OGDEN — Longtime residents of one of Ogden’s oldest neighborhoods say growth seems to be coming at them from all directions.
And while they don’t hold any delusions of stopping the fast moving train of progress, they are grappling with how to keep some semblance of the lifestyle they’ve known for years.
Rick and Tammy Creeger are in the process of getting their 156-year-old home at 159 W. 2nd Street on the Ogden City Register of Historic Resources — a measure that would would require any significant changes proposed for the building, including demolition, to be approved by the Ogden City Landmarks Commission. The designation would also help preserve the building and help ensure that any proposed remodeling would maintain the character and historical significance of the building.
The home was built in 1863 by Arthur Stone, an immigrant from England. The home was later purchased by Alexander Brown, who was also among the first Mormon settlers in Weber County. In 1911, the home was sold to a man named Thomas Manley, who added a bungalow-style addition onto the front of the rock home. A man named Henry James bought the home in 1923 and it remained in his family for 72 years, until the Creegers bought it.
The home still includes the original log floors, adobe walls and door and window casings. A cellar door on the home is also original.
But the Creegers’ home is just a small piece of the neighborhood’s history. In the mid-1800s the entire area near 2nd Street west of Wall Avenue served as a fort for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Historian Anna Keogh, who lives on the Stone Family Farm west of the Creeger’s home, said the fort served as a gathering spot for approximately 600 early settlers and was the largest fort in the Weber County area. Officially known as Bingham’s Fort, several of the structures and homes in the neighborhood were built by early LDS Church settlers and still stand today. According to Weber County property records, there are nearly 20 homes and other structures still standing in the area that were built prior to 1900.
While signs of the old pioneer days are still prominent in the neighborhood, change has taken hold and will likely continue.
“We first bought this home about 25 years ago,” Rick Creeger said. “Back then the biggest thing you had to worry about was somebody’s horse getting loose in the street.”
The Creeger’s, Koegh and neighbor Terry Lanier (all of whom have lived in the neighborhood for decades) say the mid-1990s shuttering of Defense Depot Ogden and the subsequent emergence of the Boyer Business Depot Ogden ushered in a new area.
Today, the 1,118-acre business park has more than 6,000 employees, 125 businesses and 11 million square feet of building space. There are approximately 200 acres of land that can still be developed at BDO and when the last building is put up, the park officials estimate the number employees will total more than 10,000 — growth somewhere in the neighborhood of 70%.
As the BDO has grown, so has traffic, noise and pollution on west 2nd Street.
“Traffic used to be bad at 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. with the DDO,” Tammy Creeger said. “Now it’s all hours of the day.”
But the expanding BDO isn’t the neighbors’ only concern related to growth and development. A development plan just east of the Creeger, Keogh and Lanier residences also looms on the horizon.
Last year, the Ogden City Council approved a rezone at 100 W. 2nd St., changing the property from single family to multiple family residential with a conditional overlay. Eduardo Hernandez-Orozco, of Strategga Design and Construction, LLC, had asked the city for the rezone so he could build a 30-unit town home development on the three-acre parcel, which sits on the northwest corner of Wall Avenue and 2nd Street.
But since the council approval, Hernandez-Orozco has sold the property. According to Weber County property records, the parcel is now owned Parkridge, Inc. out of Syracuse. The neighbors say they’ve been approached by real-estate agents and developers tied to the new ownership, asking them to sell their homes. The foursome says they’re united and trying to get other neighbors in the area to apply for city historical designations as well, an effort they hope will protect the area’s heritage and character.
“We think it would be a good way to preserve this neighborhood,” Keogh said. “But some of the neighbors are convinced if they get their home on the (historical) register, it limits what they can do and it will limit the values of their homes. But I don’t think that’s the case.”
With the BDO’s projected growth, the potential development at the corner of Wall and 2nd Street and some properties recently purchased by the Ogden City School District for nearby Heritage Elementary School, the neighbors are worried zoning changes could extend further west on 2nd Street.
“We’re not against progress,” Creeger said. “But we would like to see things developed in a way that preserves the history we have here. This neighborhood really is a historic vestige and we’d like to maintain some degree of it.”
The city council is scheduled to vote on the historical designation of the Creeger’s home on Jan. 21.