Built in 1889 as the Moroni Ward Chapel it was later the City Hall Building and is currently a residence.
36 North Center Street, Moroni, Utah.
The Mortensen/Nelson House, constructed c. 1885, with a c. 1898 addition, is significant under Criterion C. The style and type of construction of the earlier portion of the house is representative of the time period not only in Moroni, but also throughout Sanpete County when local architecture evolved from previously used classical/vernacular styles to the more popular national styles. This evolution was stimulated both by the arrival of the railroad to Moroni, allowing greater access to building materials, and the increasing prosperity brought to the entire county by the booming sheep industry. Earlier architecture in Moroni reflects the simplicity imposed by limited materials and meager incomes. In the Mortensen / Nelson House’s original inception as a classical hall-parlor type, great attention was paid to architectural details such as Flemish bond brickwork, high-pitched roofs, inlaid stone, bull-nose brick, and ornate cornice brackets. The Gothic Revival details combined with the classical hall-parlor form represent the evolution from early classical and Picturesque to the popular styles found outside of the territory of Utah. The addition and remodeling of the original house c. 1898 is representative of the widespread rebuilding of Sanpete Valley during the period of roughly 1890-1910. There was, in Moroni during this affluent era, a great deal of construction of new housing in the Victorian style, but the majority of the activity was seen in the remodeling of existing homes in the Victorian style. While there remain in Moroni many of the houses constructed during this time period, there are few homes left which represent the more common approach of updating existing houses to the then popular Victorian style. This home is a fine example of both the local evolution to more popular national styles and the rebuilding of the Sanpete Valley.
Else Mortensen Arnoldsen
Part of the 1870 land grant to Moroni City, this lot in block 13, plat “A” was deeded to Lars Arnoldsen in January of 1870 along with a larger lot in block 12. The lot was deeded to his first wife, Else Mortensen in November 1884 as a result of their divorce. Else Mortensen was born in 1823 in Maribo County, Denmark. At the age of 25 she married her sister’s husband, Christian Brodersen, her sister having died the previous year leaving three small children. Else had two additional children by Christian. In 1854 they became converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and as with many converts, immigrated to Utah. They crossed the plains of the United States in the Christian Christiansen handcart company in 1857.
Within a year of their arrival in Utah, Else and Christian separated and Else married Lars Arnoldsen. Lars was a native of the same county in Denmark and traveled to Utah in the same handcart company. The Lars and Else, along with Else’s two children, settled in the small town of Fountain Green in Sanpete County. Four more children were born in Fountain Green where they resided until 1865 when all the inhabitants of Fountain Green evacuated to the fort at Moroni. A fifth child was born in 1866 in Moroni.
After the fort was disbanded in 1872, the Arnoldsens remained in Moroni, having acquired (for the sum of $21.75) three acres in two town lots and seven acres of farmland. At this same time, Lars took a second wife in polygamy, Mary Ann Nielsen, by whom he had four children. According to the 1880 Federal Census of Moroni Precinct, Lars and both of his wives, with their children were all living in the same house. Only two of Else’s children were listed, however, as the oldest, Lars had left home, and two children, a son, 17, and a daughter, 15, had both died the previous year.
In 1884 Else and Lars divorced. In the settlement dated November 10th, she received (under the name of Else Mortensen) lot 1 of Block 13 and about 5 acres of farmland. This land was to revert to her three sons upon her death. After the construction of this home Else lived just six more years, dying in November of 1891 .The home was sold by her sons to Ephraim Nelson for $700 in March of 1892.
Ephraim Nelson, who purchased the home in 1892, was born 1865 in Moroni to Jens C. and Anne M. Nielsen. Shortly after his marriage in 1884 to Kjersten Jensen, the couple moved to Nephi to work in gristmill owned by her father. They moved several times over the next eight years, trying farming in Deseret for a time, but moved back to Nephi again to work in the gristmill.
In 1892, tired of moving from place to place, the Nelsons moved back to Moroni to go into the sheep business with Ephraim’s brother, Joseph. The Nelsons purchased the subject house from the sons of Else Mortensen.
The first seven years in this house saw the size of the Nelson family double from four children to eight. A large addition, which included a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and laundry room, was built on the back of the house and the original portion of the house was modified to unify the architecture of the building.
