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DId You Know? White House brick made their way to Cedar City
by Gerald R. Sherratt
Jul 04, 2012 | 115 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The White House, home of the president of the United States in Washington D. C., was originally built over an eight-year period from 1772 to 1800, when it was first occupied by President John Adams and called the President’s Palace.

In 1801 President Jefferson installed indoor water closets (early toilets) to replace the building’s outdoor privy. During the War of 1812, the British armies burned the building and only its walls remained after the fire.

The building was rebuilt to the original plans and the brick painted white. President Theodore Roosevelt gave it its current name, the White House.

In 1948, President Harry S. Truman built a south portico at the second floor level but during the portico’s construction, engineers determined the building was structurally unsound. Once again the White House was gutted, and a new interior of concrete and steel replaced the old wooden joists.

While most the building’s brick, either from the original house or the one rebuilt after the War of 1812, were discarded, some of the brick were given to prominent members of Congress, 18 of them to U. S. Congressman Walter K. Granger, a former mayor of Cedar City.

After Granger left Congress, he returned to Cedar City, bought an 800 acre-farm and constructed on it a home in the popular style of the mid-20th Century. Granger choose the home’s brick to be compatible in color to the unpainted White House brick and then had the 18 bricks arranged on an outer wall in two rows of nine bricks each. A very small bronze plaque with a presidential seal on it was placed between the two rows identifying the brick as having come from the White House in 1950.

The home, now owned by Ted and Norma Arsenault (located in Cedar City at 2305 N. 2300 West), is near the area some refer to as Mellingville (after former Cedar City and Parowan City Manager Joe Melling and his wife Sally, who reside there along with houses built and occupied by a number of their children).

Mr. Arsenault added his own tradition to the building by importing some beautiful peacocks who freely roam about the home’s yard. And so it is that some of the hallowed brick from the most famous home in America found their way to Cedar City, a lasting link between southern Utah and the nation’s Capitol.

CREATIVE LICENSE PLATE. Utah: WASAPEP (but now I’m weary?).

JUST THE FACTS. March sales tax revenues in Cedar City jumped by a whopping 15 percent from the same month the previous year. Sales taxes in March 2012 totaled $468,183; in 2011 they were $400,987. RAP taxes in March totaled $39,539 compared to $34,045 in March 2011, or a jump of 16 percent.

Renon Savage reports that 22 business licenses were issued in May including six new licenses for establishments now under new ownerships: Fiddler Theatre, Hong Kong Buffet, Jamaican Me Crazy, Jocelyn’s Floral and Stadium 8 Theatre. The ownership of the two theaters transfered from Westate Theaters to Larry H. Miller Theatres, Inc.

Licenses were issued to several community groups including Cedar Valley Community Theatre (which recently staged the musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”), Christensen Window Washing (429 1/2 Circlewheel Drive), Lookin’ Good (paint and handyman services at 352 S. 200 East), Dixon Leavitt Studios (241 S. 200 West #2), Turn Community Services’ Cedar Fort Day Program, and the T-Birds Women’s Basketball Camp.

Some others: Fossil Fuel Conversions (manufacturing at 555 N. 300 West) and retail establishments Matt Phillips (603 S. Main St. #1), CWC Inc. (2726 West 225 South), and ProNatural Nutrition, LLC (396 N. 2150 West, #B4).

Iron County’s unemployment rate inched up in April to 7.5 percent (Washington County was 7.8 percent), a jump from March’s 7.4 percent and February’s 7.3. Utah’s unemployment was 6 percent (up from 5.8 two months earlier), and the nation’s was 8.1 percent.

FOND FAREWELL. Cedar City said goodbye to one of its stalwart sons recently, a man whose life spanned nearly two-thirds of the city’s history and who served for many years as the city’s living contact with many of the past giants of Cedar City’s history.

Homer Jones, who lived to age 102, passed away in his sleep, leaving a progeny of 100 including children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren.

The patriarch of such a large and distinguished family, a man whose contributions to the people of Cedar City are legion (including his photography of people, events, and scenery now in the possession of the Special Collections Division in the SUU Library), deserved an outstanding funeral, and he got it.

The funeral services were held on June 9, appropriately in the Old Rock Church that Homer saw built as a young man, with a large crowd in attendance. The speeches by three sons, a granddaughter and great-grandson were all wonderfully crafted and delivered.

The music was furnished by the Jones family itself, including great grandchildren, a large chorus of grandchildren, and an awe-inspiring performance of “How Great Thou Art” by Homer’s grandson, Justin Jones, that would have taken the roof off the old church had the roof not been recently replaced. I will remember Justin’s wonderful rendition forever.

