Saturday, December 29, 2012

Doing A Little Historical Searching Yourself...

I recently came across a couple other pictures of historic buildings around Pioneer Park in Provo.  The first is of the Provo Foundry and Machine Company.  Here is a picture of the old building from 1908 and the 1930's:



This building used to sit on the corner of 500 West and Center Street, right where the Fresh Market (previously Albertsons) parking lot is.  I found a really interesting book called Provo: The Garden City of Utah: Its Resources and Attractions.  It was published in 1888 by the Provo Chamber of Commerce as a means of informing people as to what Provo had to offer.  About the Provo Foundry it reads:


"It should be stated here also that the largest operating company for the manufacture of machinery and the working of brass and iron in Provo city, is the “Provo Foundry and Machine Company,” of which an organization was effected in January of 1886…. The main building occupied by the works of the company is 80x32 feet.  It is two stories high and is built of adobe and brick.  A commodious moding room in the rear of the building is 60x40 feet, besides engine rooms and shops which are usually constructed of such works.  The company has all the latest and most improved machinery—planers, turning lathes, power drills, and furnaces necessary for brass and iron casting, and the baking of cores for hollow iron works, with wide capacity, and facilities which do not include those used in the manufacture of machinery.  At present, but a limited number of workmen are employed by reason of the heavy cost of pig iron now imported from the east.  This difficulty will, however, be overcome at no distant day, as the company heretofore mentioned, which has in its possession the largest iron beds in the country, but a few miles from this city, contemplate the erection of furnaces for the manufacture of pig iron as soon as possible.  The foundry company has been thoroughly successful in its work, and is daily turning out machinery and castings fully equal to those produced by eastern institutions of a like kind."

I had a very difficult time finding any information about this building or company.  I believe the company was owned by a man with the last name Pierpont, who built and owned several of the homes around Provo.  The Foundry produced heating and plumbing pieces, many that are still being used in houses around Provo.  Although the second photo is from the 1920's or 30's, I do not know when the building was finally demolished.

Around the corner from the Foundry at 630 W 100 N is a really cool row of buildings called the Silver Row Apartments.  Here is a picture of it from around 1900 and what it looks like now:




Wikipedia has a great article about these apartments.  It reads:

"Built in 1890, the Silver Row Apartments were very representative of the times in the state of Utah.  Row houses, such as these, were prevalent in the larger cities of Utah and represent much of the lower-income residential architecture of the time period.  Few of the these examples remain today, making these apartments a valuable and significant asset to the state of Utah's history.  The Silver Row Apartments were disgnated to the provo City Historic Landmarks Registry on April 26, 1996.

"The original owner of Silver Row was David P. Felt.  Felt was born in Salt Lake City in 1860.  After marrying Nora Civish, Felt relocated to Provo, Utah.  Silver Row was built by him about 1890."

There are a couple of other places in that neighborhood that I wanted to include.  Here is an image from 1900 of the Bullock House, which was located just west on the Foundry between 500 and 600 West on Center Street, where the Fresh Market parking lot that currently is located:



Below is the 3rd Ward LDS Assembly Hall, located at 500 W and 100 N in Provo.  The building is currently part of Discovery Academy, a residential treatment center.

Courtesy of the Provo City Library



Below is Center Street at 700 West, facing west.  These houses pictured in this photo can still be found at the location, although trees have grown along the sidewalk, completely obstructing the view:

Courtesy of Brigham Young University, Lee Library, L Tom Perry Special Collection

Finally, the Strickland Residence, which was located at on the Southwest corner of 500 West and 100 North.



I was originally confused about where the Strickland residence was located at.  I finally found some old maps labeled the "Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps."  I was able to find the residence on the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map #10.  Its octagonal shape was easily distinguishable on the corner or 500 W and 100 S, located just north of the Foundry.  Below is the image that I am talking about.


