Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A couple more houses in Provo

There are a couple more houses that I wanted to focus on that are near Center Street on the east side of University.

There are several great historic houses intermixed with an occasional apartment complex.  I have always wondered what was there before the apartment buildings were built.  One such building is the Gates house, located at 80 N and 200 E.  Here is what it looked like probably around 1900 and what it looks like today:

Courtesy of the J. Willard Marriott Library, University

Unfortunately, as to any of the history of this house, I couldn't find anything.  The owner was Jacob F. Gates (not the same person as the Mormon leader Jacob Gates).  Gates was made partner of a furniture store in Provo with an individual named Snow, and built the Gates-Snow building, located at 41 E. Center Street.  It is a really cool building that is really easy to miss, so next time you are downtown there try to check it out.  At some time, his house was torn down and the apartment was put in its place.  It isn't the most attractive replacement.

The next house is the Van Wagenen House located at 415 E Center Street.  Here is a picture of it from the 1940s and what it looks like today:

There is a great description of this house on the Provo City Landmarks Register Website.  It says:

"This home was completed in 1917 which was the time of our entry into the World War I. The architect and builder was Joseph Nelson....  Mr. Nelson had been to Europe to get more information on European architecture. It was one of the few fine homes built in this depression era. Alma Van Wagenen, the owner of the home, came to Provo in 1898 from Wasatch County and Salt Lake City where he was working for the Studebaker Carriage and Automobile Company.  He had the first automobile agency in Utah south of Salt Lake City....  This was the home of two former Mayors of Provo, first Alma Van Wagenen in 1928 and Harold Van Wagenen in 1957."
The previous house was actually the second house built by Alma Van Wagenen.  The first, located at 267 North 100 East, was built in 1900 as way to entice his wife to marry him.  Here is a picture of it:

Alma Van Wagenen also lived for a while in the house located at 905 E Center Street.  Here is a photo of that house as well:

Finally, I wanted to include a photo of one of my favorite houses on Center Street.  It is the Taylor home, located at 589 E. Center.  The reason why I like it so much is because it sort of looks like a cottage located right in the middle of Provo.  Here is a photo of it in the 1940s and what it looks like today:

The best information that I could get regarding the house is again from the Provo City Landmark Register Website.  It says:

"It appears that Fred R. Taylor and Mary J. Taylor were the owners of this property when this house was built. Dr. Taylor was a prominent pediatrician in Provo. From 1945 to 1947, the property was owned by lumberman, church and civic leader William Addison Spear. From 1950 to 1958, the property was held by the Arthur D. Sutton family. Mr. Sutton was a well-known druggist and theater/apartment house manager. This building is a good example of the English Tudor style, with steep roof pitch, plaster exterior walls and small window panes."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The druggiest looking historical house in Provo

When I first moved to Provo, I was attracted to the area around Center Street.  The houses are historical, look great, and it is just a cool area.  There has always been one house that has made me chuckle. In fact, I've always thought that it looks like a house inhabited by drug addicts, or at least constructed by drug addicts.  I have nothing to base that off of other than a huge onion looking thing on the house.  It really is an interesting place and it stands out quite a bit.  So today I am excited to be focusing on the Knight-Allen Home.  Here is a picture of it from the 1940s and what it looks like today:

Photo courtesy of the Provo City Landmarks website 

The Knight-Allen House is located at 390 E Center Street in Provo.  I couldn't find very much information about the house, but I feel like it is so unique that it deserves its own post.  The main information that I found about the house is from the Provo City Landmarks Register website, which states:

"Jesse Knight was instrumental in transforming Utah's early economy from basically an agrarian base to a more industrialized state by developing the mining of previous metals and minerals.  With the financial success of his mining industry, Jesse Knight was able to have the Knight-Allen House, the Jesse Knight House [this was part of a previous post] , and the Knight-Mangum House constructed [this was also part of a previous post].  Built in 1899, the Knight-Allen House was probably designed by the Richard C. Watkins, a prominent local architect.  The Victorian period's fascination with a variety of exotic styles is blatantly reflected in this house.  The design of the house combines a Moorish tin scalloped roof with an Italianate turret, Romanesque porch tiers, distinctive lintels, and several ornate window shapes.  By doing so, it is the best and most unique example of Victorian Eclecticism in Provo"

Wikipedia states that the Knight-Allen home was designated to the Provo City Historic Landmarks Registry on June 19, 1996.  Other than that, I couldn't find any information on the home.  I don't even know who the Allen is.  My one guess is that Jesse Knight built the house for his daughter Inez and her husband R. Eugene Allen (which is similar to the story behind the Knight-Mangum House).  The only problem with this theory is that the two were married in 1902 (you can read that in History of Utah by Orson Ferguson Whitney) while the house was built in 1899.  The Knight-Mangum Mansion was built specifically for Lester Mangum and his wife Jennie Knight Mangum.  However, it is possible that it was built before the two were married, given to them once they were married, and later named after them since they were the main inhabitants.

Here is one additional photo of the house:

So is the house actually a drug house?  Probably not (I hope there is someone that can prove me wrong). And were the builders drug addicts?  As far as I can read, that would also be a 'no' (Jesse Knight was famous for not allowing saloons in his mining towns).  Rather, the house is probably just the most flamboyant, unique, and interesting house on the Center Street area and as such one of my favorites.