Little Houses of the Escalante, Utah Area (Picture Intense)

Started by hpinson, April 13, 2013, 08:22:30 PM

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These are some little houses in the Escalante area of Utah. They date from the 1880s to the present. 

I took these photos rather quickly at the end of a backpacking trip in mid April 2013, and really rushed them, being fairly wiped out from a week in the canyons. There were many interesting small homes I missed. I wish I had a whole day or more to explore just the architecture of this region. 

Escalante has a particularly dense concentration of preserved little houses.  Many of these houses are national landmarks and are listed in the excellent brochure "Escalante Utah Historic Homes Guide", that is available in the town.  If you ever drive through, try to locate a copy. 

A few of these houses are located in other nearby towns-- Caineville, Boulder Town.  The first house in the set is located in Caineville, and is quite old.

Towards the end of this set are some newer little houses. I must say I much prefer the aesthetic of the old houses to the new ones. The craftsmanship in the old homes is just superb. The newer homes are, with a few exceptions, seem nowhere near as well crafted.

The exceptions in my mind are the last two images in the set. The last is the Escalante visitor center and is crafted of local sandstone.

The early houses mostly used either local materials - quarried stone, fired brick, logs, and locally milled lumber. The brick houses are just gorgeous, and apparently for a while it was a quite successful local industry. Look at the brick arches! Fittings, doors, windows and such, were carted in over some extremely rough roads (Boulder Mail Trail) to this remote area.

The town of Escalante is laid out on a grid, the Zion Plat System. Every Mormon settler family (1880's) was 1.25 acres for a house and orchard, and given additional plots of farmland outside of town. Irrigation ditches, put in by the early settlers, made it all possible.

The newer houses use big box materials. What a difference.

I think it interesting that while the Mormon families tended to be large, the houses were not. Contrast that to today's tract housing-- 2500 SF+ homes and relativly small families in comparison. Or perhaps the early Mormon settler families were not as large as I assume.

Many of these homes have significant additions. Those in themselves are interesting.

Visit Escalante if you are in the area. Take a day. You will not regret it.  There is great food and lodging there too, and lots of outdoor activities are nearby.

John Raabe

Nice shots from a great area. It's always interesting to see old houses, even when they are falling apart. You can see where the weaknesses are. The metal roofs on many of those old places were a recent attempt at preservation - and one of the first things to do to most neglected structures.
None of us are as smart as all of us.


The area from Bryce to Bluff is my favorite section of UT. Lots of nice places to "get lost" and relax, have fun in.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


I have a new appreciation for brick houses.  The most elegant houses in this area are brick. Has anyone here built a brick house, or sided with brick?