WCHS-00576 Joseph Bentley Home

WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY     (Washington County, Utah)

JOSEPH BENTLEY HOME

St. George, Utah

LOCATION

76 West Tabernacle
St. George, UT 84770-3420

Now part of the Green Gate Village.


DESCRIPTION

TBD


HISTORY

This Bentley house was built in 1876 by William Oscar Bentley for his bride-to-be, Mary Ann Mansfield. When he proposed to Mary Ann, he promised to build her a beautiful new Victorian-style home in the shadow of the Tabernacle. She accepted and construction began almost immediately thereafter. Her diary tells of how she enjoyed watching its construction and dreaming of the day when she would be mistress of this elegant structure with its spacious rooms and ornate woodwork. But, alas, Mary Ann was never to have this priviledge. Just two weeks before the wedding, William Oscar, without consulting anyone, sold the structure to his brother, Joseph. Mary Ann's diary records her heartbreak: "I almost called the wedding off, but decided I was getting married 'for better or worse' and I needed to learn that lesson right from the start."

It was one of Joseph Bentley's families which grew up within these walls (also see the Pratt-Bentley home). It is believed that a great deal of the social life in St. George took place here. The elegant Christmas decorations and adult parties were anticipated events of that festive season.

In 1908, Joseph Bentley sold the house to pioneer businessman, Thomas Judd. In 1911, Judd built the present Judd's Store out in front of the house. The house was then used for office and storage space.

When Thomas' son Joseph Judd took over, he continued to run the store but boarded up the rest of the structure.

The house remained unoccupied for over 50 years. Eventually, the city wanted to condemn the house and turn it into a parking lot. Cooler heads prevailed and Dr. Mark & Barbara Greene purchased the building in 1982, making it into a focal point of their Green Gate Village. A Preservation Easement was granted to the Utah Heritage Foundation. A long period of restoration followed during which hand painted doors and "marble" fireplaces were discovered. The original stove was also found under a collapsed out-building.

Today the house serve's as the inn's front desk, restaurant, and a classic Victorian-style guest suite.


BIOGRAPHY

William Oscar Bentley was the son of Richard & Elizabeth Bentley. He married Mary Ann Mansfield just after building this home. They moved out onto a farm in Middleton and worked it for a while. But the farm didn't work out very well, so they moved back to St. George.

Joseph Bentley had three wives:
    Margaret Ivins
    Gladys Woodmanfee
    Maude Taylor


PHOTOS

Front of the Joseph Bentley Home
WCHS-00576 Front view of the Bentley Home
        Side of the Joseph Bentley Home
        WCHS-00577 Back view of the Bentley Home

Other WCHS photos:
WCHS-00561     Jon Bowcutt sketch of the Bentley Home
WCHS-00578     Front porch of the Bentley Home
WCHS-00579     Sign in front of the Bentley Home


REFERENCES

Historical Buildings of Washington County (Volume 2), pp. 14-15.

Landmark and Historic Sites: City of St. George
First Edition,   January 2, 2009,   pp. 32-1 through 32-3
Compiled by the St. George Community Development Department

Landmark and Historic Sites: Informational Guide of Historical Sites within the City of St. George
Second Edition,   Revised 2011,   pp. 61-62
Compiled by the St. George Community Development Department

Green Gate Village Brochure and Self-Guided Tour

Green Gate Village Information Page on the Bentley House

Book: "Autobiography of William Oscar Bentley, Jr."
by William Oscar Bentley (1884-)
Privately published 1961, 82 pp.

Book: "Treasured histories of the William Oscar Bentley family"
by LeRoi Bentley
Salt Lake City, UT: Publisher's Press, 1984. 416 pp.
About William Oscar Bentley (1884-) and his family.