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Utah Historical Quarterly Special Events

The Utah State Historical Society sponsors a regular series of lectures highlighting the work and scholarship of the Utah Historical Quarterly, the state’s official history journal. These lectures feature the latest work of writers and historians on significant, varied topics in Utah history. All members of the public are cordially invited to our events. Please check back on this webpage for an updated listing of upcoming events and access recordings of our past lectures.

Upcoming Event

Created and Preserved: Using Objects to Understand Women in Utah History
Wednesday, July 22, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thatcher-Young Mansion, 35 West 100 South, Logan, UT 84321

Three-genThe July 2015 Utah Historical Quarterly lecture will focus on the experiences of Utah women in the late 1800s and early 1900s, in part by examining objects that they created, used, and preserved. Christine Cooper-Rompato, an English professor at USU, will describe the inventions and lives of several nineteenth-century Utah women who received patents in their own names. Holly George, co-managing editor of UHQ, will discuss a remarkable collection of wedding dresses at the Utah State Historical Society that comes from five generations of a Utah family. The lecture is free and open to the public.




Event Archives

Spring 2015

Inventing the State of Deseret
May 20, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Eccles Community Art Center in Ogden, Utah

deseretBruce Worthen discusses the tense negotiations between the Mormons and Washington over statehood, as seen through the eyes of Utah’s congregational delegate John Bernhisel. In 1849, Bernhisel helped create a fictitious government known as the “State of Deseret” to allay the fears of Congress about the Mormons. Instead, as Worthen argues, it almost led to war in 1852.

Winter 2015

History as Art and Craft: A Conversation with Historians
February 19, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Washington County Historic Courthouse, St. George, Utah

imageWhat is the nature of historical knowledge: How do historians ply their trade, tackle complex and often controversial topics, and seek meaning and significance in the past? Why do historians come to different conclusions about the past? We’ve assembled a cast of historians to speak about the philosophy and craft of history, with special emphasis on Juanita Brooks and the history of southern Utah.

Read written transcript UHQ-History as Art and Craft
Event Flier 2-19-15


Utah History Audio Features

Check out our collection of audio files from various events and programs of Utah State History.

Utah Historical Quarterly Web Extra audio files

Folklore and History: A Conversation with Steve Siporin – UHQ Spring 2015

Sounds of the Cathedral – UHQ Winter 2015

Utah Historical Quarterly Special Events

History As Art and Craft: A Conversation with Historians

A special event hosted at Washington County Historic Courthouse in Saint George, Utah on February 19, 2015.

Early 20th Century Residential Building Types

Homestead Temple House 1900-1920
Foursquare 1900-1920
Bungalows 1905-1925
Period Cottages 1910-1935
Basement House/Hope House 1920-1950
Cape Cod 1925-1945
Clipped Gable Cottage 1915-1935

The transition from the last decades of the 19th century into the 20th saw an increasing vocabulary of residential architectural types and styles. The rather austere and rigid
classicism of the early 19th century was slowly replaced with buildings more organic in form. Various wings, dormers, or turrets sprouted from the central core on houses as asymmetry became more fashionable in Victorianism.

But the turn of the 20th century ushered in a modern era of architectural design. Suddenly, houses with all the appendages and accoutrements of the Victorian era looked ungainly and old-fashioned, and the less visible and intrusive on the landscape a house was, the better. The transition was not drastic, but basic forms began to simplify. The Prairie School style developed by Frank Lloyd Wright with its low-to-the ground, simple lines influenced the then-developing bungalow. This house type—and not just the Prairie School influenced version—became the house UT_Salt-Lake-County_Westmoreland-Place_largeof choice and neighborhoods sprung up everywhere in the state. Following World War I, historical reference became important again in the public taste of architecture as various European and other cultural influences played into the design of the next most popular house type in Utah, the Period Cottage.

During this era economics played a role in the vast numbers of houses being constructed, but also the relative decrease in size of the average house to meet the planning needs of communities. However, no matter what city or town one travels to in Utah, one will likely find several examples of houses from this era!

The homestead temple house is a later incarnation of the temple form of the early settlement era of Utah. However, the differences lie in the construction date and t IMG_0203_large ypical materials used. The mass-produced version of this later house type was popular throughout the country—particularly the Midwest—and was found in both urban and rural settings. However, in Utah, the homestead temple house was not as common. It is typically found in later settled areas of the state, with somewhat “boomtown” economies. The type features a gable-end primary façade, like the earlier temple form, typically with a porch. But while early temple-form houses were more substantial, being constructed of stone or stucco over adobe, the later versions were less permanent—frame constructed with clapboard, drop siding, masonite, asbestos tile, or asphalt shingle siding. The appearance is almost more akin to a two-story bungalow than the earlier classically influence temple form.

The foursquare house type is a one- or two-story cube-shaped house with a hipped or pyramidal roof. Often it has a wide one-story front porch and a centrally placed hipped dormer in the uha-foursquare-drwg_largeroof. Primarily associated with the Neoclassical and Prairie School styles, foursquare houses generally consist of four roughly square rooms on each floor.

The entrance may lead directly into a living room or to a center or side passage. The large two-story examples of the foursquare were moderately popular in Utah cities and represent a clear rejection of the eclectic irregularity of the Victorian styles. The one-story foursquare was a common residence in Utah’s mining towns after 1900.

