SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A former polygamist compound built in Hildale for FLDS leader Warren Jeffs and his family has been transformed into a bed and breakfast.
Some say it is the first step in a long process of change for a community that has faced struggle after their religious leader, Warren Jeffs, was sentenced to life plus 20 years in prison. It is called America’s Most Wanted Bed & Breakfast and owner Willie Jessop says so far things are looking good for the business.
“The bed and breakfast is a very natural fit, but how do we take the no trespassing signs all down and replace them all with welcome home signs?” asked Jessop.
The 14 bedroom compound has multiple kitchens and living rooms. Jessop says in the beginning nothing said keep away more than this building.
“To have it be used in the opposite of that, well, it’s a personal satisfaction,” said Jessop. “Anything that can promote that whether it be a bed and breakfast or class reunions or people that need a place to stay. That’s what it’s all about.”
The mansion was built back in 2011 and Jeffs and family never slept a night in it. The 14 foot wall around the compound was built to keep people out. Jessop says, now they are a reminder of where the community used to be in the past.
“This was ground zero for some very tragic things that could have taken place here. Now it’s life after Jeffs for people here in Hildale,” said Jessop.
For some, it is now about moving forward and forgetting the past, starting with the bed and breakfast.
“There are big changes coming and those changes are a sense of something of welcome a decor that makes people comfortable,” said Jessop.
Jessop says this is just the beginning, the first public school in over a decade will opening in Hildale in the coming months.