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Spring City Historic District

Spring City, Sanpete County, UT

Stone House

Stone House at Main and F Streets, Spring City. Photograph by P. Kent Fairbanks, 1968, Historic American Buildings Survey, (UT-077), public domain, www.loc.gov, accessed August, 2022.

Historic District [†]

Spring City lies in the northern half of the Sanpete Valley about seventeen miles north of Manti, the Sanpete County seat. U.S. 89, the principal route through the valley, bypasses the town one, mile to the west. The town is tucked up beneath the Wasatch Plateau which rises dramatically on the eastern perimeter of the town. A line of low lying limestone hills to the south and west effectively cut the town off from the larger valley. Hie current (1978) population is 450.

With its wide streets and square blocks. Spring City is typical of the Mormon village plan. The historic district boundaries are coincident with the city limits. and enclose about ninety-five blocks and three hundred and six structures. Of the total number of sites and structures, 337 or 76 percent contribue to the nineteenth and early twentieth century village character of the town.

In keeping with the religious nature of the town, Spring City is dominated by a large L.D.S. Meetinghouse. This elegant stone structure was built in 1900-1914 and replaced an earlier building. In 1973 a stone wing was added on the north of the structure. This addition was designed to match the character of the original building and does not detract from the historical integrity of the Church. Other buildings in the district which display the prominent role the L.D.S. Church played in the town are the Bishop's Tithing Office, the Endowment House-School House, and the Relief Society Granary. Orson Hyde, one of the Twelve Apostles of the L.D.S. Church, resided in Spring City. Other homes of local church leaders are the Jacob Johnson house and the James A. Allred House.

Outside of these few buildings with strong religious links and a small commercial area on Main Street, Spring City is predominantly residential. While modern intrusions do occur (and are occurring with more frequency), the ambience of the town remains strongly that of the rural farm village. Most of the streets are unpaved, town lots retain a high percentage of the original outbuildings, picket fences continue to grace many lots, and it is not uncommon in the spring and fall to witness large flocks of sheep being driven through the main streets.

Architecturally, the town is overwhelmingly vernacular in character. Folk house types from the 1865-1890 period comprise over one-third of the extant total, and range from one room cabins to two-story hall and parlor houses. Adobe and stone are the most common building materials; though log, frame, and brick are also in evidence. Nearly all of the barns and granaries found in town follow traditional patterns. The origins of the folk designs reflect the overall diversity of the settlement population. Yankees and Southerners brought along familiar house plans from their eastern homes, and Danes (a sizeable percentage of the population) brought along Old World houses such as the "parstugen.". In general, folk styles predominate and generate much of the nineteenth century quality of the town.

Pattern book styles of the 1880-1910 period make up about another one-third of the town's architecture. Economic prosperity during the later nineteenth century enabled Spring City residents to emulate architectural fashions found in population centers like Salt Lake City and Provo. Carpenter-builder designs were made available in Sanpete Valley through architectural pattern books. As a result, hip roofs gradually replaced the simple gable, pyramid cottages with projecting gables became extremely popular, and several successful entrepreneurs created elegant monuments to their own prosperity — the John Baxter Sr. House, the Brail Ericksen House, the William Osborne House, and the Jacob Johnson House are rather large and picturesque renderings of the pattern book style. Builders' manuals also introduced the bungalow to Spring City. While several good bungalows can be found within the town limits, these buildings make up only about one-tenth of the housing stock.

Intrusions into the historic district occur in the form of mobile and prefabricated homes and variations of the ranch styles of post World War II years. In 1973 there were thirteen trailers in town; today there are about twenty-two. About thirty ranch-style houses are found in Spring City, mostly built in the 1970s. Alterations of older houses occasionally detract from the visual nature of the district, but severe modification is minimal.

Adapted from: Tom Carter/Project Historian. Utah State Historical Society, Spring City Historic District. nomination document, 1979, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Note: street names shown are as labeled on the Spring City Survey Map created in 1968 by the Utah Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation.

Street Names
1st Street • 2nd Street • 4th Street • A Street • B Street • C Street • D Street • E Street • F Street • G Street • H Street • I Street • Main Street