Lost House: Empey Cottage

180 East South Temple. Image taken in 1940. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Photographs, serial 01-2692.

Many of you may already be familiar with this truly “lost house.”  Formerly located at 180 East South Temple in Salt Lake City, this house was supposedly designed by Truman O. Angell, the architect of the LDS Church’s Salt Lake City Temple.  Brigham Young had this house built for one of his wives, Ann Eliza Webb.  When she later divorced him, Brigham Young’s daughter Ella and her husband Nelson A. Empey moved in to this house.  After Ella Young Empey died in 1890, Nelson A. Empey married Emma Adams.  Emma and family lived in this house until the late 1940s.

The house was dismantled in 1953.  The book Brigham Young’s Homes (edited by Colleen Whitley) notes that the house had been given to the Sons of Utah Pioneers. They wished to move it to the new Pioneer Village that had been planned to take over the site of the old Utah State Prison.  The pieces of the building were moved to storage on Horace Sorenson’s property. However, when the prison site did not work out, this house was left behind when the buildings were sold to Lagoon to form what is now known as the Pioneer Village.

Among many of the unique architectural details in this house, the diamond-shaped window contained a stained glass representation of a beehive.  This window had been used in the Utah building at the Chicago World’s Fair.  The chimneys were also built in an octagonal shape to imitate a cell in a beehive.

Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Card, 1940. Serial 01-2692.

Plot plan drawing of the house showing the unique angles and porches. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Card, 1940. Serial 01-2692.

In 1965, a ZCMI tires and auto accessories store was built on the location formerly occupied by the Empey Cottage. This building still exists today as an auto service center.

ZCMI Tires, image taken in 1966. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Photographs, serial 01-2692.

Check out an earlier image of this house, and an image from another angle, both in the custody of the Utah State Historical Society.

This entry was posted in Lost Houses, Salt Lake history and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Lost House: Empey Cottage

  1. Scorpius 2 says:


    Hello My dear friends,

    Thanks for all hard work U do, I am retired from U.

    Loved my work, Julie, Glenn still there, tell them Dar (Scorpy) said Howdy Partner’s.

    Pat is retired, living in Idaho, Terry, retired from Salt Lake County Archives, a couple years ago.

    Above found today on my computer, oh my 1 month before my BD 11-11-32, cool.

    All can enjoy it perhaps.

    “Have a Great Day Tomorrow” thinking about U all.

    Delta, Utah 84624.



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