As a popular dwelling type in Utah in the years before World War I, the bungalow was a noticeably low, ground-hugging house of one or one-and-a-half stories and a uha-bungalow-drwg1_large rectangular plan. It had a low-pitched roof that projected conspicuously out over the eaves. Decoration itself was sparse, being generally limited to exposed structural features such as rafter ends, exaggerated purlins and king posts, and heavy, tapered porch posts supporting the overhanging front porch. Porches and verandas facilitated access; inside the house, circulation was unrestricted and spaces open. Convenience was emphasized, so bungalows were generally equipped with small efficient kitchens and built-in features such as bookcases and tables. Most Utah bungalows were built by local contractors following ideas contained in popular pattern books and home-improvement magazines.

Four main bungalow types are encountered in Utah. The first has its narrow end placed toward the street and may have either a low-pitched Prairie School style hipped roof or an Arts and Crafts style gable roof. The second type is a one-and-a-half story house characterized by a broad gable roof that projects out over the front porch. There is almost always a centrally placed dormer having either a shed or gable roof. The third type of bungalow is a small gabled cottage fronted by a Bungalow style porch. The fourth is almost difficult to characterize as a bungalow, as it does not always feature a front porch. This is the box bungalow, and is a very simplified version with the front entrance at the gable end of the house, but no porch, or just a small stoop in place of the porch.

Utah architecture between the two world wars was characterized by the revival of aesthetic concepts associated with particular historic periods. A range of house types emerged that in a general way uha-period-cottage-drwg_largeimitated older medieval building forms. These “period houses” often had rectangular floor plans in a hall-parlor or central-passage configuration, or were variants of the cross-wing house with one projecting wing. Appearing deceptively small from the street, often they actually extended deep into the lot.

Stylistically, period cottages ranged from Spanish Colonial to Mission, but they most commonly the styles are English Tudor and English Cottage. Period cottages populated the expanding suburbs of larger cities like Salt Lake City, Provo, Ogden, and Logan, but are found in rural communities as well.


The homestead temple house is a later incarnation of the temple form of the early settlement era of Utah. However, the differences lie in the construction date and typical materials used. The mass-IMG_0203_largeproduced version of this later house type was popular throughout the country—particularly the Midwest—and was found in both urban and rural settings. However, in Utah, the homestead temple house was not as common. It is typically found in later settled areas of the state, with somewhat “boomtown” economies. The type features a gable-end primary façade, like the earlier temple form, typically with a porch. But while early temple-form houses were more substantial, being constructed of stone or stucco over adobe, the later versions were less permanent—frame constructed with clapboard, drop siding, masonite, asbestos tile, or asphalt shingle siding. The appearance is almost more akin to a two-story bungalow than the earlier classically influence temple form.

The 20th-century Cape Cod type harkens back to colonial New England, the region where this house type developed. Like the period cottage, the Cape Cod heavily references earlier architecture in its cape-cod1-slc_largeexterior appearance; however, the interior was completely modernized to contemporary standards.

The basic form is a boxy primary mass with a steeply pitched gable roof parallel to the street. The main distinguishing feature that sets the Cape Cod apart from other nondescript period cottage or WWII-era cottage forms is the gabled dormers on the front of the roof. Although two dormers is typical, there may be a single dormer or as many as four. Some examples have attached garages, although these are not common. Because of its distinct appearance, the Cape Cod is also noted as a style.

A sort of cross between a bungalow and a period cottage, the primary distinguishing feature of the clipped-gable cottage is, as its name suggests, clipped or jerkin head gables on the roof. Typically 246-N-Quince-St_largesituated with the broad side and roofline parallel to the street, this type usually has a centrally placed main entrance under a projecting porch. The broad façade and lengthwise orientation of the house is reminiscent of a period cottage, while the large porch echoes that of a bungalow.

The clipped gable roof ends lend a touch of the Colonial Revival style, while other ornamentation may imply the Arts and Crafts or Prairie School styles. Not quite a bungalow and not quite a Period Cottage, the clipped-gable cottage was popular in newly developing subdivisions in the 1920s and 1930s as well as in older neighborhoods as infill. This type can also be found in rural settings on larger lots. Because of its distinct characteristics, the clipped gable cottage is also an architectural style.









Apartment Buildings & Hotel/Motels Building Types

This typology for apartment building and hotel types is an outgrowth of our investigations into

Double House
Other Apartment Types

commercial architecture. Although apartment buildings have received some attention from historians in recent years, those studies have been largely confined to such major cities as New York, Washington, and Chicago. Little of significance from these studies is applicable to Utah. Research into 19th- and 20th-century publications on apartments or hotels gives some general information, but again, little of it applies to Utah buildings. The following classifications were developed specifically for apartment buildings and hotels in Utah.

This categorization system is based on the form of the building and its orientation to the site, and secondarily on the points of entry and the pattern of circulation within the building. Floor plans haveapartment1_large not been studied in detail. Thirteen major types have been identified, most with subtypes, ranging from the double house to the “H” apartment block.



Double houses are basically duplexes. Depending on the form, a duplex can have the appearance of two mirror-image halves of a building connected together, or of a single unit with fenestration double-house-A-drwg1_largesymmetrically arranged to reflect the interior division. There are a few types of double houses, which for purposes of survey fieldwork are not distinguished from each other in the Utah SHPO database. However, for general knowledge they are included here.


