You will remember that Harriet Frances Noon Smith was married for a short time to our John Erik Forsgren. That marriage did not last. After the break up of that marriage, and at the suggestion of President Brigham Young, she was married to Leonard Harrington as a plural wife. He became Mayor of American Fork and served in that capacity for many years. This is the home he had built for Harriet and her (their) children.
When we arrived I was astounded. The Merediths have made a lot of progress and have really taken the house back to the bare bones - as, of course, you need to do! They had even trimmed the massive trees that surround the home so there is more light (and undoubtedly more safety for the workers!)
I marched right past the No Trespassing signs since I heard voices inside, snapping a few photos along the way.
The interior reminded me of the demolition of the Peter Forsgren home in Brigham City. Layers of flooring & piles of wallpaper and paint lay everywhere! Original floor boards and stove pipes were exposed. Wiring is being redone, and a lot of strengthening.
The sound of voices led me toward the back of the house and to an incredibly steep staircase. It was only 32 inches wide! With my current hip problems I was not about to go up those stairs, and since I was trespassing anyway I just waited a few minutes and admired what I knew to probably be the original hand-turned spindles and railings.
An electrician on his way back up told the voices upstairs that there was a visitor wanting to talk to them. Happily, both Andy and Candy Meredith were there. They greeted me warmly and showed me around a bit more and discussed some of their exciting plans. (For instance they are going to post large photos of Harriet and of Heber C. Kimball (who was her step-father) along with their history and a short story of the home)
They will be documenting all this on their own blog which I will link to this Forsgren site as soon as I know it is up and running. I am sure descendants of John Erik, of the Harringtons, and home renovators alike will be happy to continue on to that link.
The surprise referred to in this blog title came when we were just chatting. I remarked about the hanging greens over the front doorway. Andy told me that they were placed there when just a month earlier he and Candy had been married in that doorway! So, of course, I had to get a photo.
Candy told me she was from Lehi. When I commented that my husband's family was from there as well and mentioned they were Austins, she said, "I'm an Austin! Well - I am a Grace from those lines!" Couldn't believe the small worldness of it all! Of course I had to hustle them across the street to meet Victor who was waiting in the car. They chatted together and tried to narrow down the family connection. The whole brief time spent there just made me smile!!
This is the house from the back side. The Merediths have no renovation restrictions because the home no longer qualifies for the Historic Register (because someone changed the roof line significantly in the 1930's)
They wish to move in October. If Candy can stay on top of these workers each day I suspect they will achieve their goal! This is not the first home they have restored.I am always glad when a piece of history is rescued. It will be a joy to see the finished product!!