The ginger-colored mansion isn't located in the most distinguished of neighborhoods, but over the years Roman Catholic nuns, homeless men, alcoholics and a business titan all have felt at home at 1206 W. 200 South.
Now it's your turn.
What would you like to see happen to the 106-year-old Fisher Mansion, now owned by Salt Lake City?
Could it be turned into a bed-and-breakfast, perhaps, or a modern art gallery? Should the city open a small coffee shop or a place to rent bicycles and canoes for exploring the Jordan River Parkway? Would home repair expert Bob Villa be interested in showing up with television cameras and a renovation crew?
For eight months, the ideas have flowed into Mayor Ralph Becker's office, and now, sometime this fall, a decision will be reached.
Nobody will be watching more closely than Daisy Graham and her sister, Mary Beth Riemondy. The mansion was built for their great-grandfather, Albert E. Fisher, a German immigrant who rode a wagon train to Utah from New York in the late 1800s to go into the beer business.
"It will be thrilling to watch it restored, step by step," says Mary Beth, 57. "What a treat to see the house get a new life. Our dad would have just loved this."
Carl Davidson grew up in the three-story, 6,000-square-foot abode, playing hide and seek in the carriage house out back and climbing the estate's fruit trees.
"He fell out of that one and broke his arm," says Mary Beth, pointing to an apple tree that soars above the roof line. "I didn't get to spend much time here, but I've heard all the stories. With all the people who have come through the door, there are lots of memories."
Hoping to share the history of a tarnished jewel now getting new polish, Mary Beth and Daisy met me for a Free Lunch chat on the mansion's wrap-around front porch. They once romped beneath the sandstone arches while their dad did odd jobs for the nuns who moved in when their grandmother donated the mansion to the Catholic Diocese in 1944.
"I'd love to talk to those nuns again and hear their stories about the house," says Daisy, who has a collection of early black-and-white photos of the mansion. "This used to be quite the showplace."
It was 1893 when her grandfather, then a brewmeister for Salt Lake Brewing Co., decided to open a brewery of his own near the Jordan River and hire the architect of the Utah State Capitol to build a stately residence next door. Besides a short walk to work, the location provided a peaceful view and lots of growing room for Fisher's large family.
A century later, that view now includes I-80 across the street and the Questar Gas Co. next door on the old Fisher Brewery grounds. Train horns sound at all hours and freeway traffic drowns out the bird songs from the river, but when the last section of the Jordan River Trail is finished near the property, the Fisher Mansion will once again become a gathering place.
"We're hoping that the house brings back memories we've lost and creates new ones for people who come across the place for the first time along the Jordan Trail," says Daisy, peering through a window at the mansion's ornate woodwork, eight-foot doorways and tiled fireplace. "A grand old place like this deserves a new life."
Have a story? Let's hear it over lunch. E-mail your name, phone number and what you'd like to talk about to [email protected]