Double House: A
This type was referred to as the “double cottage” in pre-Civil War architectural works and as the “double residence” or “pair of houses” after the Civil War. It consists of two living units under one roof. The building is similar in scale and appearance to a single-family house. The two units usually have separate entries and may be either one or two stories high.

Double House: B
Version B of the double house is a horizontally divided building containing one flat or apartment per

floor. Unlike A, type B often has a flat roof and is more urban in character. This type may have either
a single common entry for both units or separate entries. Adding a mirror image of the façade of this building—in effect doubling it—creates the four-unit block, below.

Double House: C
Type C includes buildings of one, one and a half, or two stories joined together at one end (literally a
double house) creating a self-contained unit. This type includes flat-roof examples. More than two such units constitute row housing.

Like the double house, there are a several variations of historic apartment buildings, most of which are laid out in either a single- or double-loaded corridor or a walk-up. Again, for purposes of survey fieldwork the types listed below are not distinguished from each other in the Utah SHPO database but are included for general knowledge.

Four-Unit Block
The four-unit block in essence is the mirror-image duplication of the Double House: B type. Entries for the units may be found on either side of the common wall or in a series of doorways. A variation of this pattern is separate first-floor entries and a common entry for the two second-floor units.

Row House
A row house consists of three or more single-family housing units of one or two stories joined together. This type is quite rare in Utah.

Apartment Block: A
The basic apartment block has two or more stories containing multiple dwelling units. Such buildings may be either horizontal or vertical blocks, depending upon the number of stories and the orientation
of the building to the site.

Horizontal blocks may be sited parallel to the street on a wide but not very deep lot. In such cases multiple entries are common in the façade. Such entries lead to foyers with adjacent stairs and—in later, taller buildings—elevators to the upper floors. Off the foyers or stair landings are generally located two or more apartments. Two apartments off each foyer or landing usually indicate a basic plan of two apartments running the depth of the building and separated by a common wall.

Apartment Block: B
Sites with limited street frontage or narrow width but great depth can contain horizontal blocks with a
single entry in the façade. Within the building, the apartments are usually arranged in a line on either side of a central hall, an arrangement referred to as a “double-loaded corridor.” Occasionally, on wider sites, two such buildings may be constructed parallel to each other with an open court between them. In such cases they may have either the multiple entries of type A or the single-entry, double-loaded corridor of type B.

Apartment Block: C
Square or nearly square sites usually result in an apartment block of two or more stories with a vertical emphasis. Such buildings frequently have a central entry in the façade.

“L” and “T” Apartment Blocks
The “L” block has two or more stories of multiple dwelling units arranged in an “L” configuration. The building may be built close to the street corner with two sides facing the streets, or the configuration may be reversed so that the building is set back on the site and preceded by a forecourt. The “T” block is similar in construction; most frequently, the cross-piece of the “T” is placed adjacent to the street. This form is commonly placed on lots in the middle of the block.

“C” Apartment Block
This type is not to be confused with the “U” court. The two side wings projecting from the back of the “C” are usually not deep, and the open space confined within the shape is too shallow or too small to be considered a real court. Entry into this type may occur at the ends of the wings, or the building may have multiple entries at the back of the “C.”

“U” Court
In the “U”-court form, the court is usually oriented toward the street. Such configurations may have either a single entry point at the base of the “U” behind the court or multiple entries, often one entry facing the court in each wing and one in the base. As in the perpendicular Apartment Block: B, a single entry leads to a foyer, stairs and/or elevator and to a double-loaded corridor. In the case of multiple entries, two or more apartments are located on each floor. Examples of the “U” court may be one or more stories in height. A less common variation is the reverse “U” court, with the court oriented away from the street.


Hotel Court
A variant of the “U” court is the hotel court. In this type the first floor is reserved for commercial functions and the central court is open above that level. Laterally extended versions of this type containing a second court also can be found, as in the “E” or double court. The “E” court was a popular design for large hotels in urban areas

“H” Apartment Block
What appears at first glance to be a “U” court may turn out to be an “H” apartment block with a second court at the rear. Such designs provide improved light and ventilation to all units..

Following World War II, the inception of the “baby boom” brought an increase in family automobile vacations. The concept of long-distance road journeys had been around since the 1920s, when families would stay at auto camps and motor courts. However, the drastic increase in families hittingHuntingtonMotel_large

the open road because of expanded and improved highway infrastructure warranted a more easily accessible and less-expensive form of overnight lodging.

Motels became the standardized form that replaced motor courts as a home away from home. Unlike hotels, instead of being situated in urban centers, motels are usually located conveniently along interstate off-ramps and highways. Another differentiating factor is the exterior access to the rooms in motels, as opposed to access from interior hallways; however, this is not always the case.

Although the term “motel” was coined in the 1920s, it did not come in to popular usage until the late 1940s. Motels are typified by an L-, T-, or U-shaped plan, which includes guest rooms and a manager’s office. Motels built within the past 30-40 years may typically include a restaurant, which shares the parking lot, and a swimming pool.

Motels sought to distinguish themselves by implementing bright and sometimes quirky neon signage. However, this trend faded as more standard corporate identification became the norm.









