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.


  1. I went inside that house a couple years ago, just an elderly couple living there at the time.

  2. "Knight-Allen House
    390 East Center

    The Knight-Allen home was constructed in 1899 in the Victorian style. Containing a Moorish tin scalloped roof, an Italianate turret, distinctive lintels, Romanesque porch tiers, and several ornate window shapes, it is an excellent example of a Victorian Eclectic home.
    The Knight Allen house was built for J. William Knight, an important businessman in turn-of-the-century Provo and a son of Jesse Knight. It was subsequently owned by R. E. Allen a son-in-law of Jesse Knight who was also an important businessman and an officer in all the Knight family businesses.
    It is probable that it was designed by Richard C. Watkins, a prominent local architect."
    I visited the house, and it's owners, yesterday. They've never lived there but use it as the office of their rental business. They recently remodeled the upper floor and rent it out. They have a couple of other rentals in the area. From what I could tell they seem thrilled to share their considerable knowledge (she's happy to tell you she's 90 and he's a little older) of the history of the house and the neighborhood. Their office hours are from 2-6 PM Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday. Their original plan for the property was to tear the house down and build an office building closer to the street, condos in the back - gasp! If you really want to preserve Provo's history you should interview them! (And soon.)

  3. Don't worry! Max and Marie (the lovely couple that own the house) are committed to protecting this important piece of Provo history. They have owned the house for years, were married at the house next door, and love the house to pieces. It is a family treasure. For more information on the Knight Allen Home visit