Kaysville Opera House and Amusement Hall

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KAYSVILLE OPERA HOUSE/AMUSEMENT HALL – LOCATED 200 W CENTER (THEN THE ADDRESS WAS SE CORNER OF LOCUST & 5TH ST.) The original building was used as an LDS Meeting House from 1863-1910 (see post about Kays Ward Meeting House history posted 12-31-2016) – Construction to remodel began Oct. 1910. Actual work began April 1911. The contract was for Architect William Allen of Kaysville & J.P. Jacobsen Construction Co. of SLC. Rock, gravel, etc. were hauled by ward members in wagons drawn by teams of horses. Frank Hyde, a Kaysville buildier was assistant to William Allen and also kept records and paid salaries. Bricks for the remodel came from the Kaysville Brick Yard, by which was used their signature yellow color. The cost of the project was to be about $9,000. From it’s 1911 opening it was used for both religious and civic programs. For several years it was on the National Vaudeville circuit. In the 1920’s there was another renovation, indoor plumbing, bathrooms, and drinking fountain were added. In 1922 silent movies were shown. As moving pictures became more popular and sound was added, a professional projection booth and speakers were placed in the building. The feature film would arrive on the Bamberger train from the distributor in SLC. Moving pictures were shown there until the Kaysville Theater was built in 1947. In 1951 the Kaysville 1st Ward expanded the Tabernacle, adding a cultural hall. The Opera House was torn down when the Tabernacle addition was dedicated in 1951. Area now parking lot for Tablernacle.THANK YOU BILL SANDERS FOR THIS VALUABLE HISTORY

The Year Kaysville Became A City

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THE YEAR KAYSVILLE BECAME A CITY: During the 1860’s the name “Kaysville” had began showing up in what records there were usually in parenthesis after Kay’s Ward as a means of identification. Christopher Layton introduced the bill into the State Legislature. – Utah Territory Bill H. F. No. 14, approved on February 13, 1868 by the governor and enacted on March 15, 1868. It was the 1st city in Davis County to be incorporated, and the 27th in the Utah Territory. The first minutes of the new city government appointed Thomas F. Roueche as Mayor, as councilmen: Grandison Raymond, Rosel Hyde, Robert Egbert, Joseph Allred, and James Taylor. Recorder: Peter Barton; Marshal: Robert W. Barton; Treasurer: William Blood; Supervisor of Streets: Joseph Egbert; Captain of Police: John Bennett. Leter John Ellison & John Gailey served as Justices of the Peace.

Thomas F. Roueche Kaysville’s 1st Mayor 1868
Grandison Raymond Kaysville Councilman 1868
Rosel Hyde Kaysville Councilman 1868
Peter Barton Kaysville Recorder 1868
Joseph Egbert Kaysville Supervisor of Streets 1868
William Blood Kaysville Treasurer 1868

“Tradesman Row”

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                                                                       Tradesman Row

When settlers first arrived in Kaysville, 1849 they made their homes and their living in West Kaysville. William Stewart, John Marriott and Robert W. Burton arrived in Kaysville together with their families in 1852 and eventually built cabins just south of Samuel Oliver Holmes (one of the first settlers) near what was a well traveled road along the last level of the lake, eventually called Bluff or Barren Road. Their homes became known as “Tradesman’s Row.”  The location as you travel east in West Kaysville along Smith Lane, midway between Rouche Lane and Sunset Drive, is where the old Bluff came through.  Sunset Drive did not exist in early settlement days.  In about 1658 South Sunset Drive there is a bluff and a drop off.  This marks the point where the old Bluff Road came from the Tradesman’s Row area on south Angel Street.

Tradesman Row west of Angel Street between 2nd North and Burton Ln
         Tradesman’s Row – Old Bluff Road
Robert W. Burton was a blacksmith who mended farmers tools and made the first nails in Kaysville. William Stewart made and repaired shoes. John Marriott did many things, including the making of a sawpit in which he and Robert Burton sawed the first lumber for the settlers which provided doors, floors and windows. John Mariott is the ancestor of J. Willard Marriott, a wealthy businessman. The University of Utah Marriott Library and the BYU Marriott Center are named after him.
During the winter of 1851-52, before the cabins were built, William Stewart and his family lived in a wagon box.  William kept busy in the wagon box making shoes. William’s wife would get a tin pail full of hot coals and put in the wagon box to keep the family warm. In March 1852, John Marriott and Robert Burton worked together and built three homes all in a row. William Stewart’s home was built with big logs, with a place for the door and a hole left for the window. There was no door or window to put in so they hung rags as best they could. It had a floor and there were open cracks between the logs along the walls. The chimney was made of big squares of sod put up like bricks. For the roof, they put some large logs across the top, then some rushes they gathered by the creek, and then a big pile of dirt on top of that so that it would keep most of the rain out. A large log was put across the room for people to sit on.
In those days, people made due with what they had or what they could find. They gathered dry grease wood branches and “buffalo chips” for fuel. Many of the early settlers could not get logs to make a home so they built a dugout which was a square hole on the north side of a hill. Emily Stewart Barnes (daughter of William Stewart) tells many interesting stories in her life history about the early days in this community. In 1856, Emily and Susannah (her sister) went to John Weinel’s flour mill. Susannah made Emily ask Mr. Weinel if he could give them a little flour. He looked at her and said, “My child don’t you wish you was in heaven? I have nothing but a little bran. I will give you that.” They were so pleased as they hurried home. The sack had no string to tie it and they spilled the bran, but gathered it up. When they got home with the bran, their mother made a cake, putting it in a frying pan to cook. When cooked, it became bran again as there was no flour left in it. They were so hungry they ate the dry bran.


