By Lynn Arave
THE Miles Goodyear Cabin in Ogden is the oldest non-Native American structure in Utah. It is also perhaps Ogden’s greatest historical gem.
Built in 1845, two years before the Mormon Pioneers arrived, the now 169-year-old cabin was the first permanent house built in Utah.
However, it is a miracle the cabin has survived the times, in that it has moved at least seven times around town – and was also towed on a trailer in one Pioneer Day Parade.
It is presently located on the Weber County Pioneer Museum grounds, 2104 Lincoln Avenue.
The historic log cabin, about 250-square-feet in size and made of Cottonwood logs, originally stood near the junction of Ogden and Weber Rivers, close to where today’s Fort Buenaventura State Park in West Ogden now stands.
In the fall of 1847 it was sold by Miles Goodyear (along with the entire Ogden area) to settler Captain James Brown of the Mormon Battalion, representing the Mormon Church, for $1,950.
Captain James Brown
The cabin first had to be moved about 440 yards southeast of its original location, to higher ground, to be protected from an overflowing Weber River in 1850, according to the Standard on Dec. 27, 1919.
In 1857, it was purchased by Amos Pease Stone and used as a blacksmith business. In 1860, Stone moved the cabin to the banks of Mill Creek.
In 1866, it was relocated to 1342 Washington Boulevard (named “Main Street” in those days.) On April 3, 1896, Minerva P. Shaw purchased the cabin, who soon relocated it slightly south, near her residence, 1265 Washington Boulevard (“Avenue” back then). The cabin was then repaired and its dirt roof was replaced with a shingle roof.
In 1916, Shaw donated the cabin to the Ogden Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. The cabin made a special appearance in the July 24, 1916 Ogden Pioneer Days Parade, incorporated into a float.
David O. Mckay, chairman of the Ogden Pioneer Days Pageant, recommended that it appear in the parade so that it “might go visiting and show itself off to the big buildings that have been erected since it pioneered,” as quoted in the June 4, 1916 Ogden Standard-Examiner. (The article also mentioned that a controversy was also recently settled proving the cabin was the oldest house in the state.)
The cabin was next transported to the rear of Ogden City Fire Station No. 3, 901 Washington on Dec. 4, 1919. The Sept. 21, 1920 Standard stated that the City of Ogden was now going to take steps to safeguard the oldest house in the state. A shed, to protect the building from storms, was then erected over it.
In 1928, the cabin was moved to Ogden’s Tabernacle Block. There it resided for more than eight decades.
The cabin was meticulously refurbished in 1994-1995. It was dismantled and each of the approximate 500 pieces were numbered. The logs were treated for preservation and a solid rubber membrane was added to the roof, for weatherproofing. Like a sort of jigsaw puzzle, the cabin was then reassembled and each log was linked with an acrylic material.
Near the end of 2011, the cabin was moved to its current location, 21st Street and Lincoln Avenue. The cabin had to be relocated because of the underground parking garage construction for the new Ogden Temple. The LDS Church paid expenses to move the cabin. City leaders hope the new location gives the priceless cabin more visibility.
(-Written by Lynn Arave and originally published on-line in the Ogden Standard-Examiner, May 1, 2014 and in print on May 2, 2014.)
-NOTE: The author, Lynn Arave, is available to speak to groups, clubs, classes or other organizations about Utah history at no charge. He can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org