This cross-wing Gothic Revival house was built in 1877 for George Bonner, Jr. It was designed and built by John Watkins, an accomplished Utah builder who constructed many of the first homes in Midway. It was built at the same time as his brother William’s house across the street to the east. Both houses were reportedly completed and furnished in time for both their weddings in January 1878.
George Bonner, Jr. was born in 1850 in Scotland. His family emigrated to Utah and settled near Midway in 1861. In 1874, he and his brother William established a successful mercantile business, which George eventually took over. George and his wife Phebie lived in this house until their deaths in 1913 and 1914, respectively.
Constructed c. 1876, the George Bonner, Sr., House is one of seven houses contained in the Architecture of John Watkins Thematic Resource Nomination, having been designed and built by John Watkins, an accomplished early Utah builder. John Watkins’ work effectively illustrates the dynamic role the professional builder played in shaping Utah’s early architectural landscape. While it has been customary for historians to explain Utah architecture from the time of first settlement in 1847 up to about 1890 as the simple extension of eastern folk styles or the replication of popular pattern-book designs, John Watkins’ houses suggest a more generous appraisal. Slave to neither tradition nor pattern-book, Watkins found useful ideas in both, ideas that formed the basis of essentially new if nevertheless familiar designs. From two-room cottages to elaborate Gothic Revival houses to houses intended for multi-family polygamous living, Watkins drew upon his broad building experience to create not copies of other houses, but new ones designed to meet his client’s functional, aesthetic, and symbolic needs. This house is significant not only as an important example of the Gothic Revival style in early Utah, but also because it demonstrates Watkins’ ability to deftly manipulate basic picturesque design concepts. Drawing upon a set of ideas embodied in the basic cross-wing house form, Watkins was able to generate a rich variety of housing designs.
John Watkins was born in Maidsone, Kent, England in 1834. He received training in the building trade in his native England before joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and emigrating to Utah in 1855. Watkins’ skills were welcomed in the nascent Mormon towns of, first, Provo, and then Midway. In Provo, Watkins helped build the original LDS Tabernacle (1856).
Built in 1877 for William Bonner, this is one of several Gothic Revival style houses in Midway that were designed and constructed by John Watkins, an accomplished local builder. Watkins, an emigrant from England in 1856, demonstrated his considerable architectural knowledge and skills by combining variations of the cross-wing house form with Gothic Revival stylistic elements to create houses which, though similar to each other, are each unique. Watkins’ houses are among the best examples of Gothic Revival style in Utah. William’s father’s house, located across the street to the north, and his brother George’s house on the corner to the west, were also built by John Watkins. This house and George’s house were reportedly built and completely furnished in time for both their weddings in January 1878. Together, William and George operated the Bonner Mercantile for a number of years, then William devoted full time to his livestock operations, raising purebred horses and cattle. William and his wife Sarah Eliza Bronson remained in this house until their deaths in 1925 and 1946, respectively.
Built in 1898, the Midway Social Hall is constructed of a local material knows as “pot rock,” a porous limestone formed by “hot pots,” or hot springs. The building i architecturally significant in its use of this locally popular 19th century construction material. This simple, rectangular structure, incorporates Classical architectural features such as a symmetrical principal façade pedimented lintels.
The Social Hall shares a wall with a building to its east built c.1905 that was originally known as Hair’s Barber Shop and Ice Cream Parlor. Between c.1910-40 a window that existed in the shared wall was open during functions at the Social Hall so patrons could be served ice cream and sodas.
The Midway Social Hall is historically significant for its role as a community meeting place and center for cultural performances. It is one of the few known remaining social halls constructed by Mormon communities during the second half on the nineteenth century. The hall functioned as the primary meeting place for local activities and celebrations and for religious and town meetings from the date of its construction until the building of the Midway Town hall in 1940.
I don’t know the real name of this place or the history of it yet, but Warm Ditch Spring is on the property and there is an old barn, old foundations and partial walls of some structures and a lime kiln like others I’ve seen around Midway.
The address from the county parcel map is 1440 N Pine Canyon Road.
Johannes Huber was the catalyst by which hundreds of Swiss immigrants established themselves in Midway and the west. He immigrated by ox train in 1863, overseeing sixty converts to the Mormon church, including his future wife. Brigham Young called Huber to return and serve as President of the Swiss-German Mission, 1871-1874, where he translated and published the Book of Mormon. Maria Magdalena Munz Huber was schooled in the fabrication of textiles and lace. She extended this homesite as a refuge and gathering place for community events, especially in music and the arts.
Huber built this one-story, wood-frame house in 1878. Inner adobe brick walls were covered with board-and-batton in a hall-parlor plan. Two later lean-to additions were used as dining and kitchen work areas. In the gabled attic slept nine of ten children. Travertine limestone was gathered from warm mineral springs to form the two-foot thick walls of the creamery, c. 1885.
John Huber wrote the history of Midway from 1859-1910. He died in the home in 1914, his widow, Mary Huber, in 1935, and their youngest son, Joseph, remained until the inception of Wasatch Mountain State Park.