“The White House” of Christopher Layton

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Christopher Layton White Home aka John Kneedy home corner 2nd N and Main



This home was located at 191 North Main (corner of Main and 2nd North). It was built by Christopher Layton,  It was made of adobe with granite cornerstones, and was finished in 1869 to become his 10th home in the local area.  Here he and one of his Polygamist wives Sarah Barnes Layton entertained the many dignitaries, including Brigham Young, James E. Talmage, and Daniel H. Wells, who came visiting or were passing through.  It was a hand place to stop and they were always made welcome with good food and lodging.  The Bruce Major family lived in this home for many years.  After they moved, it was the home of John and Sara Kneedy.  The two huge rock balls were placed at the end of the sidewalk by Mr. Kneedy.  He found them in the mountains of California in 1967 and brought them back to Utah.

Note: Christopher Layton (March 8, 1821-August 7, 1898) was a Mormon Colonizer, Polygamist and Patriarch.   He helped establish the cities of Kaysville/Layton, Utah, and Thatcher, Arizona.  The city of Layton, Utah is named after him.

Christopher Layton
           Christopher Layton .


Sadly the home was torn down a few years ago to make way for a fast food restaurant called Dylan’s.



One of the locally famous giant “rock balls’ is alive and well across the street, at Main Street. Lube.

 Kneedys Balls FB

Pioneer Schoolhouse

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Schoolhouse 1973 W 200 N built 1875


This home is located at 1973 West 200 North in West Kaysville, Utah.  (called the Swallow home). It was built in 1875 and was one of the first brick school houses built in Kaysville.  It was constructed with the first brick to come out of the Kaysville Brick Yard.  The brick work on the exterior was done by local architect William Allen.  The round opening where the school bell once hung has been cemented over above the former door.  It had two rooms and was also used for church meetings until the church across the street at 1772 West was completed.  The two rooms were heated with a pot belly stove.  The slate blackboards used in the school were attached permanently to the walls in both rooms and are still in place but have been painted over to match the rest of the walls.  Indians’ used to sit out along the bluff near this structure and sell things to those traveling through.  Two perfect grinding stones, arrowheads and other items have been discovered on the property. Note: Natalie Thompson Monson posted: “This is David Robin’s old home.  He is the one who converted it into a private home.  My grandpa Neil Robins was born there.  His sister Norma Robins Swallow inherited the house.”

Photo of the original door, and area where school bell was above the door,. This is on the west side of the home, photo courtesy of Paulette Bennett.

Original door of school house on the west side
      Original door of school house, west side, above window is where school bell was.  

Schoolhouse 1910 1973 W 200 N

Paulette Bennett writes: “this is a picture in front of the house taken of our Robin’s family May 2016.  My father Neil Robins born in this home, is in the middle front row of this photo. ”

Kevin Swallow: “this is the house my mother Norma Robins Swallow was born in.  My grandpa Robins purchased the home and property from a Mr. Gailey.  He raised his family there and supported himself by growing and selling produce, primarily asparagus.  My wife Tammy and I lived in this home for 3 years when we were first married.”

Robins Family May 2016
                 Robins Family May 2016

The Snow Horse

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As you look towards the mountains in the spring, the shape of a horse appears as the snow melts.  The Snow Horse can be seen from both Kaysville and Layton.  Early farmers in this area used this as an indication of how much water they would have during the summer.  If the Snow Horse is still visible on June 1st, pioneers knew there would be enough water for their crops.  Farmers also used this as a guide to determine when it would be safe to plant crops.  They would not plant until the Snow Horse appeared on the mountain.  Some of the farmers said if the shape was still visible by June 1st, it meant there would be enough water crossing Main Street in Kaysville in the summer to mature a crop of grain.