Agricultural Building Types

Utah’s early economy was based on agriculture, and agricultural outbuildings have historically been

English Barn
Intermountain Barn
Improvement Era Barn
Coops Silo
Quonset Hut

an important feature on the landscape. Because of the unique community plan established in Joseph
Smith’s “Plat for the City of Zion” and implemented by Brigham Young in the Utah Territory, large agricultural landholdings and buildings were situated outside the primary residential area, but large city lots could contain smaller outbuildings and some barns alongside dwellings and urban gardens.

Although most traces of urban outbuildings have vanished, some rural towns still maintain large barns and outbuilding groups. As more and more agricultural land is developed for commercial and residential use, however, historic outbuilding examples are becoming increasingly rare. Utah’s roleEscalante-barn_large as an agricultural producer has diminished, and in the areas where agricultural production still exists, the historic outbuildings are commonly replaced or renovated with new materials. Below are descriptions of the most common types of historic agricultural buildings and structures still found in Utah.

The English barn was probably the first type used in the territory since it would have been familiar to Mormon settlers who had immigrated from England and the New England states. This type is distinguished by a gable roof and a large entrance located at the center of the broad side. The barn interior varied depending on how the owner used it. But the most typical arrangement was a large open pen on either side of the barn with a center drive separating the two.

Farmers loaded hay into the hay mow (upper story of the barn) either from the center section or from exterior gable-end openings. Lean-tos were common additions to one side of the English barn. These were used for calving pens and feeding areas. Materials used for these barns include logs, vertical wood planking, and stone. Although construction of barns in this plan continues today, materials now include various types of metal siding or wood-sheet siding.

Intermountain barns, named for their prominence in the Intermountain region, are similar in most ways to the English barn, except for one primary feature, the location of the main entrance. While the IntrmtnBarn-Paragonah_largeentrance on the English barn is on the side, the Intermountain barn has the main entrance located on the gable end.

With the entryway on the end rather than the side, the barn is easily expandable with lean-tos on both the broad sides, giving the barn its most characteristic appearance. The lean-tos contain calving and holding pens as well as feeding troughs in the milking area.

The main portion of the barn can be set up in a number of ways. Usually the entrance end will have small pens to either side of the drive used for implement storage, granary, and so forth, and the rest of the floor will be open. The hay mow is typically located in lofts at both ends of the building. The hay is then fed through chutes that open from the loft down into the side feeding pens.

Construction materials are similar to those of the English barn, with logs and wood planking being the most common. As with the English barn, Intermountain barn construction continues today, although with updated materials of dimensioned lumber posts and beams, and metal or wood-sheet siding.

As science and agriculture merged in the late-19th and early 20th centuries, methods for improving quality and increasing production on dairy farms were developed. Although the population was growing, the number of dairy producers was decreasing, so that those who continued in this ImprvmntEra-Barn-MtPleasant_largebusiness found increasing demand for their products. The result was a change in the way traditional dairy farms were arranged.

Early barnyards featured a barn, a separate milking parlor, and a loafing shed. The Improvement Era barn actually combined all of these functions under a single roof. Typically larger than earlier barns, Improvement Era barns commonly have a gambrel roof (Gothic arch and truncated gable roofs can also be found) to allow for greater hay storage on the second floor. A large second-story opening with a projecting hoist allows for the use of a Jackson Fork with which to lift hay to this level.

The main floor traditionally features an aisle down the center or down each side on a concrete floor, with gutters used to wash waste away. Rows of feeding troughs and metal stanchions used for securing the cows for milking are located along these aisles. This area might be located on one end or might take up the entire main floor space, depending on the size of the barn.

On larger barns, loafing and calving pens might be located at one end. Typically on larger barns, a small perpendicular addition on the side of the barn houses the milk tank and cooling equipment.

The barns can be constructed of board-and-batten siding, plank siding, drop siding, concrete block, or even sawed logs.

As with silos, granaries come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and were commonly used in Utah up into the mid-20th century. A few common types of granaries are found throughout the state: the rectangular gable-end entry, the rectangular side-entry, and the octagonal plan. These are 282-N-100-E-Hurricane_largeconstructed in various materials, but perhaps the most common are the wood frame examples implementing “inside-out” construction.

With this technique, the frame is visible on the exterior of the building, and the horizontal wood planks are placed inside to make a smooth surface for storage of grain. Another method uses stacked 2”x 4” lumber, laid in a pattern similar to a log cabin with lapped joints. A somewhat unique form of granary found in certain parts of Utah is the octagonal type. As the name suggests, this type has an octagonal footprint, and is typically of stacked lumber construction. Early granaries were constructed of hewn or round logs, and later ones of dimensioned lumber.

As agricultural outbuilding, coops are easily discernable from other farm buildings because they are typically longer and lower in profile. Their roof shape also distinguishes them; most coops have either a shed roof or a partial gable (or saltbox-type) roof, with the front slope of the roof descending only about halfway down. Underneath the front eaves is long bank of window openings (commonly covered with chicken wire) that usually extends nearly the full length of the building. Larger coops may vary from this plan, sometimes being wider with a full gable roof and open sides. Early coops were typically constructed of wood planks; however, by the 20th century cinder and concrete blocks became increasingly popular.

The Quonset hut was introduced during WWII as a multiple-use, utilitarian, portable military building. Following the war, surplus Quonset huts became popular for use as farm and rural storage160-W-300-S-Loa_large buildings, as well as for commercial storage.

