The Nielsen-Sanderson House, constructed in 1898, is a 2½-story Victorian Eclectic brick mansion on Fort Street in Draper, Utah. The house is locally significant under Criterion A in the area of Agriculture for its association with the rise of sheep ranching families in Draper at the turn of the twentieth century. The first owners, Anthon “Tone” and Elizabeth “Ettie” Nielsen, represent both the prosperity of Draper’s early sheep ranchers and the subsequent losses for the ranchers when agricultural prices dropped after World War I and the Great Depression. The Nielsen home was sold in 1926 to a bank and converted to apartment units when no single family could afford to own it. Renters during this period included day/farm laborers, school teachers, and Japanese truck farmers. With the rise in agricultural prices during World War II, George and Scerinda Sanderson acquired the former Nielsen property, where they raised chickens and started a successful dairy farm. The rise and fall of the fortunes of the Nielsen-Sanderson House represent the historical development of agriculture and livestock in the history of Draper.
The Nielsen-Sanderson House is also significant under Criterion C in the area of Architecture as a substantial central-block-with-projecting-bays house type in the Victorian Eclectic style. The prosperity of Draper’s sheep ranchers is represented by three Victorian-era mansions along Fort Street, but the Nielsen-Sanderson House stands out in several ways. It is a rare example of a symmetrical central-block house and its façade is the only example with modest Eastlake ornamentation. The architectural ornamentation is particularly impressive and expressive: the ornamental sheep silhouettes advertised the occupant’s ties to the sheep industry. In a time before address numbers, Tone Nielsen would advise his business associates to look for the “Sheep House” on Fort Street. The home’s characteristic Victorian Eclectic and Eastlake details include a combination of original elements and replications from historic photographs completed during the 1988-1990 rehabilitation.
The property is eligible under the Multiple Property Submission, Historic and Architectural Resources of Draper, Utah, 1849–1954. The associated historic contexts are “Railroads, Mercantilism, and Farming and Ranching Period, 1877-1917” and Twentieth-Century Community Development and Poultry Industry Period, 1918-1954.” The period of significance begins with the original construction in 1898 and ends with the closing of the Sanderson Dairy in 1963. The Nielsen-Sanderson House has excellent historic integrity and is a contributing resource along Fort Street in Draper.