WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY (Washington County, Utah)
JOHN JACOB RUESCH HOME
LOCATION729 National Park Road
HISTORYCommentary by Mary Phoenix:
The Ruesch home in Springdale was long the show place of the "up-the-river" settlements.
It was built by John Jacob Ruesch, a master carpenter and coffin maker who was converted to the L.D.S. church in his native Germany and joined the Saints on their trek to Zion. He was first sent to St. George, where his first child was born and died. Next he was assigned to Toquerville to assist in the colonizing there, and eventually on to Springdale.
It is impossible to verify the date of the house's construction, but family diaries and letters indicate they were in their "new home" when their third child was born in 1880.
The house, with the same basic design as many of that period, had four rooms on both floors. An entry hall featured a steep stairway which climbed to the second story. Family history told of a store being conducted in the house although family members recall that the store was located in a small building in the yard. The latter was sold in the '30s and moved across the street. However, a door was located in the hall, behind the stairs in the house; it opened into a small room which could very possibly have been the store.
For more than a century, this house, well-built by a man who knew his trade, was a family home, but in the thirties it was showing its age. Its outstanding feature, the gingerbreaed trim painstakingly constructed by hand, was falling apart. When the Ruesch family removed this, everyone felt that without this ornamentation, the house lost its air of aristrocracy and much of its charm.
Now restored to its former glory, it has become the Worthington gallery where Greg Worthington both throws his pots and sells them. The grounds are also a delight to visit.
BIOGRAPHYJohn Jacob Ruesch TBD
WCHS-00567 Jon Bowcutt sketch of the Ruesh Home
REFERENCESHistorical Buildings of Washington County (Volume 2), pp. 26-27.