Our story begins with Andrew Cheney Van buren, his wife, Lovina Emeline Cox, and family. Andrew settled in Manti in a log home constructed in 1868 located on the west side of the street, corner of Fourth North and Main
His mother, Lucy, liked to sit on the front porch and smoke her corn cob pipe and knit. Lucy showed a little bit of spunk and quite a bit of "the good old Mormon grit", having come west as a widow. Consisting of what is now the Parlor and Honeymoon Suite, the home faced south.
The "Manti Temple Boarding House" boasted 23 rooms. Having been expanded by some of the workers of the temple, it housed many of them. With the oolite stone quarry just behind the construction site, the Manti temple was built from the very hill on which it stands. Leftover stone was used in construction. J. Moffitt and later Ebbe Jessen ran the boarding house.
An excerpt form the J.C.A. Weibye Journal tells of Marshals who hunted for polygamists in Manti: Sun Nov. 29th (1885) in the Morning two Deputy Marshals Rasmus Clauson of Ephraim and Coleman of Nephi visited Br. E. Jessen the the Temple Boarding House, and searched for William Asper and Wm Mc Lachlan (called Wm Glen) but they were not there, so they did not find them .
Dancing parties, birthday celebrations, and the Young Men's Cornet Ban are mentioned along with parades and entertainment for visiting dignitaries Wilford Woodruff, Cannon, Lyman. (The rooms are now named after apostles and prophets of the Mormon Church). After the temple dedication in 1888, the temple hotel offered food, lodging, and carriage service.
An advertisement in the Home Sentinel dated December 12, 1889 reads
TEMPLE HOTEL. Main Street Manti. First Class Accommodations. All those visiting the Temple should inquire for this House. Free conveyance to the Temple every day. Also Hay, Grain and Stabling. Ebbe Jessen, Proprietor.
John D.T. McAllister, third President of the Manti temple, purchased the home in 1896. His later years were spent in Manti with his eighth wife, Ann Eliza Wells. He had been stake president and then temple president in St.George, Utah . Some of his nine wives and 32 children were in Salt Lake and some in St. George. A meticulous record keeper, John D.T. had served as scribe on of the times he was "crossing the plains". An apple orchard was planted just north of " Temple View ", as they called their home. The home stayed in the family, with rooms for boarders until the 1940s. During World War II, it was home for some of the workers at the Manti parachute factory. The building changed hands several times, fell into disrepair and stood completely vacant for about 15 years
The three year restoration of Jim and Sonja Burnidge and Alan and Taresa Plant was completed in 1987. On the Utah historic register, the Manti House Inn is once again a fine hotel, a place to go for food and lodging. The Correntis and the Armstrongs have taken a turn as proprietors. Now the McIff's invite you to come and take a step back in time. Feel free to sit on the front porch in view of the temple with a glass of lemonade and a good book.
Kate Armstrong, 15 September 1999
***information from "John Daniel Thempson McAllister, Utah Pioneer." by Luclile McAllister Weenig,
"Cheney Garrett Van Buren & His Family" by Virginia Christensen Keeler, journals & newspapers as cited.