National Register of Historic Places in Grand County
Log cabins used to be common in Moab. I am the oldest one left. I was built, most likely, by the first bishop of Moab, Randolph Stewart, for his third plural wife, Marietta, about 1881. The Stanley's, a family of four lived here in 1908 after they moved from the Wolfe Ranch in the Arches. A couple of bachelors, Howard Balsley, uranium mining pioneer, and Bish Taylor, local newspaper editor, lived here in 1912. I am listed on the National Register of Historic Places as an Historic Landmark.
24 June 2011
(Click Photos to Zoom)
The following anecdotes about some of the people who lived in the Moab Cabin are excerpted from the NRHP nomination dated 17 December 1979:
R. H. Stewart and His Three Families
In 1879 R. H. Stewart and his three families started south from Rich County, Utah in response to a call of the Mormon Church to settle Emery County (which then included the present Grand County). They were stopped by the fierce winter of 1879-80 in Huntington where Bishop Stewart built three log houses for his families. They stayed in Huntington for one year and then continued on to Moab where he acquired the original site of this cabin and deeded it to Marietta his third wife who later sold it to John Jackson.
John Jackson and His Family
Some say Stewart built the cabin, others say Jackson built it of cottonwood logs hauled from the creek that ran through Moab. Jackson was a Wild West, yarn-spinning, old-time cowboy who had been raised in Texas, orphaned at eleven, lived with an uncle for a time and got in several scrapes with other cowboys, Indians, and horse thieves. Jackson claimed that when he left Texas, the sheriff and his possee wanted him to stay so bad they chased him all the way to the border, trying to get him to come back.
In 1891, Jackson drifted up to Moab from Arizona, spent a night or two, and did not return until 1893, when he got his start as a cattleman by roping wild mavericks and selling them for five dollars a head eventually becomin a wealthy cattlemanman. During his days on the range he usually kept his wife and family with him. While in town, they stayed in the cabin. Jackson's first wife, Lillian Webb, bore at least one of her children in the cabin.
Howard W. Balsley and Bish Taylor
In 1911 Howard W. Balsley purchased the cabin and has owned it ever since. [Webmaster note: When this nomination was written in 1979, Balsley was 92 and was the second oldest person in Moab.] Balsley lived in the cabin for a short while with his friend, Loren L. "Bish" Taylor, who became the second owner and editor of the Moab newspaper, The Times Independent. The two men lived here only a short time while they built a frame structure directly to the south; it had room for some cupboards and was generally more spacious. (This frame dwelling is now  part of the main structure of the "Atomic Motel.")
Balsley's Parents Balsley's parents came out for a visit in 1910 and stayed almost a year in the cabin. Balsey's father put a glass window in the front door, apparently the only alteration in the building since its construction.
Tom Trout, Balsley's Father-in-Law
In 1912, Balsley married Jessie Trout, a local girl whose father, Tom Trout, was one of the wild Texas cowboys to settle in the Moab area. Tom Trout lived in this cabin for three or four years before his death on July 15, 1939. Trout had run cattle in Texas and participated in the big cattle drives to Dodge City, Kansas. At Christmas 1886, Trout came to Moab to celebrate (in the hard-drinking, gun-shooting manner of the wild west cowboy) and won ten dollars on the horse race held on Moab's main street. Trout soon left Moab but returned in 1888. He married Elizabeth Standifird of Moab, became a cattle rancher, county road commissioner, deputy sheriff, and miner.
Buildings that Moved
It's not just that the people of the American West are restless, the buildings themselves sometimes pack up and move when - for one reason or another - the neighborhood no longer suits them or the neighbors no longer want them or opportunity waits down the road.
And when buildings remain in place, they are often searching for their identities.
Bagby Stationhouse, El Portal
Bayview Hotel, Aptos
Bridgeport Elementary School, Mono County
Calvary Presbyterian Church, Bolinas
Carter House, Ashland, Oregon
Christian Church, Gilroy
Choller Mansion, Virginia City, NV
Old North San Juan School, North San Juan
Old St. Mary's Church, Rocklin
Old St. Patrick's Church (Moved Twice), San Francisco
Perry's Dry Goods, Gardnerville, NV
Phelps House (Moved Twice), San Francisco
Of the buildings and structures we have visited, the original Reno Arch holds the record for number of moves. It has been moved five times since it was built in 1926.
Jax Truckee Diner holds the distance title. The building moved from New Jersry to Pennsylvanis in 1948, then from Pennsylvania to Califonia in 1992.
Probably the most ambitious relocation occurred on July 4th 1904, when the Southern Pacific Railroad loaded most of the town of Wadsworth, Nevada, onto rail cars and transported the town thirty miles west to create a new town which became known as Sparks.