This elegant stone house was built in 1883 for Isaac Behunin, one of the first settlers in Sanpete County. Mixing Gothic style inspired dormers with Greek cornice detailing, the house exemplifies the decorative eclecticism found in Mormon domestic architecture of the period. Behunin sold the house to Simon T. Beck in 1887 for $1,200. Mr. Beck was a wealthy sheepman.
The Anthony W. Bessey Home 415 North 300 West in Manti, Utah
Anthony Bessey probably had this small stone house built shortly after his arrival in Manti in 1858. The home has a long association with the Bessey family and certainly construction features indicate an early building date. The house is historically important because as one of the first group of homes built outside the Manti forts, it represents the initial stage of local community development. Architecturally the Bessey House is significant as one of a number of typical house types utilized by the early Utah settlers and becomes an important example of Sanpete vernacular building.
The town of Manti, settled in 1849 by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, was the first town in the Sanpete Valley Colony. Colonists arrived in the fall of 1849 and after wintering in dugouts and wagon boxes, laid out a city in the spring and summer of 1850.1 By the winter some 20 log homes had been erected and work was beginning on a meetinghouse. One year later travelers to Manti reported seeing “several handsome two-story adobe houses, many one story dwellings, a good grist mill and a sawmill.” Threat of Indian attack caused a general pattern of fort building in the 1852-1854 period. Mormon forts were erected to enclose rows of small dwellings and the Walker War (1853-1855) made the security of protected habitation attractive to Manti residents. Peace in the later years of the decade allowed Manti residents to move out to their city lots and begin again the process of city building It was about this time, in 1858, that Anthony Bessey arrived in Manti.
Anthony Wayne Bessey was born in 1835 in Bethel, Maine. In his early years Bessey followed both the cabinetmaking and shoemaking trades. By the 1850’s Bessey had joined the Mormon church and in 1857 he migrated westward to “Zion” in Utah. At first he made shoes in Salt Lake City but in 1858 he moved his family south to the Sanpete Valley and settled in Manti. Here Bessey farmed and pursued his shoe making trade and by 1870 had a personal value of about $700 in property. For 18 years Bessey occupied a position on the high council of the Sanpete Stake of the Mormon church. In 1873-1875 he served as City Mayor and was elected to the city council in the years 1883-1890. Bessey probably had this small stone house built shortly after his arrival in Manti, c.1860. The house is an excellent example of the sturdy homes the Mormon pioneers built during the early stages of great basin settlement. In selecting a house design, Bessey followed a well-known traditional plan.
The Anthony Bessey House, built c.1860, is a 1-1/2 story square cabin folk/vernacular house type (see plan drawing). Measuring 22’x 17′ on the exterior, the house is one of the larger single unit square homes to be found in Utah. The second story is quite spacious and is reached by a boxed staircase which runs along the south wall. The stairs to the cellar run underneath those leading to the upper floor. On the north wall is the fireplace which is extremely large, more than 6′ in width. The interior has been remodeled to contemporary standards.
Externally the Bessey House is in excellent condition and virtually unaltered. The wall material is oolite limestone most certainly extracted from the “Temple Hill Quarry” several blocks to the east. The façade is coursed ashlar; the mortar is flush with incised lines emphasizing the geometrical coursing. Other walls are less handsomely treated and while they are cut-stone they lack the even coursing present on the façade.
The house has a simple gable roof with stone fireplace at the north located internally in the wall. The stone end walls extend up to the ridge of the roof in the gables. Decoration is minimal with the heavy stone lintels over the façade openings the only suggestion of ornamentation. The façade itself is unusually asymmetrical. The front door is placed centrally, but windows occur only to the right or north side. The upstairs window is a “half” window, typical of 1-1/2 story structures. To the left of the door the wall is blank. This fenestration pattern is distinctive in its unabashed asymmetry but can possibly be partially explained by internal factors. On the south wall, beginning right at the southeast corner, the staircase extends about 3′ into the room. Windows on this end of the façade would be partially blocked by the staircase so were deleted from the overall design.
Alterations which detract from the home’s historic appearance are few. There is a one story plastered adobe room added to the rear. This west room is gabled with a brick stone flue chimney and is undoubtedly a 19th century addition to the original square house. A modern gabled front door canopy is the only serious alteration of the original house.
The square bay (roughly square) evolved as a folk building unit in England during middle ages and was employed extensively in cottage construction. The house appeared as a one-room type (with or without upper loft) as was utilized extensively throughout the English American Colonies.” Advancing westward, the “square-cabin” type house is ubiquitous on the American frontier. Mormon examples have been recorded at Nauvoo, Illinois and the square cabin house was extensively dispersed throughout the IDS western communities. Anthony Bessey most certainly would have been familiar with such a square house plan in his native Maine and opted for this rather modest design in his new western home.
The Bessey House is one of a number of folk building types employed by Manti residents in the first stages of settlement. The house is typical of smaller, more inexpensive homes built by the pioneers. Despite its rather distinctive façade, this house gains its architectural and historical significance through its unexceptional nature, i.e., its ability to define the capabilities of the average. There are both larger and smaller homes in Manti, built by people who had both more and less than Anthony Bessey. Bessey’s home, taken in the larger context of vernacular building tradition of the area, helps expand the historical record to include the total population, not just a small percentage of exceptional individuals.
Rasmus Justesen was a sheepman and polygamist who built this 1-1/2 story stucco-over-adobe for his first wife, Sarah Shepherd and her family. In addition to his sheep business, Rasmus fought in the Black Hawk Indian War, sat on the Spring City Council in 1876 and was elected mayor twice, in 1880 and in 1897.
