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The Gifford farm lies in the heart of the Fruita valley, a desert oasis described by Wallace Stegner as "...a sudden, intensely green little valley among the cliffs of the Waterpocket Fold, opulent with cherries, peaches, and apples in season, inhabited by a few families who were about equally good Mormons and good frontiersmen and good farmers."* The 200 acre Fruita Rural Historical District has been nominated for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Capitol Reef Natural History Association, in cooperation with the National Park Service, has renovated and refurnished the Gifford farmhouse as a cultural demonstration site to interpret the early Mormon settlement of the Fruita valley. The house depicts the typical spartan nature of rural Utah farm homes of the early 1900's. In addition to the farmhouse, the Gifford homestead includes a barn, smokehouse, garden, pasture, and rock walls.
Residents and Improvements The original home was built in 1908 by polygamist Calvin Pendleton. He and his family occupied it for eight years. The original house had a combined front room/kitchen and two small bedrooms. An outside ladder accessed two upstairs bedrooms. Pendleton also constructed the barn and smokehouse, as well as the rock walls near the house and on the mesa slopes above it. .
The second residents of the home were the Jorgen Jorgenson family who resided here from 1916 to 1928. Jorgenson sold the homestead to his son-in- law, Dewey Gifford, in 1928.
The Gifford family occupied the home for 41 years (1928 to 1969). Gifford added a kitchen in 1946 and the bathroom, utility room, and carport in 1954.