The earliest Yalecrest street pavement project began with Yale Avenue from 1300 to 1500 East in 1913-1914. Subsequently the Yale Park LHD application area contains the highest concentration of oldest buildings within Yalecrest. It is the most well defined contiguous and original part of the neighborhood.
The Yale Parks were heavily promoted in the newspapers and attracted prominent homeowners. The Frank Lloyd Wright-trained Utah architect, Taylor A. Woolley, designed the Prairie style house at 1408 Yale Avenue for William W. and Leda Rawlins Ray, the U.S. District Attorney for Utah. Woolley’s firm, Woolley and Evans, designed the Colonial Revival Yale LDS Ward Chapel built in 1925 by Gaskell Romney on 1431 Gilmer Avenue.
The Ashton-Jenkins Company was also involved in real estate sales for other subdivisions such as Normandie Heights. Edward M. Ashton lived in one of the earliest houses in Yalecrest, designed by his brother, architect, Raymond Ashton, and built by the Ashton Improvement Company, at 1352 Yale Avenue in 1913. Raymond Ashton designed his own house at 1441 Yale in addition to a number of other Yale Park houses as well as commercial and institutional buildings. The Jacobethan Irving School and Sprague Library show his facility with period revival styles. He also designed the Prairie Style bungalow at 1302 Yale Avenue that was home to George Albert Smith, a President of the LDS Church. He was allied with the above Ashton businesses as well as the Ashton-Parry Company and Ashton and Evans, Architects. Other prominent home owners in the Ashton-Jenkins subdivisions include Utah Governor Charles R. Mabey at 1390 Yale, a number of attorneys (Athol Rawlins at 1475 Yale, William C. Ray at 1408 Yale), as well as various businessmen, dentists and physicians.
Gilmer Park was a creation of Kimball and Richards in 1919. Gilmer Drive and Thornton Avenue between 1300 and 1400 East are the Yalecrest section of Gilmer Park. The majority of the residences were constructed in the 1920s for private individuals. Speculative houses were constructed by the Romney Brothers, R. W. Larson (Larson Building), Kimball and Richards and the Modern Housing Corporation. Don Carlos Kimball and Claude Richards formed Kimball & Richards Land Merchants in 1908 to develop and sell land. They were responsible for over 30 subdivisions between 1900 and 1925. They served as developers as well as builders in Yalecrest.
1431 E. Gilmer Avenue The Yale Ward LDS meetinghouse, located at 1431 East Gilmer Drive, was originally built in 1924. A major remodeling and renovation was completed in August 2013. The building is home to the Yale Ward of the Salt Lake Bonneville Stake. Gaskell Romney was the contractor who built the original building. The cornerstone was laid on September 24, 1924. By December 21, 1924, the cultural hall was completed enough for use, and the chapel was ready for use on March 8, 1925. The entire project was completed in one year. Gaskell Romney was the son of Miles Romney. He married Anna Amelia Pratt, a grand-daughter of Parley P. Pratt. Gaskell and Anna were the parents of George W. Romney, two-term governor of Michigan, presidential candidate in 1968, and presidential cabinet member from 1969-1973. Gaskell’s grandson, Mitt Romney, was governor of Massachusetts and a two-time presidential candidate. Gaskell Romney served as bishop of the Yale Ward for ten years.
The following are some notable homes from the Yale Park area.
1302 E. Yale Avenue This Prairie Style bungalow at 1302 Yale Avenue is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. It was built for Isaac A. Hancock, former vice president of one of Utah’s earliest fruit and produce wholesale companies. Raymond Ashton, of Ashton Improvement Company, built the house for roughly $5,000. The house is one of the first constructed in what is known as the Yale Park subdivision. According to newspaper ads at the time, this subdivision was for “permanent homes, no apartment houses or flats allowed.” The most prominent owner of this house was George Albert Smith, President of the LDS Church from 1945 to 1951. This home was used to entertain all the elected U.S. governors – some 48 at the time – in 1947 to commemorate the Centennial of the pioneers coming to Utah. Note the port cochere on the east side of the house. It helps create the building’s horizontal feel but is only found on high-style Prairie houses. Originally this lot was much bigger. The garage on the lot to the east actually was the garage for this house. The owners of this home also had what was called a “summer house” near Red Butte Creek to escape the hot Salt Lake summer heat. Near the creek bed there is a giant cottonwood tree believed to be as old as the biggest trees in Liberty Park.
1314 E. Yale Avenue This French Norman two-story was built in 1930 by Howard J. McKean. He was a popular builder in Yalecrest, particularly on Yale. He constructed some Period Revival style homes like this one, and also built some of the Prairie School bungalows nearby. French Norman Revival architecture uses stone or brick, and incorporates round or square towers. Special door surrounds, sometimes of terra cotta, are also found in French Norman-styled homes. A balconet [or balconette] is an architectural term for a false balcony, or railing at the outer plane of a window-opening reaching to the floor, and having, when the window is open, the appearance of a balcony. They are common in France, Spain, and Italy and are often referred to as Juliet balconies after the scene from Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. Besides homes, McKean is credited in 1930 with building a “mammoth stage” inside the LDS Tabernacle — the largest stage ever erected in the Western United States. It was constructed for a big pageant production of the History of Man during the centennial celebrations of the LDS Church. The first owners were George and Edith Elliot. At one time, on this lot and the lot west of it, there was nothing but a huge garden belonging to the corner house – which was bought by Edith’s parents. Her father was George Albert Smith, the 8th president of the LDS Church. While the newlyweds’ home was being built, they lived with her parents. George was a bookkeeper. Most of his career was spent working in the sugar beet industry for the Utah-Idaho Sugar Co, which operated factories in Utah, Idaho, Montana, Washington and South Dakota.
