Heber C. Kimball, one of the original members of the Quorum of the Twelve in this dispensation and first counselor to President Brigham Young, was one of the most widely loved and revered Church leaders of the pioneer-era. Now, Elder Kimball is memorialized with a new replica of his Salt Lake City home.
Built with donations from Kimball family descendants, the replica is the newest addition to Old Deseret Village, a living-history attraction at This Is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City. Notably, This Is the Place Monument, the park's prominent centerpiece, is topped with a bronze likeness of Elder Kimball standing with President Young and Wilford Woodruff.
President Thomas S. Monson, Heber C. Kimball's modern-day counterpart in the First Presidency, dedicated the 6,800-square-foot structure at a service Oct. 26 attended by scores of Kimball descendants. The service was held in front of the home which commands an impressive view of Salt Lake City and Valley below.
President Monson described Elder Kimball as "a man of prophetic vision." He related that Elder Kimball sent Elder Parley P. Pratt to Canada in 1836, prophesying that "there is a people who are diligently seeking after the truth, and many of them will believe your words and receive the gospel." The prophecy was fulfilled, and among the group of people baptized was John Taylor, who later became president of the Church.
" 'The gospel and Plan of Salvation that I have embraced is music to me,' " President Monson quoted Elder Kimball as saying. He retold the incident of Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball preparing to leave Nauvoo, Ill., for a mission to England, each leaving a sick wife with a new baby, and so sick themselves that they had to be lifted into the wagon. On that day, the two raised themselves up and shouted "Hurrah for Israel!"
In his dedicatory prayer, President Monson said of Elder Kimball: "His loyalty to the Prophet Joseph Smith and to President Brigham Young was unswerving. There was no room in his soul for covetousness and personal aggrandizement."
Addressing the audience, project coordinator Edwin Kimball referred to a stone wall that surrounds the new structure, representing a 3,300-foot wall that surrounded Elder Kimball's 10-acre Salt Lake City property. "He used to say of this wall that it 'preserves the dignity of a man's soul.' What he meant was, if you come into the valley and you need a job, I will give you the shelter you need or the food or clothing if you work on my wall. Until people could find a job in the trade they were schooled in or learn a new trade, many of them worked on Heber's wall. I would imagine it ran into the thousands."
In an interview following the service, the project coordinator said the home replicated by the new structure stood at 150 North on East Temple Street, which became Main Street in Salt Lake City. He said the property included a schoolhouse.
The replica is surrounded by 2,200 square feet of porch, a feature that was added to the original house in later years.
Brother Kimball said plans for the original house were available because in 1905, homeowners were required to file plans with insurance companies to obtain fire insurance. A short item on the front page of the Deseret News of Feb. 12, 1912, indicated the Heber C. Kimball house would soon come down, so Brother Kimball surmised that demolition took place that spring.
Labor and in-kind donations from the Heber C. Kimball Family Association members defrayed much of the expense in building the replica, but Brother Kimball estimated construction cost to be the equivalent of $1.3 million. He said it includes antique furnishings with a street-market value of around $1 million.
Among the features are a waterfall in the rear yard controlled from a tank, symbolizing Elder Kimball's mills at the mouth of City Creek Canyon, and a commercial kitchen that will accommodate receptions held at the home with proceeds going to the park foundation.
Ground was broken for the structure two years ago this month. Completion was expected on Elder Kimball's 200th birthday June 14, 2001. Andrew Lambert, marketing director, said the project was so large with such meticulous attention to detail that it took longer than expected.
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