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Constructed between 1887 and 1890, Daft Block showcases the classical structure and decorative design of the architect, and controversial historical figure, Elias L. T. Harrison. This 4-story brick and stone building was built for pioneer Sarah A. Daft, making it notable not only for its architecture but for its existence as one of the few commercial buildings constructed for a female entrepreneur. In 1908, two years after Daft’s death, the 4-story brick and stone structure was purchased by the sons of John Daynes, a fellow pioneer, and watchmaker to President of the Church of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young. They relocated their Daynes Jewelry business to Daft Block, where their painted sign can still be seen on the side of the building. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Buildings in 1975.

  • Construction on Daft Block ended in 1890. Designed by architect Elias L. T. Harrison, the narrow structure is one of the most intact and visually impressive Queen Anne - style buildings in the city's commercial district.
  • After the 1905 death of patriarch John Daynes and the 1907 robbery of their jewelry store, Daynes' sons pooled their resources together and sold 20,000 shares of their company to purchase Daft Block and relocate to this new location.
  • Sarah Ann Daft was a savvy and intelligent businesswoman who earned both the respect and admiration of her peers during a time when women often were overlooked or ignored. She is a current honoree in the Utah Women's Walk.
  • John Daynes first opened up his jewelry store in 1862. At the time, business was run out of a small log cabin. Through his efforts and the later efforts of his children, their many businesses and their legacy were grown and cultivated into a lasting

Born in England, Sarah Ann Daft arrived as a pioneer in Salt Lake City with her husband Alexander in 1856. After his death in 1884, the widowed Mrs. Daft took over his business interests and expanded them into a considerable estate. Described as a “brilliant woman” with “unusual business ability,” Daft held large amounts of stock in the Independent Telephone Company, owned the Reality Building on West Temple Street, and had even developed mining interests. She garnered a reputation among her peers for having one of the keenest business minds in the territory. Daft was also a philanthropist, and after her death in 1906 at the age of 78, she made certain to set aside funds in her will to build and maintain a home for the aged, infirm, and blind of both sexes. The nonprofit Sarah Daft home was opened in 1912 and continues to operate to this day.

Another English born immigrant and Mormon convert, Elias L. T. Harrison, was contracted by Sarah Daft to design and construct Daft Block. By 1887, when construction on the building first began, Harrison had already garnered a reputation for himself as an architect, a writer, and a controversial religious figure. Having built such structures as the Staines House and The Alta Club, he was also the first in Utah to teach classes in architecture and designed the Salt Lake Theatre’s ornate interior. Harrison helped to produce the region’s first magazine, Peep O’Day, which acted as the predecessor of the Salt Lake Tribune. He used his podium to act as the spokesperson for the reformist Godbeite New Movement after being excommunicated by the Mormon Church. Alongside founder William S. Godbe, and through the newly formed Church of Zion, Harrison encouraged cooperation between those of the Mormon faith and non-Church members.

In July 1908, The John Daynes Sons jewelry company took over the building […] Daynes Jewelry was founded by John Daynes, an expert craftsman in jewelry who learned his trade in England. Born in 1831, Daynes converted to Mormonism in 1848, moved to Salt Lake City in 1862 and became Brigham Young's watchmaker. Also a gifted musician, Daynes was able to perform on nearly every instrument. He was a choir director for 40 years and was the organist for the famous Mormon Tabernacle Organ, He founded Daynes Music Company and Daynes Optical Company. John Daynes died March 30, 1905. His sons, earlier taken on as partners, continued to run the jewelry and musical instrument store after his death. 1

The Daynes family were devout followers of the Mormon Church, both working for and marrying within the church hierarchy. Sadly, their business was not always as strong as their faith; they struggled to survive during their occupation at 26 S. Main from 1899 to 1908. In 1907 their jewelry safe was robbed and they lost roughly $15,000. While the robbers were caught, the jewelry was never recovered and the need for a change in location became all too apparent. In 1909 when Dayne’s son J. Fred bought the Daft Building, he was forced to sell 20,000 shares of stock in their company in order to come up with the money required for the down payment. Some were hesitant to invest in such a “risky” business venture, but Daynes Jewelry saw such contributors as then-governor John C. Cutler and many fellow members of the Church. Thanks to this J. Fred, his brothers, and their future generations were able to keep the dreams and businesses of John. Sr. alive for several decades.

Today Daft Block serves as the location of the Beerhive Pub.  
1 Daft Block. National Register of Historic Places. Accessed February 02, 2018.

Roberts, Allen Dale. Salt Lake City's Historic Architecture. Mount Pleasant, SC. Arcadia Publishing, 2012.

History. Sarah Daft Home. Accessed February 02, 2018.

Tolman, Maralyn Daynes. Brigham's Watchmaker. Daynes Family. January 27, 2017. Accessed February 02, 2018.