She was a handcart pioneer, one of eight wives of an early Salt Lake building inspector. He is an archivist for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Although they lived generations apart, the lives of Elizabeth Player Raleigh and Scott Christensen crossed paths this spring when Christensen decided to purchase and refurbish Raleigh's home."She raised her kids in this house and spent the last month of her life living next door with her daughter. Essentially it was her lifelong home," Christensen said in a recent interview.
The house is a hodgepodge of building materials and architectural styles dating back to 1857, when Raleigh lived in a simple one-room adobe structure.
Raleigh added onto the home to accommodate her growing family, eight children in total. The second phase of the home was constructed with brick (one of the first houses constructed with brick in Salt Lake City) and the third phase in wood.
"The last phase is high Victorian, circa 1893. The earlier section is quite pioneer," Christensen said.
Despite its rich history, the decrepit house at 594 Center has been little but an eyesore to neighborhood residents for the past decade.
But Christensen plans to change that. He has purchased the house and will restore it through a low-interest loan program offered by the Utah Heritage Foundation.
The loan program enabled Christensen to buy the house and the 1/4-acre parcel for $25,000. He also received a $30,000 loan to restore the home's exterior and install new heating, electrical and plumbing systems.
The home was converted to apartments in 1925 and was later condemned because its mechanical systems did not meet city housing codes. Christensen plans to restore the home to a single-family dwelling.
"He's undoing all the bad stuff. Nothing stabilizes the neighborhood more than single-family occupancy," said Michael Leventhal, director of the Utah Heritage Foundation. "Now what has been an eyesore for the last decade is going to be an asset."
Under the loan program's guidelines, Christensen has one year to complete the renovation work.
The Heritage Foundation lends money for five years at half the existing prime rate. That means if the prime is 10 percent, the program lends money at 5 percent interest.
At the end of five years, the balance of the loan is due, which sends most people to conventional lending institutions seeking loans.
In the 15-year history of the revolving loan program, the Heritage Foundation has experienced only one foreclosure. "We are basically risk management for the banks and mortgage companies," Leventhal said.
The Heritage Foundation operates two loan programs, one for residential restoration projects in Salt Lake City. The second program is earmarked for restoration proj-ects statewide. At present, the fund contains only about $2,000, but Key Bank of Utah has extended the program a $200,000 line of credit.
Money in the statewide program is lent at a higher interest rate, but the Heritage Foundation is able to buy down a few interest points.
"We have, as you can gather, limited resources," Leventhal said.
The foundation's volunteer board - comprised of attorneys, representatives of financial institutions, real estate agents, architects and construction experts - meets monthly to review applications and approve loans.
In addition to determining the individual's ability to repay a loan to the foundation, the committee also requires applicants to supply plans and a list of building materials to the committee for its consideration.
The average loan made by either program is about $25,000. "Certainly some homes dictate more money by virtue of their size and architectural significance," Leventhal said.
While the Heritage Foundation can only lend money on a few homes in target areas, the effect of a few people fixing up their homes is contagious.
"We can't pay for all of them but you can see what happens," Leventhal said, pointing to other homes in the target areas that have been restored using private money.