Reed O. Smoot House

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Reed Smoot House
Smoot House Provo Utah.jpeg
View from the southeast
Reed O. Smoot House is located in Utah
Reed O. Smoot House
Reed O. Smoot House is located in the US
Reed O. Smoot House
Location 183 E. 100 South, Provo, Utah
Coordinates 40°13′58″N 111°39′16″W / 40.23278°N 111.65444°W / 40.23278; -111.65444Coordinates: 40°13′58″N 111°39′16″W / 40.23278°N 111.65444°W / 40.23278; -111.65444
Built 1892
Architect Kletting,Richard K.A.; Smoot,Reed
Architectural style Late Victorian
NRHP Reference # 75001831
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 14, 1975[1]
Designated NHL December 8, 1976[2]

The Reed Smoot House, also known as Mrs. Harlow E. Smoot House, was the home of Reed Smoot from 1892 to his death in 1941, and is located at 183 E. 100 South, Provo, Utah, United States. Smoot was a prominent US Senator best known for advocacy of protectionism and the Hawley-Smoot Tariff.

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.[2][3]

Reed Smoot House * 183 East 100 South * Provo, Utah[edit]

The Reed Smoot House, located at 183 East and 100 South, was originally built in 1892 for Reed Smoot, a Provo businessman who later became a U.S. senator. Smoot himself drew the first designs for the house, and Richard K.A. Kletting completed the design. The house cost over four thousand dollars to complete. "Victorian Eclectic in design, it is a Stately, solid, early Mormon square block home with some Victorian exuberance displayed in the detailing. The home is linked with Utah's early political and religious history, and is the site of several visits from U.S. presidents in the early twentieth century (Historic Provo p. 20)." This house was nominated to be named to the Provo City Landmark Register on April 28, 1995.


"The south-facing house consists of a nearly square, hip-roofed main block; a similarly rendered wing affixed to the eastern half of the rear facade; a full-height, hip-roofed pavilion projecting from the northern half of the west side; and three full-height, gable-roofed, pedimented pavilions. One of the latter juts from the northern half of the east facade, a second springs from the southeast corner of the main block, forming a 45 degree angle with the south and east walls; and a third thrusts forward from the western half of the front facade. All these sections rest on a rusticated stone foundation that rises some 3 feet above ground everywhere except on the rear wing. In addition the walls of every section rise to the same height and are encompassed by a box cornice resting on a band of brick corbeling. The main block and four pavilions are additionally belted by a rusticated stone water table; a two-row brick stringcourse at first-story window-sill level; brick stringcourse that outlines the arches above the second-floor roofline: one stack rises from the rear slope of the rear-wing roof, while the other two soar upward from the juncture of the main block with the east and the west pavilion(National Park Service p. 1)."

"Three porches or porticoes grace the Smoot House. Projecting from the south pavilion, a one-tier, square-shaped, brick portico rests on rusticated stone piers, carries a solid, paneled, brick deck railing, and shelters the front entrance. Brick corbeling and stone medallions decorate the portico, radiating brick voussoirs form a semi-circular arch over a single opening on both the east and west sides and a horseshoe arch over the front access steps. In contrast a light, airy, one-story, hip-roofed veranda with turned wood support posts, treillage, and balustered railing crosses the east side of the rear wing and abuts the north side of the east pavilion, where there is a seldom used side entrance. The third porch is a second-story, screened sleeping room, which rests on two simple, wood pilasters and a wood post, and which fills the angle formed by the west side of the rear wing and the north side of the hip-roofed pavilion. Underneath the sleeping porch, three wood steps ascend to a stoop before the house's rear door in the west wall of the rear wing. The porch also shelters the full basement's access steps, which descend between the solid-railed stoop and the pavilion wall (National Park Service p. 1)."

"Fenestration in the Smoot House is irregular, but all windows have stone sills and are set in wood frames. Generally, first-floor windows are rectangular and have flat arches of radiating brick voussoirs. Notable exceptions are the first-floor openings in the pavilions, where massive, rusticated stone lintels top the windows. Most second-story windows, except those in the rear wing, have semicircular transoms under similar arches of radiating brick voussoirs. Each pavilion is one bay wide and has one window on each floor plus a small, multipane, round-arched window in the pedimented gable end. These help light the house's attic, as do a hipped dormer on the east slope of the main-block roof, another on the opposite slope, and a swept dormer on the front slope. The windowless front facade of the exposed portion of the main block highlights a round, carved stone, inscription plaque bearing the date of construction. The main entrance to the residence is a transomed, single door set under the front portico and composed of four lower wood panels, a middle glass panel, and three upper wood panels. Left of the door is a wide, transomed sidelight. Inside, the house differs little from its appearance during Senator Smoot's residency. Beautiful oak wood-work remains unfinished and in excellent condition. The major changes, other than removal of some of the Senator's furniture, are the addition of some new carpeting and some new wallpaper, although in the latter instance the family attempted to match the original patterns. On the first floor, the house follows a modified side-hall plan. The front door opens into a foyer, and along its left wall a two-flight, open, balustraded stair rises to the second floor. In the right foyer wall a double, sliding, oak door gives access to the parlor with its original furniture. A similar door in the rear or north parlor wall opens into the dining room. This chamber has original furnishings too, and is also accessible from Smoot's sitting room and office north of the stair. Lying beyond the sitting and dining rooms is the original kitchen, which, except for a huge ice box, contains modern equipment (National Park Service p. 1)."

