This red brick building completed in 1938 was financed by Mrs. Hortense McQuarrie Odlum to house pioneer relics. The addition was financed by Ferol McQuarrie Kincade in 1985. Daughters of Utah pioneers volunteer their serves as docents for the museum.
The Wallace Blake House is significant as an excellent example of the vernacular style of architecture using native materials in Utah’s Dixie. Although it was constructed in 1908, more than fifty years after the initial settlement of the area, the Wallace Blake House reflects the style and craftsmanship of houses constructed a half century earlier. In this vein the house stands as one of the last of the pioneer era and marks the transition from house construction characterized by a local style, the use of local materials and local craftsmen to one more general and universal in nature.
The Wallace Blake house was constructed in 1908 with native stone originally used in the construction of the Price City LDS Chapel built in 1876. The house was constructed by Dode Wirthen a local stone mason who constructed many rock buildings in Utah’s Dixie. Woodwork on the house was done by Brigham Carpenter.
Wallace Blake was born January 31, 1880 at St. George, the son of Frederick and Eliza Barnett Blake. He married Isadore Larsen, a native of Bloomington on October 24, 1901. They purchased the home site and farm in June 1908 and immediately commenced construction of the house. Wallace Blake was initially a farmer and stockman by profession but later turned his attention to mining activities. In 1920 Isadore Blake died shortly after giving birth to the couple’s sixth son. The loss of his wife was a tragic event to Wallace Blake and he soon lost interest in farming or remaining in the house he had shared with his wife for twelve years. On October 31, 1921 Blake exchanged his house and property for a house in St. George owned by James S. Jones.
The Jones family lived in the house until 1928 when they sold the property and house to Albert A. McCain who remained in the house until 1937. Both James S. Jones and Albert McCain continued to farm the land. Albert McCain also helped make brooms with a nearby neighbor, Alfred Carpenter.
On December 21, 1937, Washington County took over the McCain property and held it until March 26, 1940 when D. H. Heaton redeemed it. The house was used on occasion by Heaton and his sons while they raised cattle and sheep in the area. However during the last quarter century the house has been allowed to deteriorate through neglect and lack of use. ln June 1976 the house was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Matthew R. Simmons who plan to restore the house. The house is located in the new community of Bloomington and and serves as an important tie to the past for the residents of the modern recreation community of Bloomington.
The main structure of the Wallace Blake House is a one room, one story three bay front farm house rendered in coursed rubble limestone having one chimney of stone at the east gable end. The massing of the various sections of the structure indicate that the three bay rectangular possibly one room house was built first with a centered rear projecting bay added later to form a ‘T’ shape plan. This rear addition has a hipped roof with an off-centered stone chimney at its rear wall.
The third addition also in stone was added as a wing to the east gable end of the original structure. This addition extends back connecting with the rear bay of the house making the overall plan somewhat resemble an “L” shape. The addition was made shortly after completion of the original structure. A lean-to shed was the last apparent addition to the building, it extended along the east side of the third addition.
Entry portals are to be found on all sides of the building and its various additions. The windows flanking the original entry on the structure are the largest and were probably two-over-two sashes or possibly six-over-six. The remainder of the windows to be found in the structure are somewhat smaller and were most likely two-over-two. The third addition has two sets of windows set side by side into the front wall of the house. All window and door tops are flat supported by wood lintels. All walls are load bearing masonry with the original portion of the house showing some evidence of stucco having been applied to the exterior of the walls. An ancillary out building used &s a granary is set just to the west and has its rear wall in line with the rear wall of the second addition rear wall. This structure has a rectangular shape having a west entry. Stone used in this structure is also covered rubble and is somewhat larger than that found in the adjacent house. The roof is a gable shape having a roof slope less than that of the main house. The windows in this building are set high in the walls, set under the eaves. Their shape is basically rectangular laid out vertically. Basement windows in this structure project about two feet above the ground level with the opening supported by heavy timber lintels.
Both the main house and granary were built approximately at the same time and have walls about 18″ thick, the roofs of the buildings were composed of vertically layed flat sawed lumber with shingles covering the surface. The ridge lines of the roof were capped with one of four inch boards.
The timbers used throughout the house are from Main & Trumbull, Arizona, an important source for lumber for construction projects in Utah’s Dixie. Many of the original shingles remain on the roof. The interior walls are plastered and several rooms covered with wallpaper. Originally there was a fireplace in the living room (later closed and replaced by a stove) and stoves in each of the other three rooms.
This is S.U.P. Marker # 173, see the others in the series on this page.
Jacob Hamblin, pioneer, missionary and friend to the Indians, planted cottonseed in the fertile river bottoms near here in 1855. A settlement was established the next year called Tonaquint, after a local band of Indians that were located there. As part of the Cotton Mission, four families built a few log cabins and willow huts. Sometimes called Lower Clara, with nicknames of Seldom Sap, Never Sweat and Lick Skillet, it was abandoned in 1862 due to a series of floods. However, some farming was continued and it was later known as Seep Ditch.
This is S.U.P. Marker # 174, see the others in the series on this page.
