Saturday, March 1, 2014

Home SWEET Home

Anderson Boarding House 2013
Koosharem, Utah

In 1907 my great grandparents Andrew and Emma Martinsen Anderson purchased a house in Koosharem, Sevier County, Utah from Andrew's half sister and brother-in-law, Albertina and Parley Anderson. The house was large for its time and place.

Andrew and Emma lived in the home and also ran it as a boarding house accommodating many as they traveled through the valley. Church leaders from the LDS Church and civil servants such as judges, etc. stayed with them. The Andersons worked very hard to keep the home in good order and usually hired others to help with cooking and cleaning. Some referred to it as the Anderson Hotel.

In 1910 the Richfield Reaper, the local newspaper of Richfield, Utah, reported a curious circumstance which may or may not have been a common occurrence in those days. Inside of a hotel wall a swarm of bees had made their home and were very busy doing what bees do--making beeswax, honey and reproducing.

Richfield Reaper 25 August 1910

With a little research I found it takes a hole of at least 5/16 of an inch for bees to be able to enter, build honeycombs, leave to retrieve more pollen and reenter reasonably.  A hive such as the one in the Anderson home would have been active for many years to have the network size discovered.

Finding the bees in the month of August and then trying to have them removed was probably very difficult since this is the time of year when bee activity is highest. Removing a honeybee hive is really a matter of personal safety, and much time and patience is required to do so. Seldom is it worth it monetarily for a professional to remove a hive for the honey. 

The newspaper article does not say whether the 300 lbs. of honey retrieved from the wall was given as payment to the beekeeper or if the Andersons shared in the wealth.

Approximately 300 lbs. of honey

Probably this incident in the lives of my ancestors would have been passed off as just another day, but someone thought it was of enough interest to put it in the newspaper. Then again one has to consider the town of Koosharem with its secluded location in a mountain valley and the small population. Perhaps the whole town gathered to watch the unveiling and removing of the beehive. The locals may have even brought their lawn chairs and picnic baskets for the afternoon. I can only imagine the possibilities. Grandpa may have even sold tickets--likely not since he was related to almost everyone in town!

As far as family history information, I only now know that this boarding house was part of the Anderson family's occupation in August of 1910 with or without the bees. 

Hopefully those planning to frequent the Anderson hotel were not discouraged to stay because of the pesky insects which remained. Likely Grandma Anderson served up their breakfasts with a nice cup of herbal tea, toast and lots of honey.

1 comment:

  1. I love the old homes!

    That is quite a story about the bees in the wall and a nice find! I would think the hum of those bees in the wall would have been intense! I do wonder too, what was done with the 300 lbs of honey and if they were successful in totally ridding the house of the bees.