Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Beehive Fountain

Its funny to me how I can pass by a place every day and not even realize that its there.  Yesterday I came across this picture of the Beehive Fountain from around 1920.  The only reason I knew where this was is because the BYU Women's Gymnasium is the the background on the left side.  The Women's Gym is a really cool building on University Avenue that has since become a boutique shop.  Here is the picture form 1920 and what it looks like today:

Photo courtesy of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University

The fountain was originally built in 1914.  I really like this picture because it shows some of the good buildings that Provo has preserved.  The current picture is taken from the steps of the Academy Square building, one of the coolest buildings in Provo, which was threatened by demolition in the 1990's.  After its transformation into the library, the statue of Brigham Young was added in front (I believe it is by Dee Jay Bawden.  You cant see it very well, but Brigham Young is standing on the pedestal between the fountain and the street.).

I also took a couple of minutes to figure out some history on the Women's Gymnasium.  Here is an entry from a book I was given about it:

"President Brimhall obtained a [Mormon] Church appropriation for the construction of a large gymnasium-dance hall to be located on the northwest corner of Fifth North and University Avenue.  Ground breaking took place November 6, 1912....  It was later decided to relocate all ladies physical education activities from the Training Building to this new building, and it was therefore referred to as the Ladies Gymnasium....

"Every effort was made in the design of this building to make it good for dancing and gymnasium activities.  Approximately 100 large coil springs supported the entire floor.  It was a good idea in theory, but did not work out as expected.  The movement of the floor sheared off the nails used in construction of the wood floor; and it was necessary to clock up the floor, making the coil springs ineffective."

     The building was later occupied during the army during World War II.  Even though it was called the Women's Gymnasium, several male athletic events took place in the building.  The Gym, along with the Springville High Gym, was used to house the BYU mens basketball team until the construction of the Smith Fieldhouse in the 50s.  The building was sold in 1976, and eventually became Cherry Lane Keepsakes, which is a really cool store for anyone who enjoys knickknack items.


  1. I've never been inside there. It seems like knick-knack hell. the thing about the coil springs is pretty funny, byu and its good intentions.

  2. Haha! Ok, may be knick-knack hell. But some people are into that...

  3. Heres something cool coming to University Ave. Hopefully someday there will be a bus rapid transit line going from Novell, to BYU, and then to UVU. It will esentially be like TRAX with its own designated lane, but it will be a bus. For more info, check out Also, I heard that several business owners on University are opposed to it because it will eliminate parking on University Ave and they believe it will hurt their business. I think it will actually help their business by making it more accessable to foot traffic and people who want to just go to downtown for an hour or so. Any thoughts?