The Payson Home

  • History of the home

  • Read a short history that was compiled in 1986, illustrated with sketches by Ortho R. Fairbanks (PDF format).

  • Interesting facts about the home

  • Read a humorous anecdote about the best-dressed ducks in Payson!

  • About adobe, the material used to make the Payson Home

  • View documents and letters concerning the Payson Home

  • Dedication of the Home - 25 Jul 1982, view letters regarding the dedication, the dedication program with a beautiful cover depicting John Boylston and Sarah (Van Wagoner) Fairbanks, and photos from the event

  • Take a virtual tour of the inside of the home as it is at "This Is The Place Heritage Park"

  • Take a virtual tour of the outside of the home

  • Renovation Process - Part 1 - Part 1 of the process to repair and preserve the home

  • Renovation Process - Part 2 - Completion of the stucco

          The John Boylston Fairbanks home is an example of adobe construction.  In 1845 Henry L. Ellsworth, the first Commissioner of Patents of the United States Patent Office, suggested in his first annual report to the nation that persons going West would be wise to build their homes of adobe, or unburnt brick. Designs for such homes, called "prairies cottages", were published by Mr. Ellsworth and were reproduced in many handbooks of the mid-nineteenth century, but so far as I know, only the Utah pioneers adopted the idea on a large scale. Such adobe buildings are, therefore, unique to Utah. These homes, by the very nature of their material, are quickly disappearing and may soon be known only by photographs. The John Boylston Fairbanks house is based on Mr. Ellsworth's plans, and is one of the few important examples extant today.

          In Dedham, Massachusetts, the Fairbanks House, built circa 1637-1641 for our ancestors, and thought to be the oldest standing timber frame building in North America, was about to be taken over because of a mortgage, and there were feelings that it was dilapidated and run down and not worth preserving. Valuable lands surrounding it had been sold off parcel by parcel. There was much trouble which arose over this historic structure, but some of the family, sufficiently conscious of the intrinsic and historic values of it, formed an association and finally saved it for all of the family.

          So, let us recall the foresight shown by the Fairbanks Family Association that preserved the Jonathan Fairbanks House in Dedham. The Dedham house not only inspires members of the Fairbanks family, but also is a monument in our American heritage, referred to in all of the standard architectural history books. The Dedham house attracts many admiring visitors from across the nation.

          Like the Jonathan Fairbanks House, the John Boylston Fairbanks House is an important point of reference in our family history, and it will surely come to mean more and more to future generations as time goes on.

          Jonathan Fairbanks, Assistant Curator of the Dupont Museum of American Life and Homes, is one of the best qualified authorities on early American homes. He writes:

          "I expect to illustrate John Boylston's prairies cottage in an article for the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, a scholarly magazine having international circulation. The building is a living historical document in three dimensions; a direct link to the past; a tangible means by which we can dramatize history to our children. The John Boylston house is important as regional architecture, being hand built with local materials in a manner found nowhere else in America."

          This home in Payson will become one of the well known examples of American heritage, and if we will preserve it and restore the same, it will be one in which not only our family will be proud to claim, but of concern to all people interested in the preservation of the old west.

          (Webmaster note: I believe the above speech may have been given at the dedication ceremonies of the Payson house, and I don't know the author. If anyone knows the details of this so I can give credit on this website, please contact me.