The men and women who helped build Ogden

Margaret Stewart was an accountant who started several organizations

EARLY ENTREPRENEURS

BY SARAH LANGSTON

By 1869, Ogden was well on its way to be a thriving and bustling city. The railroad brought many new entrepreneurs to the area who made the city home and created businesses that lasted for decades.

Bill Wilson owned a lumber mill and built The Hermitage Resort

In 1890, Thomas B. and George M. Wheelwright opened a second-hand store in Ogden, Utah. The store sold anything that was resalable. It also provided gun repair, locksmith, and basic handyman services to the area. In 1894, the business changed its name to Wheelwright Brothers Mercantile Co. Inventory was expanded to include new stoves, hardware, and crockery. By 1896, the Wheelwright Brothers had opened a shop at 2476 Washington Boulevard. The store filed saws, fitted keys, repaired stoves, and rented furniture. By 1898, they branched out to sell the latest designs of crockery, lamps, and glassware. The Wheelwright Brothers eventually expanded to include a construction outfit that worked on ditches and laying pipes. In 1907, a sawmill was built on the current property between 24th and 25th on Quincy Avenue. At the time, it was considered the outskirts of town. Before long, the demand for precut lumber soon exceeded the production ability of the mill. In 1908, the name of Wheelwright Lumber Co. was officially adopted.

The Wheelwright brothers
A second-hand store that converted to a mercantile; eventually the brothers expanded to a lumber company.

John Brown opened the Brown Ice Cream Company could be visited at 2577 Grant Avenue in 1904. The company was famous for its chocolate fudge sherbet, angel ice cream, and brick ice cream. They were a popular treat for the people of Ogden and were used in events such as the anniversary of the W.H. Wright and Sons store in 1907. The ice cream plant was built just north of 25th street on Lincoln. It was one of the most modern in the west and successfully operated year-round to distribute thousands of gallons of ice cream through Utah. The company in the 1930s operated kiosks, selling the ice cream and famous Eskimo Pies in local parks. The Eskimo Pie was first introduced in 1922 as a combination of Delicia ice cream and sweet chocolate. The product met with instant approval from its customers. John Brown created one of the largest ice cream companies in the intermountain area. He passed away in January 1944.

John Brown’s company sold the famous Eskimo Pies

William “Billy” Gibson Wilson was born in Scotland in 1850 and immigrated to Ogden in 1870. He owned and operated a lumber mill in Ogden Canyon with his family. The mill provided the lumber needed to build the Hermitage Resort in the canyon. The resort opened its doors in the summer of 1893. The Hermitage advertised meals at all hours. One of the first events held there was for the Grand Army of the Republic. They had dinner, a speaker, and music outside in the grove. The Hermitage was a popular dance and dining destination for Ogdenites looking for a getaway. It even played host to presidents William H. Taft and Theodore Roosevelt. The hotel was famous for its chicken and trout dinners. In the winter, the Hermitage provided a wonderful place for cross-country skiing and lodging in one of its 41 rooms in the two-story hotel. Billy Wilson operated the hotel until 1918, when he died of the Spanish influenza. The building was eventually sold to another owner but burned down in 1939.

Olive Browning Wallace owned Wallace Drug with her husband.

Ogden saw its fair share of female business owners too. Olive Browning Wallace owned and operated Wallace Drug at 2349 Washington with her husband Joseph Wallace. She served as the president of the company, with her husband as secretary and treasurer. The company advertised all types of remedies, like headache tea, stomach and liver tablets, and One Minute Cough Core for helping children with croup and lung troubles. In 1899, she sued Sheriff Charles Layne, who took possession of the drug store by virtue of an execution on a judgement against her husband. Olive claimed that it was her store and brought a suit for $2,000, including $1,000 for the stock of goods seized and $200 for damages. A judge found in her favor, and she was awarded possession of the store.

Margaret Stewart was born and educated in Scotland before coming to Ogden in 1912. She was a certified public accountant. In 1918, she organized the Merchants Credit Bureau. The organization offered to help catch up delinquent accounts for businesses. They would only take a commission on any accounts paid. Stewart became the first woman in the United States to own an adjustment bureau. She worked with her clients to help them take care of their accounts. She also hired women and taught them valuable skills. Stewart operated the bureau for 45 years before retiring in 1962. She was also one of the founders of the Ogden Business and Professional Women’s Club and was treasurer of the National Business and Professional Women’s Club for 13 years.

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