OGDEN — A group of Ogden residents fighting to preserve the history of their neighborhood got a victory Tuesday night.
The Ogden City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that puts a home at 159 W. 2nd Street on the Ogden City Register of Historic Resources.
The designation requires that any significant architectural changes to the building, including demolition, 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 its character and historical significance.
“In terms of history, this home has gone through a few different phases,” said Ogden City Deputy Planning Manager Clinton Spencer.
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 Rick and Tammy Creeger bought it 25 years ago.
The home still includes the original log floors, adobe walls and door and window casings. A cellar door on the home is also original.
The designation of the Creegers’ home is essentially step one in a process being undertaken by several residents in the area to safeguard the neighborhood’s history and character.
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 Creegers’ 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.
“It’s a unique area,” said Tammy Creeger. “Bingham’s Fort has the only remaining pioneer homes in Ogden.”
Keogh, the Creegers and some others in the neighborhood are trying to get more eligible homes and structures in the area on the city’s historical register, and perhaps push the city to tab the entire neighborhood as a historic district. The group says growth at Ogden’s Boyer Business Depot and an impending development plan on a large, vacant lot just east of the neighborhood could stand to jeopardize some of the bygone nature they’re trying to preserve.
“As urban sprawl and development make more places look the same, it becomes increasingly crucial for all of us to keep our identities intact and unharmed,” Tammy Creeger said. “Even one or two striking historical buildings can help define a community and allude to its past. If whole neighborhoods can be preserved, the effect is greater.”
Connie Cox, from the Weber County Heritage Foundation, said Ogden has several prized historic areas in a city setting — places like Historic 25th Street and the Jefferson and Eccles Avenue Historic Districts — but not many in rural areas.
“We’re losing our rural examples of historic preservation,” Cox said.
Keogh’s home at 301 W. 2nd Street will be considered for the historic register by the Ogden Landmarks Commission on Jan. 23. If approved there, the Ogden Planning Commission would vote on the proposal, with final approval coming from the City Council.