The Oldest House in Utah Is More than 175 Years Old
Utah’s history is deeply intertwined with the LDS faith and Mormons still make up a huge part of the state’s population. Utah was also home to the Pueblo Native Americans, whose history in the area dates back thousands of years.
Today Utah is known for its incredible landscapes and is a top destination for hiking and skiing. The oldest house in Utah has its roots in the state’s trapping and trading industry and is over 175 years old!
History of Utah
Some of the earliest humans to arrive in Utah were the Apache. This group traveled south from modern-day Canada to settle in the area some 12,000 years ago, according to the History Channel.
Ancestral Puebloans arrived in the area around A.D. 400 and relied on farming to sustain themselves. The Pueblo also built large apartment-like dwellings on the cliffs or valley floors. The ruins of some of these dwellings remain to this day.
Some of the first Europeans to arrive in Utah were Spanish explorers in the mid-1700s. By the 1800s, French-Canadian, American, British, and Canadian trappers and traders also ventured into the area.
Mormons in Utah
It’s hard not to think of Mormon when you think of Utah, but why does this religious group have such a hold on the state? Following the murder of their founder, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young led a group of Mormons to Utah to escape persecution. This group founded Salt Lake City in 1847. Over the following decade, 90 Mormon settlements arose throughout the state. Today Utah is home to over 2 million Mormons.
Prior to 1847, Young sought official recognition from the United States government for the territory the Mormons called “Deseret.” The U.S. rejected this proposal and instead established the Utah Territory in 1850. Over the following years, it became known that the LDS practiced polygamy.
This led President James Buchanan to replace Young as governor of the Utah Territory with Alfred Cumming. Buchanan sent 2,500 troops to the Utah Territory to enforce this decision. Following a bloodless conflict with the Mormon militia, Cumming officially became governor in 1858.
Over the following years, Congress passed laws such as the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act, which prohibited polygamy in United States territories. However, many Mormons continued to practice polygamy in the Utah Territory. It was not until after 1890, when the LDS church officially renounced polygamy, that Utah would gain statehood. Utah officially joined the Union on January 4, 1896.
Modern Day Utah
Today Utah is still known for its large population of Mormons, but there’s much more to appreciate about this state. Utah contains some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the world, such as Zion National Park. The mountains near Salt Lake City also create a premiere skiing destination. Finally, Utah hosts the Sundance Film Festival every year in Park City.
Origin of the Oldest House in Utah
The oldest house in Utah is the Miles Goodyear Cabin located in Ogden, UT. The cabin dates back to 1845 and served as the home of Miles Goodyear — a mountain man who built and occupied Fort Buenaventura, according to History to Go (.gov).
Goodyear was orphaned at the age of four and spent much of his youth as an indentured servant. Later he traveled west, determined to make his fortune. Goodyear eventually became a successful trapper and trader. He also married Pomona, the daughter of the Ute Chief Pe-teet-neet, in 1839 and the pair had two children.
When the fur trade began to decline, Goodyear decided to build an enclosed fort about a quarter mile west of the present end of Ogden’s 28th Street. Construction lasted from 1845-1846 and included the completion of four log cabins, sheds, corrals, and a garden.
In 1847, Goodyear sold Fort Buenaventura to James Brown and the fort became Mormon property. Goodyear went on to discover gold on the Yuba River. He died on the Sierra Nevada in 1849 at the age of thirty-two.
Construction and Relocation
The Miles Goodyear Cabin is the only surviving cabin from Fort Buenaventura. According to the National Register of Historic Places, the cabin was built using sawed cottonwood logs and originally contained dirt floors.
The cabin was also moved from its first location multiple times. Its first home was on the Weber River, two miles above the Ogden River confluence. Following a flood in 1850, the cabin was moved a quarter mile southeast to higher ground.
Five years later it was relocated to a location near Tabernacle Square in Ogden. In 1860 the Miles Goodyear Cabin Found a new home near Mill Creek and Washington Square and in 1866 it was moved to Washington Avenue.
After Minerva Shaw Stone bought the cabin in 1896 she moved the dwelling to the rear of her home. Ms. Shaw later willed the building to Ogden City in 1926. The city relocated it once again. Today the cabin is located on Tabernacle Square on a slab of cement beneath a protective canopy and is surrounded by a wire fence.
The Miles Goodyear Cabin has undergone minor repairs over the years. For example, the original foundation logs rotted away and have since been replaced. The National Register of Historic Places also notes that the present dirt roof is not the original.
A number of ancient Puebloan ruins are located in Utah. Technically these are the oldest residences in the state, so they are worth mentioning in this article.
Hovenweep National Monument in southeastern Utah includes ruins of Pueblo buildings such as Hovenweep House, Stronghold House, and Cutthroat Castle. The Pueblo ruins may date back as far as 2,000 years ago.
Several other Pueblo ruins lie within Dark Canyon Wilderness — a designated Wilderness Area in southeast Utah. Finally the ruins of an ancient Anasazi Village known as the Coombs Village lies within the Anasazi State Park Museum.
The Miles Goodyear Cabin is located in Ogden, UT in Weber County. The county lies in northern Utah to the east of the Great Salt Lake. Ogden is about 38 miles from the capital of Salt Lake City and is known for its many historic buildings.
Other Points of Interest in Ogden
A number of historic buildings lie in Ogden, UT. While the city was once a lawless frontier town, today it contains a number of places to shop, dine, explore history, and enjoy the great outdoors.
There are a number of noteworthy museums in Ogden, UT. Treehouse Children’s Museum encourages kids to “step into a story” with its activities and exhibits.
Ogden’s George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park features 8.5 acres with more than 100 dinosaur sculptures. Visitors can also explore the Stewart Museum of Paleontology, Ogden Natural History Museum, and Gems and Mineral Museum.
Historic 25th Street
Historic 25th Street is another worthwhile spot to visit in Ogden. According to Visit Ogden, the neighborhood was once known for its brothels, opium dens, gambling, and bootlegging. Today the area is a great place to shop, enjoy restaurants, explore art, and more.
On the west end of Historic 25th Street sits Union Station — a monument to the city’s railroading history. Here visitors can explore a number of exhibitions and events such as the Heritage Festival.