Andrus Half Way House Selected for Pioneer Trails State Park
While Milo was serving his second mission in England (1859-1861) he directed his family to build a hotel in Jordan Bottoms where he had filed for 160 acres of land. This area was also called Dry Creek, and is now part of Sandy, Utah.
The article reprinted below originally appeard in The Pioneer, the official publication of the National Society of the Sons of the Utah Pioneers. The article was was written by Russell Stocking and appeared in the July-August 1979 issue. The hotel was moved to Utah’s This is the Place State Park in 1981.
After the early settlement of the Mormon Pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley the normal movement of people was to the north and south following the natural terrain of the valleys, probably the largest movement was to the south.
To satisfy the needs of travelers, freighters, stagecoach, trappers etc. numerous places for overnight accommodations were built. A natural one was midway between Travelers rest near 6400 South and Porter Rockwell’s layout near the point of the mountain.
Milo Andrus an early pioneer and great missionary for the L. D .S . Church, having come to Salt Lake Valley in 1850 with a company of saints who he had charge of coming from England. He organized this group of saints and others and was their leader when crossing the plains and brought them to the valley with very little difficulty. He later served various colonization missions and was a pioneer also of Green River, Dixie, and Cache Valley in Utah and Salmon River and Oxford in Idaho. He moved some of his families in the mid and late 1850s to an area called the Jordan Bottoms near and north of present day 10600 South where he filed for 160 acres of land which he purchased and later received a patent deed dated September 10, 1875. This land extended east to present day State Street which was then as now the major road (before the freeway system) going south from Salt Lake.
This area was also called Dry Creek which was a former outlet for little Cottonwood Creek, where there was an abundance of good water available by digging wells. After some stay in the Jordan Bottoms which in those days had also plenty of water and natural grasses for forage for livestock. Milo, previous to a call to serve a mission to England in 1859, called his families together and gave them several assignments for the grazing of livestock and distribution of food etc. in order to survive while he was away.
Some of the wives of Dry Creek, then, were Lucy Loomis Tuttle Andrus, Adeline Alexander Andrus, and Jane Munday Andrus. To Lucy, he assigned the responsibility of building a hotel at 10330 So. State, the Hotel was renamed The Half Way House and has carried that name even to the present day.
Lucy, along with many others had suffered many hardships, having had black scurvy while crossing the plains, and had been left a widow with a young family previous to her marriage to Milo Andrus. She was an industrious and well organized person. She was an industrious and well organized person.
The building she was assigned to build when finished had a large dining room and a kitchen and parlor downstairs and three bedrooms upstairs.
After the Half Way House was fished, naturally the wives found themselves sharing communal living, which was a new situation for them and caused some adjustments, but they learned to accept conditions as they were. One wife was assigned the job of cooking, to another house keeping and washing of dishes, to another sewing and to another the care of the livestock and horses and milking of cows. Adjacent to the house was a large barn with a good well nearby.
The girls of the families, many who were very talented, entertained the guests at the Halfway House, which was a real oasis in those days. The wives walked to and from Draper ward to attend Relief Society which was a distance of eight miles there and back, before they could afford other means of transportation.
Jane Munday Andrus had many special talents. She taught school in South Jordan, across the river. She went to school for training .and became a graduate mid wife. She ran a knitting machine for the Draper Relief Society and owned one of the first sewing machines brought across the plains. The building, although used as a residence for the Andrus families and available to a degree for overnight lodging by travelers, had other uses. The Andrus children and those of near by neighbors were taught school at different intervals, probably by Jane Munday Andrus.
During the interval of the Pony Express, April 31, 1860 to October 24, 1861, it has been mentioned in some of the Andrus histories that some of the boys of the families took care of horses for some of the riders, and it has been generally thought for a long time that it was a Pony Express Station, but that is officially not correct. It may have been used as an emergency station only, as the official stations south of Salt Lake were Travelers Rest at 6400 South State and Porter Rockwell ~ major stop over at the point of the mountain, which was one of the largest stop over places going south. It was a major stage coach, travelers and general rest area and also a relay station for the Deseret Telegraph. Mention is made that the Half Way House was called a tavern; and as work was spread of its availability, many segments of the traveling public used the accommodations available.
A daughter, Harriet Susanah Eddins Smith, remembered people stopping at the well of the Half Way House to refresh themselves. She remembers very vividly Porter Rockwell being one of them, as he was a frequent visitor, and that she often combed and braided his long black hair. Some mention is made in some histories and by some now living that Porter Rockwell operated a bar at the Half Way House and served the necessary ingredients to those who were interested.