I really enjoyed looking at the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps.  If you are interested in researching about downtown Provo, or any other cities in Utah such as Salt Lake or Ogden, I would recommend checking out the Insurance Maps.  The best place is to go to the Mountain West Digital Library and search "Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps."  You will have to be specific about what city you want because there are almost 2,000 results from multiples years from places like Ogden, Provo, Salt Lake, Milford, Lehi, and many others.

The map that I included above is from a set from 1900 which shows several of the buildings located around the downtown Provo area, from 600 West to 400 East and from and from 600 North to 700 South.  Several of the buildings are labeled, and some you can distinguish by the shapes of the building, such as the octagonal shape on the Strickland residence.  In the Maps Center Street is 7th (and 100 North is 8th, 100 South is 6th) and University is J or Main (I is 100 West, K is 100 East; as a reference if you ever look at any other old maps, you may see University Avenue listed as Academy Avenue).  I encourage you to do a little bit or research ourself and learn more about the historical buildings in Provo area, or really any area in Utah,  that may be of interest to you.

As a final note, even though there are a couple more posts about historical buildings in downtown Provo, this is the last post about historical houses in Provo.  As I was researching this, I came across an interesting blog about historical homes in Utah County called Utah Valley Homes.  I hope you enjoy it as well.

I wanted to start some type of trivia/riddle/interactive puzzle somewhere in each post to try to involve readers and get them interested and involved in history.  I decided to call it "Lost in History."  I would love to offer some type of prize of reward, but since I am a poor college student, I don't have anything.  I might try to collect stuff as I travel around Utah photographing places, so if you have any suggestions, let me know.  Also, let me know what you think about this new section and any suggestions or comments you may have.

LOST IN HISTORY: The most popular "Utah's Present History" post, by far, about Provo has been the one about the Utah State Mental Hospital.  Although the Hospital is not located in downtown Provo, it is part of the Sanbourn Fire Insurnace Maps from 1900.  There are 25 sheets altogether, coving all of downtown, and a little more.  Which sheet is the Mental Hospital located on?  As an additional hint, you may want to follow the directions above about finding historical buildings around Provo (look at the paragraph below the Sanbourn Fire Insurance Map picture)


Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Old Provo Library

When I think of historical buildings in Provo, one that immediately comes to mind is the Brigham Young Academy, which currently serves as Provo's library.  The Academy has only been used as the city library since 2001.  So where was Provo's library located before 2001?

According to Wikipedia, the "Provo City Library was founded in 1905.  It first opened in the basement of the Provo City courthouse in October of that year and operated until 1908.  During its operation in the courthouse, it acquired 1,423 books donated by individuals in the community.  Soon after that, the collection doubled to 3000 volumes by April 1908.  On December 1, 1908, the library moved into a new building provided by a grant of $17,500 from Andrew Carnegie.  Over the years, the library grew in size, by obtaining approximately 65,000 volumes and 125 periodical subscriptions.

"In 1989, the library moved to another location, the City Center Building.  Although it was bigger than before, it became inadequate within a couple of years.

"In February 1997, a $16 million library bond passed which allowed the library to move to a bigger location.  The bond helped preserve and renovate the historical Brigham Young Academy building.  On July 9, 1999, city officials broke ground to initiate renovations for the new library, and then on September 8 2001 the library began full operations."

The Carnegie Library that was built in 1908 was located at the Northwest corner of 100 East and Center Street.  This building was enlarged and modernized in 1939, which is why it currently has an art deco type look as compared to its original look.  The City Center building that the library moved to in 1989 was located at 425 W Center Street, the current location of the Covey Center.  Below are a couple of pictures of the Carnegie library from 1908 and what it looks like today:





Andrew Carnegie changed the library system across the United States by donating millions towards the construction of 2,509 libraries.  Twenty-three such libraries were built in Utah including the Springville Library which I previously did a post about.  If you would like to read more about Carnegie Libraries, check out this Wikipedia article.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Historic Downtown Provo... but for how long?