Made of corrugated metal or fiberglass with interior wood framing, the Quonset hut is easily constructed and requires little maintenance. Along with the all-metal exterior siding and long rectangular plan, the Quonset hut is easily recognizable by an arched roof that extends to the ground, forming the side walls (although some rest on raised concrete foundation walls).

Doors are on the gable end, and in most early versions these consist of large sliding doors. These are attached to a track framework that extends out beyond the edges of the roof to allow for large openings. Overhead rolling doors are also used, as are pedestrian doors.

Quonset huts are still quite popular, and more-recent variants include a Gothic (pointed) arch shape and larger corrugations in the metal siding.



Educational Building Types

Education in the early decades of Utah’s settlement was a very informal affair. Each Mormon

School Block
Horizontal School
Modern School

settlement organized its own school and hired a teacher. For the most part, students attended school in small buildings that also housed church meetings, dances, and other community functions.

As early as 1867, Congregational, Presbyterian, and Methodist missions established private elementary and secondary schools. These were intended to counterbalance Mormon-controlled schools. With well-trained teachers and free tuition, they attracted many Mormon students.

To counter this trend, the LDS Church established its own system of schools, or academies, MarsacSchool_largethroughout the region and other areas where there were large groups of Mormons, including Mexico and Canada.

In 1890, the territorial legislature voted to establish free, tax-supported schools, with higher standards for teachers. Once this was accomplished, standardized school buildings were built throughout the state based on population requirements. Since then, school buildings have gone through various forms based on educational requirements, architectural trends, and population fluctuations.

Early schoolhouses built following the education reform of the late 19th century were not particularly large buildings and usually had only a couple of rooms. Constructed of brick and usually resting on a49-E-Main-Torrey_large raised foundation of stone or concrete, most of these buildings have a hipped or pyramidal roof–sometimes with projecting bays, particularly over the front entrance–which may have a small bell tower on top.

The design is fairly simple and symmetrical with a central entrance flanked by an even number of bays on either side. Because of the era, builders used Victorian eclectic styles, with hints of Romanesque revival and classicism. The schoolhouse was especially popular in smaller towns and suburbs with modest school-age populations.

In larger communities, the schoolhouse proved inadequate to house the larger population of school-PG-School-Block_largeage children. These communities built larger school buildings, typically with two or three levels. As its name suggest, the school block is block-like in appearance, about as tall as it is wide, usually with a pyramidal or hipped roof. This type was an improvement in updated design of the earlier, more rustic and makeshift schoolhouses, which often had multiple uses.

Continued population increases in larger cities required even more space in schools. The architectural response to this was to expand out. The horizontal school type is easily recognized by Santaquin-Jr.High_largeits multi-story, broad presence on the site. The building entrance is typically in the center of the rectangular primary façade, often at the top of a large stairway. As with the school blocks, the walls on horizontal schools are punctuated by multiple windows to allow light into the individual classrooms, which are situated along single or double-loaded corridors. Sometimes, wings off the rear of the building allow for more window area in classrooms.

Along with the school building, the campus might include other buildings, including heating plants and workshops. Because the majority of these school buildings were constructed in the 1920s-1930s, architects incorporated various classical and period revival styles into their designs.

The baby boom following World War II resulted in a vast increase of school-age children by about 1950. This, coupled with the increased residential expansion into the suburbs, created a demand forSCERA-Park1_large local schools. Previously, children had been bussed from outlying areas to the large schools in the cities, but more children in the suburbs made it feasible to build schools in these residential tracts.

Since the schools were serving fewer children per building, they could be smaller than the large horizontal schools in the cities. Architectural styles of the time eschewed the classical and period revival styles for a simple, modernist influence on these single-story buildings with sprawling wings. Most of the examples also have a large section with a taller roof that houses a combination gymnasium, stage, and lunchroom.

Typically set far back of the street and surrounded by large expanses of lawn, the horizontal schools blend in to their suburban surroundings. As demographics in suburban neighborhoods continue to change, many of these schools have been closed and demolished in recent years.




Religious Building Types

Other than New England, probably no other region in the country had as strong a religious

Mormon Meetinghouses
Mormon Temples
Protestant Meetinghouses
Catholic Churches
Jewish Synagogues

underpinning for Euro-American settlement as did Utah and the Intermountain West. When the first groups of settlers arrived, these members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or Mormons) planned to build Zion. They intended that faith would permeate everything they did. Naturally, ecclesiastical buildings became a part of the early landscape. However, because of the settlers’ humble circumstances, these early buildings were not as dominant as one might think; they were fairly simple and nondescript.

Not long after the Mormons settled in Utah, others followed. Members of various faiths arrived, mostly to proselytize among the Mormons, SaltLakeTemple_largebut these religions soon set down roots as well. Members of the earliest established religions in Utah included Jews, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Catholics, and Baptists. Their places of worship became landmarks in many established communities, indicating a growing diversity of
beliefs among the citizens.




The very first established place of worship for the Mormon settlers was a bowery near what is now Pioneer Park in Salt Lake City. The first real formal meeting place was the original or “Old” tabernacle on what is now Temple Square, constructed in 1852. In new settlements, Mormons did 2005-S-900-East_largenot always immediately build a local meetinghouse; instead, they often held church meetings in small, multi-purpose buildings or homes.