In the family photograph taken in front of the house in the summer of 1900, the alterations the Nelsons made to the house are more clearly visible in the shading of the newer brick infill. Two small windows in the center cross-gable on the front of the house were replaced with a door, and there appear to be alterations to the doors and windows on the main level as well, perhaps adding the raised segmental arches to match those in the addition.
Ephraim served two missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one to the Northern States in 1900, the other to California in 1905. The Nelsons also had four more children, making twelve in all. Ephraim Nelson bought a small farm in Freedom in 1905, leaving his 18-year-old son, Ray in charge of the Moroni property.
Ray Nelson purchased the house in Moroni from his father in 1918, but sold it the following year to Martin and Delena Stevens. In the early 1920s the Stevens added a large front porch and converted the side porch to living space, both of which have been removed during the current restoration. In April of 1924 Martin Stevens was gored by a bull in the corral just west of the house. He died as a result of his injuries leaving Delena to raise their small children alone. Inl964 Mrs. Stevens subdivided the lot, deeding the west half to her son, Nevert, where he built a home. The east half was also deeded to Nevert at this time, but Delena continued to live in the home until her shortly before her death in 1992. The house remained vacant for several years and the tax file on the property contains a note dated November 4, 1996. “Nevert Stevens came in. Several people have looked at, but can’t sell the residence. Will likely demolish.” The home was sold to McKay and Pamela Platt in June 2000, who are currently restoring the home.
Built in 1935-36, the Moroni High School Mechanical Arts Building is part
of the Utah Public Works Administration (PWA) and Works Progress
Administration (WPA) Buildings Thematic Nomination and is significant because it helps document the impact of New Deal programs in Utah, which was one of the states that the Great Depression of the 1930s most severely affected. In 1933 Utah had an unemployment rate of 36 percent, the fourth highest in the country, and for the period 1932-1940 Utah’s unemployment rate averaged 25 percent. Because the depression hit Utah so hard, federal programs were extensive in the state. Overall, per capita federal spending in Utah during the 1930s was 9th among the 48 states, and the percentage of workers on federal work projects was far above the national average. Building programs were of great importance. During the 1930s virtually every public building constructed in Utah, including county courthouses, city halls, fire stations, national guard armories, public school buildings, and a variety of others, were built under federal programs by one of several agencies, including the Civil Works Administration (CWA), the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), the National Youth Administration (NYA), the Works Progress Administration (WPA), or the Public Works Administration (PWA), and almost without exception none of the buildings would have been built when they were without the assistance of the federal government.
The Moroni High School Mechanical Arts Building is one of 233 public works buildings identified in Utah that were built during the 1930s and early 1940s. Only 130 of those 233 buildings are known to remain today and retain their historic integrity. This is one of 107 public school buildings
constructed, 55 of which remain. In Sanpete County 18 buildings were built.
This is one of 11 that remain.
The building was constructed between 1935 and 1936 as a Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) project. It was a duplicate of the Mt. Pleasant High School Mechanical Arts Building that was constructed at the same time. The project was approved in November 1934; construction began in January of 1935 and was completed in April 1936.
Other historic Mechanical Arts Buildings in Utah:
The Jabez Faux Home is significant as an excellent example of one of the first brick pioneer homes constructed in the Sanpete Valley. It is also important as the home of one of the community’s leaders of Moroni.
Jabez Faux was born in Yorkshire, England, March 16, 1837. He learned the trade of a fitter in a machine shop before joining the Mormon Church and emigrating to Utah with the Daniel Robinson Handcart Company in 1860, Shortly after his arrival in Utah, he settled in Moroni which had been established two years earlier in 1858. In Moroni he first built a dugout then a log cabin and finally the brick home in which he lived for over fifty-five years. Mr. Faux worked as a blacksmith for a short time after his arrival in Moroni before turning his attention to farming. He was director of the Moroni Cooperative Mercantile Institution established in 1868 as part of the Mormon Church effort to maintain economic independence in light of threats from the soon to be completed transcontinental railroad and non-Mormon merchants. Because of his long association with the Moroni Co-op, the store was closed in honor of Mr. Faux during his funeral in 1923. In addition to his economic pursuits, Jabez Faux filled many church .and civic positions including Sunday School Superintendent in the Moroni Ward for twenty years, Ward Clerk, and a member of the Board of Directors for the Moroni City Library and Literary Association. After Mr. Faux f s death in 1923, the home passed to members of his family but by 1950 was abandoned and remained unoccupied until 1970 when the Wilsford Clark Family purchased and renovated the home.