I love downtown Provo.  I think that has a great charm and is really fun and entertaining to walk around.  However, if I currently have one major issue with downtown Provo, it is the dramatic rate at which historic buildings are being demolished.  I wanted to address some of Provo's architectural gems that have been lost over the last couple of years.

The first is the Hotel Roberts.  The hotel Roberts was built in 1882 on the corner of 200 S and University Ave.  For several years, Hotel Roberts was the center of social life in Provo.  Between 1900 and 1926, the hotel went through several renovations and additions which gave it the mission-style look it retained throughout the rest of the century. In 1919 the hotel was purchased by Mark Anderson and remained in the family until 1995.  In 1995, the hotel was sold due to the high cost of upkeep.  The hotel was purchased by Jo Ann and Scott Mills who had the intent to restore it.  However, due to a lack of investors, profound structural and water damage, and being a locale for transients, the Provo city condemned the building and demolished it in 2004.  Here is what it originally looked like (it didn't get the mission style look until 1926, which is why it looks different in the first photo) and what it looked like with the mission style exterior:

Courtesy of the Provo City Library

 Courtesy of the Provo City Library

Since its demolition, the lot has stood empty.  Here is what it currently looks like:


The LDS church recently purchased this block in order to do some type of visitors center or other type of development in relation with the Provo tabernacle which is being restored as a temple.  While it is nice to see some going in at the vacant lot, it would have been wonderful to somehow include the old historic building in the new design.  For more pictures of the Hotel Roberts, click here.

Next on the list is the St. Francis Catholic Church.  The church was constructed between 1923 and 1936 and is the only know mission style structure in Provo City (Hotel Roberts does not count because it was not originally constructed as in the mission style).  In 2000, the parish moved to Orem in hopes of selling the property, and use the money to build a new church.  That seemed possible in 2007 when a developer offered to buy the property if allowed to demolish it and replace it with condos.  The one problem was that the building needed to be removed from the Provo's historic registrar, which prevented its demolition.  The city voted 4-1 in favor of the new condo project, the building was subsequently demolished, and the developer eventually pulled out.  Now citizens in Provo are left with an empty lot and Utah Valley Catholics are still worshiping in a basketball gym in Orem where they have been located since 2000.  Here is what St. Francis looked like before demolition and what it looks like today:

Photo courtesy of Provo.org

Photo courtesy of Googlemaps

Next is the Kress Building.  I have looked for a long time and have always struggled finding information on the Kress Building, when or why it was built.  It was located on the corner of 100 W and Center Street.  A few years back, Nu Skin presented a proposal to build a large addition to their office building.  The addition would come at the cost of five historical buildings, including the Kress Building and the Firmage Building, in addition to closing 100 West between Center Street and 100 S.  Once again, Provo City Council had to take these buildings off the historical register in order for them to be demolished.  The Council voted to take them off, stating that the large amount of changes to the facade of the Kress and Firmage Buildings over the years had resulted in them no longer being historical.  Here is a picture of the buildings, the Kress Building during demolition, and what the new addition will look like:

Courtesy of the Utah Heritage Foundation.  As a reference, the Firmage Building is where Bio Medics is located and the Kress Building is the large three story building between the Firmage Building and Nu Skin's office tower

I really like the old lettering that you can see in the middle of this photo.  The 'ess' of 'Kress' is visible over what was the door.


Photo courtesy of Nu Skin 

Photo courtesy of Nu Skin  

Photo courtesy of Nu Skin 

If you would like to watch a video of the demolition of the Kress Building, click here.

Continuing on down Center Street, you will notice two additional holes, one at where Lloyd's Business Machines stood and the other at the Roasted Artichoke Building.  Here are pictures of what they looked like before:

Photo courtesy of googlemaps 

Photo courtesy of googlemaps 

Both buildings were demolished because they were dilapidated.  In their places stands dirt lots.  In addition to these two, a large section of Center west of Freedom (where Atchafalaya was located) was demolished to make room for the new convention center.

