Green Gate Village Historic Inn
The Green Gate Village Historic Inn is a unique collection of eight pioneer and early Victorian St. George homes (circa 1862-1881) carefully clustered around a Village Green and swimming pool (the pool was added much later of course). Some of the homes were actually built at this site by the original settlers (Orson Pratt-1862 and William Bentley-1876) while others were rescued from the "march of progress" at nearby locations and painstakingly moved to the Village brick-by-brick over a 20-year restoration period (Christmas Cottage-1864, Thomas Judd-1872, Orpha Morris (1879) and William Tolley-1881). Rounding out the Village are Thomas Judd's original Carriage House, Granary and General Store. All have been fully restored and upgraded and currently function as an historic inn, restaurant and reception center.
The green paint on the oldest gate (originally in front of the Green Hedge on 200 E.) was given to Thomas Judd in 1877 by none other than Brigham Young. That gate, still with the original green paint, remains on display today near the front entry to the Village.
And speaking of paint, when the Village reconstruction was complete, renown folkartist Eric Dowdle created a large painting in oil of what the Village could have been like back 100 years ago. Several copies of the painting hang at the Village, but the original now hangs in the lobby of the St. George City Hall.
Self-guided tours of the grounds are available at the Green Gate Village from dawn until dusk every day of the week and a Docent-guided tour is available each Wednesday at noon by reservation only. There is no charge for either tour although donations to the Village Preservation Fund are always welcome. With two homes on the National Register of Historic Places, the Village is also protected by the Utah Heritage Foundation and the St. George Historic District. For more information or to book a tour, room or special event, call toll-free (800) 350-6999 or visit the Village website at www.greengatevillageinn.com
The centerpiece of the Green Gate Village, this large, two-story home was built in 1862 by Orson Pratt with adobe walls 18 inches thick. Orson Pratt was one of the most remarkable men in early LDS Church history. He joined the church in Kirtland, Ohio in 1830 at the age of 19 and was immediately called by Joseph Smith to serve the first of several missions. He was the first Elder's Quorum president in the Church and an original member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles where he served for the balance of his lifetime. Orson experienced first hand the hardships, persecution and many forced relocations of the saints. After an arduous trek he was one of the first two members to view the Salt Lake Valley in advance of Brigham Young's party. Because of Orson's mathematical expertise he helped lay out the plat maps for that city. In addition, he was an author, editor, publisher, scientist and an educator. He crossed the continent many times on foot, horseback, wagon and finally railroad and crossed the Atlantic Ocean sixteen times on old, three-masted sailing ships, taking the gospel message to the British Isles.
In 1861, Orson and Erastus Snow were called by Brigham Young to lead a group of 309 families to relocate to Southern Utah and establish the city of St. George. Their mission was to grow cotton and raise sheep in order to supply the new Utah cities to the north with much needed raw materials to produce fabrics. (These materials were then in short supply due to the Civil War.) The beautiful home he built was the first permanent structure in St. George. Approximately three years later Orson Pratt was called by Brigham Young on yet another proselytizing mission to England and the home passed to Richard Bentley. Orson Pratt is best remembered as a theologian who was often so enthusiastic that he expounded on groundbreaking doctrine that had not received the approval of President Young. However, in 1852 it was Orson Pratt who was selected by Brigham Young to publicly announce to the world the Church's practice of polygamy. Orson was believed to have had at least five wives himself. Today the Orson Pratt home has been fully restored and modernized. It has seven bedrooms configured into four guest suites. The Orson Pratt home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (#83003199), the Utah Heritage Foundation and St. George Historic Landmarks.
This beautiful home is so named because of the tall tamarack hedge surrounding most of the city block where the home was originally built. Thomas Judd was 18 years old in 1864 when he joined the LDS church and moved his family from England to St. George. Hard working and successful in his business endeavors, he built this beautiful home at 269 South 200 East in 1872. Looking to expand his business interests and alarmed that frequent flooding was washing away valuable river-bottom farm land, in 1888 he developed a plan to divert water from the Virgin River onto the LaVerkin "bench" in order to irrigate several hundred acres of fruit orchards that he planned to plant there. Because of extensive delays due to constant breaks in the canal he was eventually forced to mortgage this very house in order to raise the necessary funds to complete construction of his canal, which by then stretched several thousand feet and included an 840-foot long tunnel. Eventually his canal project was the key factor in establishing the community of LaVerkin.
In 1890, Thomas assumed responsibility for the Cotton Mill between St. George and Washington. Under his management the mill employed 70-80 people and operated at a profit--the first time in the history of the mill. In 1897, after 18 years as Bishop of the St. George 1st Ward, Thomas Judd was called by Wilford Woodruff, then president of the Church, to serve a mission colonizing Whitewater, Nevada. By the time he returned home, the railroad had extended far enough south that he was able to import thousands of bags of Portland cement to coat the inside walls of his canal to prevent breaks and leakage and, thus, better assure its success. He subsequently sold much of his interest in LaVerkin, including the hot springs there, and opened Judd's Store Company, purchasing the existing mercantile business from William Bentley in 1911. (See Judd's Store.) In 1991, long after Judd's death in 1922, his original family home was dismantled and moved, piece-by-piece, to the Green Gate Village were it proudly stands today, carefully restored and modernized. The Green Hedge Manor contains two upstairs guestrooms as well as one of the most popular bridal suites at the Village. This building is the 2nd home at the Village on the National Register of Historic Places (#78002710).
