Friday, April 3, 2015
Hancock-Page Building--Photo of the Day
George W. Hancock was one of the earliest merchants in Payson. He was born in Columbia, Ohio in 1826. During the Mormon Trek west, he became a member of the Mormon Battalion. After arriving in California, he had made his way to Sutter’s Mill. He was at Sutter’s Mill when gold was discovered and the California Gold Rush began.
He later returned to Council Bluffs, Iowa when he gathered his family and began the trek to Utah in 1849. He was then directed by Brigham Young to travel on to Peteetneet which later was renamed Payson.
He built his home, a log house, at 290 North Main by today’s address system. He set up a small mercantile business in the front room of his home. He had several mule teams that he kept on the road shipping out and bringing in supplies. He shipped products such as pork, flour, eggs, butter, and candles to the gold fields of California and Montana. Two brothers, the Keeles, were his head mule drivers. Mr. Hancock actually has the distinction of being the first merchant.
In 1866, he was appointed to a committee to investigate the possibility of organizing a cooperative business to supply the wants of the local citizens. Many non-Mormon merchants were selling goods at such a profit that it was felt there was a need for a Mormon Cooperative type store. Nothing was done at the time but later the cooperative system was adopted throughout the territory.
He later constructed a two-story building at 90 North Main Street (also by today’s address system). He later went out of business and sold his stock to the Female Relief Society in abut 1871. They operated their cooperative store in his former location.
He later re-entered the mercantile business. By 1875 William Douglas, another local businessman, and Mr. Hancock were the leading merchants in Payson. He operated a general store until about 1890. The building later became known as the Hancock-Page Building
In about 1885 Hancock Hall was established in the building. Asail Hancock, one of G. W. Hancock’s sons, remodeled the second floor of his father’s store and established a hall for entertainment. There was a stage for theatrical productions, bleacher-type seats lined the walls and could be moved onto the floor when necessary. Dances were also held in the hall. One of the first
pianos used for dances was located in Hancock Hall.
The Payson Public Library was established by the Cultus Club in 1917, in the southeast corner of the building. It would remain here until the library was moved to the main part of the former Payson Exchange Bank building in 1927. Payson City had purchased the old bank building for the city offices and library. After Mr. Hancock closed his store in 1890, the building housed a number of various businesses until the building was destroyed by fire in 1931.
The property was later the location of a small service station that was operated by Arvil Conk for a number of years. In about 1938, the Conk station was demolished and Utah Oil Refining Company constructed a new station on the corner. It was branded a UTOCO service station. It later became an AMOCO station. Various individuals operated the station over the years until the building was then demolished in the late 1900's when Christensen Oil removed the old building from the corner and constructed the new CREST station that we see on the corner today.
(Photo Below)Photo was taken from the roof of the Hancock Page Building looking north. The William Douglass home is on the left. The newer Douglass two-story store is in the center. This is the location of the Wagon Wheel Park today.