The earliest meetinghouses often appeared similar to larger residences, usually temple form in plan with minor classical design elements. The entrance was on the gable end, and a row of windows lined the two broad sides. If the church had a steeple, it was usually small. The spare interiors typically consisted of a single large room with rows of benches or sometimes chairs, and a small dais or just a podium at the end opposite the entrance. These first-generation meetinghouses were most commonly constructed of adobe brick stuccoed on the exterior. Sometimes as the wards grew in size, members built additions to their meetinghouses, but usually they just replaced the old with a new building.

In time, Mormons built tabernacles for regional meetings. These larger, more architectural and more costly buildings could hold more people. Many early examples have been replaced, but some still stand in larger cities.

By the turn of the 20th century, meetinghouse design accrued more architectural embellishment and took on a more traditional form, including a steeple (which the early forms usually lacked), and sometimes a small room at the rear of the building for office space. Soon, buildings were being constructed with several rooms in which to hold classes. And, as wards were able to raise money, they built “amusement halls” near the meetinghouses, in which to hold dances, socials, and sporting events.

By the 1920s, wards built “cultural halls,” as they came to be called, as part of the meetinghouse. Plans also became somewhat standardized church-wide. Common styles implemented from 1900 through the 1950s included Romanesque, Victorian Gothic, Prairie School, Colonial Revival, and Minimal Traditional, and even some hints of Modernism.

By the end of the 1950s, “ward houses,” as they became known, were fairly large and included a chapel that could be opened up into the cultural hall, classrooms, meeting rooms, and a kitchen. By this time most references to historical styles had given way to a basic, modern appearance. In the early 1980s floor plans changed so that hallway extensions were replaced with a single hall around the perimeter (also known as a “racetrack”) surrounding the chapel and cultural hall. New buildings basically retain this format today, although references to Colonial Revivalism are again popular in the exterior design.

Temples are the most sacred buildings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are therefore the most monumental in appearance. While ward houses serve the weekly meeting needs of the congregation, temples serve a specialized purpose for doing specialized priesthood MantiTemple_largeordinances and ceremonies. Because of this only members of the faith in good standing are allowed to enter and use these buildings. The temple as a specialized building type was established early in Mormon Church history beginning with the first temple constructed in Kirtland, Ohio, in 1836. The Nauvoo, Illinois temple was completed in 1846, just as the Mormons were driven from there. The next temple to be completed was the St. George, Utah, Temple in 1877. Three others were completed in the nineteenth century in Utah: the Logan in 1884, the Manti in 1888, and the Salt Lake City in 1893 (although this was the first one in Utah to begin construction in 1853). Architectural design was not standardized for temples until the latter twentieth century saw a drastic increase in temple construction throughout the world. To keep up requirements the LDS Church designed smaller and more standard plans—for the most part. All LDS temples have adopted design elements common for the era in which they were constructed, but manage to maintain a unique appearance.

Because of the unique settlement circumstances of Utah and the dominance of the Mormon population, early congregations of other Christian faiths were typically small. After the establishment of mines and mining communities and then the arrival of the railroad, a larger, more diverse PG-Presbyterian-Church_largepopulation of other Christian faiths developed. With more members, congregations could garner enough funding to build a meetinghouse.

Except for a few large examples throughout the state, architectural styles for meetinghouses of these faiths are basically indistinguishable from the exterior. Most Protestant faiths used a basic meetinghouse plan—basically a rectangular primary building mass with a tower or cupola centered at one end or at the front corner. Early examples of various other Christian meetinghouses are rare.

The Catholic Church is the earliest known Christian presence in Utah, with the 1776 expedition through Utah from Santa Fe of Fathers Dominguez and Escalante. However, it was not until 1850 Cathedral-SLC_largethat the Holy See in Rome placed any kind of ecclesiastical responsibility for the Territory. The first known mass in Utah took place in July 1859 at Camp Floyd.

With the beginning of mining in Utah in 1863 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, Utah received an influx of members of various faiths, including Catholics. To serve these members, Catholic church buildings were constructed where the highest Catholic population bases were, railroad towns and mining settlements.


Not long after the first Mormons settled in the Salt Lake Valley, groups of Jewish settlers followed and established their own community and businesses. However, the first synagogue was not built MontefioreSyn_largeuntil the 1883. Four other synagogues were built between 1891 and 1921, reflecting the internal diversity of the practicing Jewish community.

The primary differences among the synagogues were based on heritage (German-speaking vs. Eastern European) and religious persuasion (Orthodox, Reform, or Conservative). For the most part, the five synagogues built up to the 1920s followed similar vernacular architectural influences in both design and construction methods. The B’nai Israel Synagogue, built in 1891, is the only one that subscribed to a national and foreign-influenced design.




Building Styles


Classical 1847-1890
Picturesque 1865-1885
Victorian 1880-1910
Early Twentieth-Century 1905-1925
Period Revival 1890-1940
Modern 1930-1940
World War II/Post-War

Buildings come in many different formats, or types, that are characterized in this guide mostly by a particular floor or structural plan. Take, for example, the hall-parlor plan that was popular from the early settlement of Utah up into the early twentieth century. Although the plan remained consistent for those sixty or so years, what did change was the style, or the exterior appearance of the house. While early examples were fairly plain and austere, those with a little more affluence could adorn their house in the classical influences of the Greek Revival or Federal styles of architecture. And as time passed and Victorianism prevailed, hints of the various facets of this style could be seen in areas such as windows and window trim, doors, cornice detail, and window and door arches. So, in short, style basically is any applied architectural detail on a building that adds to the basic form.



