Hyrum T. Richards, Opera House & Dance Hall

Many would like this pictured building to be or house the Mendon Z.C.M.I. and or local Coop Store, that was started in Mendon during the years of 1869-1870.

It is not. That store was to the north of the opera house and I am unsure if a photo of it exists? At any rate, this article gives us the construction date of the opera house, dance hall and that it was under construction in June of 1895.

It served Mendon a a place of amusements for many years, even basketball was played inside of it. Later on it served as a poolhall for a short time. The city fathers made short work of that endever however.

Many would rent the hall for mission farewell dances and other such activites and it was welcomed as a first rate improvement to the city at the time. A small store and or butcher shop was added to the south of the building and this did a nice business for a time.

Bishop Anderson, from Logan, would build a red brick store in the early 1900's which would serve the needs of Mendon for many years. Dad would buy me a soda pop from Nobel's store as it was called in my time.

Mendon Utah Logo

The Journal Man

The “Journal” Man Visits the Prosperous Little City of Mendon on the West. Mendon is a city and a small one at that, but its farms are large and look splendid. Every one on dry land raises more and better grain than the land under water. These dry farms produce from fifteen hundred to two thousand bushels of wheat to almost every owner of their desirable tracts. The people of Mendon ought to be a rich community, as almost every man is the owner of large parcels of land.

The missionary farm of forty acres is situated between Wellsville and Hyrum and is planted in wheat and is one of the best I have seen for some time. The wheat is now in the boot, and from present appearances should yield about thirty bushels to the acre.

Yes, if land, and rich land at that, will make men wealthy, the farmers of this place ought to be the richest people of Cache County. One gentleman assured me that nearly every man owning a dry farm raised annually nearly 2,000 bushels of grain. This with the rich bottom lands and their hay and pastures return each abundant crops of all kinds. Yet with all these vast resources Mendon is like all other towns, heavily in debt for machinery and other things. Mrs. Caroline Sorensen sends butter to Salt Lake and her returns foot up to between $40 and $50 monthly.

Mendon does not extend her borders. She has about the same number of people and homes as when I first saw the place many years ago. The buildings are improved; timber they have none and the water supply is limited. The old rock buildings are as ugly as ever rendered so by poor carpenter work. Had they been pointed with good cornices a very marked change could have been had. They have a good church and school building and the town is a perfect forest. I am of the opinion that there are too many trees. At one time, not long ago either there were but very few and all these sprang from a few slips Bishop Henry Hughes brought from Logan. The Co-op store is no more. A stranger is on the sill. What little there is of it, is now owned by Mr. Hyrum Richards.

In early days under the management of the Bishop and Father James G. Willie it was one of the most prosperous institutions in Cache Valley but alas it got into other hands and down went McGinty.Mendon Opra House and Dance Hall

The owner of the store is having an opera house built south of the store. It is to be all of rock and one story. The coroner is the master builder and the way that county official can sling mortar is a caution. If he is as handy in sitting on out a corpse, the county made no mistake in placing Honorable Joseph Baker among her officials whose duty it is to look after all those who come to an untimely end, but if his private occupation brings him no more emoluments than his public office, then I fear he must apply to the ward for support.

From present appearance that opera house will not be a thing of beauty. It reminds me of a rock house that was built in Hyrum many years ago. The owner thought it was dandy with its two ugly dormer windows. When President Brigham Young visited our town and he only came that once, the owner of the rock building took him over to see it, I stood by the President as he stood on the sidewalk and as soon as he raised his eyes to the building he exclaimed: “Dear me, how badly we need architects.” That killed the building ardor, and now twenty years have gone by but not one thing has been added to that structure.

Mendon has been and is one of the most orderly towns in the county. Its good day and Sunday schools, also all other organizations for improvement are among the best. Bishop Henry Hughes is a leader and never asks any man to do that which he is not willing to do himself. He is a thrifty, well to do farmer, and his motto has always been, pay as you go. And had his people followed his precept and example they would be free from the bondage of debt. The bishop believes that salvation spiritually is only half the work necessary to real happiness in this world and present salvation is something worth having here on earth. The readers of The Journal have been favored with some of his good hard sense and it is a pity that he does not oftener appear in its columns. The people of Mendon enjoy good health and are very hospital, and if they have any sorrow they make it. We all do like wise, and it is generally done by only singing a note, or a few of them.1


footnote line

1. Journal, June 10, 1895, C.C.S. (This was the local paper from Logan at the time C.C.S. was apparently one of the reporters for the paper..)