THE STORY OF WHEELER HISTORIC FARM
Joseph Hammond came to Utah in 1848 and by November 1853 had purchased a nineteen acre farm in South Cottonwood. He also bought a second farm of which he kept 70 acres. This combined acreage composed the property of what we know today as Wheeler Historic Farm. In 1864 he sold his farm to Ole Hansen. In 1869 Ole Hansen agreed to exchange this South Cottonwood farm for one near Bear Lake owned by William Goodall Young. Willam Young and Martha Grainger Young took up residence on their new farm around 1870.
William, a nephew of Brigham Young, helped organize an association of local farmers, gardeners and fruit growers. He was busy in civic and religious affairs. In 1884 the Young’s sold the farm to Elizabeth Cooper Pixton. Three years later Elizabeth sold the property to her daughter Sariah and her new son-in-law Henry Joseph Wheeler.
The Wheelers then owned and occupied the site for the next fifty-six years until Henry Wheeler Sr. died in 1943. Besides Henry and Sariah the Farm was home to the Rose Bud Dairy, a commercial ice business, seven children and two grandchildren.
While Ole Hansen’s family lived on the Farm, a four room adobe house. It was this home that Henry Wheeler and his new bride Sariah called home upon their arrival. Sariah did not picture herself remaining in the adobe house but pictured herself living as a genteel country lady in a spacious, nicely appointed Victorian farm house. The home was built in 1898. The interior walls were built of adobe bricks from the old house, which added great insulation to the home. Around the home were built many out buildings, some of which exist today. One such building, constructed 1904, is the family garage, which is believed to have housed the great car, Henry’s Pierce- Arrow.
After Sariah’s death, Henry Jr. and his family moved back onto the farm and took care of Henry Sr. for 13 years. (Two of Henry Jr’s daughters are actively involved with the Farm today- Beverly Wheeler Mastrim and her sister Jean). The Wheeler’s, much like their neighbors, survived hard times by growing their own food and having their own milk cows and meat on a flourishing farm of 75 acres. Henry also started The Rosebud Dairy, which produced enough milk to supply many neighbors and others. This was supplemented by selling ice blocks during the winter to provide refrigeration for many.
Following the death of Henry Sr., the farm was sold to Sterling Furniture Co. and its president Richard Madsen.
With the help of Beverly Wheeler Mastrim, The Junior League of Salt Lake, and private donors the farm was eventually sold to the County in 1969. In May of 1976 Dr. A. Glen Humphreys, curator, farmer and director, moved on to Wheeler Farm and lived in a trailer. Dr. Humphreys contribution as Director and Curator for over 25 years are still a part of what you find at the farm today. With the help of Beverly Wheeler Mastrim the farm was placed on the National Historic registry in that same year.
Today Wheeler Historic Farm is operated by Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation as an agricultural living history museum and outdoor recreation site.