Street. A narrow pedestrian alley is located between the bank and the historic building to the west.
There is a small asphalt parking area in the rear (against the north elevation). The bank is one of several historic buildings located in downtown Layton, but most, with the exception of the Farmers Union Building and one general store, have been altered. The First National Bank is in good condition and contributes to the historic resources of Layton, Utah.
Farmer’s Union Building
The Farmer’s Union is significant for housing the Farmer’s Union Mercantile Institution, the first commercial enterprise in Layton, Utah. The building was the first prominent business structure erected in Layton and served as the community’s primary meeting hall, social center and recreational facility. The building played an important role in Layton’s successful attempt to become independent of nearby Kaysville, Utah. The Farmer’s Union is also important for its close association with the lives of leading business, civic and religious figures of early Layton, including Ephraim P. Ellison, Christopher Layton and George Washington Adams.
Layton, Utah was founded in 1850 by William Kay, Edwards Phillips, John Green and Elias Adams, converts to the Mormon Church. Located along creeks in a popular trapping and grazing area, the small settlement grew slowly and was for many years considered part of a larger nearby community named Kaysville. As the settlement assumed an identity as an independent community it attempted to separate itself from Kaysville and become an incorporated town. Kaysville leaders were unwilling to approve the incorporation, however, on the premise that a severe loss of tax revenue would result. Determined to demonstrate that the unnamed settlement justified independent status, area leaders, lead by Ephraim P. Ellison, attempted to establish a bona fide business district and challenge the right of Kaysville to impose taxes on it. A small one-story frame building belonging to Christopher Layton was moved from Kaysville to the site of the present Farmer’s Union and the commercial district had its beginning. The relocated building housed the Farmer’s Union, an organization established in 1882 as the Kaysville Farmer’s Union. As E.P. Ellison, who was superintendent of the store and Christopher Layton, the building’s owner, were both part of the faction opposed to paying taxes to Kaysville, the name Kaysville was dropped from the store’s name. The new town was named Layton and pushed for incorporation. As a final measure to insure the independence of Layton as a town entity, Ellison, Layton and others combined their capital and in 1890 had constructed an impressive two-story, Victorian-styled store of brick and stone with metal trim. This building which was expanded in size in the late 1890’s and again in 1930, housed the growing Farmer’s Union institution. The building, besides functioning as a store, was the headquarters of the group responsible for the movement to organize a new town. In addition, the store played an important role in the 1891 Utah Supreme Court case of Ellison versus Lindford in which Chief Justice Charles S. Zane ruled that property of E. P. Ellison which had been confiscated and sold for tax purposes in 1889 had been done illegally in that the “little place called ‘Layton’ in a country road leading to the city (of Kaysville) proper” was too far from Kaysville to receive any benefit from taxes levied. On the same day as the court decision, Feb. 4, 1891, Layton became an incorporated city.
The Farmer’s Union continued to play a significant role in the burgeoning community of Layton. Its major tenant, the Farmer’s Union of Layton, was incorporated in 1909 and functioned as a general store, bank, and post office. The upper floor was used as a public hall and community center. For many years, regular weekly dances with a live orchestra were held there. Church events, basketball games, political meetings, club parties and promotional events by traveling salesmen were among the varied uses of the second story hall. As the building expanded to the north and other meeting places became available in town, the second floor was converted to residential apartments which are still extant. The Farmer’s Union business was dissolved in 1956. After which the building was used by various retail establishments. At present, the building is vacant and awaits restoration by its owner, the First National Bank of Layton.
The Farmer’s Union is significant for its close association with the lives of many of Layton’s early town leaders. Ephraim P. Ellison, its manager, president, and biggest stockholder, maintained his office in the building. He was the chief organizer and president of the Davis and Weber Counties Canal Co. which made possible the agricultural development of that area. Ellison was the major figure in the Layton Milling Co, First National Bank of Layton, Layton Sugar Co., Ellison Ranching Co., and Ellison Milling and Elevator Co. He also served as president, director or manager of the following: Clearfield State Bank, Pingree National Bank, Deseret National Bank, Knight Sugar Co., Beneficial Life Insurance Co., Amalgamated Sugar Co., Western Ore and Purchasing Co., Utah Ore Sampling Co., Weber River Water Users Association, Ogden Sugar Factory, Knight Woolen Mills and several others. Ellison was involved with mining magnate Jesse Knight in many enterprises, was a financial counselor to the Mormon Church and served his church in numerous leadership capacities.