While the historic nature of downtown Provo could be an excellent asset, Provo is currently treating it like a burden.  The Utah Heritage Foundation wrote an excellent article on the subject.  It seems that Provo City and developers are attempting any way possible to remove buildings from the historic registrar, whether that be allowing them to be altered and thus no longer historic, allowing them to fall apart, or simply demolishing them to build the next big thing.  

I understand the need for progress and totally support it.  However, progress and preservation do not need to be competing entities, as they currently are in downtown Provo.  I find it saddening that so many historic buildings are being demolished for the next shiny building, when there are so many empty lots and parking lots around downtown where a new building could just as easily be built.  I hope that in the future, preservation and progress will be able to work together and Provo will keep its historic charm.

Friday, August 10, 2012

"What this country needs is a good 5-cent cigar"

After all of this history regarding history about Provo, you are probably wondering where all the pioneers and their relatives bought the most fashionable armoire or the most up to date French fauteuil (or essentially where they brought their furniture).  Today's post is meant clean up that question, and all of the answers revolve around the Gates-Snow (sometimes written as Gates/Snow) Building in downtown Provo.  Here are some photos of the Gates-Snow Building from 1900 and what it looks like today:

Courtesy of the Brigham Young University Lee Library's L. Tom Perry Special Collection



The best history of this building is reported by the city of Provo's website.  They state:  "When Provo residents wanted to buy furniture in the 1880s and 1890s, they had two large choices--Snow Brothers and Taylor Brothers.

"In 1887 the newspaper declared, 'There appears to be just enough competition' between the Snows and the Taylors.  In 1889 the Snow Brothers expanded their store and moved from the first floor of the Academy boarding house to the old Factory store across the street from the courthouse.  They added a story to the building.

"In May 1889 the Salt Lake newspaper declared, 'Snow Brothers, the furniture deals, are now established in the new quarters--prouder than ever.'  The next year Snow added J. F. Gates as a parter [as a side note, I previously covered Jacob F. Gates actual house in a post, although unfortunately it was at some time torn down and replaced with an apartment complex].  The new company tore down the existing building and completed a three story building.  The paper bragged that it could be expanded to a five story building.

"The business' success did not last.  In 1890 a depression hit Provo, Utah, and the rest of the United States.  The impressive building was completed in October 1890.  By April 1891 the store was going out of business.

"According to the Daily Enquirer, 'Owing to the stringency in business circles, the Gates-Snow Furniture Company has decided at least temporarily to suspend business and rent their large building.'  The owners planned to rent the bottom floor as two stores, the second floor as offices, and the their floor for lodge rooms.

"In 1898 Jesse Knight purchased the building for $3,600.  In 1902 Gates and Snow dissolved their furniture partnership, and M. Snow continued to sell furniture.

"In the 1890s walking by the Gates-Snow Building could be a 'shocking' experience.  According to the Daily Enqurier, the steel front 'was strongly charged with electricity... on account of defective wiring.'  As a rest, 'a great many persons standing on the wet ground and coming in contact with the building received an electric shock.  The defect was soon remedied.'"  On an additional note, according to this website, it has one of the best tin-pressed fronts in the state.

While searching for more recent history regarding the building, I came across an incredibly interesting article from the Deseret News from 1984 about the Gates-Snow Building and several other very recognizable, historic buildings in downtown Provo.  Here is what it said:

"Dedication ceremonies for Provo Town Square were barely over Thursday when developers announced the purchase of six more buildings in downtown to continue the project.

"Provo Town Square Associates has been busy in Provo for the past year renovating nine buildings in downtown Provo on Center Street and University Avenue.

"The multimillion-dollar project has revealed the historic past of Provo and boosted what was once a faltering downtown business economy.