Picturesque Building Style

The first serious challenge to the Classical architectural tradition in Utah was mounted by the

Gothic Revival 1865-1880
Italianate 1870-1895
Second Empire 1870-1900

Picturesque styles during the 1860s and 1870s. The Picturesque aesthetic, based upon irregularity of composition and embodied in such styles as the Gothic Revival and Italianate, was the architectural manifestation of American romanticism, which stressed spontaneity and emotion over control and reason.

As the prevailing Classicism came to be considered artificial and unnatural, it was replaced by forms thought to be natural and therefore somehow more honest. Picturesque styles used building materials in ways that emphasized their textures and forms and that seemingly reduced the artifice of the builder. Designers stressed the aesthetic appeal of asymmetrical massing, verticality, the use of rich colors, and the application of complicated and often exaggerated decorative schemes.

Harmony was not itself shunned, but the Picturesque concept of architecture was based upon an active tension between competing building elements rather than a simple order based upon Picturesque1_largeproportion and symmetry.

Many architectural stylebooks that surfaced during the 1840s and 1850s set forth Picturesque design principles. Books such as Andrew Jackson Downing’s Cottage Residences (1842), William Ranlett’s The Architect (1847), and Gervase Wheeler’s Rural Homes (1851), which contained both essays on the advantages of Picturesque design and romanticized line sketches of cottages and houses, added an important new dimension to the builder’s repertoire.

The style most commonly associated with this period is the Gothic Revival, a vertically oriented architecture imported from England characterized by pointed arches, steeply pitched roofs, and the elaborate saw-cut ornament often called “gingerbread” today. The Italianate, another important Picturesque style, introduced the broad flat roof with bracketed eaves into American architecture. The Second Empire style, while not strictly Picturesque given its heavy reliance on formal and Classical details, is included here because it still represented a break from the restraint of the Classical tradition. In Utah it is most commonly and distinctively encountered in the form of a mansard roof placed upon one of the Picturesque-era house types.

Although style book writers continued to use the older, more traditional house types such as the central- and side-passages forms, they may also be credited with introducing and popularizing the cross-wing design. Based loosely on a medieval English house form, the cross-wing’s forward-projecting wing, contrasted to the horizontal side wing, is the minimal statement of the Picturesque quest for asymmetry. It became the principal house type in Utah during the late 19th century and is found with Gothic Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, and Victorian decorative appointments.

In Utah, as in many other parts of the country, the reaction to the Picturesque was mixed. Picturesque ideas had their most direct impact on the state’s architecture as decorative elements applied to the exteriors of older Classical and traditional forms. Buildings during this period rarely fall into a single stylistic category, but instead mix elements of several styles in an eclecticism that became a hallmark of the 19th century. The archetypal Picturesque house in Utah, then, is a symmetrical house with a central gable or wall dormers, with or without bargeboards, finials, scrollwork, and other decorative detailing commonly associated with these styles.

The Gothic Revival enjoyed its greatest popularity in Utah during the 1870s. It is easily recognized by its steeply pitched gable roofs, gabled dormers with finials, and scroll-cut decorative woodwork alonggothic-rev1_large the gables and eaves. Traditional house types such as the hall-parlor and central passage were commonly built during this period with Gothic Revival dormers or a centrally placed cross gable. The cross-wing house gained ascendancy during this time, as did smaller variants of the side-passage form. The effects of such style books as A. J. Downing’s The Architecture of Country Houses were certainly evident, but older patterns still persisted and direct copies of stylebook designs were rare. Midway, in Summit County, and Willard, in Box Elder County, are particularly rich in Gothic Revival buildings.

–asymmetrical plan and/or façade
–vertical emphasis
–multiplication of gables and chimneys
–high, steeply pitched roof
–central cross gable
–wall dormers
–bargeboards on gables and dormers
–lancet windows
–finials at the apex of gables and dormers
–wall buttresses
–bay windows
–polychromatic treatment of materials

italianate1_largeThe Italianate was a second architectural style championed by architects and builders of the antebellum period that did not become poplar in Utah until after the Civil War. Italianate houses were constructed in Salt Lake City as early as the 1870s, but they did not become common in outlying communities until the 1880s. Two varieties of Italianate houses are regularly encountered: the first a substantial two-story, box-like residence with a side-passage plan, the second in the form of the ubiquitous cross wing. Both forms are characterized by a low-pitched hip roof, overhanging eaves, bracketed cornices, and tall windows capped by slightly arched and sometimes hooded window heads.

–asymmetrical plan and/or façade
–multiplication of openings and chimneys
–projecting bays
–low hipped roof
–bracketed cornice or eaves
–segmented or arched window heads

The Second Empire style in Utah is chiefly identified by the presence of a “curvilinear” or mansard roof. While popular in Salt Lake City in its complete form during the 1870s, the manifestations of this style are largely confined to decorative trim added to typical 19th-century house forms. Probably the most common of these forms is the cross-wing house with mansard roof.second-empire1_large

–square or rectangular massing
–mansard roof (straight or concave)
–roof dormers
–roof cresting
–wide eaves, occasionally bracketed in a manner similar to the Italianate style
–segmented or arched windows
–Classical ornamentation


Classical Building Style

Georgian 1850-1865
Federal 1847-1865
Greek Revival 1847-1890

The stylistic history of Utah architecture during much of the 19th century is largely the demonstration of the enduring effects of 18th-century American Classicism. By the time of the American Revolution, Renaissance-derived ideas had permeated the colonial world and were working to transform a collection of essentially local building traditions into a single national style based on a revival of Classical principles.

