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Lehi Historical Society and Archives: Dalleys lauded for protecting, restoring two historic Lehi properties

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Editor’s Note: The Lehi Historical Society and Archives is proud to present the stories of its Lehi Heritage Day 2022 honorees. The story of C. Wesley and Geraldine Carter Dalley is the second of nine articles featuring this year’s honorees. Each couple will be celebrated at Lehi Heritage Day on Sept. 5, beginning at 2:30 p.m., in a parade, a celebration with the mayor, city council and public and a meet-and-greet. The free, city-sponsored event celebrates those who have given tremendous service to Lehi and honors Lehi’s remarkable history. This year’s theme is “100 Years of Beautiful Lehi Homes.” For more information on Lehi Heritage Day or the Classic Car and Bike Show, see lehihistory.com.

C. Wesley and Geraldine Dalley have done much to preserve the history of Lehi, including restoring two notable Lehi properties and working to have them placed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.

The Dalleys moved to Lehi in 1969 and opened Dalley Jewelry at 72 W. Main. In 1973, they purchased the Merrihew Building at 98 W. Main and moved their jewelry and tropical fish business there. As the largest tropical fish store in Utah County, people came from all over to buy fish, aquariums and supplies.

Simultaneously, the Dalleys worked to restore their newly purchased building from 1900. They removed white paint from the exterior red brick walls, had beautiful etched windows with cherubs installed where the old windows had been covered with paint, saved the original windows above the new ones, andremoved the false ceiling to reveal the beautiful, pressed tin ceiling. They painted the interior maroon with sage green trim and installed a patterned maroon carpet. 

When the restoration was completed in 1982, the couple renamed the store “Geraldine’s,” It was known by this name until it closed in 2008. With Geraldine assisting, Wesley served as a jeweler and watchmaker for Lehi for more than 45 years.

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In 1975, while the couple was restoring their Main Street property, they purchased the beautiful old home at 427 E. 500 North. Constructed in 1901, the house belonged to Thomas Austin, a phenomenally successful Lehi sheep and cattle businessman. Since 1948, the elegant home had been divided into four apartments. Again, the Dalleys went to work to restore the home to its former glory. They removed the partitions, lowered ceilings, exterior paint and coverings over the transom windows and scraped old paint and wallpaper off the walls. 

They tracked down the stained-glass windows sold to a local shop and repurchased them. They installed new door and window casings suitable for the era of the home as well as new furnaces, plumbing, bathrooms and so forth. Outside work included planting 100 blue haven trees and laying 20,000 red bricks to form a patio and two driveways. The labor of love took 20 years and was finally finished with the installation of new hardwood floors and carpet.

The Merrihew/Dalley building and the family home, where the Dalleys live today, made the National Register of Historic Places in July of 1982. These acts worked to secure the historic preservation of each building for generations to come.

Wesley was born June 7, 1941, in Cedar City to Leland and Zola Carter Dalley. He is the youngest of five children. He attended the College of Southern Utah and was freshman class president. He served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in western Canada. He has always played an active role in music and opera productions as a gifted soloist. He sang with the Mastersingers in Cedar City, the BYU A Cappella Choir, the Lehi Barbershop Quartet and the J. Walsh Chorale in Salt Lake City.

Geraldine Skougard Dalley was born June 16, 1940, in Cedar City. She is the daughter of Clarence B. and Mary Elizabeth Gentry Skougard. She is the oldest of five children. She grew up in Parowan and graduated from Parowan High School, where she won blue ribbons for sketches and oil paintings in the Iron County Fair. 

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The couple met in Cedar City and married in the St. George Temple on Mar. 16, 1963. Geraldine was a charter member of the Lehi Historic Preservation Commission and served on the committees that worked to have the Porter Rockwell and Harvest Sunset statues placed in the garden in front of the Legacy Center at 123 N. Center.

The Dalleys are the parents of Charles Trevor (deceased),Tiffiny Ostler of Lehi, Alexa Lee (Douglas), Webb of Lehi, Jerri Barney, Evette (Kenneth), Abel, and Candice (Aaron) McIntire. They have 27 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.

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