"When completed the project with house 35 retail, restaurant, and office tenants, with a potential occupancy of approximately 70 businesses and merchants.

"Craig Call, amaging partner for the project, has restored the Knight Block, Avenue Block and Union Block and the six new buildings to be renovated will mean a majority of downtown Provo will soon look like it did at the turn of the century.

"Ceremonies for the dedication and grand opening were held as carpenters were still nailing up boards and new merchants filling up freshly stained shelves.

"Call said taking apart the old buildings and putting them back together has given him a sense of the humanity that lived and worked in Provo years ago.

"'Someone picked up all those old bricks and put them up and that in a way gives us all a tie to the past,' said Call.

"The Gates/Snow Building, 43 E. Center, Princess Theatre, 25 E. Center, Utah Office Supply Building 69 E. Center, Sweetbriar Shop, 82 W. Center, Palace Drug and Saloon, 104 W. Center, Farmer and Merchants Bank Building, 290 W. Center, have been acquired by Provo Town Square.

"Plans for the six buildings are still uncertain, Call said, pending decisions by existing tenants and other potential users of each property.

"Call said the building is a fine example of metalworker’s art because all the faƧade details were made of pressed metal attached to a wooden framework."

The Gates-Snow Building was restored, in addition to several of the other buildings that were mentioned in the previous article.  However, one that was not was the Princess Theatre, located at 25 E. Center, which has an interesting connection to the Gates-Snow Building.  The following photo from 1971 was the only one that I could find of the theatre.  You can see the Princess Theatre, which later became the Uinta Theatre on the right hand side of the photo:

Courtesy of flicker.com

In 1991 the Uinta Theater was demolished, and a advertisement painted on the wall of the Gates-Snow Building that had previously been hidden was exposed.  It is an advertisement for cigars and if you look closely you can see that it says "a great 5 cent cigar."

Courtesy of the Deseret News

The advertisement has come up in recent controversy because of a proposed development at the Princess Theatre lot.  Currently, nothing has been built on the parking lot where the theater once stood, but recent plans have called for a new building up to 11 stories tall.  Some individuals are concerned that the building will once again cover the sign and are pushing for the developers to design the building is such a way that the sign is still visible and to restore it as well.

To finish off, when the Deseret News first published the story in 1991, a Thomas Riley Marshall was quoted saying that "what this country needs is a good 5-cent cigar."  Whether the country actually needs a good 5-cent cigar of not, I think that downtown Provo definitely benefits from this uncovered piece of history, and I for one hope that it remains as a show of previous life in Happy Valley.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Utah County Courthouse

It has been a long travel through Provo.  If you haven't noticed, most of the city has been covered except for one gaping hole: Center Street.  Provo's Center Street may be the most historical area in Utah County, and since it is also the most overwhelming, I have avoided it untill now.

One of the most prominent buildings on Center is the Utah County Courthouse.  The history of this building is best reported by Utah County Online, which I will be using as my main source.  Here is what they say about the building:

"In 1860, $2,000 was appropriated to build a courthouse.  This was Provo's first building constructed to be used as a courthouse.  The one-store brick structure was started in 1866 and finished in 1867 at a cost of $5,092.16.  It was built on First West between First and Second North.

"It served as a jail and courthouse for five years and then was sold to the Provo Woolen Mills.  A notable event in the history of this building was the trial, conviction, and execution of Chauney M. Millard on January 26, 1869.  He was executed for the murder of two herders north of Utah Lake while people, filling the square, watched."

Here is a picture of the original courthouse from 1866 (and if you would like to see the block where the Courthouse used to stand, click here):

Courtesy of the Provo City Library

"In 1870, Provo City posted bids for the construction of a new courthouse.  The work on  this building began in 1872 and was completed in 1873 at a cost of $21,478.80.  Brigham Young was at the dedication of the Courthouse on October 14, 1873."