Near this spot, in the fall of 1859, Brigham Young, statesman and leader of the Mormon people, silently gazed at Pine Valley Mountain, and then the valley and hills of black lava and vermillion rock before him. He saw in vision a thriving community. With a sweep of his arm he spoke: “There will yet be built between those volcanic ridges, a city of spires, towers and steeples, with homes containing many inhabitants.”
This is S.U.P. Marker # 176, see the others in the series on this page.
In 1826, Jedediah Smith, searching for a route to California, entered what is now Washington County by crossing the black ridge north of here then following Ash Creek to the Virgin River. He followed the Virgin River through the Virgin River Narrows (present route of I-15) overcoming many dangers associated with the steep, narrow, winding, rugged canyon. In 1827, he returned to California following the same route to the confluence of Santa Clara Creek and the Virgin River. Anxious to avoid a repetition of his experience in the Virgin River Narrows, he proceeded up Santa Clara Creek and turned southwest over the low mountain (present day Old Highway US 91) to a ravine which led him to the Beaver Dam Wash and its confluence with the Virgin River.
This is S.U.P. Marker # 175, see the others in the series on this page.
In the fall of 1849, Brigham Young formed the Southern Exploring Company led by Parley P. Pratt. Through that winter this company of 50 men explored potential town sites and resources from Nephi to present day St. George as part of Young’s plan for a corridor to the sea, also called the Mormon Corridor. Twenty of the company under Pratt reached their further point south at the confluence of the Santa Clara and Virgin Rivers on January 1, 1850, near this monument. Their reports resulted in the settlement of all the towns between Nephi and St. George.
Warm rain on recently-fallen snow in areas destroyed by wildfires during the summer of 2004 contributed greatly to the flood of January, 2005, which occurred along the Virgin and Santa Clara Rivers. Along with sever bridges in the area such as this bridge, many people lost their homes and belongings. The cost of this flood was great and extremely devastating to many family who lost everything. But the compassion that was shown that winter by the people of Saint George was something to be remembered.
This monument is dedicated to the shoes who lost so much and to those who gave much as well – families helping families, neighbors helping neighbors, and strangers helping stranger. To all who remember this flood or were in any way involved in it, we will not soon forget.
History of the Main Street Bridge
This bridge was original placed across the Ash Creek at the base of the black ridge on the old Arrowhead Trail. In 1942 Washington County decided to move this abandoned bridge ant place it at the end of Main Street in order to provide another access to Bloomington. At that time Interstate 15 was nonexistent and the south end of Main Street went up to this point where the Virgin and Santa Clara Rivers meet.
Elton McArther later know as “Weldin’ Eldon” has not yes finished welding classes when he was asked by Washington County to provide welding serviced. Washington County rented a welding machine from Ashby-McQuaid, an auto repair shop here in Saint Gerge, and along with Eldon’s Older brother Rex, they put together and welded the supporting members of this bridge.
Due to the war effort, it was difficult to find metal, but after several days the laborious task was finished. This bridge would then be used for the next 63 years as an additional access to Bloomington and as part of the bike trail until the flood in January 0f 2005 when it was ripped apart and washed away. This steel truss is all that remains today.
The Last Man Standing on the Main Street Bridge
On Tuesday, January 11th, during the flood of 2005, a citizen called the police and said that this bridge was shaking and that it might collapse. Fortunately, Captain Lorin Johnson was close by. He drove over to the bridge as he spoke with the gentleman who called the police he could see the bridge sinking slowly and the concrete start to crack. Carly, he told everyone to get off the bridge. People came from both directions of the bike trail to see what was happening and Captain Johnson kept them from coming too close. Very quickly the west side collapsed. The steel screamed as it bent. Rivets popped and the bridge dropped three or four feet into the water. The north side of the bridge disconnected, and as the river pulled it downstream, it broke in two. Had of the bridge floated down the river, and the other half wrapped around itself to the south bank. A small part of the bridge was left, including the steel girder you see before you. Thanks to Captain Johnson citizens were spared injury that day.
In November 1849 a little-known expedition was sent by Brigham Young to explore southern Utah for possible future settlement. This fifty-man party was led by Apostle Parley P. Pratt.
On Tuesday, January 1, 1850, twenty horse-mounted members of this party made camp near the confluence of the Santa Clara and Virgin Rivers. This historic event was mentioned in their journals and the union of these rivers can be seen from this mark. After their long difficult winter journeyer that at times requires struggling through snow up to four feet deep, they brought back descriptions and information that soon led to the settling of southern Utah.
In his report to the territorial legislature Pratt wrote:
“I arrived home on Wednesday evening, the 30th of Jan. having been absent ten weeks. The pack company soon after, some with frozen limbs but I believe generally in good health and Spirits.
I now wish to bear witness of the fifty who accompanied me on this expedition, and to have them in honorable remembrance…I Have never seen men placed in circumstances better calculated to try their utmost strength and patience. And at onetime, another half-mile of deep snow intervening between them and camp would have cause every man to sink exhausted without being able to force their way any longer.
They are first-rate men, and I have promised to remember them for the very next undertaking which requires toil, labor and sacrifice.”
I have the honor to subscribe myself your obedience servant,
Parly P. Pratt”