Thomas L. Allen House
Coalville is the home to several beautiful historic homes that stand out particularly in Summit County. Situated as a perpetual icon, one of the most unique of them is the Thomas L. Allen house on 98 North Main Street, just down the street from the Summit County Courthouse.
Originally built and designed by its 1st owner, Thomas Allen, in the 1880s, it was converted to a boarding house in the 1940s. Today it is once again a private residence.
History of Thomas L. Allen
Originally from Antrim, Ireland, Allen was born in 1849, son of Robert B. and Jane Ferguson Allen. It is not known when he and his family emigrated to the United Stated but in 1869 Allen moved to Utah with his brother, sister and parents.
All had recently converted to the Mormon faith. At 20 years of age Allen worked for a short time in Salt Lake City but soon came to Coalville where he would become one of the towns leading and most prosperous citizens.
An architect and builder, Allen also owned a carpentry shop, a stonecutting business and a mortuary. He was mayor of Coalville between 1898 and 1900 and served several terms at the State Legislature for Summit County.
Building Allen House
In December 1871, Allen married Sarah McCarthy and it was sometime in the 1880s that Allen began construction on this home. Using local materials that included light red brick and sandstone, the architecture and materials were similar to other structures in the area that he was working on simultaneously. One of these was the Coalville Tabernacle whose design was similar to the Assembly Hall built on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.
The house is somewhat eclectic compared to others in Summit County, but mostly reflects an Italianate style which utilized a hip roof with overhanging eaves, bracketed cornices and tall windows capped by slightly arched window heads, and projecting bay windows. Allen's expert carpentry skills are prevalent throughout the home where he had carved delicate flowers over each dormer window and turned square spindles on the stairways.
Interior of Allen House
The interior of the Allen house has the most interesting story to tell. On the ceiling of the family parlor there is an elaborate mural painted by a man named C.M. Olsen. Olsen was also the muralist that painted the interior of the Coalville Tabernacle.
While the images of the prophets and the Mormon history adorned the interior of the Tabernacle, Olsen was able to be more creative with Allen's house. Dragon figures, fluted swans, cherry and ivy strands, flowers and greenery were the theme. There is also a beautiful stained glass window above the front bay window that was rare to homes at the time.
Allen played a major role in what was to become the Echo Reservoir. In 1902 he was the Summit County Water Commissioner and led a delegation of experts that eventually chose the site of the Echo Dam. The dam was constructed in order to solve the intense water crisis that had developed over the use of the Weber River water between Coalville, Henefer, Morgan and the metropolitan areas of Ogden.
Allen built several other wonderful homes in the Coalville area. Allen lived in the house of his dreams until his death in 1928.
By Karri Dell Hays