Here is a picture of the building from 1875 in addition to a picture of Center Street from the top of the courthouse in 1878 with the Woolen Mills in the distance:

Photo courtesy of the Provo City Library

Photo courtesy of the Provo City Library

"The building was constructed facing north on Center Street on City and County land.  The contractors were paid one-third in cash, one-third in grain, and one-third in shares of the Provo Woolen Mills stock.  By 1919, the courthouse was found to be too small for the needs of the growing city and county, and plans were then made to construct a new and larger city and county building.  It was razed between 1919 and 1920 when the present Courthouse building was begun in 1920.

"While the present Courthouse was under construction, court sessions were held on the third floor of the Knight building.

"In the early part of 1919 the citizens of Utah County and Provo City respectively voted bonds for the erection of a joint city and county building to be built in Provo.  The agreement between the two corporations was that the County should pay for two-thirds of the building and occupy a corresponding portion of it, while the city should pay one-third of the building.

"The city and County officials jointly engaged Joseph Nelson of Provo as the architect for the building...

"It was decided that a tour of the West Coast be taken to see what had been done in other communities in the way of administrative buildings.  On July 9, 1919, a party of city and county officials and the architect left for California.  Visits were made to various localities of interest from Los Angeles on the south to Everett, Washington, on the north.  This trip largely determined the type, size, and cost of the building that was to be erected....

"The work was begun in the spring of 1919 and competed in the late fall of 1926, so that the time consumed in the work is a little more than six and one-half years" at a cost of $576, 495.30.

Here is a picture of the building in 1926 and what it looks like today:

Courtesy of the Provo City Library




On the Utah County Online website, there is an interesting quote from the architect regarding the sculpture found in the pediment (the triangle part above the pillars where the entrance is).  He said, "The building is a courthouse, therefore, quite consistently, Justice stands with her balances resting upon the law, in one hand, and with her sword in the other.  The building is also to house the city and county offices, therefore, on the right hand of Justice sits a woman representing the County, supporting with one hand a shield bearing the inscription, 'County of Utah' and in the other a cornucopia, or horn of plenty, overflowing with the good things produced in the region.  Then the various arts and industries are represented at her side.  Her horticulture is represented by the fruit trees; her dairying and stock raising by the front quarters of an animal projecting beyond the tree; her lining by the pick and shovel at the side of the tunnel entrance to the mine in the mountain; and further down, her sheep raising and poultry farming, respectively.

"On the other side of Justice sits likewise Provo City, enthroned and supporting a shield with the inscription 'City of Provo,' emblazoned thereon.  She is flanked by the hard and viol, the vase, the cogwheel, a stack of books, and an artist's palette; these represent her arts, her industries, and her educational advantages."

Behind the Courthouse is one of the coolest trees I have ever seen in my life.  It is an Ulmus Americana.  The odd thing about the tree is that rather than growing up, it grows outward.  The branches are spread out over a large area and metal poles have been placed to help support the massive limbs.  When I took these pictures, there was a fence up around the tree, but generally there is not, and I've been told that County employees enjoy sitting on the benches underneath the tree.  Here are some pictures of it:




The plaque below the tree reads: "The exceedingly rare Ulmus Americana tree (also known as a White Elm or a Weeping American Elm) was planted in 1927 by Moroni Wilford (Roni) Christopherson of Spanish Fork, Utah.  Roni was an employee of Utah County for twenty-seven years.

"Sometime in 1927, the county commissioners sent Roni and Elmer Pulley to Ogden to buy trees, shrubs, and flowers for the Utah County Couthouse grounds as a landscaping project.  The nursery owner gave Roni this tree as a gift.  The tree was an experimental ornamental tree created by budding different trees together.

"Roni chose to plant his gift tree east of the new Utah County Courthouse where people could stop and admire its beauty.  The nursery owner came to Provo several times to check the tree in its growing state.  The nursery owner called the tree a Weeping American Elm."

