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A light snow falls outside this 110-year-old home on the corner of 200 South and 100 East in Manti. The house was the dream home of Parley Christian and Miranda Jensen Madsen. It is now owned by their granddaughter, Kristine Frischknecht Evertsen.

Home has provided

decades of sweet living

 

Three generations of family have
grown up in Victorian home

 

By Doug Lowe

Guest writer

Mar. 8, 2018

 

MANTI—The Victorian home of Parley Christian and Miranda Jensen Madsen has stood at the southwest corner of 200 South and 100 East in Manti for more than 110 years now.

Throughout those years, three generations of family members have owned and lived in the three-bedroom structure which, was completed in 1907 after three years of construction.

The home’s original owners, Parley and Miranda, married in Manti on Sept. 23, 1903.

This “fainting couch” is in one of bedrooms of the historic Madsen home. Hanging behind it is the dress and a hat Miranda Madsen wore to dances, along with other family memorabilia.

The newlyweds first lived in a small two-room adobe cabin located on the same street-corner lot where they built their dream house a few years later.

The first of their eight children, Edna, was born in that cabin, where water had to be fetched from the irrigation creek on the other side of the street.

Parley was born in Manti on June 6, 1881, the son of Jens Christian Madsen and Annie Christina Monsen.

His bride, Miranda, the daughter of Fred Jensen and Christine Lund, was born Sept. 20, 1883, in Manti.

Within only a couple years after their marriage, the young couple started driving a horse and wagon up into the canyon to gather and bring back the timber that became lumber for building their dream home. In that new home, they raised their children.

Sadly, their sixth child, Doris Mae, died of a childhood illness a few months after her first birthday.

The current owner and occupant, Kristine Frischknecht-Evertsen, is the daughter of one of those eight children, Dora Jean (who went by Jean).

Kristine’s mother, Jean Madsen, and father, Kay Lamar Frischknecht, raised their family nearby.

And Kristine visited her grandparents’ home practically every day, especially after getting the horse which she kept behind the house in their pasture (now a church parking lot).

After Jean inherited the house from her mother, two of her sons each lived there after getting married, and then Kristine moved in with her three children, Jared, Candice, and Heidi, who grew to adulthood under the care of their single mother.

It has now been more than 30 years since Kristine moved into her grandparents’ home.

During those years, she has supported herself by working various jobs and has seen her children grow up and leave home.

Happily, 10 years ago she married her second husband, Doug Evertsen, in a wedding ceremony which they held in the history-filled home.

If the walls of her home could tell stories, Kristine said “most of the tales would be happy ones.”

The major exception would have been her grandparents’ loss of their daughter who died as a toddler.

The best stories, according to Kristine, would be of holiday gatherings and family reunions.

I have spent Christmas Eve in this home built by my grandparents for most of 60-some years now,” she recalls. “I am flooded with so many memories with loved ones dear; grandparents, Mom and Dad, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and now children and grandchildren.”

She continues reminiscing: “I remember all of us, along with cousins, getting Santa suckers and a new pair of gloves, … a checker game that went on for hours in the parlor on Christmas Day, … hot wassail, Santa Claus, hayrides with caroling, ugly sweaters and so much more.”

Mary Lois Madsen, who married the youngest of Parley and Miranda’s boys, described much the same things when she wrote: “I remember many holidays when the family would congregate at the big red brick house with all the children and grandchildren. There was wonderful food served on beautiful dishes … taking pictures and showing slides, grandkids laughing and playing, adults visiting. There was love and laughter … many wonderful memories!”

For as long as anyone can remember, the attractive Victorian home at 96 E. 200 South has been described as “red brick,” yet it was built with yellow- or buff-colored brick.

In fact, one of the “few major projects” Kristine has undertaken in her long tenancy involved having the house repainted. Her minor projects have included ripping up carpet and layers of underlying linoleum to expose and restore original pinewood floors.

Kristine also changed how she heated the home.

She gave up on the original steam radiator and boiler system and relied upon a woodstove instead.

“Buying the fuel oil that had replaced coal was breaking my budget every month!” she explains.

The wood-burning stove she installed in the living room has done the job ever since.

A photo in the staircase of the home shows the oldest four of Parley and Mirada Madsen’s eight children.

An attractive ceramic-faced fireplace was originally built in a small formal parlor next to the front door and living room. Still in perfect condition, its colored tiles, wood trim and mantel bespeak a bygone era. On Christmas and other special occasions, Kristine also builds a fire there.

Not long ago, Kristine’s husband, Doug, whose background is in construction, got a friend to help him pour concrete to replace the rotting wooden steps to the kitchen door.

That door, on the home’s northwest corner adjacent to the driveway, has always been more popular and seen much more use than the front door.

The home’s main entrance has always been on its east side, actually its north corner, facing 100 East. So, by today’s house-address conventions, the elegant Victorian structure should appear as being on 100 East.

According to the Utah Division of State History’s website, the term “Victorian” refers to an era rather than an architectural style, “a period in which American architecture witnessed … a wild profusion of styles across Utah and the rest of the United States.”

The Madsen-Frischknecht home appears to belong to one of the most popular styles, having “a central block with projecting bays,” which, despite “a bewildering variety of external treatments, represents a basic modification of the older side-passage form. In the Victorian version, projecting bays were added to the principal rooms, thereby achieving a desired external irregularity of design while at the same time making the rooms larger and brighter.”

Indeed, the home’s bright, day-lit interior and cozy features bespeak generations of warm and loving family life that included all kinds of occasions—special and mundane.

These brighter, larger rooms have invited all kinds of meaningful gatherings of the heart for extended family members and friends over 11 decades.