Dimple Dell Preservation Community hoping to restore Poulsen house
Jun 12, 2018 03:12PM
By Justin Adams
DDPC president Monica Zoltanski interviews local residents about the Poulsen house. (Justin Adams | Sandy City Journal)
At the Mount Jordan trailhead in the north-east corner of Dimple Dell Park there is an old dilapidated house with boarded-up windows and doors. Some might say it is an eyesore that should be torn down, but not according to the Dimple Dell Preservation Community.
The Poulsen house, constructed in the late 1800s, was a pioneer homestead. Many Mormon settlers came to the area to work on the granite which was used to construct the Salt Lake temple.
“There’s a little spot up the canyon, that’s not the quarry. This whole community - 200 square miles - was the granite quarry for the Salt Lake City Mormon temple,” said Ron Vance, who has lived in the area since the 1960s.
In fact, much of the Poulsen house itself is constructed of the same granite rock used to construct the temple as well as lay the foundation of early Salt Lake City streets.
These days however, the abandoned building has become a magnet for both the homeless and drug activity, which has further added to the building’s state of disrepair.
Now, the DDPC and Salt Lake County are working on protecting and eventually restoring the historic site.
“We are launching an inspired fundraising campaign to see this become the future site of a local history and heritage center where people can come and learn about the pioneer homesteaders as well as the ancient peoples that inhabited this land thousands of years ago,” said DDPC president Monica Zoltanski.
The county has agreed to put aside $250,000 to help with the effort. The money was initially set aside to create paved trails in Dimple Dell Park, which is what led to the formation of the DDPC as community members organized to voice their opposition to that plan. The county listened, and agreed to use the money for preservation instead.
The first sign of the county’s contribution is already visible - metal posts have been placed around the perimeter of the Poulsen house (with a wire fence to follow) to help discourage people from breaking into the house.
Those efforts have been noticed by those who have been using the house illegally. When the DDPC arrived at the house for a community meeting on June 11, they found a crude message directed at the organization spray-painted on the backside of the structure.
“That’s unpleasant, but it’s not going to stop us from doing our work,” said Zoltanski. “It shows me that we’re making people uncomfortable.”
The community meeting was to gather information about the site’s history from locals. As of now, there’s nowhere to go learn about the people who once lived there. Even Google struggles to come up with anything about the place.
About 12-15 people showed up to either share what they know about the site or to learn for themselves. Besides long-time residents like Vance, there were young families who had recently moved to the area and had wondered what the story behind the house was and a 16-year old Boy Scout who said that he loves running in the park and would like to help clean up the site as his Eagle project.
Zoltanski recorded each person’s thoughts about the house and will now compile them into a video that will launch the DDPC’s fundraising effort. They are hoping to raise another $250,000 to match the county’s contribution.
The DDPC would eventually like to see the house become a part-time museum with a volunteer staff to educate visitors about the historical, geological and archaeological features of the Dimple Dell park.
“That’s still quite a ways away though,” said Zoltanski. “It’s like that old saying that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Well, tonight was that first step.”