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Historic Holladay home hauled off to the trash heap

It was built in the 1800s and once belonged to one of the city’s founding families. Advocate hopes this loss spurs Holladay to adopt a preservation ordinance.

(The Salt Lake Tribune) The former Brinton house at 4880 S. Highland Circle in Holladay, left, in 2023, and the demolition of the property, right, on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024.

What once was one of Holladay’s oldest homes is now on its way to the landfill.

This week, crews leveled the historic home at 4880 S. Highland Circle, which once belonged to one of the city’s founding families, to make way for town houses.

“It’s not all, in any way,” preservationist David Amott said, “a surprise.”

Indeed, the wrecking ball was a long time coming. Amott and other history buffs decried the proposal to take down the home last year, but nothing prevented the site’s developer from moving forward because the land was privately owned and the east-side city of 31,000 residents has no preservation ordinance.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The historic Brinton home at 4880 S. Highland Circle in Holladay on Friday, April 7, 2023.

The home was built in the latter half of the 19th century and belonged to Alwilda Nancy Andrus Brinton and her husband, Franklin Dilworth Brinton, both children of large polygamous families who were among the first to settle Holladay. It was sold out of the Brinton family in the late 1950s.

An official with Sequoia Development, the company that intends to build over the now-demolished house, said last year that the company had gone through all the proper procedures for moving forward on developing the land.

The company confirmed this week that town homes are still planned for the property, but there is no estimated completion date.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The remains of a historic Holladay home, once owned by the Brinton family, are removed on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024.

Amott said the house is one of those gems that can be taken for granted until it is threatened.

“I hope that this allows a door to open in Holladay,” Amott said, “to get the preservation ordinance that the city needs.”

Mayor Robert Dahle said while nothing has been codified, the city has started internal discussions about how to preserve its historic buildings.

“As you know,” he wrote in a text message, “balancing individual passions related to historical preservation … with private property rights has been difficult.”

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The remains of a historic Holladay home, once owned by the Brinton family, are removed on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024.