May is Historic Preservation Month, which celebrates heritage tourism and historic places, and the social and economic benefits of historic preservation. 

National Preservation Month began in 1973 as Preservation Week. First Lady Patricia Nixon declared: 

“As the pace of change accelerates in the world around us, Americans more than ever need a lively awareness of our roots and origins in the past on which to base our sense of identity in the present and our directions for the future.”

Presidential proclamation, May 8th 1973.

In 2005, the National Trust for Preservation extended the celebration to the entire month of May to celebrate the diverse and unique heritage of our country’s cities and states.

Kamas Valley has a very rich cultural heritage but we have only a few buildings on the National Historic Register. We have chosen this month to highlight properties with historic significance that may have been overlooked, are at risk, or whose history may be little know. 

Joseph Burbidge Hoyt was born in 1873 in Hoytsville, the eighth child and youngest surviving son of Samuel Pierce Hoyt and his second wife, Catherine Emma Burbidge. Except for time spent in Hoytsville, where his stepmother, “Ma Hoyt”, ran a school in the “Hoyt Mansion”, Joseph grew up in the two-story home on the ranch in Marion that Samuel built for Emma.

Joseph Burbidge Hoyt
Samuel Pierce’s Hoyt’s Marion home

He married Sarah Janie Johnson in 1903 and commissioned local craftsman Lawrence Ernest Fitch to build a home for his family. 

Sarah Janie Johnson Hoyt

Fitch was a carpenter-builder and casket maker born in 1854 in Milwaukee.

Lawrence Ernest Fitch

He came to Kamas in the 1890s and married Rosehannah Evans, daughter of William Llewellyn Evans, one of the early settlers of Kamas. He specialized in Eastlake-style architecture and built numerous houses in Kamas Valley, as well as properties in Park City and beyond. 

Eastlake architecture takes its name from an architectural and household design reform movement started by British architect and writer Charles Eastlake (1836–1906). In his book, Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery, and Other Details, Eastlake suggested that furniture and decor should be made by workers who took personal pride in their work. Although the book was originally published in England, its influence was greater in the United States, being reprinted six times.

Eastlake architecture features lathe-turned spindlework, intricate wooden designs and curved brackets and scrolls, rather than flat-cut gingerbread. Paintwork emphasizes these details with contrasting colors.

The Joseph Burbidge Hoyt House in Marion built by L.E. Fitch

Of particular note in the house Fitch designed for the Hoyts was the staircase. Perhaps inspired by her father-in-law’s mansion in Hoytsville, Sarah Janie asked for a spiral staircase so that she didn’t have to sweep any corners. 

The staircase in the Hoyt Mansion in Hoytsville

The Hoyts had seven children, five of whom survived to adulthood. Joseph died in 1945 and Sarah Janie in 1960. They are buried in Marion.

The house still stands at 3457 N State Road 32 in Marion. The last Hoyt descendant moved out in 1972 and the house is in disrepair. The interior décor – including the staircase – is now gone.