Utah History Encyclopedia


By Allan Kent Powell

Boston and Newhouse buildings, Salt Lake, c. 1915

Samuel Newhouse was born 14 October 1853 in New York City, the son of Jewish immigrant parents from Europe. He grew up in Pennsylvania, where he studied law before going to Colorado in 1879. At Leadville, Colorado, he was involved in the freighting business, and in 1883 he married Ida Stingley, a sixteen-year-old girl whose mother ran a boarding house in the town. The Newhouses operated a hotel in Leadville, and then Samuel acquired mining property at Ouray, Colorado, which he eventually sold for several million dollars. He then moved to Denver and operated as a speculator and promoter, cultivating contacts in the eastern United States, England and France.

In 1896 Newhouse moved to Utah, where he joined with Thomas Weir to acquire the Highland Boy mine and other properties at Bingham Canyon. Newhouse secured English investments in the enterprise, which was organized as the Utah Consolidated Gold Mines, Ltd. The properties were purchased for their gold potential; however, when high-grade copper ore was discovered, Newhouse pushed for construction of a copper smelter in September 1898 which was built at Murray and put in operation on 23 May 1899. The Utah Consolidated Gold Mines was acquired by Standard Oil Company in 1899 in a twelve-million-dollar transaction. Newhouse and Wier also developed the Boston Consolidated Copper and Gold Mining Company, Ltd., in 1898 and maintained control of that company until it merged with Utah Copper Company in 1910.

In 1905 Samuel Newhouse acquired mining property in the San Francisco Mountains of Beaver County, where he spent $2,000,000 developing the mine, mill, and town of Newhouse. Perhaps the wealthiest of Utah's mining magnates, Newhouse owned four residences: a home at 175 East South Temple in Salt Lake City which he renovated as a colonial style mansion in about 1905; an estate on Long Island; a chateau outside Paris, France; and a mansion in London, England.

While his wife preferred living outside of Utah, Samuel Newhouse's choice was Salt Lake City. In 1907 he launched a significant building program in the city designed to shift the city's center from the Temple Square area south four blocks to Exchange Place between 300 and 400 South streets and between Main and State streets. In 1907 construction began on the city's first skyscrapers, the Boston and the Newhouse buildings. Just east of the two buildings, Newhouse donated land for construction of the Salt Lake Stock Exchange and Commercial Club buildings. Exchange Place was to be a little "Wall Street" with a grand hotel--the Newhouse Hotel--constructed between 1909 and 1915 across Main Street on the southwest corner of Main and 400 South. Newhouse also was instrumental in the development of the exclusive residential area of Federal Heights in the northeast section of Salt Lake City.

Over-extension ultimately proved Newhouse's financial downfall, as the money from his mines could not finance his elaborate projects and World War I made it almost impossible to obtain loans from eastern U.S. and European sources. In 1914 Samuel and Ida separated. The South Temple mansion was sold, and between 1915 and 1919 Samuel resided at the Newhouse Hotel. He then sold his interest in the hotel and left for France, where he lived with his sister at the chateau outside Paris he had given to her. He died there on 22 September 1930 at the age of seventy-six.