It was such a quality funeral they should have charged to attend it. 

CELEBRITIES. Joyce Messer informs me that Alvin Chipmunk has consented to come to Cedar City to be the Grand Marshal of the Holiday Parade on Nov. 18, and that the Roadrunner and all six of the Avengers will also be making an appearance at the parade, including Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye and Black Widow.

LOOKING GOOD. The handsome extension of Main Street Park’s west side fence to the south side as well both improves the appearance of the park and provides added safety for park participants. All too often team balls will get out into the street and players streak after them, darting between parked cars to retrieve the balls and trying their best to avoid the traffic. The fence will eliminate much of the problem and perhaps save lives in the process.

The placement of bowls of flowers at the entrance to City Hall adds a touch of beauty to the building … The new street lights between 200 North and Coal Creek will add needed light to the area and extend the beauty of downtown a couple more blocks.

And the beautiful flowers planted at the base of the city sign in the Main Street Park gives the park its elegance – until some group or another decides to decorate the sign with other signs advertising their event.

PERSONS OF THE MONTH. If you are a big game hunter in America then you are already acquainted with The Huntin’ Fool, a glossy, 120- to 140-page magazine produced every month here in Cedar City by Garth and Sharyl Carter, July’s Persons of the Month.

The magazine is a guide to big game hunting in the western United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) and has become a hunters’ bible for those who would like to seriously pursue big game in more than one state.

Each month, the magazine features information hunters need to fill out big game applications and choose units that exactly fit their hunting style and goals.

Provided are detailed information such as hunt statistics, deadlines, dates, number of preference points needed to draw, hunting success for the past one to five years, odds of drawing for the past five years, size of animals taken unit by unit, and comments about each unit. The magazine is the “mother load” for every big game hunter.

In addition to the magazine, the Craters have four full-time consultants and a support staff to offer personalized services such as how to draw the next great tag, a list of those who drew the tag a person has been issued in previous years, help with an outfitter, gear for the next hunt of a lifetime, and help on how to obtain maps. For the nation’s serious hunters, the Carters are here to help.

A CENTURY AGO. The Branch Normal School, a teacher training institution affiliated with the University of Utah, was founded in Cedar City in 1897. Its science teacher included evolution (the theory that contemporary man evolved from a lower type) in the science curriculum, and in 1912 some of the local residents expressed continuing dismay that evolution was being taught – which they believed contradicted the Bible.

They approached the University of Utah requesting that evolution not be in the curriculum at the BNS. The U refused, and the local group searched for other solutions, eventually electing to approach the legislature with a request that the BNS be transfered to the Utah Agricultural College (now Utah State University).

A year later, 1913, the local critics of evolution were successful in passing legislation transferring the school from the administration of the University of Utah to the Utah Agricultural College.

What had been known as the Branch Normal School became the Branch Agricultural College (now SUU), the teacher was not retained, and for a time evolution was not a part of the science curriculum.

Today it is taught at every college of note, including those sponsored by religions, including Notre Dame and Brigham Young University.

A corollary to the transfer was the elevation of the school to college status rather than the high school level of the BNS and making state funding more secure.

IN PASSING: St. George Boulevard (in St. George, of course) is owned by the state of Utah, as is Main Street and 200 North (Freedom Boulevard) in Cedar City. But the state invested in St. George Boulevard by constructing landscaped islands down the middle of the street and upgrading the lighting so that today the Boulevard is both attractive and easily traversed.

Take a look at it the next time you go down to shop Costco. Perhaps it is time for UDOT to do the same for 200 North, convert the street into a beautiful thoroughfare befitting Festival City USA.

But given all the money UDOT has pumped into St. George and the paucity of funds it has spent on Cedar City (a few  years ago UDOT spent $4 million in Iron County, more than $200 million in Washington County), don’t look for it to happen soon.

JOKE OF THE MONTH. An elderly lady is on the witness stand in a small town courtroom. The prosecutor asks her if she knows the defense attorney and she says, “Yes, I do. He’s a drunkard. He’s never sober. I’ve known him all his life.” The defense attorney asks her, “Ma’am, do you know the prosecutor?” She answers, “Yes, I do. He’s a cheat. He cheated all through school. He cheated on the bar exam and he cheats on his wife.” The judge requests both lawyers to approach the bench. He says, “If either one of you asks that old woman if she knows me, you’re both going to jail for a year.”

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