History of 2nd Street, Ogden, Utah

Stories of Bingham's Fort, Lynne, Five Points

‘i. 141 2nd Street

Posted by weberhistory on August 29, 2021

Porter & Grietje Pierce House c. 1900

141 2nd Street, Ogden, Utah

This side-passage house has an entrance passage inserted on one side of the main floor, which gives the house a distinctive asymmetrical appearance.  It is one-and-a-half stories and has Greek revival styling with a variety of surface textures and materials.

Porter Pierce was born and raised by pioneer parents at 140 W 2nd Street.  He was a farmer who was brilliant in mathematics and also taught school for a while.  He built this house about 1900 and rented it.  In 1908 he married Grietje Smit who immigrated from the Netherlands in 1903 with her parents as converts to the Mormon Church.  In 1905 Porter dismissed the renters so he and his wife could move in.  He built a large barn south of the house.

The Oregon Short Line was five feet beyond the picket fence in the front yard. Sometimes the railroad caused trouble by spooking the horses as Porter came home from the lower fields.  Another time the train hit the Pierce’s daughter’s boy friend’s car when it was parked in front.  The train was slow-moving and merely pushed the car out of the way.  Once a baby buggy was stuck on the tracks and was removed just before the train arrived. The first bathroom was installed in the house in 1939. [1]

Some neighbors described Porter as humorous and colorful, and one said, “He should have been in movies”.  In the 1920s he affiliated with a evangelical church and became convinced that the end of the world was coming and began to warn his neighbors.  He approached one neighbor, Mr. Stone, poked his little boy in the stomach and said, “The end is coming and it’s going to get you and take everything you have!” 

Porter’s neighbor Harry James at 159 W 2nd St. did not want to listen to this nonsense about the end of the world, and he shut his door.  Porter brought a victrola record player in his car, cranked it up and played it loudly in front of the James house so that the James family and everyone else on the street could hear the warnings.

The children in the neighborhood like Porter’s humor and exuberance and liked working for him when he had jobs for them.  One time at Halloween they decided to play a trick on Porter.  They took his farm wagon apart and put it back together on the roof of his barn.  When Porter came out in the morning and saw the wagon on the roof, he was speechless. What could he do? He hired the neighborhood children to go back up on the roof and bring the wagon down.[2]

Grietje was also a favorite among the neighbors and this article about her appeared in the Standard Examiner in 1950.

Grietje & Porter Pierce 1908

[1] Interview with Myrtle Pierce Page by Anna Keogh, 1998.

[2] Oral interviews with Warren Stone, Donna Clapier, and Tug Anderson.

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