Christopher Layton, another prominent figure in the development of Layton and the Farmer’s Union had served in the Mormon Battalion and helped colonize Cardon Valley before settling near Kays Creek in 1858. A shrewd businessman, Layton became a successful ranger, farmer and miller and sat on the first territorial legislature. In 1862 he became the first Mormon bishop in Kaysville. A popular colonizer, Layton was sent by his church leaders to establish settlements in remote parts of Utah and Arizona. Cities were named after him in both states. Layton was a director of Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution (Z.C.M.I.) and like Ellison, directed and owned stock in many corporations. A polygamist with ten wives, one of his interesting enterprises was a steamship line which he operated on the Great Salt Lake.
George Washington Adams, Elias Adams, Jr., John Ellison, Thomas W. Hodson, Joseph Samuel Adams, William N. Nalder, Richard Felling and Alexander Dawson were other important citizens who were closely associated with the Farmer’s Union.
The Farmer’s Union was built in three sections, the first being erected in 1890, the second shortly thereafter, and the third in 1930. As originally built, the Farmer’s Union was a two-story store located slightly south of the southwest corner of Gentile Street and the old State Road, Layton’s primary downtown intersection. The building had a pent corner which faced the center of the intersection. It featured decorative stone, brick and woodwork and a scrolled pediment with the inscription: “Farmer’s Union, Established A.D. 1882.” The pent corner and pediment were removed when the 1930 addition was built. Also removed at that time were other Victorian ornamental elements belonging to the earlier two sections of the building. These included a coffered metal parapet wall, cornice, pinnacles with spiraled balls, and a paneled wooden bulwark. The original leaded glass transom windows and ornamental cornice grill have been concealed but are apparently intact.
Excellent documentation exists to substantiate the original appearance of the Farmer’s Union, including the architect’s original working drawings and early photographs. Structurally, the building has a brick superstructure with walls four bricks wide. The foundation walls are stone. The floors consists of standard wooden joists supported at midspan by a built-up girder over wooden posts. The roof is made of wooden trusses which are anchored into the masonry side
walls by metal rods and plates. The simple load-bearing, post-and-beam structural system was also employed in the two subsequent additions. As the building grew, care was exercised to match floor and ceiling heights. The plans of architects Anderson and Young for the final addition in 1929 called for the retention and duplication of all original decorative elements. A revised set of plans in 1930, however, eliminated the historical ornamentation, whether for reasons of economy due to the Depression, or “streamlining” to be in step with modern architectural trends, is not recorded.
In its present appearance, the Farmer’s Union, is a white painted brick building, two stories in height and is roughly square in plan. The building has two “front” elevations, the east and north, both of which have new fenestration along
the bottom floor but are fairly intact, except for the loss of the cornice, along the second floor. The east elevation features pairs of one-over-one windows within segmentally arched bays. Original wooden columns with Corinthian capitals adorn the center mullions of the older windows. They also feature foliated scrollwork in the arch panel. The window bays are set in planes which appear to be recessed because of pilasters which separate the bays. The north elevation is similar to the east with the exception that the windows are smaller and are contained within square bays. The “interior of the Farmer’s Union retains much of historic appearance. A small balcony has been added on the first floor level to increase floor space.
William Allen, the only architect practicing in the county at the time, designed the Farmer’s Union and its first addition. Alien, who became an architect in the 1870’s after taking a correspondence course, was responsible for designing most of the county’s landmarks until well after 1900. His better known works include: the Davis County Courthouse, Barnes Bank, West Layton Ward Church, Presbyterian Church, and Governor Henry Blood’s residence.