Thursday, February 4, 2016

From a residence to a funeral home to restaurants and shops

       The Little Taste of Britain restaurant and other shops on Layton's Main Street in 2016.

EVOLUTION is the name of the game for most businesses.

What exists on one site today, may not have been the case decades, or even just a few years ago. Many locations sport a colorful history of occupants.
One site on Layton, Utah's Main Street is a prime example of this.
Located at 1095 North Main Street, the Little Taste of Britain restaurant anchors some other adjacent businesses in "The Cottage at Layton" strip mall, west of Shopko.
El Mate, an international market, Soda Crazy, a soft drink outlet, Jarochos Mexican Food and even an income tax preparation office are all located in the small strip mall. The basement property is currently looking for a tenant.

Let's trace the evolution of this property:
In the early 1950s, the north end of this business property was the home of Ray and Mary Dawson. 
"The Dawson home was a real show place in its time," according to Bill Sanders, director of the Layton Heritage Museum.
(These Dawsons were the parents of Davis High Coach John Dawson, a legendary prep sports mentor, who passed away in 2010.)
Ray Dawson died in about 1960, while mowing the large lawn that surrounded his home at 1095 North Main.
Shortly thereafter, his widow sold the property to the Layton Union Mortuary.
This Union Mortuary was an extension of the Bountiful Union Mortuary, 295 North Main, in Bountiful That mortuary began as an offshoot of Union Furniture Company in about 1933 under the leadership of Merrill Holbrook. It was first called Union Mortuary in 1934 in a Davis County Clipper newspaper article of Aug. 10 that year.
The Davis Clipper of June 9, 1937 reported that George W. Graham, an undertaker, was moving back to Layton, his former home. That was the year when Graham started a funeral home in Layton, located perhaps on South Main Street. This was a branch of Bountiful's Union Mortuary.
"New Mortuary Open" was a March 31, 1961 headline in the Davis County Clipper. This article mentioned a public open house on April 1-2 for the Union Mortuary, now at 1095 North Main Street., on three acres of ground in an 11,000-plus-square-foot building. The facility boasted six viewing rooms, a chapel, a four-car garage and an apartment.
Layton Union Mortuary operated from 1961 to 1972. Bodies were prepared for burial in the basement. There was also a furnace for cremations.
Gerald Thomson and his family lived in the apartment section of the funeral home for some years, until they built their own residence about a block to the west.
Merrill Holbrook, president of Union Mortuary, died on Jan. 14, 1972. Soon after, the Bountiful location was sold to Russon Brothers and became their funeral home, the first one outside of Salt Lake County, for that company.
The Layton Union Mortuary soon closed.
(Eventually Layton attracted two other mortuaries -- Lindquist's and Myers -- on the east side of town.)
Some years later, perhaps the late 1970s, Carlos Produce leased the former funeral home building and operated for more than a decade there, selling fruit and vegetables. A lot of their produce was stored in the basement.
The property was eventually converted into a strip mall with various suites. Little Taste of Britain opened there in 2008, but many other small businesses came and went before that, and after that time. For example, there was a private club/restaurant, the Empress Club, located there for some years too, long before Little Taste of Britain came along.

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