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Centennial: Home Sweet Home


by Mari Domanski. Homes are a tangible record of culture.


  • Dorius House Title Search and Timeline.
  • Dorius House news articles and pictures.
  • How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand - a good teacher background source.
  • 'Once Upon A Time...Buildings Tell A Story' a lesson from this packet. Readings from The Old House Journal (January 1988), including 'The House on 239 Warren Street' and 'Tale of Two Families.'

Background for Teachers

The brush shelters and tepees of native people were the only homes to dot the landscape before the arrival of permanent settlers. Early pioneers came to Utah with the promise of nothing but an allotment of land. Since statehood in 1896 the architectural diversity of residences provides an interesting study of our cultural history.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will see a home as a vehicle for the study of history. Students will research the history of a home, including ownership titles, land grants, etc.

Instructional Procedures


See preface material for the Utah Centennial Lesson Plans book.

Ask students what they know about building and remodeling.

Students will read and discuss background articles on houses through history. Those in the Old House Journal or from Historic Preservation News would be a great beginning.

Create a list of the types of things that old or remodeled houses can reveal.

Using the Dorius House Title Search and Timeline begin to determine what can be learned from such a search. Read the articles on the history and restoration of the house.

Using their own home or a class selection of homes, begin to research the titles and history of the houses. Interview community members who owned, worked on, or cared for the house.

Write a short dated history or timeline of the house.


If students did a history of their own home have them make an illustrated copy and find a good place to hide this copy for future occupants of the house to find.

Create a display of the styles and changes that the house has gone through. This type of display would make a good counterpart to locating other buildings of the community that reveal portions of the local history. Visit a home over 100 years old that is still being lived in today. What has been altered to accommodate the changes in our culture?

Set up a display of old house tools and contemporary house tools.

Created: 02/13/1997
Updated: 02/04/2018