Historic Wheeler FarmAug 03, 2016 08:30AM ● By Alisha Soeken
Historic Wheeler Farm. Photo by Alisha Soeken
By Alisha Soeken | [email protected]
Murray, Utah - Unchangeable things change. Even things sacred in memory or purpose like a home. Bricks and wood make a house but people, love and memories make a home. Such a home is found on an expansive 89-acre farm in Murray Utah.
Joseph Hammond came to Utah in 1848 and was the lands first owner. He sold it to Ole Hansen who in 1870 exchanged it for land owned by Wiliam Goodall Young. Young was the nephew of Brigham Young, the second president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
William and his wife Martha made that sprawling land their home and life. They organized an association of local farmers, gardeners and fruit growers to employ it. Yet things change. They sold the land to Elizabeth Cooper Pixton who three years later sold it to her new son-in-law Henry Joseph Wheeler.
The expansive farmland held only a simple four-room adobe house but Henry’s new bride Sariah did not picture herself in adobe. But as a genteel country lady in a spacious, nicely appointed Victorian farmhouse. That house was built in 1898 using old bricks from the adobe home.
As well as enlarging the home Henry developed and made fruitful the land. He started the Rosebud Dairy, which produced milk for many. Henry supplemented his income from his second business of selling ice blocks during the winter.
Many of the buildings added by Henry and Sariah still stand. Including the family garage built in 1904, which is believed to have housed Henry’s beloved four-cylinder Pierce-Arrow motorcar.
The 89-acre farm has known much change. The owners, structures and people transform but the land has, and will always give.
Today that land is known as Wheeler Historic Farm and is operated by the Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation Department as an agricultural living history museum. The farm includes a large park, playground fort, forty acres of natural landscape, pastures, animals, wagon rides, and exhibits of over 6,000 historical artifacts.
The farm brings visitors locally as well as from far away. Mextli Lonzano Olguin is from Mexico and has been in the United States for two months as a student.
“It’s my first time in America and I have enjoyed it so much. I like that Utah has the Mormonism influence. People are polite and gentle. Salt Lake City is a clean city with order. Like Utah Wheeler Farm is really natural. I love the landscape with all the trees, grass, water and animals. It’s a perfect spot for a picture, or to have a good time with family or friends.” Olguin said.
Spencer and Mali Landreth also enjoy Wheeler Farm. They brought their daughter Eva to enjoy the park and ducks one Saturday afternoon.
“I loved seeing the look on my girls face when she saw the ducks eat the piece of bread she threw. It’s a deeply historic type of joy you don’t get on an I Pad. ” Spencer said.
Spencer’s wife Mali agreed and added.
“Now a days everything is based on technology. Wheeler Farm gives families an opportunity to be unplugged. Kids can see, know and feel farm animals, and most importantly spend time together.” Mali said.
Over time Wheeler farm and its 89 acres have changed hands and purpose. It was once home to individuals; Joseph, Ole, William, Martha, Elizabeth, Sariah and Henry. But today it’s home to a community, to all those who visit and love it.