1367 E. Yale Avenue This home at 1367 Yale Avenue is an example of a bungalow in the Arts and Crafts style. It was built in 1915 of regular brick and cobblestone. The Bungalow style is the most popular early 20th century style (1900-1925) in Utah and represents 19% of the homes in Yalecrest. It is characterized by low heights, generally a one-story house with low-pitched roofs and a “stretched-out shape,” containing either a symmetrical or asymmetrical façade with walls and ornamentation that emphasize straight lines and right angles. Materials used in this home including brick, stucco, wood and cobblestone. The wood framing on this Arts and Crafts style bungalow is most visibly exposed under the eaves as rafter framing on the west side of this house. The foundation and porch wall is constructed with cobblestone. Windows vary in both size and number of light panes (fenestrations). This house has a typical wide front porch or veranda and with asymmetrical placement of the front entry door to one side of the front façade. This home was built by the Bower Buildings Company, who with the Bower Investment Company, platted 140 lots in the Normandie Heights subdivision of Yalecrest in 1926. Brothers George C., Louis J. and Frank B. Bowers constructed over 3,000 buildings by 1946 in Utah, Wyoming and Nevada. Louis J. Bowers built all the homes on Uintah Circle on speculation between 1937 and 1938. The first owners of the house were George D.D. Kirkpatrick, born in Philadelphia, and Grace G. Kirkpatrick, born in Minnesota. George DD Kirkpatrick’s parents, Samson and Elizabeth Jane Trotter Kirkpatrick, immigrated to the US from Scotland. They are all buried in the Mt. Olivet Cemetery. George DD Kirkpatrick was a Cadastral Engineer (otherwise known as a surveyor) for the US Dept. of the Interior. Cadastral engineers, were involved with the preservation and retracement of the Public Land Survey System (PPLS), also known as the “rectangular system,” which was key to the expansion west in the early history of our country.
1390 E. Yale Avenue This home at 1390 Yale Avenue was built in 1924 for Utah’s fifth Governor, Charles Rendall Mabey, and is an example of a one-story striated brick bungalow. Bungalows are generally low ground hugging buildings with sparse decorations limited generally to exposed structural features such as rafter ends. Many times they include porches that facilitate access to the house, built-in features such as bookcases and a big fireplace for the living-room and other rooms. Some bungalows include a clipped gable roof as seen on this house. It was constructed by The Ashton-Jenkins Company which was heavily involved in real estate development, sales and architecture in this area as well as other Yalecrest subdivisions such as Normandie Heights. Mabey served on the Bountiful City Council, as Mayor of Bountiful, and as a two-term state legislator. He also served a tour of duty in the Spanish-American War and served a mission for the LDS Church. He was a strong advocate of public education and promoted new highway construction in Utah. Gov. Mabey, his wife Afton and four sons lived here for roughly 25 years. The Governor was an amateur geologist and rock hound. He traveled around the country extensively both during and after his tenure as governor, usually in his pickup truck, and always returned with a load of stones. He terraced the entire Yale-side portion of the property from the upper backyard all the way down to Red Butte Creek with magnificent stone retaining walls, concrete pathways edged in stone, three fish ponds that use City water, stone chair seats and a couple of patio areas. There is a spring-fed pond at the bottom of the canyon adjacent to the creek in which he raised trout. After Gov. Mabey and his wife passed away, the property was sold Llewellyn R. McKay who was the youngest son of long-time LDS church President David O. McKay. The home and property have been lovingly enjoyed by only four homeowners.
1408 E. Yale Avenue Construction began on this home in 1915. It is an early house in the Yale Park subdivision and is an excellent example of a typical Prairie style house, as characterized by a broad low roof with wide overhanging eaves and ribbons of consecutive windows. It was designed by Taylor A. Woolley, a Utah native who studied for five years under Frank Lloyd Wright. Mr. Woolley was also the architect for three LDS church houses: Yale, Garden Park and the 13th Ward church. Other prominent projects to his credit include Highland Park, Social Hall Avenue and landscape developments in Memory Grove Park from 1917 to 1919. This home was built for William W. And Leda Rawlins Ray, while he was U.S. District Attorney for Utah. The Rays lived in this home until 1957. Like many Prairie houses, this one is two stories with broad eaves on a cube shaped structure.
1480 E. Yale Avenue This home at 1480 Yale Avenue is an excellent example of a house influenced by the Prairie School design associated with Frank Lloyd Wright’s early career. It is a good example of local interpretation of style with little emphasis on stylistic ornamentation and more on simple block massing. The only variation in design is the exterior use of small classical columns and a classical cornice at the front portico and the back porch. Construction began in 1918 on this simple rectangular structure. At the time, the cost of the house was $5,000. The home was built for H.J. McKean and then sold in 1920 to Arch and Clara Cheney.