Springdell Is a Family Place

by Georgia Smith Buss 1/17/02

Springdell attracts families. It has always been so. If children are raised here, they come back, looking for the belonging.

George Howe was one of the eleven original owners of Springdell. He signed the Articles of Incorporation September 4,1904. His property is the second house in plat A. At the time I am copying his history (2002), his property is owned by Winston Lee. For many years, George Howe’s daughter-in-law, Marie (wife of Royal), lived in the home followed by the Chuck Tandy, and then the Bartlett families. Winston Lee and his wife Geni, the present owners, have added a new second story wing to the house.

I found this story of George Howe in my papers. It illustrates my point about Springdell being a family place. I am quoting:

George E. Howe was born in 1858.

“Mr. Howe bought a two seated surrey and a horse. With his young family he went driving in the park and in the canyons. They visited Salt Air, had picnics and went dancing.

When he was thirty-one, because of ill health, he moved with his wife and family from Salt Lake City to Provo, Utah, and with his brother-in-law H. C. Taft (another original owner of Springdell) set up a grocery store, known for many years as Howe & Taft Grocery. With this business George had more leisure time for fishing and hunting. He fished Utah Lake and Provo River in Provo Canyon.

When school was out in the spring, his wife and family of seven children were sent to the mountains and they lived there through the summer. They were all healthy and strong and grew to manhood and womanhood. In 1949 all were still living.

At first they camped in just a tent house but in later years Mr. Howe, with Mr. Taft and other prominent people of Provo and other cities, incorporated a company and bought a section of land in the canyon where they had camped for a number of years. It came to be known as Springdell. Many summers and happy hours were spent there with family and friends. Mr. Howe regained his health and became a man of vigor.

Building a cabin at Springdell, Mr. Howe equipped it with all the modern conveniences. His wife and family were more comfortable and could live and sew and work with pleasure. Mr. Howe played with his children. He planted the flower beds and vegetable gardens. He planned surprises and fired off fire works with them as they were growing up. They had picnics in the surrounding mountains.

When his father, Amos Howe died in 1908, George moved his family back to Salt Lake to became manager of the Davis Howe Co. foundry, succeeding his father. He kept and continued to use his Springdell cabin.

Mr. Howe built a new home in Salt Lake City and it was always a gathering place for the young people and friends of his children. Programs were given, songs were sung around the piano where the father and mother joined in. Dancing with the rugs roiled back and such jolly occasions at mealtime.” End of quote.

The George Howe history I have quoted was probably written by his daughter Julia Howe Hegstead. It was given to me by Sue Finlayson Patten and Alice Taylor Cox. (daughter and granddaughter of Dr. Fred W. Taylor M.D., another of the eleven original owners of Springdell.

Dr. Taylor’s descendants have owned property continuously in Springdell since 1904. One of Fred W. Taylor’s two properties (end of the lane, plat A) has now been given to his grandson Lee Cox. Lee inherited it from his mother, Alice Taylor Cox.

Dr. Taylor’s granddaughter Sue Patten bought the other Taylor cabin (third lot from gate in plat A) from her uncle Fred R. Taylor in 1962. The Patten family lived in the cabin year-round, while Sue’s husband, Kent, built the present house, tearing down old construction as a new wing was finished. After Sue’s death and Kent’s remarriage the house was purchased by their daughter Kathryn Patten. It became a sanctuary in the 1990’s for her younger siblings. At Kathryn’s early death in October of 2001, the land was transferred to her brother Fredrick Kyle Patten (a great grandson of Dr. Fred Taylor).

The Warners are a three generation Springdell family. Charles Warner, Mark’s father, built two of the Springdell homes, one in 1968 in plat A (Keller’s home); the other was built in plat B (Ditmar’s). Plat B was developed while Charles was president in the 1970’s. When Mark and Serena married they built another house in plat B for their family of four.

The Orville and Clara King home is an example of land being transferred from generation to generation. Clara King’s Springdell house (next to the last house, down the lane in plat A) was left to her only son, George, and now his son Matt and family live there.

Another third generation family (Kerri and Kathie Christensen and her mother Barbara Jones) bought two homes in Springdell in 1993, both did major remodeling to their homes. (Christensen’s is the fifth home in plat A, and Jones’ is further down, the eighth in the circle.) Both families have children at home and spend Sunday evenings in Springdell with Barbara’s other children and grandchildren.

The Nielsons, Ballards, Dittmars, Ogdens, Clarks, Sheens, Austins, Brysons, and Jacobsens are other grandparents establishing their own Springdell holiday traditions. Other families not mentioned with young children and teenagers: Bratts, Collins, Davises, Evans, Fisks, Kellers, Childs, Ratigans, and Dave Freeman. I see these parents shepherding their children to church and playing with them in Springdell’s park.

Our son Tom Buss married the girl next door (Lori Austin, whose father (Jon Austin) bought into Springdell in 1980’s). Tom and Lori met at the swings in Springdell’s park and were married in 1989. They moved into the Austin home and had their children while living in the Dell.

I would like to add a connection the Buss family had with Springdell in the early days (1906) when Dave Buss’ father was a boy and before Dave drove through Springdell one hot summer afternoon in 1968 and declared, “This is the place for me!”

In the early 1900’s Provo townspeople, going for a buggy ride up Provo Canyon would stop at Springdell’s spring to water their horses. Dave’s grandfather Fred Buss, was a friend of Dr. Fred Taylor. Dave’s grandparents, Fred and Edith Buss and baby, are in a picture given to Dave by Lee Cox. The picture is of a Taylor botanical outing. Dave’s grandmother often mentioned visiting the Lafayette Holbrooks in Springdell. Mr. Holbrook, too, was one of the original eleven owners of Springdell. He was married to Emily Hinkley, Aunt to President Gordon B. Hinkley. Little Gordon probably waded in the Springdell pond, too.

We now have heard about four of the eleven original signers of Springdell land in 1904: Howe, Taft, Taylor, and Holbrook. Now we must find information about the others : Josiah Beck, John Twelves, C. F. Decker, Jesse Smith, Joseph Farrer, C.E. Loose, and R.A. Barney. Helen Rowe Cragun should be mentioned as our current long-time resident. She and her husband Frank bought their home and remodeled it in 1948. They had come as renters earlier, as Frank got out of the military and housing in Provo was in short supply. Frank and Helen followed Helen’s brother Owen Roe and his wife Dorothy to Springdell. It was then a community mainly of summer homes. Dorothy was the daughter of Alex Hedquist, one of the stockholders of Springdell in 1911.

Living year-round in Springdell, Helen and Dorothy raised their children together. Now those children come back to Helen’s house bringing their children to wade in the pond and to take night walks. Springdell is family.