Meldrum House, previously known as University House, occupies a prominent corner position in the commercial district within the University Historic District. The building was constructed in 1907 as dormitory accommodation and store by John W. and Martha Jane Carpenter. A one-story commercial addition to the east was added in the 1940s. Originally outfitted with fifty units that shared kitchen and bathroom facilities, it has been referred to as the first women's dormitory west of the Mississippi.
A popular and well-used living space since it was constructed, the University House was in need of some TLC after having been used as low-rent single-room occupancy units for many years. The University of Utah and Pioneer Theater Company saw an opportunity to enhance the look and feel of the building while finding some much need space for the theater's visiting performers, directors, designers, lecturers, and researchers.
The project involved removal of single-story additions to the rear, removal of awnings, re-landscaping, cleaning the brick and stone, replacing nearly 100 windows, repairing the tile floor, and rehabilitation of the entrance. However, the biggest part of the project was the conversion of the existing fifty single-room occupancy accommodation into twenty-one apartment facilities to meet Pioneer Theatre Company's needs.
While theater housing was the clear impetus for the project, it quickly took on a neighborhood enhancement flavor as well as neighbors joined in to make donations to the theater with the hope of cleaning up the property. With the new look and purpose of the Meldrum House, the University Historic District has gained a restored piece of their history that will continue to contribute to the historic neighborhood.