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House (Thomas Leavitt House)

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Thomas Leavitt House
c. 1895. 160 S. 1st West St.
  • House (Thomas Leavitt House)

The Thomas Leavitt House is one of the older and most substantial houses in Bunkerville. From a rubble stone foundation, walls made of local brick rise to a side-facing gable roof. An ell extends from the back of the house. Two-story framed additions at the rear fill in the corners of the T. The main facade has a symmetrical arrangement of windows and doors. The original interior consisted of three rooms on each floor, with no hallways. A stair in the rear room led upstairs.

The two front entrances of the house indicate that it was the home of a polygamous family. Leavitt erected the dwelling after marrying his second wife in 1887. He had a total of twenty-two children with his two spouses. The family soon outgrew the brick house, and Leavitt's second wife moved into a house constructed for her next door. Although the church officially abolished polygamy in 1890, Leavitt continued to live with both wives until his death in 1933. The numerous exterior doors were an additional means of circulation for a large family in a house with no corridors and only one interior stairway.

The large house reflects the unadorned style favored in Mormon communities at this time. Brick was commonly used, in part because lumber was scarce in the Virgin River Valley. Brigham Young exhorted his followers to build in brick and stone, which he considered more permanent than wood. This approach to building, particularly the emphasis on permanence, differs from much of Nevada's architecture, past and present.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Julie Nicoletta
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Citation

Julie Nicoletta, "House (Thomas Leavitt House)", [Bunkerville, Nevada], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/NV-01-SO65.

Print Source

Buildings of Nevada, Julie Nicoletta. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, 248-248.

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