History of 2nd Street, Ogden, Utah

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‘g. 189 W 2nd St

Posted by weberhistory on August 29, 2021

William & Kate Smethers House

189 W 2nd St is located in the confines of the old Bingham Fort; photo 2021

The house has two old sections that were built by William and Kate Smethers in about 1905.  This unique house is called the “Civil War House” as William Smethers and Kate Barritt’s father were veterans of the Civil War.  There are no other houses in this historic area built by persons who were connected to or served in the Civil War.

The two old sections of the house seem to be “butted together” in a cross-wing fashion, but the roofs are separate.  It appears that the original roof line was lowered at some time and new roofs added.  The first and second sections have a field stone foundation and relieving arched window heads of the Victorian Eclectic style[1]

There is a cellar with an outside entrance and an attic. The additions of a front porch, a new roof, and a bathroom on the front section make it hard to determine the appearance of the original house. A third section was built on the rear in about the 1970s. 

The original 1905 house may have looked like this. At some point the roof was lowered and a porch added.


Kate Barritt Smethers

Kate Barritt was born May 2, 1851 in Frankfort, Indiana.  She became a teacher who specialized in kindergarten work and wrote papers concerning this subject.  She married William Riley Smethers in 1875 in Clarksville, Indiana, and they had one daughter.  Later they moved to Trinidad, Colorado, where both taught school.  In about 1905 they moved to Ogden for her husband to serve as principal in Ogden, and they bought this property on 2nd Street.

Kate Barritt was a neice to Sarah T. Bolton, poet-laureate of Indiana, who wrote “Paddle Your Own Canoe”, and many other popular poems of that day.  Her father was an army surgeon in the Union army during the Civil War.  In Ogden Mrs. Smethers was a member and part matron of Queen Esther chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, and a past president of Dix-Logan post, auxiliary to the G. A. R.[2]  The Grand Army of the Republic was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army who served in the American Civil War. Kate Barritt Smethers died in Ogden on December 1, 1935.[3]

William Riley Smethers

William was born on September 26, 1845 in Pendleton, Indianan.  He taught school in Indiana and Colorado, serving as superintendent of schools for several years before coming to Ogden in 1905 at age 60.  He served as a principal one year at the Five Points School and one year at the Pingree School.

In 1863 he enlisted in Company E, Thirty-ninth regiment, Eighth cavalry, of the Indiana volunteers and honorable discharged in 1865.  During his two years of service, he was in many decisive battles and was with General Sherman on his march to the sea.  He attempted to enlist in 1862 at 16 years of age but was denied.

He was past commander of the Utah department of the Grand Army of the Republic and for the last 10 years had been commander of Dix Logan post No. 2, Ogden.  He was made a master Mason nearly 50 years ago and held membership in George Washington lodge No. 24 F. & A. M.

Until their deaths Mr. and Mrs. Smethers were the last living G. A. R. couple in Weber County.   They lived at 127 West 2nd Street for 30 years(now 189 W. 2nd St.).  William R. Smethers died April 21, 1936, at the United States Veterans Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah.[4]

Kate Barritt Smethers
William Riley Smethers

[4] Standard Examiner obituary April 1936.

[2] G. A. R. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Army_of_the_Republic

[3] Standart Examiner obituary Dec. 1935

[1]Thomas Carter and Peter Goss, Utah’s Historic Architecture, 1847-1940, 1988, Utah State Historical Society , p. 12, 14.

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