Saturday, March 12, 2011

Downtown Spanish Fork (and may be a couple broken wrists)

I wanted to start off with a word of advice for all people that want to take pictures from on top of roofs.  While in Spanish Fork, I needed to take a picture from on top of a roof in the downtown area.  I scouted around the back of the buildings trying to find some place suitable for me to scurry up.  I found what I thought was the perfect pipe that I figured that I could crawl up like Pacific Islanders do up a palm tree.  I started up and got to the very top of the pipe when I realized that it wasn't securely attached to the wall.  It started coming loose and I fell a good 15 feet onto my heel, butt, and wrists.  This last week I have been recovering, but I've got some great news for the doctor: nothing is broken!  Here is a picture of the pipe in Spanish Fork that I tried to climb.  You can see it going diagonal from the power box to the telephone pole.


I wanted to climb onto the roof to duplicate a picture of downtown Spanish Fork form 1914.  He is that picture and what the area looks like today:

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


This picture is taken between 1st and 2nd North looking west.  There are only two buildings that were in the original photo that still stand: the Booth Block building (the third building from the right) and the Bank Building which was built in 1891 (in the bottom picture, it is about 1 1/2 blocks down and is white with brown adornments towards the top).

Another important building in downtown was the Oran Lewis Store, which is also located between 1st and 2nd North on the west side of the street.  Here is a picture of the store as it looked in 1875 and how the building looks today:

Photo courtesy of the Provo City Library


I am happy that this building is still around, as it is probably the oldest building in downtown (and I believe may be the oldest building, besides some of the houses, in Spanish Fork) although I hope that someone will put some money into it to restore it because it looks pretty ugly as it is.  I think that this building has been used as a grocery store for several years.

The final building in Spanish Fork is the Co-op store.  I found two separate pictures of the a couple different stores that were called the Co-op.  The first is found in the picture below, which is of a building is from between 1890-1894.  I believe that this was the original Co-op and was located on the corner of 1st N and main.

Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society, all rights reserved.

What I think occurred is that the original Co-op was eventually demolished or expanded into a larger Co-op, which can be seen below, in addition to what the area looks like today.

Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society, all rights reserved.


In the most recent photo, the building on the left is what is called the new co-op building.  I don't know when the old one was demolished, but I don't think the new one looks nearly as nice.   I believe that the building to the right of the Co-op has been remodeled and is the building with the large brown siding covering half of the front.

There is one other photo which involves this co-op building.  The following picture is of the Orem-Salem interurban rail line which went right down main street.  Here is the original photo, which is from 1914 and how it looks today:



From what I researched, I think that this rail road line may have had an important role in sugar beet production (click here for an older blog about that).  I think the line went from Orem to Payson and somehow snaked over to Salem and was mainly used to transport sugar beets either to or from this area.  

Although there are a few old historic buildings left in Spanish Fork, I am pretty disappointed with how many have been torn down and replaced, especially since several of the buildings have been replaced with ugly buildings.  I just hope that in the future, the few buildings that they do have left will be preserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment