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South Jordan Journal

Old-Fashioned Family Fun at the Holt Farmstead

Aug 03, 2016 10:48AM ● By Bryan Scott

Fun games available to try at the event –Mylinda LeGrande

By Mylinda LeGrande | [email protected]

South Jordan, Utah - It was a perfect summer’s evening on July 1, for the fourth annual Fun at the Farmstead event held at the Holt Family Farm, sponsored by South Jordan Arts Council. The temperature was verging on hot, but a slight breeze hinted toward a cooler evening to come. Families in attendance participated in various events.  

 On the side of the Holt Farmhouse, children waited in line for their own personal pony rides. Photographer, Ryan Robison, was available to take family or individual pictures on an ancient low-hanging tree branch or elsewhere around the farm.

 A barbecue dinner was available for purchase which included either pulled pork or hot dog along with baked beans, fruit, ice cream brownie sundae and lemonade. Games, such as barrel and potato sack racing, a ducky derby and a coloring contest were ongoing throughout the night. Hired Guns Band provided old-fashioned, knee slappin’ music in front of a crowd relaxing on chairs. Sights and Sounds of Summer provided the movie “Minions.”

 All ages could be found enjoying the entertainment. Jessica and daughter Joslyn Mitchel’s parents live across the street from the farmstead.  Jessica said, “We just got here not too long ago, and this one won’t leave the ponies alone. The other kids are dancing to the music here. We don’t live here, we are military, so we are in the process moving and here visiting [our parents] for the Fourth of July.”

 The inaugural event for the Farmstead took place on July 12, 2013, for the dedication of the Farm. This was following the City of South Jordan being presented a Heritage Award for the Rehabilitation of the Samuel E. Holt Farmstead in 2010.  

 Samuel E. Holt, the original property owner, passed the farm down to his daughter, Mame (known commonly as “Aunt Mame”). At age 96, she agreed to have the property listed on the state’s historic register. When she died in 2004, at the age of 99, the property went to her great nephew, Russ Newbold’s father and two brothers. According to the South Jordan City website, “When he (Russ Newbold) was young, he began to dream about restoring her house. [It] got under his skin, into his heart, and into South Jordan’s plans. Two years later, a developer, the Arbor Group, offered to buy the property.”  

 As part of the restoration, several outbuildings on the farmstead were rehabilitated including the garage, chicken coop, buggy shed, granary, coal shed, and milk house, but the biggest project was the renovations to the Victorian-style house. In addition, a new subdivision has been developed with large, modern home sites that surround the farm.

 “At that time we began discussing our plans with the City of South Jordan,” Russ Newbold said. “They expressed a keen interest in converting a portion of the property to a historic site and park. The intent was for the family and developer to donate a portion of the property to South Jordan City. South Jordan would then restore the historic site, and the surrounding acreage would be transformed into a residential subdivision. As a preservation consultant for South Jordan, I finally had the opportunity to create the scope and construction documents for the exterior restoration of the house and barns, and also to work with the local architect and contractor on preservation issues. All those years of dreaming of the restoration have been fulfilled. Aunt Mame wanted the farm to be a place where people could come and feel welcome. Every community should have historic sites such as this—a place where people can experience history in an engaging and meaningful way over and over again. Aunt Mame’s farm will again become the gathering place for families and the community.”