This cross-wing Gothic Revival style home was built in the 1880s for George Taylor, Jr. The Taylor family founded Taylor Furniture, which became Taylor Brothers Company and was the first department store in Provo.
Having been illegally subdivided into a duplex and sitting adjacent to a vacant parcel near downtown, the home was purchased by the Provo Housing Authority who sought permission from the Provo Landmarks Commission to tear it down. After being denied, the Housing Authority sought to turn it into a commercial building. It was at this time that Habitat for Humanity of Utah County’s Executive Director, Kena Mathews, approached the housing authority director about the possibility of Habitat buying it from them. Their plan – to rehabilitate the home, turn it back into a single family dwelling, and sell it to a local family.
Habitat had recently expanded its mission to include neighborhood revitalization and felt that this would be a good project to bring Habitat’s affordable housing and revitalization missions together in a positive way. Habitat purchased the home for $100,000 from the Housing Authority. Habitat was able to raise almost $70,000 in private funding, including $5,000 from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Under the supervision of Habitat’s construction staff, volunteers provided critical free labor to do roof removal and replacement, brick work, interior demolition, lead paint abatement, wood window and door restoration, finish carpentry, porch rehabilitation, exterior and interior paint, framing, wood floor installation, and landscaping. Because of the volunteer labor and generous subcontractors and building material suppliers, Habitat was able to complete the entire renovation and restoration for just under $80,000.
The home was transformed into a community showplace and was sold to Alex and MaryKae Blair and their five children. The Blair’s provided hundreds of hours of sweat equity on this project and will be paying an affordable, zero percent interest mortgage. Their monthly mortgage payments will help provide housing for other families in need in Utah County.