By Kent Larsen
Article on Restaurant Recalls LDS Businessman Thomas Dee
OGDEN, UTAH -- A recent Ogden Standard-Examiner article tells the history of
GrayCliff Lodge, now a restaurant in Odgen Canyon, but once the home of the
family of LDS businessman Thomas D. Dee. The Dee name lives in Odgen's
landmark McKay-Dee Hospital and in Weber State University's Dee Events
Center, but only the hospital's website tells the story of the beloved
businessman and philanthropist, for whose funeral the city schools were closed.
Dee was born in South Wales in 1844 and came to the US in 1850 with his
parents, who had joined the Mormon church. After living in Winter Quarters
for a decade, the family made the trek to Salt Lake City, where Thomas
became a carpenter. In 1871 he married Annie Taylor and moved to Ogden.
There, Thomas Dee became a pillar of the community and a successful
businessman. He served the city as the president of its first library, as a
tax assessor and collector, as a city councilman and police court judge. For
35 years he served on the city's school board, and was its president for
eight years. He also served the state on the Utah State Board of
Equalization and as a member of the state tax commission.
But it was in business that Dee soon made his mark. Dee's success came, at
least in part, from his friendship and partnership with fellow Mormon
businessman David Eccles. The two men formed a partnership to provide lumber
in Baker, Oregon, forming a business now known as Anderson Lumber Company.
Together, they went on to start two sugar companies (the nucleus of
Amalgamated Sugar) and Ogden's First National Bank, which survied under the
management of the Eccles family as First Security Corp., recently merged
into Wells Fargo Bank.
In the early 1900s, Dee started and became the first president of the Utah
Construction Company (later Utah International) and with Eccles and others
purchased the Ogden City Water Works from "Eastern capitalists" who had left
the system in disrepair. This led to his death in July, 1905, after he fell
into the South Fork of the Ogden River while scouting for additional water
supplies. Dee caught pneumonia from the chill in the water, and died shortly
after he returned home.
His death shocked the city of Ogden and led to a funeral held in the Odgen
Tabernacle. The city's school's were closed for the day in recognition for
his long service to education in the city, and the children lined the city's
streets leading to the Tabernacle to watch his funeral procession.
For his wife, Annie Taylor Dee, his death was the second family tragedy,
after the death from a burst appendix of the couple's first son, Thomas
Reese Dee, in 1894 at age 21. Annie Dee felt that both deaths could have
been prevented with proper medical care, and in 1910 she established the
Thomas D. Dee Hospital as a memorial to her husband. The institution later
became part of the LDS Church's hospital system, and was renamed McKay-Dee
(in honor of then-LDS Church President David O. McKay) when its current
building was built in the late 1960s. The LDS Church transferred its
hospitals to what is now Intermountain Health Care in 1974.
Before Dee died, however, the family had started building GrayCliff Lodge
and continued its construction as a home for Annie Taylor Dee. Completed in
1912, the family also used the home as haven from the city until they sold
it in 1932. The Greenwell family purchased the home then, and moved across
the street in 1945, opening the home as a restaurant then. The current
owners, Neal and Lois Sniggs, bought the restaurant/home in 1965.
Visitors don't stay past dinner at 'Lodge'
Ogden UT Standard-Examiner 12Feb01 B2
By JaNae Francis: Standard-Examiner staff
Philanthropists: Servants of the Community: Thomas Duncombe Dee
Utah Education Network Lesson Plan
A Family Remembers
A Tradition of Caring, Chapter 1: McKay-Dee Hospital Center Website