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Utah's coolest (and probably oldest) greenouse

Utah's oldest (probably), coolest greenhouse needs a new home

Nat Dicou Co-proprietor of Lincoln Street Farm

So far, no one seems to have a clue how old it is. Current top guesses include: “1940s at the latest,” “Depression era, maybe?,” and “It can’t be turn-of-the-century, can it?” 

Not even the owner of the property where the old greenhouse has sat for decades can offer a confident guess. Perhaps a greenhouse historian will enlighten us, or maybe we’ll be featured on a special farming episode of Antiques Roadshow. 

But for now we don’t know how many last-frost dates and vernal equinoxes have come and gone since the weathered building was first erected in the oldest part of Sandy, Utah, a suburban city 20 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City.  

All we know is what we can plainly see: It’s OLD. But, to use a phrase Nico loves to employ when she spots an ancient house that draws her attention on one of our dog & baby-stroller walks: This greenhouse has “good bones.” 

It's  also grizzled, ragged, mysterious, and made out of steel, wood, and chicken-wire glass, which, it turns out, was popular in the early 1900s. Hey, a clue! 

Mostly, the building is full of history. If you tilt your head just the right way, allow your normal vision to melt away (as if you're staring at one of those Magic Eye books from the 90s), and invite a little whimsy into the space -- it becomes clear that this greenhouse is brimming with potential. (OK, it was clear all along to Nico at least. I see it now too. I think.) 

I guess I haven't developed that "good bones"-seeing x-ray vision quite yet, so it took me a minute to get on-board. Even though I'm the one who desperately needs a greenhouse. Or SOMEplace to put my seedlings. Now that we have seedling sales on the calendar, things around here are getting ... cluttered. 

But, soon, our pre-greenhouse era will be over. While the “free” section on KSL.com isn’t always reliable, it IS capable of delivering transcendent, life-changing mouse clicks of unexpected generosity. The greenhouse was ours, the owner said. All we had to do was remove it from his backyard. Which was totally doable, right? 

Well, we’re gonna find out. We’ve called lots of people who move stuff professionally. We’ve gotten lots of guffaws and lots of “yeah right”s. We even tried a piano-moving company, a conversation Nico initiated while I listened on speakerphone. You’d think she was asking to have the Betsy Ross House airlifted to our Salt Lake City backyard. 

 

AND YET! We have indeed assembled a two-man crew who we are confident can do it. Yesterday they took apart the pieces. Tomorrow they put it back together. They see our vision and think it’s a really cool idea. So take that, Piano Guy. Our team has experience with greenhouses and passion for growing, building, and restoring stuff. They've got this. 

As we speak, the dismantled greenhouse is ON ITS WAY HERE. Stay tuned. Lincoln Street Farm is getting its second outbuilding. And it’s gonna be a fun one to bring back to life. 

 

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