The Jabez Faux home is significant architecturally as the oldest known kiln-fired brick structure in its region. History leaves no evidence of the early brick-making industry in Moroni but the brick for the Faux home was probably manufactured locally inasmuch as the railroad did not come to the area until 1874 and transporting brick by freight wagon from northern counties was impractical, especially in light of the on-going Black Hawk War. It may have been the war itself that hastened the development of kilnfired brick, a building material much superior in its permanence to the adobe and wood then being used. Due to the active Black Hawk War, most pioneers in Moroni still lived in the fort. Jabez Faux may have felt the only way to reduce the risk of living outside the fort was to construct a sturdy home of the most permanent materials possible. A brick home built in 1867-68 was a significant advancement in technology for the Sanpete Valley region and nearly corresponded with the introduction of commercial-grade brick in Utah and Salt Lake Counties in 1863-64.
At a time when most homes were at best 1 1/2 stories in height, the 2 story “I-form” Faux residence was also advanced in its structure. While the 2/2 hall-parlor plan was not uncommon by the 1870’s, houses of two full stories and segmented arches in door and window bays were rare, just being introduced. The simple paired brackets and frieze, and scalloped bargeboards may have also found their precedent for the Moroni area in the Faux home. A feature which is definitely unique is the wall construction of the first story. There are seven courses of stone up to and including the course in which the sill stones are set. The remainder of the superstructure is brick. We can only speculate as to the reason stone was discontinued in favor of brick at the sill level. Fresh from England, Jabez Faux demonstrated a desire for residential refinement at an early period of colonial development and helped bring to an end the vernacular style which had previously pervaded the entirety of pioneer architecture in Moroni. (*)
Next door to the south, the Jabez Faux Jr home is a beautiful red brick home. I saw this old photo of it online.
1902 – 1932
Official outlet of ZCMI (Zion’s Co-operative Mercantile Institution), “America’s First Department Store”. This building housed the “Consolidated Mercantile” from 1902 to 1932. It was part of the ZCMI co-operative system servicing more than 150 communities in the intermountain area with retail commodities and services beginning in 1868.
The 8 photos below were copied from the real estate listing and were not taken by me.
Originally called Draper, Freedom began in 1871 and is located just west of Moroni in Sanpete County.
History of Freedom, Utah by Janice and Marlyce Rawlings
L.D.S. Ward organized: 1877-1881
L.D.S. Ward reorganized: 1897-1926
Population at its maximum; About 20 families, over 200 people
Electricity came to Freedom: 1935
The fruit orchards in Freedom were known as the best in Sanpete County. They grew apples, peaches, apricots, cherries, pears and plums. At the top of the street at the foot of the mountain there was a large piece of ground planted in strawberries and raspberries.
William L. Draper, known as “Doc Draper”, moved his family to Freedom in 1870 because it was a very lush, fertile valley where grain would grow very tall. William’s brothers Henry, Grant, Parley and Albert followed him to homestead in Freedom. They originally called this place Draper. The postal
authorities made them change the name because there was already a town called Draper, Utah, south of Salt Lake. They then renamed it Freedom because freedom was what they wanted and they felt free now to do
anything they wanted. Freedom became a County Precinct in 1875. The Drapers filed on their homesteads in 1878. The town was never incorporated. William Draper died in Freedom.
Freedom grew as many people found it a desirable place to live. At one time there were as many as twenty families making a population of over 200 people residing in Freedom. There were approximately 30 houses in Freedom during the depression. Many of the families were polygamist families. There are those who say Freedom, in the springtime, looked like the Garden of Eden.
The railroad was run from Nephi through Freedom to the coal mines in Wales. Martin Van Buren Taylor had a contract to build some of the grade for the railroad. He took his boys and some other people and built the grade from Fountain Green to Wales. There was a little shack about a mile south of Freedom which was a depot where they could flag down the train so people could get on.
The town of Freedom had a school house, church, town hall, and a small store that was connected to Dorcey Draper’s home. At first they had to go to town for their mail but eventually they had their own Post
Freedom had its own school house. In the front of a book that belonged to Glen Taylor’s sister, in the possession of Margaret Taylor at this time, it states that school started October 6, 1902. Her husband Glen Taylor told her his memory of the school as it was when he attended in 1906. The school was built of lumber and was approximately 30 feet by 50 feet in size. It was built between the old home of Joseph Draper (Dorcey’s Dad) and Frank Eliason’s fence line.
