Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Provo Mayor's House

     Today I wanted to continue with a historic home near the McCoy home.  Today's focus is known as the Ray House and is located at 415 S University Ave in Provo.  It is a beautiful house that I have always been interested in.  Also, I heard a rumor that it was once the designated house for the elected Provo mayor.  Here is what it looked like in the 1970's and what it looks like today:

Photo courtesy of provo.org


On Wikipedia, it states that William Ray (after who the house is named) was "born on December 30, 1864 to William and Martha E. Ray, in Gentry County, Missouri. WIlliam H. Ray grew up on a farm. After becoming certified as a teacher, Ray worked in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, before settling in Salt Lake in 1890. Once in Salt Lake, Ray worked as a car inspector for the Union Pacific Railroad and then the Oregon Short Line Railway Company, and in addition to this invested in real estate. 'In spite of limited salary from the railway company and therefore limited investment funds, in a period of five years he had advanced to become the senior partner in W. H. Ray Company, the largest real estate business in the area (Provo City Library p. 1).' In 1894 William H. Ray married Lottie L. Chappell, and had six children. Ray was a member of the Provo Community Congregational Church. Ray died on October 31, 1936 and was buried in Provo." 

The house is currently on the National Register of Historic Places.  The plaque on the front of the house reads, "The William H. Ray house, built c. 1898, is historically significant for its association with William H. Ray, an important turn-of-the-century entrepreneur in Provo.  He was a financier, banker, broker, and mayor of Provo.  The Ray House, which was probably designed by Richard C. Watkins, a prominent Utah architect, is architecturally significant as the most distinctive Provo example of the influence of the Romanesque Revival style on residential design."

On important achievement of Ray is that he was one of the founding members of the State Bank of Provo.  I had never heard of this bank so I did a little investigating.  The State Bank of Provo merged with the Springville Banking Co. in 1966 and became the Central Bank and Trust (the focus of another blog entry that I did), which was at the time the largest bank in Utah County.  The best information about the State Bank of Provo can be found on the Central Bank's website.  The State Bank of Provo was formed in 1902 by a random group of 16 men.  The bank prided itself on personally knowing every one of its customers.  It continued to grow after its start until its merger in '66.

I don't think that this house was ever the house for the elected mayor of Provo.  I believe that the rumor probably began because it was the house of the Provo mayor for a time, when Ray was the mayor of Provo.  The house is currently divided and used as several different apartments.

Here is one additional view of the house:


2 comments:

  1. It's a beautiful place. What is going on with it right now? Is someone living it in/renting it/using it as a business?

    For a while, the Salem Mansion (near the center of town) was up for sale. I have wondered what records/history there is about that place.

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    1. There are 8 individual apartments in this house. A few of them are tiny studios. the others are very small for a one bedroom. I lived in the largest apartment for a number of years a couple years ago. i loved living in the middle of provo in such a cool house. As a child I always noticed this house when passing it. Unfortunately since it IS so old and alot of upkeep and renovation has only been attempted halfheartedly by the landlords. One cold winter night some pipes froze in the apartment above me and caused them to burst. Leading to lots of water damage, within a few minutes the ceilings collapsed in the living room and kitchen, water was pouring throughout my apartment as if it were raining inside, well more like a waterfall.

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