Homes of LDS Church leaders in Yalecrest

From Yalecrest’s early history into modern times — prophets and apostles of the LDS Church were among the neighborhood’s most notable residents alongside captains of industry, professionals, academicians, government officials and civic leaders.

During the pre and post-war years, three  LDS prophets – George Albert Smith, Spencer W. Kimball and Ezra Taft Benson – resided in Yalecrest or its nearby streets, while either serving as head of the church or at different stages of their adult lives.

One of Yalecrest’s most iconic architectural structures – 1389 Harvard Ave.,  with its one-of-a-kind-swirled roof pattern, and castle-like turret in the entry-way –  was home to President Benson before he was appointed Secretary of Agriculture under U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower. Built in 1929, the 3,700 square foot Tudor stands today as a lasting reminder of a bygone era steeped in timeless beauty.

The first Salt Lake City home on the National Register of Historic Places, a spacious 3,800 square foot bungalow at 1302 Yale Ave., was the residence of President George Albert Smith, while he served as the eighth president of the LDS Church from 1945-1951. The original hardwood floors and leaded windows are still preserved in this brick and stone structure built in 1914.

President Spencer W. Kimball lived in two different houses in the Yalecrest area during his lifetime. One was a two-story brick Tudor at 1000 Military Drive, with a large peaked roof on the south end of the house resting over a series of narrow, rectangular leaded windows.  The other was  a one-story 3,200 square foot brick home at 2028 Laird Drive, built in 1947. His residency on Laird Drive was during his service as President of the LDS Church

Joseph Fielding Smith, LDS President from 1970-1972, raised his family at 998 Douglas Street. The 5,300 square foot residence, built in 1926, is situated just west of Yalecrest in the Gilmer Park area. Some of  the original historical features of the home have been preserved including the quarter sawn oak in the doors, mantle and library.

In modern times, two current Apostles of the LDS Church – Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Russell M. Nelson – lived in Yalecrest at 1813 Yale Ave., and 1347 Normandie Circle respectively while serving in the Quorum of the Twelve.  Both have since moved from the neighborhood.  Four other apostles of the LDS Church –Elders  Marion G. Romney, Mark E. Petersen, Neal A. Maxwell, and Joseph B. Wirthlin – all resided here while serving as apostles and Elder Huge B. Brown was a resident before he was called to serve in the church.   Elder Romney’s home was in the Monument Park First Ward at 1903 Yale Ave. Elder Petersen resided at 852 Diestel Road and Elder Maxwell lived at 2059 Herbert Ave.  Elder Wirthlin owned two homes in Yalecrest, first, and relatively briefly at 1671 Harvard Ave., and then for well over 50 years at 932 Military Drive. Elder Wirthlin’s home on Military Drive is a classic 3,200 square foot Tudor built in 1928. Elder Oaks’ home on Yale, also a Tudor built in 1928.

President Hugh B. Brown lived at 1771 Harvard Ave. for a few years in the early 1950s before he was called as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The 2,300 square foot brick home was built in 1930.

A few members of the LDS Church’s Quorum of the Seventy – Elders Royden G. Derrick, Sterling W. Sill and Joseph W. Anderson – also lived in Yalecrest.  Elder Anderson lived at 1732 Yalecrest Ave. and Elder Sill resided at 1264 Yale in the 1940s.

——- Jan Hemming

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