Geometrical composition and symmetrical balance were the hallmarks of Classical design. Buildings everywhere had smooth rectangular facades, centrally placed doors, and evenly spaced windows. Exterior appointments would eventually change, and several important, related styles would emerge during the century, yet the overriding concern for symmetrical design and Classical Classical-Styles_largedecorative features would remain a consistently powerful force in American architecture.

These Classical styles were prevalent in the Midwest during the 1830s and ‘40s, and Mormon settlers carried this tradition to the Great Basin. From small, symmetrically pierced log and adobe cabins in the outlying regions to the large Greek Revival mansions of Salt Lake City, Classicism dominated Utah architecture from the pioneer period until well into the 1880s.

The important styles of this period are the Georgian, Federal, and Greek Revival. The Georgian style is primarily associated with the introduction and subsequent popularity of the Georgian house, a large, central-passage, two-room-deep structure with smooth exterior wall surfaces, heavy, flat-arched window heads, and a low-pitched gable roof. These houses, built during the 18th century from Maine to Georgia, stood as conspicuous symbols of economic achievement and social standing.

The Federal style, so called because it rose to prominence along the East Coast during the early national or Federalist period between 1790 and 1820, continued many of the basic Georgian features. It is distinguished from the Georgian by the use of elliptical and round-arched windows and doors and by carved decorative ornaments, elements that played off against the rigid symmetry of the overall design.

The Greek Revival style, popular in America from about 1820 to 1870, also used the symmetrical format, but featured such Hellenic elements as full entablature, pedimented window heads, pedimented cornice returns below low-pitched gable roofs, and elaborate Classical porticos. The Greek Revival is often interpreted as sign and symbol of the flowering of American democracy during the early 19th century, and while there may be some truth to this assertion, the Greek Revival must also be viewed as part of the larger rational, symmetrical movement in American architecture that had occurred throughout the previous century.

Building forms during the Classical period were largely geometric blocks, some big, some little, but all displaying a balance in both massing and detail. Houses were based on traditional floor plans that were essentially transformations of square units, and principal façades were normally placed on the long side of the rectangular block, and reflected the room arrangement of the interior. The notable exception, however, was the temple-form type with its main entrance on the narrow side, usually below the gable.

The Classical stylistic period also saw the beginnings of the establishment of the architectural profession, but skilled builders and craftsmen continued to design most buildings. The dissemination of architectural ideas remained largely in the oral tradition, although the period did witness the appearance of such builders’ handbooks as Peter Nicholson’s The Carpenter’s New Guide (London, 1792) and Asher Benjamin’s The Practical House Carpenter (Boston, 1841), both of which were listed in the catalogue of the Utah Territorial Library in 1852.

The Georgian style was largely an 18th-century phenomenon, and not surprisingly it is rare in Utah. However, several large houses that employed Georgian decorative elements still exist from thegeorgian1_large early settlement period. But more important than specific examples of the style is the double-piel (i.e., two-room-deep) Georgian house form itself, and nearly every Utah community has one or two of these distinctive dwellings. Although the true Georgian house has a central passage dividing the two rooms on each side, the most common Georgian form in Utah has the passage running only halfway through the house, with two large rooms in the front and three smaller rooms along the rear. This pattern seems to reflect a lingering New England architectural influence.

–symmetrical principal façade
–side gables
–low pitched roof
–coursed ashlar walls
–emphasized water table
–flat arched window heads with pronounced keystones

Like the Georgian, the Federal style’s popularity largely predates the settlement of Utah, yet is nonetheless evident in early buildings in the state. The continuing influence of this subdued style federal1_largemay be seen in buildings that have the basic Classical symmetrical shape but lack extremes in external decoration. Elliptical and round-arch transoms or panels over windows or doors are distinguishing features of this rather plain style. Often found on two-story, one-room-deep, two-room-wide houses, the Federal style is also used in public and religious buildings.

–symmetrical principal façade
–side gables
–low-pitched roof
–elliptical arched openings
–thin corner boards (vertical boards at the building’s corners)
–lintel-type window heads (i.e., long rectangular beams above windows)
–plain, unornamented entablature
–clapboard siding

The Greek Revival was the most popular architectural style in Utah during the early settlement period, and its popularity lingered on in many parts of the state well into the 1890s. The style is often encountered in buildings from the 1870s and 1880s in combination with decorative features from the greek-revival1_largeGothic Revival and Italianate styles. Greek Revival buildings can be recognized by decorative elements associated with monumental Greek architecture, such as columns, full and often exaggerated entablature, and pedimented gables and window heads. Traditional house types were prevalent, although the new temple-form type, with its forward-facing gable, was introduced during this period and became extremely popular in the northeastern states, the northern Midwest, and Utah.

–symmetrical principal façade
–gable ends
–pedimented returns
–pedimented porch roof
–entablature (architrave, frieze, cornice)
–raking cornice
–columns, usually of the Ionic, Doric, or Corinthian order
–transoms with lights
–pedimented window heads