27 May 2020

House at 1902 S 400 East to be Demolished due to Earthquake

The house at 1902 S 400 East after the earthquake and before demolition, May 2020.

This house at 1902 S 400 East SLC is on the demolition list because of extensive damage from the earthquake on March 18, 2020.

This country estate was built in 1892 by prominent businessman and prominent Mormon, Septimus Wagstaff Sears. The SL County Assessor states the house was built in 1896 but newspaper articles and city directories clearly indicate a 1892 construction date.

Sears was a polygamist and in 1892 he re-married and legitimized his second polygamous wife, Isabella (they had already been married for 23 years and had 9 children together). Two weeks later Sears purchased a 5-acre lot and immediately started construction on this Eclectic Victorian Style house. The family moved from downtown to this area, then known as Waterloo. His first wife, Mary, stayed with her children at her house in the Avenues.

The Sears mansion boasted a private pond and a huge orchard which produced large peaches and other fruits. The house was conveniently located at the end of the Waterloo Streetcar line.

In 1903 Septimus Sears died in the house and in 1907 Isabella sold the house and moved closer to downtown.

The house was home to some unusual characters after the Sears family left. In 1907, Linus W. Timby lived in the home and he jumped to his death at St Marks hospital in a Typhoid Fever delirium. In 1908, the infamous Anna Bradley (side girlfriend and murderer or Senator Arthur Brown – that’s another story!) lived in near destitute conditions in the house with her four children.

The home was purchased by Heber Bennion in 1909 and he lived there running a cattle and sheep ranch until about 1915.

By the 1920s the house had been converted to apartments.

The current owners intended to renovate the historic home but the recent earthquake intervened in those plans.

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