Brigham Young Forest Farmhouse
Brigham Young, Utah territorial governor and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had several homes throughout Utah. His Forest Farmhouse was originally located near 700 East and 2300 South in Salt Lake City. In 1976 it was relocated to Old Deseret pioneer town in This Is the Place Heritage Park on East Sunnyside Avenue in Salt Lake City.
The farmhouse was built in 1863 on Brigham Young’s 600-acre farm in an area of open farmland. He named it Forest Farm because of the grove of trees on the property. Young also planted many trees himself. He designed the home with Truman O. Angell and A. J. Downing.
Brigham Young never lived in the farmhouse, but stayed there sometimes. He used it as a show place for visiting dignitaries and guests. He and his family held musical performances, square dances, and dinner parties in the home’s second-story ballroom. Thirty to forty farm hands were fed at the house.
The farm was primarily a dairy farm, producing butter and other dairy products for Brigham Young’s families. It was also an agricultural experimental farm where alfalfa, sugar beets, and mulberry could be tested in the Utah soil and climate. One of the experiments was serraculture, raising silk worms to develop a silk industry in Utah. Registered cattle were also imported and raised on the farm.
Brigham Young died in 1877. George Mousley Cannon bought the land in 1889 from Brigham Young’s estate and the area became known as Forest Dale. The newly formed Forest Dale Ward met in the home in 1896 until a new chapel was completed in 1903.
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Wilcox bought the home in its original location in 1950. They did not know it once belonged to Brigham Young. After they were told, they started restoring it, and in 1968, they gave the house and its contents to The Church of Jesus Christ. Mrs. Wilcox also assisted Florence Jacobsen in the restoration of Brigham Young’s Lion House and Beehive house.
In 1975, the Forest Farmhouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places and traded to the State of Utah for the Brigham Young Winter Home in St. George. It was moved to its present location, where it has been restored much as it was during the mid-1860s as a working dairy and experimental farm with barns and shed, livestock, fields, pastures, and orchards. It is open to visitors of the This Is the Place Heritage Park.