Located at 2783 N State Street in Mt Pleasant, Utah – the Henry Martin Bohne and Juiett Day Bohne home stands out as one of the few on the highway between Mt Pleasant and Fairview. It was built in 1896 from hand chipped white oolite stone.
This page is documenting the exterior of the museum, see the link below to see the interior.
The museum consists of 2 main buildings: the 115+ year old, former school, Heritage building which contains historical collections and the works of world renown sculptor Dr. Avard T Fairbanks, and the more contemporary Horizon building which houses regional art, the Colombian Mammoth (named Spirit), historical displays, Clark Bronson bronze collection and other services.(*)
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.
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.
The Johnson-Nielson House at 351 N Main Street in Ephraim, Utah.
The Johnson /Nielson house, built in about 1895, is one of several distinctive Queen Anne brick houses to be constructed in Ephraim, Sanpete County, Utah, during the late 19th century. ( other significant Queen Anne examples are the Larsen-Noyes house and the Dorius-Olsen house) These houses are significant because they represent, first, a dramatic shift in architectural thinking away from the rigid symmetry of earlier vernacular designs, including types transplanted from Scandinavia, and second, the emergence of a local elite who capitalized upon the expanding livestock industry of the 1880s and 1890s. This house was built by Soren Johnson, a Danish contractor who also ran the Union Hotel in Ephraim. Louis B. Nielson purchased the house in 1905 and from here managed one of Sanpete County’s most successful livestock businesses. Nielson raised quality Rambouillet sheep and developed a valuable fine stapled, long fiber, crinkled wool.
The town of Ephraim in Sanpete County was settled in 1853 by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons, as part of the larger colonization of the Great Basin region during the second half of the nineteenth century. Like most other early Utah towns, Ephraim 1 s economy was based upon a rather limited subsistence-oriented agricultural system. Typical farm homes of the pioneer period were generally fashioned around a small number of vernacular house types which were outwardly symmetrical in design. This traditional architectural aesthetic, imported into Utah from the eastern U.S., prevailed in Sanpete County until the closing decades of the century when newly introduced Victorian styles conspired with an emerging lucrative livestock industry to dramatically change the architectural complexion of the area. After 1870 factors such as a favorable climate, the availability of open range land, and the accessibility of eastern markets over the newly completed transcontinental railroad, led to the rapid expansion of sheep ranching in Utah. in Sanpete County, many local businesses flourished in the wake of the livestock boom. New homes erected during this period followed the Victorian stylistic preferences for visual complexity and asymmetry with the Queen Anne and Eastlake styles being particularly popular. Soren Johnson’s Union Hotel profited from the flush times and in 1895 he built a fine new Queen Anne home which reflected the changing architectural tastes of the Ephraim community.
Soren J. Johnson, the original owner of the home, was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1860. He emigrated to Minnesota as a boy of 14 and later, probably in the 1870s, arrived in the Danish-Mormon colony of Ephraim. Here he was befriended by Anthon Lund, a local church leader who later became one of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Lund was responsible for converting Johnson to the Latter-day Saint faith. In the 1880s, Johnson married Anna Sophie Dorius, the daughter of one of Ephraim’s leading citizens, C.C.N Dorius. Johnson was a painter and house builder by trade, but also served as manager for Anthon Lund’s furniture business and later was owner-proprietor of Ephriam’s Union Hotel. In the early 1890s, the large Queen Anne brick house on the north side of town was designed and constructed by Johnson himself. The house was completed in about 1895. However, by 1900, Johnson’s main activities were centered around the prosperous Union Hotel, so he moved his family into residence there and rented out the house.
In 1905, Johnson was becoming increasingly worried about the worldly influence of hotel living on his religious family. The rapidly expanding Sanpete livestock industry was drawing considerable outside attention and the Union Hotel was becoming the Ephraim home for many non-Mormon traveling salesmen, drummers, and businessmen. Johnson concluded that a hotel was not the place to instill the proper values in his growing family, so in 1905 he sold both the business and his house and moved to Salt Lake City. In the capitol city he became a successful developer-contractor-builder and is perhaps best known for his work on the Capitol Hill Ward for the LDS Church.
