Cox family pays ‘homage’ to Kearns Mansion this Christmas. Here’s when you can tour it

Cox family pays ‘homage’ to Kearns Mansion this Christmas. Here’s when you can tour it

SALT LAKE CITY — As renovations to the Governor’s Mansion, originally the Kearns Mansion, have wrapped up, the building’s current residents wanted to recognize the family who built the historic home over a century ago.

That’s why Gov. Spencer Cox and Utah first lady Abby Cox chose to make “A Kearns Family Christmas” the theme of this year’s Christmas decorations at the mansion.

“We wanted to throw (it) back to them, to pay homage to them and the generous gift that they gave,” Abby Cox said, standing in front of a large Christmas tree inside the house. “We thought it would be a beautiful tribute to celebrate Christmas the way they would.”

Utah’s First Family debuted the holiday design Monday with a group of students from Wallace Stegner Academy in attendance. The students helped the Cox family decorate a tree in the mansion and performed songs for the family.

The building will be available for public tours on Dec. 9, although reservations are needed to secure a tour of the building that’s normally closed off. History of the mansion

The governor helped lead a tour of the Kearns Mansion as part of Monday’s festivities. The Kearns Mansion is certainly full of history.

The building dates back to 1902 and is one of a few historic mansions that can be found along South Temple east of Main Street.

The home was designed by Carl Neuhausen under the direction of Thomas Kearns, who made a fortune in the late 19th century as a silver miner who was also serving as a U.S. senator at the time. Kearns became a millionaire at 28 and was just 40 years old when his mansion was built. He also became the publisher of the Salt Lake Tribune and owned a railroad company, too, before his death in 1918.

By the point Kearns’ mansion was finished, Neuhausen had already designed a few of Utah’s more distinguishable buildings, such as the Kearns-St. Ann’s Orphanage. He would go on to design the Congregation Montefiore and the Cathedral of the Madeleine shortly after he completed the Kearns Mansion.

But the mansion is one of the lasting legacies both share. It’s a structure that encapsulates wealth at the time. It’s estimated that it cost about $250,000 to construct at the time; for context, that’s a little more than $8 million in today’s money, when adjusting for inflation.

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