Because they fell for the heart and history of this historic home, the Posellis have found themselves claiming a simpler, more timeless way of life.
BY CINDY A. JONES
When Kenzie and Tony Poselli stumbled upon a 1901 farmhouse in Hooper, it was nothing like the home they had been searching for, but they both felt a strange magnetic pull toward the place during their first visit.
For Kenzie, it was the land that sang to her heart. After Covid hit, the Posellis craved life at a slower, more present pace and Kenzie knew starting a small farm was calling to her soul. Tony knew the place was special when entered the old wooden garage. He noticed the old workbench and the smell of oil still lingering in the air. He felt a thrill at the idea of working in the ageless space, using his hands to build and repair.
The interior of the house had been newly remodeled in a way that gave nods to its historic roots. The Posellis were excited to move right in and begin restoring the outbuildings, including the large garage, a chicken coop, and two sheds. They wrote a letter to the homeowner explaining their love for history, architecture, and their search for a simpler way of life and made an offer. When it was accepted, they were overjoyed.
Soon after moving in, neighbors came by to welcome them with homemade bread and other treats to share, and stories of the former homeowners, namely Thorald Cox.
“He was the most giving, creative, selfless, local legend. He carried Hooper on his back, and he deserves to be known.” Kenzie says.
To get a better picture of Thorald, we should look back two generations to the original property owners, Robert and Tirzah Cox. Robert immigrated from England to the U.S. with his parents at a young age, walking across the plains west of the Missouri River to Idaho. His family moved to Hooper in 1868, when the land was still just an open prairie. He married Tirzah in 1876, and the two went on to have 14 children.
The Cox family endured many hardships, including losing some of their children due to early birth and diseases like Typhoid. But they endured and were pillars of the community.
Robert invested in dry goods, and at one point built an adjoining structure to open a dried goods store in the front of their home (now the Poselli’s living room.) Robert once rescued a drowning boy from an irrigation ditch, he played in the first brass band in Hooper, and he dressed as Uncle Sam for the annual Fourth of July parade. In an autobiography, it’s said that Robert and Tirzah were known for their service and friendship in the Hooper community and beyond. Maybe it’s that same salt-of-the-earth spirit that was passed down to the Cox’s grandson, Thorald.
Sometime in the early 1920s, Thorald took over the property his grandparents had built. Thorald and his wife Eva Cottle became known for his engagement in the community, one year they even froze their entire paddock so friends and neighbors could ice skate, and one summer built a giant teeter-totter for local children to play on. In 1929, Thorald talked the Weber School board into replacing the horse-drawn wagon that was used to cart children to Hooper Elementary with a bus, and he became Hooper’s first bus driver.
Thorald eventually built the large garage and opened a mechanic shop on the property to repair and maintain the school buses. In the early years of his career, Thorald made $115 a month—paying for fuel and repairs himself—for the bus route to Hooper Elementary School. In 1933 he bid for the route to Weber High, and later also added Roy High to his routes.
Thorald was known in the community for his generosity and love for kids. He would often stop at Farr’s Ice cream on the route home from Weber High, paying for anyone who didn’t have the money to buy a treat. If a student left lunch money at home, he covered them. If a child forgot something inside the school, he waited patiently. Over the course of his career, Thorald logged over 600,000 miles, driving 120 miles with 137 stops each day. He retired in 1972 after 43 years of driving, with an insignia for four decades of safe driving, and forever sealed in the hearts and minds of the kids he drove to and from school each day.
Since they moved into Thorald’s beloved domain, the Posellis have reframed and added concrete floors, new doors, and windows, and electricity to the garage, and Tony has enjoyed many nights working inside the renovated structure. The couple has also restored the chicken coop and sheds using reclaimed wood from nearby farms. Kenzie has a brood of about 30 chickens. She sells fresh eggs, bakes her own bread, and has taken up embroidery.
Because they fell for the heart and history of this historic home, the Posellis have found themselves claiming a simpler, more timeless way of life. They say that without a doubt it’s living in both the spaces and the spirit of Robert, Tirzah, and Thorald Cox that has brought them home.