HEBER, Utah -- After sitting along Main Street in Heber City for almost 150 years, the iconic Clotworthy-McMillan house is being demolished to make room for progress at the Karl Malone car dealership.
The structure, a sandstone pioneer home built in the late 1800s, once belonged to current mayor Alan McDonald's great grandparents.
He said he was disappointed the city could not afford to pick up the home and move it somewhere else, but he stands with the dealership's decision to demolish it, saying he believes in property owner rights.
“We do try to preserve what we can, but there’s no law that says the owner can’t take down what they have on their property, and I respect that end of it," McDonald said.
The dealership did preserve a stained glass door from the home that McDonald took with him. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Homes in 1999; according to the register, a property owner is well within their rights to do whatever they like with said property as long as proper permits are obtained and no federal monies are owed.
In this case, the car dealership met all of the requirements. Still, some residents are disappointed to see the home go.
“I was hurt that something so beautiful was destroyed," said resident Ashlon Smith.
Smith said he posted some pictures of the demolition that began Tuesday on Facebook, and the post blew up. Hundreds of people expressed their dismay and anger before the post was taken down (due to people posting nasty comments toward each other).
He said it would be nice to see the community get more involved to preserve the historic homes that still stand on Main Street, of which there are only a few still standing.
"We’re getting quickly replaced with neon and fluorescent and LED, and we’re losing a lot of our small-town charm that should be preserved," Smith said.
Heber City Planning Director Tony Kohler also addressed the demolition: “Certainly it will spur a conversation amongst city leaders as to, do we, should the city take more action on preservation of historic buildings?”
The city does not currently have an ordinance mandating historic buildings be preserved.