HOLLADAY — Few homes in the Salt Lake Valley come with as much history — or at as high a price — as the coveted estates on Walker Lane.
Properties in this long-established, tree-lined street nestled in the eastern section of the valley can cost well into seven or even eight figures. Rare is the occasion when one of these properties goes on the market, but one of the area's most historic residences is going up for sale, and with it comes the story of how pioneers came to the place they would call home over a century ago.
Sitting on nearly 9 acres, the original residence was built in the 1890s by the Walker family, according to current homeowner, entrepreneur Jeffrey Flamm.
Once a successful British businessman, patriarch Matthew Walker, with the help of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Perpetual Emigration Fund, boarded a ship with his wife and four sons bound for the United State after losing the family fortune in a financial crash in England during the 1840s, Flamm explained. It was a trip that many European Mormon converts made in search of a new life and new opportunities, he said.
Immigrants using the fund agreed to pay back the money after settling in Utah and starting to earn income, he said. Sadly, Matthew Walker died on the ship leaving his family to fend for themselves.
"She and four boys came across the Plains alone," Flamm explained. They initially started out with a wagon train, but were left by themselves when their wagon broke down, he said.
That didn't stop the Walkers.
"They get here to Utah and boys go to work because they have nothing," he said. The sons started a successful mercantile business and eventually branched off into other prosperous ventures. After the arduous journey, the Walker sons launched what would become a business, mining and banking empire.
The Salt Lake City skyline still boasts the colorful visual impact of the Walker Center (formerly the Walker Brothers Bank building). The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.
Among the first people to set up residence in the Holladay area, the family built a home there because it was one of the "greenest" and coolest locales in the valley — typically recording temperatures about 10 degrees lower than downtown Salt Lake City, according to Flamm.
"This was the only green place in the valley," he said. "There were trees and it was cool along the (Jordan) river, so they built summer homes here."
Having undergone a couple of renovations over the years, the property today known as the Glenwood Estate is an updated version of the venerable manor that was established in 1938.
Many ornate details have been carefully preserved, Flamm explained. He and his wife, Nancy, raised their six children in the house and have shared scores of wonderful family memories in the 21 years since they purchased it from renowned Utah orthopedic surgeon Lonnie Paulos.
While essential elements of the house have been updated, Flamm said, the main residence is approximately 13,000 square feet and includes seven bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, along with an opulent swimming pool with water features. Other property hallmarks include a two-story guest house, a caretaker's cottage and a 5,600 square foot barn. The immaculately landscaped grounds boast acres of gardens, fish-stocked ponds and wooded paths.
The state-of-the-art barn was built a few years ago and houses horses, goats, chickens and peacocks, Flamm said.
With an asking price of $13 million, the inside of the main house is replete with unique art and one-of-a-kind antique pieces, such as a hand-painted ceiling in the living room, a bookcase from a Scottish castle, imported etched and stained glass in all of the windows and a section of iron fencing from Boston that is purported to have been on the route of Paul Revere's famous ride.6 comments on this story
Though they have loved living in the home for over two decades, since the kids have all moved out, it's just more than they need for just two people, Flamm said. But they are intent on selling to someone who understands and values the history of the home and property, which is why they're retaining the right of first refusal on all offers.
"That's one reason we want to find a buyer that will keep this because it's such a historic place," Flamm said. "You don't find homes with this kind of workmanship anymore. There are not that many estates left in Utah that are historic."