Honoring the Broadbent Family Legacy

Posted Category: Mayor's Posts, Newsroom.

On September 1, 2017, after being in business for 135 years, Broadbent’s General Store closed its doors for the last time. Lehi City purchased the property from Betty Anderson (Broadbent’s owner) at her invitation. She wanted to ensure that the future owner would make an investment that would add value to the community.

It is only appropriate to take time to honor the longest continuously running business in Utah. Joseph and Sarah Broadbent immigrated to the United States from England in 1859. Joseph worked as a farmer and clock maker for 25 years. At Sarah’s suggestion, the Broadbents opened a mercantile in 1882 called Broadbent and Son. They began selling merchandise, furniture, and clothing out of their home on the corner of 100 North and 100 East.

Broadbent and Son was so successful that Joseph and his son, Joseph S., constructed the original Broadbent’s commercial building in 1892. They built the 23-foot by 66-foot structure in the Victorian Romanesque Revival style, identified by the semicircular arched windows in the upper floor. Since its opening, the building has gone through major alterations, including additions to the original building in the 1940s, 1960s, and 1970s. Yet the store has remained in the family for 135 years, passed down from Joseph S. to his son, John, and eventually to Betty Anderson, great-granddaughter of the original operator.

Last week members of our community watched as Broadbent’s General Store was demolished. Our professional building inspectors and consultants deemed this Lehi icon to be structurally insufficient and beyond repair. We didn’t come to this decision lightly, as we all value the lasting impact our predecessors have made on our community. Unfortunately, renovations required to restore the structural integrity of the building are too costly.

While we were not able to save the building, we plan to honor the Broadbent legacy. Our consultants have determined that the property is best suited for a future police facility. The design is reminiscent of a downtown streetscape, combining building styles from various periods. Portions of the building will replicate the Victorian Romanesque Revival style used in the original Broadbent’s store, including the semicircular arched windows.

This new facility will provide a central location, state of the art equipment and much needed space for our department to grow well into the future. Construction will begin this fall and the police building will open in October 2020.

The police building will be home to the Broadbent Community room, named after Joseph Broadbent and his general store. Contractors will use bricks from the original building for the outward façade of the community room in the lobby. The room will be available for police training, emergency operations, and community events.

Lehi City has also recognized Joseph Broadbent in the addition of the Broadbent Power Generation Facility. Broadbent served as mayor in Lehi and was pivotal in creating the city-operated power department.

With the rapid growth that we have experienced over the last 10 years comes significant challenges and changes. From building an electric company to installing the city’s first sewer system, and now becoming the home of Silicone Slopes, Lehi has always pioneered Utah’s future. While I am saddened to see the Broadbent General Store go, I am confident that we will continue to pioneer our future while honoring the legacy of our past.

– Mayor Mark Johnson


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