The Snow Horse
                                         The Snow Horse 

The Snow Horse is located on the upper reaches of Snow Horse Ridge, just north of Webb Canyon at the Kaysville-Layton border. Elevation is about 8,500 feet.  The horse is about 200 feet wide, legs 50 feet in length.  The hiking trail from Francis Peak, north of Weber Canyon passes just above the Snow Horse area.  The Snow Horse’s legs usually fade away first and low long it lasts depends on temperatures.  Memorial Day to early June is usually prime viewing for the shape.



The Snow Horse hides under a blanket of snow all winter.  He waits on the mountain while the nights are long.  On the first day of spring, the Snow Horse stirs.  The sun reminds him of his important job.  His head peeks out “It’s too early”.  The Snow Horse disappears once more beneath the snow.

In April the Snow Horse lifts his head and then he straightens his back.  He sniffs the warming air.  “It’s almost time” he whispers.  Children in their back yards look up, hoping to see the horse on the mountain.  The Snow Horse lies back, allowing the sun to slowly melt the snow and his body.  He glances down into the valley below.  “Not Yet” he thinks, it’s not quite “time”.

By May the Snow Horse can feel the sun’s energy waking him up – helping him remember what he has to do.  Farmers in the valley look up expectantly.  They are waiting for the signal of the Snow Horse.  Finally on a warm evening, the Snow Horse shakes his feet loose, and gallops up the mountainside.  At first no one notices but then, throughout the valley, awareness spreads.  The Snow Horse has returned. A child shouts “Mom ! the Snow Horse, the Snow Horse!” Now we can go barefoot.  A farmer quietly prepares to plant tomato seedlings. A family plans an overnight camping trip.  The Snow Horse has done his job.


In 2007, the Davis Board of Education named the District’s 55th elementary school in West Kaysville, Snow Horse Elementary.


Snow Horse Elementary 1095 Smith Lane Home of the "Colts"
Snow Horse Elementary 1095 Smith Lane, Kaysville, Utah. Home of the                                                   “Colts”   


$$$$$$$$ Barnes Bank – My Memories $$$$$$$$$

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Need  $$$ money? As a kid in the 1950’s to me getting cash was simple.  All  I had to do was stand in line at Barnes Bank with my  mom, and chat and gossip with all the other ladies standing around.When it was mom’s turn at the check out place, they handed her money.  I couldn’t wait to grow up so I could stand in line with my friends and have cash handed to me. Then it happened.  When I was about eleven years old mom told me we were going to the bank so I could open my own “account”.  I couldn’t wait for our next visit to Barnes Bank. The moment finally arrived when I  found myself at the check out place.  No money here, all I got back was a book with disappointing amounts of handwritten mumbo jumbo and rubber stamping.  When I ask mom what the deal was I got a lengthy lecture about “responsibility”.


Barnes Bank 1950's-60's
                       Barnes Bank 1950’s -60’s


My trips to Barnes Bank definitely took a turn for the worst after that.  Disillusioned, I began scouring all of Kaysville searching for my own money tree.  No, I never found it and now when I go to America First Credit Union, I always take the free lollipop.  That’s about as good as it’s going to get.



Stewarts Gift Shop

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LeConte and Zipporah Layton Stewart opened the business “Stewarts Gift Shop” in 1941 as a place to sell his paintings. LeConte, who was essentially orphaned by the time he was a teenager, worked his way up to be a nationally known landscape artist and head of the art department at the University Of Utah.

Zipporah, granddaughter of Layton settler Christopher Layton, also wanted to put her knowledge as a graduate of the newly opened LDS Business College in Salt Lake to good use.  She was a very major player in the opening and running of the gift shop.  It was the combined passion of LeConte and Zipporah.

Initially the store was housed in a building north of the Kaysville Theatre, at 14 North Main. In the early 1950’s a new building was built at 149 N. Main.  They continued business there, the familiar black tile front. Besides LeConte’s paintings the shop had specialty items.  Girl’s growing up in Kaysville in the 1950’s and 60’s all wanted one of the coveted Madame Alexander Dolls on display.  As these same girls put their dolls away and dreamed of walking down the aisle with Prince Charming, Stewart’s Gift Shop was THE place to pick out the best china and silverware patterns.

John, LeConte and Zipporah’s son, bought the shop from his father in 1970 because he wanted to keep it in the family.  Shirley, his wife, was initially working full time and only worked in the shop as a favor to her husband.  But then she grew to love it.  In 2007 Shirley, had a vision of an even bigger and better gift shop. They tore the old familiar store down, and built a brand new “Stewart’s Gift Shop” a little farther north at 151 N Main.

After 70 years in business, June 2011 “Stewart’s Gift Shop” closed it’s doors.  Now it will be a memory of the two couples who worked so hard to make it grow and generations of shoppers that will always have memories of the small, but upscale gift shop.

Stewarts Gift Shop in 1950
Stewarts Gift Shop 1950’s











Inside Stewarts Gift Shop
              Inside Stewarts Gift Shop



Stewart's Gift Shop side view
             Stewart’s Gift Shop side view