"Upstairs, the second floor follows a central-hall plan. Here the left front room served as the Smoot's nursery, and the right front as their master bedroom. Their original bedroom furniture remains. Beyond each of these chambers, on each side of the hall, is another bedroom, and in the rear wing there is a bath and maid's room. Between the servant's chamber and the right, rear bedroom, a narrow enclosed stairway rises to the unfinished attic and descends to the kitchen. The Smoot House sits on a tree-shaded, corner lot and retains part of the wrought-iron fence that once surrounded the property. In the rear stands a small, rectangular, gable-roofed, frame garage or carriage house. An office building occupies the lot rear of the Smoot House, but the neighborhood remains essentially residential (National Park Service p. 2)."

Reed Smoot[edit]

Reed Smoot was born January 10, 1862, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Abraham O. and Anne M. Smoot. "The Smoots were one of Utah's leading Mormon families, and Reed was the child of one of his father's several wives. After receiving his basic education in church schools, he entered Brigham Young Academy (later University) as a member of its first class in 1877. Upon graduation in 1879, Reed joined his father's business in Provo. By the time he was 18, he was manager of the Provo Co-op Institute, a general store, and 5 years later was managing the Provo Woolen Mills. Within a few years he had acquired widespread business and agricultural interests, and by the time he was 35, Smoot had accumulated a considerable fortune. At the same time, he advanced in the hierarchy of the LDS Church. In 1900 he was ordained as one of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, a position in the church second only to the presidency (National Park Service p. 1)."

Along with the important position of senator, Smoot also was advisor to five presidents, dean of the U.S. Senate, and an apostle in the LDS Church. This latter role proved to be a tough one, not only because of the responsibilities it entailed, but because Smoot's involvement with the LDS church jeopardized his involvement with the U.S. senate. From the year 1903 to 1907, there was a nationwide campaign to unseat Senator Reed, including a movement backed by petitions bearing more than one million signatures claiming that he was a high official in an organization that endorsed polygamy and violated the constitutional tenet of separation of church and state.

This campaign was a significant event, and according to historian Thomas F. O'Dea, the "last major flareup of the Mormon-gentile conflict on a national scale (O'Dea p. 173)." After four thousand pages of testimony, numerous witnesses, and hearings occurring from the year 1904 to 1907, the senate, under pressure from Theodore Roosevelt, refused to expel Smoot from the Senate. Smoot biographer Milton R. Merrill claimed that "No one did more than he in changing the public's opinion from one of scorn and obloquy for the despised Mormons to one of respectful admiration (Merrill pp. 343-344)."

"During the 1920s Smoot, according to his biographer Milton R. Merrill, became "known as the watchdog of the Treasury" because of his demand for reduced Federal spending and lower taxes. His area of greatest expertise, however, was the tariff. An extreme protectionist, Smoot in 1930 as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee played a leading role in the drafting and passage of the Hawley-Smoot Tariff. This measure, says historian John D. Hicks, "raised American import duties to an all-time high" and was "so unsound economically that it drew the opposition of nearly every reputable economist in the United States (Hicks pp. 221-222)." Its high rates in turn caused 25 nations to raise their levies on American products in retaliation, thus worsening the Nation's depressed economy. In 1932 Smoot went down to overwhelming defeat as a result of the democratic landslide. After leaving the Senate in 1933, he returned to Utah and devoted most of his time to church affairs. He became a bitter critic of the New Deal, expressing his opposition in no uncertain terms. On February 9, 1941, while vacationing in St. Petersburg, Fla., he died of heart and kidney disease at the age of 79 (National Park Service p. 3)."

The House today[edit]

After Smoot and his family moved to Washington D. C., the house was vacant for some time. Eventually, Smoot's son, Harlow, moved into the home. After being defeated for re-election in 1932, Smoot didn't return to live in the home on a permanent basis, choosing instead to spend his time in Salt Lake City and in Florida, where he died in 1941. Harlow Smoot and his wife continued to live in the home until their deaths and descendants have retained the home and kept it in excellent condition since that time. The house still contains many of the original furnishing, including the family china, a collection of pitchers, and a collection of paintings by Lee Greene Richards.


  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b "Reed O. Smoot House". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  3. ^ George R. Adams and Ralph Christian (April 1976). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Reed Smoot House" (pdf). National Park Service.  and Accompanying three photos, exterior, from 1975 (32 KB)
  • Hicks, Republican Ascendancy, 221-22.
  • National Park Service. "National Register of Historic Places Inventory -- Nomination Form." April 1995.
  • Milton R. Merrill, "Reed Smoot, Apostle-Senator," Utah Historical Quarterly, XXVIII (October, 1960), 343-44.
  • Provo City Landmarks Commission. "Historic Provo." 2002
  • Thomas F. O'Dea, "The Mormons" (Chicago, 1957), 173.

External links[edit]