Built on this site in 1876 by William Oscar Bentley for his bride-to-be Mary Ann Mansfield. When William proposed to Mary Ann he promised to build her a beautiful new Victorian-style home in the shadow of the Tabernacle. She accepted and construction began almost immediately thereafter. However, two weeks before their wedding day William announced that he had sold the home. In her diary, Marry Ann recorded, "I almost called the wedding off, but decided I was getting married 'for better or worse' and I needed to learn that lesson right from the start." Many years later the home was vacated and eventually used by the Bentley's and the Judd's as a storeroom for their adjacent general store. Finally, the city wanted to condemn the house and turn the property into a municipal parking lot. Cooler heads prevailed and it was purchased and restored by an expanding Village. Decades of dust and cobwebs were removed revealing classic velvet curtains and hand-painted faux marble and oak. Today the Bentley House serves as the Inn's front desk, restaurant and a classic, Victorian-style guest suite.
Originally built on the corner of Main and 200 North, the two-story Orpha Morris home, like so many others, had fallen into disrepair and was scheduled for demolition to make way for the new post office. Orpha, as the only unmarried sibling in her family (then referred to as a 'spinster') had been summoned home by her family to care for her aging parents. For many years she dutifully fulfilled her assignment and, as a result, never married. Decades later the house was finally rescued and carefully moved by truck to the Village. However, only a few feet from its final destination it fell off of the truck in a thunderous heap. Fortunately for the Village the mover had great insurance and the home was rebuilt on a solid foundation, rising from the ashes (adobe dust) so to speak. . (See the related story about the "Ghost of Green Gate".)
This early pioneer home was originally built three blocks from the Village, just south of St. George Blvd. on 200 East Street where it stood for 120 years. For over a decade it was abandoned and then, each October through February, the Andeline family used it as a retail store to sell Christmas gifts and decorations. Later slated for demolition, it was "rescued" and moved brick-by-brick to the Village where it was carefully reconstructed, renovated and modernized. The "Christmas Cottage" name and theme remain as evident in the living-room decor.
Although small and obscure, the Tolley Cabin is believed to be the subject on more artists' canvasses than any other structure in Southern Utah, save the LDS Temple. This quaint cabin was originally built on a small family farm in the small community of Nortonville about four miles from Nephi. The two-room 'broadside' (a pioneer style characterized by a fireplace at each end of the house) was the birthplace of eleven children - six boys and five girls - born to Mary Millvine Christiansen and Charles William Tolley. In the winter, several of the boys slept on the canvas enclosed front porch. In the summertime, all of the Tolley children moved outdoors and slept under the apple trees. The Tolley home was dismantled and moved to the Village in 1989 where it was reassembled and modernized. It now contains two comfortable guestrooms.
In 1911, Thomas Judd purchased the Bentley family mercantile business which the Bentley's had run from the ground floor of the old Pratt home since 1865. This classic adobe brick store was the logical extension and expansion of that business. Judd's Store originally sold shoes, clothes, groceries, hay, kerosene and fabrics, all of the basic needs of the average family of that day. In later years the store became a favorite 'sweet shop' for generations of school kids from the old Woodward School just across the street. Today Judd's Store serves the Village as a lunch counter, sweet shop and gift shop. Its old wood floors and metal ceiling are continual conversation pieces as are the antiques on the shelves, including dozens of shoe from the original, 1890's to 1920's inventory. Don't miss Judd's Store when you visit the Village.
It seems like it's always been here, but hidden from passers-by behind the Thomas Judd Store and Bentley House. This long, rectangular adobe brick building is divided into two sections. The Carriage House housed the Judd family's various forms of transportation. Originally, the only opening was a large double door on the East Side. During restoration a Village-side entrance and windows were framed into the 18" thick walls. Restrooms and a small kitchen were added and the facility is now serves as the Village Reception Center. The south one-third of the building served as a granary annex to the Store (Judd's) and was a favorite supply depot for local sheepherders as well as travelers heading to California. The bags of grain, storage bins, drop shoots and loading dock have now been replaced by lace curtains, flowered wallpaper, soft lighting and a comfortable bathroom with a large, walk-in shower. The Granary two-room suite is now one of the most popular guestrooms at the Village.
This yellow brick bungalow is on the most prominent corner of the Village and was build in the traditional Arts and Crafts style by Thomas Judd during the latter years of his life. (See Green Hedge Manor and Judd's Store.) It was purchased by the Village in the early 1980's and the front portion was used as a doctor's office with a residence in the rear. It has recently been renovated and now has one of the most popular executive suites at the Village.
The Ghost of Green Gate
What? You don't believe in ghosts? It only takes one encounter to become a true believer. After hearing several strange stories from Village guests and the housekeeping staff as well, it didn't take long for the rumors to spread. Those stories of mystery and intrigue may surround the life of the Morris House spinster, Orpha Morris, although who can say for sure. (See the Morris House history above.)
However, if you ever want to upset a ghost....this is how to do it. First, pick up and move their house across town. Then, drop it off of the truck with a thunderous rumble into a pile of dust and bricks. That would disturb anyone's sleep. No matter how quickly you repair the physical damage, the 'emotional' damage can never be undone. Stories now circulate about how upstairs lights turn on by themselves and footsteps can occasionally be heard pacing back and forth when 'no one' else is home. One guest was awakened by someone nudging his shoulder. When he rolled over to ask his wife what she wanted, he quickly realized that he was traveling alone on business. No one has ever felt threaten, but the strange feelings and unexplained circumstances certainly do make for great conversation at breakfast. Do you believe?
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