Friends of Spring City launch ‘virtual’ Heritage Day, complete with home tours
By Doug Lowe
SPRING CITY—The Friends of Historic Spring City made another kind of history by holding their annual Heritage Day celebration as a series of online virtual events.
The virtual tours were held last Saturday in response to the new coronavirus outbreak.
According to Randal Thatcher, the organization’s co-president, the preparation “ to host such a digital (online) event” was also accomplished by getting in the spirit and meeting “virtually (using ZOOM), as a committee.” And, though the celebration’s events took place last Saturday, May 23, Thatcher reports that many are “still posted and accessible on our website: friendsofhistoricspringcity.org.”
The day’s activities included an online art auction (with bids continuing to be placed online until the month’s end), virtual 3D tours of pioneer-era homes as well as other types of buildings, videos of music performances, remarkable T-shirt offered for sale, and even the phenomenal return of a time-traveling member of the original 1852 Allred Settlement, which eventually became Spring City.
The virtual festivities kicked off at 10 a.m., when Brian Stucki, the association’s other co-president (also the Director of Vocal Studies at Snow College’s Horne School of Music), used his smart phone to video record Alison Anderson a detailed tour of the historic home she and her husband, Chris, painstakingly restored. Include in the tour was a number of wonderfully restored and furnished outbuildings, along with a lovely landscaped yard.
One of those outbuildings, is an unusually large stone barn, built to also serve as the carriage house, thought to be possibly the largest in all of Utah. Given its impressive size, it must almost certainly be, at least the biggest stone barn built during Utah’s pioneer era. Inside, the structure has been remodeled to serve as a large gathering space, an agrarian ball room of sorts that serves the entire community for all kinds of special occasions.
Built during the late1800s, construction of the home took place in two different phases. With a Queen Anne style of rounded turret filling one corner, rising two stories, and featuring rounded glass windows, the home reminds one of historic San Francisco more than rural Utah. The architectural gem was originally the residence of Territorial Judge Jacob Johnson, who later went on to serve a term in the US Congress from 1912 to 1914.
Lovers of historic architecture, period furnishing, and authentic restoration are certain to enjoy the tour. Likewise, those who love folk lore, and historic tales—whether tall or true—will enjoy Anderson’s brief recounting of how Judge Johnson is said to have calmed a belligerent, somewhat tipsy Butch Cassidy by inviting him inside to have a beer.
The seven virtual tours now posted online include the Judge Johnson home, Caldwell home, old School House, Crawford home, Victory Hall, Allred Hotel, Brown restored barn and the Orson Hyde house.
Still displayed online are all the 12” x 12” original works of art donated for sale in 2020s virtual version of the annual “Art Squared Auction.” Bids will continue to be accepted until May 31. Currently, the site shows some $20,000 raised thus far, with the received 258 bids accounting for 85 percent of the available art works.
Summarizing this year’s Heritage Day, Thatcher said, “While we certainly consider this online event to have been a success, we anticipate getting back to the more up-close-and-personal kind of Heritage Day next year, and hope to welcome lots of people back to Spring City, to revel in our rich heritage, purchase works of art and local crafts, and generally enjoy the laid-back charm and ambiance of this historic little hamlet.”