This location, 70 N State St in Mt Pleasant, Utah has been many things over the years. From the “Mormon Fort” to the Church’s Mt. Pleasant Co-Op Building, to the Hyrum Hansen home and Lowry’s Cafe and more.
While David and Alta Lowry were running Lowry’s Cafe it was the only so called nice, sit down place in town and was popular for many activities such as high school prom. They also leased the Chevron station next door and their son ran it.
This full two-story brick home was built in 1875. Located on a corner, the north facade partakes of formal early American styling, especially the Federal and Creek Revival influences. Notice the symmetry, six-over-six windows and Federal lintels, central porch and entry doors and bracketed Creek Revival cornice. The east elevation has a cross-wing plan with recessed entry and original porch.
Morten Rasmussen was one of the original settlers in Mt. Pleasant. His wife Karen crossed the plains in an 1857 handcart company and met Morten while visiting friends in Ephraim. He helped erect the first fort and they lived there for two years, where Karen gave birth to a son Martin, the first male born in Mt. Pleasant. They moved here and built a two-room shed where Sophia and Lars were born. Their next house was a three-room adobe where John Mary, Annie, Henry and Erastus were born. Building this brick house was the pride of family members, who all assisted with the work. The boys hauled wood from the cedar hills to build fire for the kiln. Some of the bricks were fired too long and thus used on the back of the house where inconspicuous. Born here were Daniel, George, Will and Hyrum for a total of eleven children. Morten died here in 1885, followed by Karen 15 years later. In 1959 the house passed to Esther Rasmussen Rasmussen Christensen, the last of Morten and Karen’s grandchildren to be born in the home.(*)
The property on which Ursenbach Funeral Home stands was originally owned by the U.S. Government. A patent was given to William S. Seely, Mayor of Mount Pleasant, for 1,279.84 acres, “…in trust for the several use and benefit of the inhabitants of the town of Mount Pleasant.” This was dated May 1, 1872 and recorded March 20, 1874.
William S. Seely issued a deed to William Morrison on behalf of the Mount Pleasant School District, dated April 1, 1870 and recorded March 7, 1876. A school known as the ‘North Ward’ school was built on the property. When the larger Hamilton School was built a warranty deed was issued to transfer the property to Mount Pleasant City, on February 15, 1898 and recorded March 11, 1898. The building was used as City Hall.
Joseph and Amy Ursenbach bought the land on December 13, 1939. They remodeled the building and used half as a residence and half for their Funeral Home. The building was just one story at that time, with very high ceilings. A second floor was added to the residence creating three bedrooms, a bathroom and storage upstairs. The family lived in what is now the chapel while the remodeling was completed. They had very poor kitchen facilities by today’s standards: a coal stove, a kitchen table and a sink built on a very small makeshift counter.
There were big garages behind the building with large foundations which had to be relocated. The city moved the buildings and the family had to remove the foundations with dynamite. There was a bell tower on the front of the building that was also removed.
The building was flooded more than once before a flood dam was built east of town. In the flood of 1947 their neighbor’s barn ended up next to the house and some funeral equipment was swept away by the water. There is still some flood mud in the basement.
On September 2, 1965 Earl and Mary Ursenbach purchased the building and land. Amy still lived in the building and was active in business until her death in 1996. An addition was made on the north side of the building in 1979 adding an office and casket display room. Earl passed away in 1995, leaving the business to his family.
In 1997 the building was restored to look much like the original, adding a bell tower , and changing the windows. The inside of the building was remodeled, enlarging the Funeral Home to better serve the people of our community.
The N.S. Nielson House, built in 1890, represents the economic prosperity enjoyed in Mt. Pleasant due to the successful Intermountain livestock industry. N.S. Nielson, born in Sweden in 1848, was a prominent local sheep rancher and businessman. The house is an outstanding example of eclectic architectural design in rural Utah.
This elaborate, Queen Anne Style, one-and-one-half-story, brick home was built in 1890 by N.S. Neilson. It is a flamboyant example of Victorian massing and detailing as applied to a cross-wing house plan. The house was built in two stages; the first was completed about 1890 as a single cross-wing house; the second in 1892 creatively combined various new stylistic components such as the round portico, and square Mansard-roofed tower. There are five stained-glass windows, a variety of window and roof types, a formal main entry and classical ornament. This house has beautifully painted ceilings done by Carl Anderson who painted the Salt Lake City Play House.
N.S. Neilson was a Swedish immigrant; previously, he had been a serf in Sweden who worked for royalty. Neilson achieved the American dream after coming to Utah. He became a wool grower and prosperous local merchant, owning acreage and this fine house. Years later, this home was sold by Ruth James to Jay and Ethel L. Winkelman. The couple renovated the home and converted the carriage house to a four-car garage with a large recreation room on top. Later the home became a bed and breakfast called the Main Street Inn.(*)
The Kinema was originally the Star Theatre in 1922. L.C. and Nada Lund ran it and when their son, L. Trux Lund took over he renamed it to the Kinema. It and the next door Queen City Dance Ballroom never recovered from the fire in February of 1990.
Built c. 1861, this house is significant as the reported site of the signing, in September 1872, of the final peace treaty that ended the Black Hawk War between Mormon settlers and Indians in the area. William S. Seeley was prominent in the establishment and subsequent growth of the City of Mt. Pleasant, serving for nearly thirty years as the LDS Bishop in the community and concurrently as mayor for a total of seven years. Seeley lived in this house, reportedly the first built outside the walls of the pioneer fort, until his death in 1895.
The house is also significant as a well-preserved example of the central passage plan, a house type common in Utah from 1847 to 1900 but relatively rare in Mt. Pleasant. The rear additions were built c, 1880 and c, 1910. While the house has been covered with stucco, as was common with many adobe buildings, it is significant as one of the oldest and best preserved pioneer era structures in Mt. Pleasant.
The weather vane on top of the Relic Home is from the Old North Ward Church which was demolished in about 1950, donated by Joan Stevens McAllister in memory of her father, Arnold Stevens.