The Kearns', now Utah Governor's, Mansion was constructed between 1900 and 1902. It wasn't until 1907 that the Kearns' added a Carriage House. Clad primarily in Sanpete County oolitic limestone and granite, it has similar detail to the historic Kearns' Mansion. Thomas Kearns was one of Utah's original mining millionaires which could be the reason the Carriage House might be considered Utah's first parking garage. Carriages would be driven into the corner, placed on a lift, and raised by hand to the second floor for storage.
While past restoration projects appropriately dealt with the main house, the Carriage House itself was the subject of much discussion yet little action. That is, until recently. Over the years the Carriage House received minimal maintenance, but finally the time came when the State's Division of Facilities Construction and Management proposed a major stabilization and exterior restoration.
The historic metal pan tile roof was replaced decades ago with asphalt shingles which were well past their service life. Unused vents and flues were removed to improve the roof's appearance, the new roof deck was heavily waterproofed and new shingles installed. Roof drainage, a major problem throughout the building's life, is now fully directed by a gutter system to new copper downspouts and cast iron leader 'shoes.' The historic copper-clad cupola was removed during the roof work, and following minor repairs was reinstalled.
To address seismic deficiencies, the existing roof structure and its attachment to the unreinforced masonry walls were significantly upgraded. The newly reinforced roof diaphragm will help hold together the top of the masonry walls. There was even a concerted effort to not "erase" historic bullet holes in the horsehead over the carriage doors. With this high quality restoration, the Kearns Mansion Carriage House is truly a beauty to behold.
Utah Heritage Foundation presented the State of Utah with a Heritage Award for the rehabilitation of the Thomas and Jennie Kearns (Utah Governor's) Mansion Carriage House.