The one room school house had two large windows on the west side and had two windows on the opposite side. There were also two smaller windows on the entrance side of the school. The heating stove
was located in the center of the room. The school benches and the desks were lined up on each side of the stove. There were two students to a desk and they were seated according to the grade they were in from beginner to sixth grade. Later on single desks were purchased. There was a blackboard at the front of the room and the teacher’s desk. The children wrote on slates. There were between eight and sixteen children at various times in attendance depending on the number of eligible aged children. The children started school at the age of six and there were six grades taught in the Freedom School House.
The children of Freedom walked to school as well as the children from Jerusalem, which is a mile or more to the north of Freedom. They took their lunches with them. School started at 8:00 a.m. and let out at 4:00 p.m. They had a morning and afternoon recess at which time they played marbles, baseball, tag and other sports.
Some of the teachers were Mary D. Taylor, Hannah Hardy, Myrtle Thorpe, Sarah Sumsion, Delphia Rees and Marie Anderson. Most of them lived with families in Freedom during the school year.
After the sixth grade the children rode in a covered wagon to Moroni to school, but the children from Jerusalem still had to walk to Freedom to ride in the wagon to school. They had blankets and heated rocks to keep them warm on the trip during the winter. The trip took two hours with the horses at a fast trot. It was dark when they left Freedom and dark when they returned. The children did their studies at night by lamplight. Lather on they got a school bus. The one room school house in Freedom was closed down in about 1918. The children were then bused to Moroni and it was only a ten to fifteen minute ride.
Freedom’s L.D.S. Church
When the Sanpete Stake of Zion was organized July 4, 1877, the saints of Draper were organized into a ward called Freedom, with Henry Draper as Bishop. He acted as Bishop until 1880, soon after this the ward organization was discontinued, and the members were transferred to Moroni.
When the polygamist family of Martin Van Buren Taylor moved to Freedom a new ward was organized on May 5, 1897, with Martin Van Buren Taylor as Bishop. The church house was on the north east corner where the road turns to go to Maple Canyon. It had a nice organ in it, which the people of
Freedom purchased. The organ, pulpit and clock from the church are in the DUP room in Moroni. In 1926 the Freedom Ward was dissolved because so many families had moved away. The few remaining families were put in the Moroni West Ward.
Freedom Cemetery (see this page for photos)
After Doc Draper lost a four month old son and a five year old girl in 48 hours he buried them side by side on his farm. This was the beginning of the Freedom Cemetery in 1885. Doc Draper’s father then came to live with them in Freedom, and he died one year later on May 28, 1886. He was the next person to be buried in the cemetery. The Doc, himself, died May 2, 1887 and was buried there too. There are many children buried in the cemetery because there was an epidemic of Diphtheria which took the lives of many of them.
There is one Indian buried in the cemetery and his name is “Indian Jim” or Jin Wanup. The Mt. Pleasant DUP put a beautiful marble headstone on his grave in 1975 but his name is misspelled on it. It is spelled James Onump on his headstone. He was a full blooded Ute Indian. Indian Jim was a good friend to the people of Freedom and he would spy for them and let them know when the Indians were going to attack. The people of Freedom built him a dugout to live in on the west side of Freedom.
The cemetery is still visited by many people each Memorial Day and other times during the year. It is still a very peaceful and quaint little cemetery where those that come can remember what Freedom used to be like.
Chester was founded by David Candland. In the beginning the town was named Canal Creek after the waterway from which the community received its water. Candland then changed the name to Chesterfield after his hometown in England; it was later reduced to Chester.
This community (like several others) claims to be the closest to the geographic center of Utah.
Erected in 1865 on order of General D.H. Wells to protect the settlers during the Black Hawk War. The fort covered the present City Hall Block and westward with 12 ft. rock walls supporting cabins along the inside. The bastion stood on the Lincoln School Lots. Its walls 3 x 16 ft. held port holes which gave a view of the entire valley. In 1866, when nearby settlers were ordered to move into the fort, Fountain Green occupied the N.E. section; Wales, the West side; and Moroni, the remainder.