An historic building in downtown Logan is getting a new lease on life and, what’s more, a new doorway that will make it accessible like never before.
Many locals know the stately brick building at 160 N. Main Street as the longtime home of the Cache Chamber of Commerce and Cache Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum, but since its construction in 1918, it most notably served as a post office followed by a courthouse.
Last year the building was purchased by Northern Title Company of Logan with plans for a full renovation to historic standards. As part of a long-term lease agreement, the DUP Museum will remain in the building, but not in its current form — and not as tucked away as it has been in the past. A new entrance on the Federal Avenue side of the building will make it easier for visitors to enter the museum, which sits in the back of the structure.
“When the physical changes are made to the building it will be much more accessible for the population to come in, and then we’ll have new exhibits and just make it a great place,” said Museum Director Sharon Johnson, noting the DUP is using its closure during the renovation and coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity not only to update its presentations but to achieve a “better balance” in documenting Cache Valley’s early history.
This will include a more complete look at the relationship between early day settlers and Native Americans, and the DUP is working with Shoshone tribal leader Darren Parry toward that end.
“Our goal is to tell better stories, because people look at museums as places of trust, and you have to be accurate with what you’re sharing,” Johnson said. “Our museum focuses on the early years, like up to about 1900. We’re not a comprehensive history of Cache Valley because it’s about the pioneers, but we are working on new exhibits and trying to tell a more well-rounded story about the different entities that make up the history of the early settlers and who was here then.”
As part of its effort to gain a higher profile and attract more tourists traveling through Cache Valley, Johnson was excited to report the museum is also working with the Bear River Heritage Area at hosting a traveling Smithsonian exhibit next summer. She cautioned, however, that revival of the all-volunteer facility can’t be fully realized without more donations.
“It’s great we’re working together with Northern Title, but we still meet all expenses for our space, and we still don’t have the revenue we need to do it like we would like to. We’ll be doing some patching and piecing and painting over. They (Northern Title) will get their stuff upright and shiny, but contractually we can’t expect them to carry us too much and we would like people to help us get to where we need to be.”
Northern Title President Jay Davis said his company decided to acquire the historic downtown building because it had outgrown its longtime office at 11 W. Center Street in Logan. The Logan office serves as headquarters for 17 Northern Title branches spread around Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.
The renovation project is led by Milieu Design of Logan, known most recently for refurbishing the old phone company building at 22 W. Center Street.
“We’re excited to preserve that building for another 100 years, and we look forward to being there and serving Cache County as well Utah, Idaho and Wyoming,” Davis said.
The new Federal Avenue entrance will simplify access to the entire building, not just the DUP Museum, and bring the building into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Currently, visitors must climb a flight of stairs to reach the front door, which is framed between concrete pillars reminiscent of government buildings constructed in the early 20th century.
Davis said the renovation is expected to be complete in early 2021, and the DUP Museum hopes to have a COVID-conscious reopening event at that time.