This small, brick one-part commercial block was built by John R. Baxter in 1915 and at first operated as a confectionery in conjunction with the theater. It served as a confectionery for over 63 years, selling penny candy and operating as an ice cream parlor.
The Lars Andersen house in Ephraim is architecturally significant as an example of Scandinavian folk building in Utah. The house contributes historically to the thematic nomination, “The Scandinavian-American Pair-house in Utah.”
Lars S. Andersen was born in 1829 in Denmark. Converting to the LDS Church in 1852, he emigrated to Utah in the winter of 1855. Arriving in Ephraim in the summer of 1856, Andersen soon became a leading citizen of this community. He was primarily a farmer, but also served as tithing clerk, and director of the Ephraim Co-op Store. Active in the Church, Andersen was a counselor to the Stake President, Canute Petersen, and filled a Danish mission in 1873-1875. In 1879 he became bishop of Ephraim.
The following is from sanpete.com: This Gothic Revival/Romanesque-influenced stone LDS Chapel was constructed between 1898 and 1914, although an inscription stone bears the date”1902.” Richard C. Watkins was the architect of this spectacular edifice. Scandinavian masons John F. Bohlin (1844-1924), Jens J. Carlson (1848-1927), Lars Larsen (1852-1924) and Jens ‘Rock’ Sorensen did the stone work. The carpenter’s name was Emil Erickson. The building has an elegant, horseshoe-shaped gallery accessible by a stairway in the tower. The chapel features a sloping floor and an ornamental oak pulpit at the west end. Behind the pulpit, hand-grained sliding doors opened into the annex. From the original exposed flooring to the vaulted and beamed ceiling, the interior is replete with beautifully detailed woodworking, all following the Gothic theme. The pulpit and the handmade rostrum chairs for the ward leadership are skillfully carved. The pew ends are decoratively milled, as is the sacrament table. The exterior is equally impre3ssive with its tall, Gothic windows, tall stone tower and buttress and overall massiveness and solidity.
The chapel was conceived in 1882 by LDS bishop James Anderson Allred (1819-1904), who appointed a committee of twenty men to plan the project. It eventually was built at a cost of $40,000, with $6,000 received from church funds, and the remainder being donated by the men and women of Spring City ward. A masterpiece of LDS Church architecture, this chapel was dedicated in March 1914 by Anthon F. Lund, counselor to Mormon Church President Joseph F. Smith. During construction, a classroom annex was added to the rear. A compatible addition was made on the north in 1978, using rock from the same quarry to carefully match the design elements.
This house offers a view of the range of Spring City’s architectural tradition. Built c. 1875, the original structure was a stone, hall-parlor house. The rear adobe addition was probably completed within just a few years after the main portion. Little is known about Iver Petersen, except that he also built the stone granary located on the property. The granary is one of the best preserved and most substantial granaries of Spring City.
Iver Petersen (1844-1881), a Danish immigrant, built this stone, hall-parlor plan house in the mid 1870s. A rear adobe addition was constructed shortly thereafter. He died at a young age leaving a widow with several young children. A stone granary behind the house has been made into a living space.(*)
In the 1920’s, N. E. Larsen opened this General Store in the center of Sterling. The painted masonry storefront with its stepped gable and varied collection of colorful signs remains in operation today as one of the few “mom and pop” grocery stores to survive modernization.
The store opened when Larsen’s daughter Lillie was six months old; from that time on Lillie spent her life in the Sterling General Store. The general merchandise store has changed with the times. Originally, the merchandise came in bulk so people bought fifty pound sacks of flour and sugar. A black ring on the floor marks the spot where the old vinegar barrel stood. Kerosene was sold in bulk for lanterns, commonly used in Sterling homes that lacked electricity. Milk and eggs from local farmers were sold here and the children often traded farm eggs for pieces of penny candy. In August of 1945, Lillie and her husband Evan Thomas opened their own business in Lillie’s father’s old store and moved in. The the past 63 years, Lillie has served three generations of Sterling residents and travelers from behind the Counter of the Thomas Grocery. Lillie passed away May 14, 2008 at her home in Sterling at age 93.(*)
The Meiling-Seely House, 91 South 500 West, Mt. Pleasant, Utah
A Danish immigrant, Jens C. Meiling, built the first, smaller part of this fine brick home in 1870. the bulk of this one-of-a-kind residence was erected around the earlier house, in 1890 by John H. Seely. Influenced heavily by Neo-classicism, the house has round-columned, classical porches, a bracketed cornice, two-story, square corner tower and extensive ornamental brickwork.
Meiling came from Denmark and in 1859 acquired 20 acres of farmland in Mt. Pleasant. He supplemented his income by making bricks. For many years, Sanpete settlers had difficulty securing clay of sufficient quality to produce fired brick and relied mainly upon sun-dried adobe as a building material. Meiling’s brick yard, located just west of town, was the first in Mt. Pleasant to turn out kiln-fired bricks, probably in the late 1860’s. Meiling sold the house to John H. Seely in 1887 for $1500. Seely was one of the most successful livestock breeders in the Intermountain West. He is credited with introducing purebred French Rambouillet sheep into Utah during the 1890’s. His achievements with selective breeding improved Utah’s range stock, contributing directly to the remarkable success of the local sheep industry during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Seely helped make Mt. Pleasant the Rambouillet breeding capital of the world, as well as the commercial center of central Utah’s livestock industry.(*)