When Johnson moved north in 1905, he sold his fine brick home to Louis B. and Ann Nielson for $1,000. Prior to purchasing this home the Nielsons lived in a two room house that was formerly a chicken coop. They then moved to Second Pigeon Hollow, where they lived in an adobe house supposedly built by Willy Larsen. Four sons were born there.
Louis B. Nielson raised quality Rambouillet sheep, which proved to be of primary importance to the rapidly expanding agricultural base of Sanpete County. The county would eventually became a Rambouillet breeding capitol of the sheep world. In 1897 W. S. Hansen and John H. Seeley purchased pure-bred Rambouillet sheep from France (see John H. Seeley House) In 1907 Mr. Nielson purchased 100 head of these, of which “Old Wood” was one who made the Nielson Sheep Company famous. The ram weighed 350 Ibs. and sheared 42 Ibs. of wool for two years in succession, probably the world’s champion wool producer. Through selective breeding Mr. Nielson developed a fine stapled, long fibre, crinkled wool. He shipped lambs to Nebraska and Missouri, receiving gold as a portion of the payment. Mr. Nielson owned about 1,000 acres of land on the west side of the valley, in addition to extensive grazing permits in the East Mountains. He had about 1,000 head of Rambouillet sheep.
Mr. Nielson, David Madsen and A. C. Anderson devised a plan to excavate a ditch on the East Mountain. They followed a survey along the “Low Pass” to bring needed water to Ephraim and the valley farms. Months were spent on the project. A similar plan, in a similar location, was later adapted by Ephraim City to increase the water supply. The old ditch is still visible.
Glen J. Nielson, and his wife Virginia purchased this home from the Louis B. Neilson estate on January 24, 1938. Glen is the fifth child, and the first one born in this home. He was a pioneer in the now prominent turkey raising industry. His were the first “broad-breasted Mammoth bronze” turkeys. He was successful in this venture. He also had an outstanding herd of Rambouillet sheep. He pioneered the huge, white Charolais industry in Ephraim, and received national awards on his heifers, after following selective breeding procedures. He owned several farms in Sanpete where he ran his turkeys, cattle, and sheep.
Glen Nielson served in various positions in the city, including a term on the City Council, and was a counselor and then Bishop in the Ephraim West Ward. The present chapel was constructed under his jurisdiction. Following his release as Bishop he was sustained as a Patriarch in the South Sanpete Stake.
The Johnson-Nielson house, built about 1895, is one of several distinctive Queen Anne houses constructed in Ephraim during the late nineteenth century. Soren Johnson, the original owner, was born in Denmark in 1860. A painter and house builder, Johnson designed and constructed this house himself. In 1905 he sold it to Louis B. and Ann Nielson, prosperous Ramouillet sheep raisers. Their son, Glen J., and his wife Virginia, purchased the house in 1938. They continued in the Ramouillet and agriculture industry. He pioneered the broad-breasted mammoth bronze turkey and charolais cattle industry in Ephraim.
Built in 1911 by six local businessmen, Ephraim Social Hall is an imposing two-level, three-story tall commercial brick building. The interior capacity is stunning. Originally, the expansive first floor housed the J.F. McCafferty general store in front and the Consolidated Wagon and Machine Co. in the rear. A grand social hall on the second floor is still intact today with 22 foot-high ceilings, tall windows and an enormous dance floor made of maple hardwood. The second floor also contained a ticket room/coat room and ladies and gentleman’s parlors.
Ephraim Social Hall came alive in 1911, as the blazing light of large tungsten lamps reflected in full length mirrors and a live orchestra played for dancers, while spectators sat in galleries.
The building is now owned by Roy Crouch and the downstairs is a pizza parlor and the upstairs is still used as a dance hall.