I want to conclude this post with a bit of a picture mystery.  While surfing on a construction website, I came across the following picture of the Provo City Offices:


Someone asked where this building was located.  I thought that it was located on the corner of University Ave. and Center Street.  You can see a building to the right which is the County Courthouse and the mountains in the background clearly distinguish its location on University.  However, I am confused as to why this building would have ever been built since Provo owned a portion of the County Courthouse (unless the offices were built before the Courthouse was).  I also have yet to hear any confirmation that University and Center is the location of this building.  If you have any information, feel free to share.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Power, Pools, and Pioneers

One of the most prominent buildings in Provo is the Provo Power Company Building, located near the corner of Freedom (200 West) and 800 North.  Here is what the building looked like in 1949 and what it currently looks like:

 Courtesy of the Provo City Library Historical Photographs


The photo was hard to reproduce due to the growth of the trees in the area.  I tried to get some good photos of the building and have added them below.



The best history that I found of the Provo City Power Company Building is on the Provo City website.  It states:

"Provo's quest for public power is rooted in the Great Depression of the 1930's when banks, businesses and utilities were failing across the country.  many citizens believed the time had come for Provo to gain control of their electric utility, as Logan, and other western cities had previously done.  prominent civic leaders envisioned a municipally owned electric utility as a vehicle to enhance city funds and to provide local jobs to the community..."

"On October 1, 1936 Provo residents voted affirmatively to issue bonds for the construction of a Provo Power Plant.  Lawsuits and delay tactics on the part of Utah Power & Light waylaid construction of the power plan until 1940.  At the dedication of the Power Plant on April 1, 1940, Provo's residents realized their dream of a locally owned, locally controlled power utility.

"From 1935 until 1940, resident's need for electricity increased by 80 percent.  The postwar years through the rest of the 40's and 50's brought a building boom and again more power needs.  By 1947 it was evident that the plant would need to be expanded. The construction was completed in 1949, nearly doubling the plant."

Near the power plant are located quite a few other historical spots.  Next to the Power Plant is the Provo City Recreation Center.  This building is currently undergoing a huge transformation, as Provo recently voted on a bond to build an entirely new recreation center.  Here are two photos of what the area previously looked like and what the area looked like last year.

Courtesy of the Provo City LIbrary Historical Photographs  

 Courtesy of the Provo City LIbrary Historical Photographs 



More updates about the Recreation Center can be found here, here, here, and here.

Located by one of the corners of the fence surrounding the water park is an interesting plaque.  It is labeled "Craghead field"and reads:

"This was the former site of Craghead Field and the location of the Western Boys' Baseball Association LIttle League World Series in 1961.  Named after Jack Craghead, owner of Craghead Plumbing, this field was home to the American and Central Boys Caseball Leagues.  Jack served as coach, league president, district director, and general tournament chairman for the 1961 WBBA World Series.

"While serving as tournament chairman, Jack spent countless hours contacting local business for donations to renovate the facility.  This effort resulted in the construction of a new backstop, outfield fenching, dugouts, a scoreboard, and concession stand with announcers booth above.  At the time, it was considered one of the best little league or youth ballparks in the west.

"Craghead Field remained in use until a new youth baseball four-plex was built at Fort Utah Park in 1994.  The Jack Craghead family felt that this splash pool addition would be an excellent use as a continued recreational site for the youth of today and the future."

Located just to the west of the water park is the Provo Pioneer Museum.  Here is a picture of it from 1937 and what it looks like now, in addition to some photos of the pioneer village which is located next to it:

 Courtesy of the Provo City Library Historical Photographs






The plaque in front of the museum states that it was "constructed by Provo City, assisted by Provo Daughters and Sons of Utah Pioneers and the Works Progress Administration, 1935-1937."  An additional plaque in front states "Provo was settled by Mormon Pioneers March 12, 1849.  East of this monument a second fort was built in April, 1850.  It was here that the settlers were threatened with massacre by Chief Walker and his band of indians, but were saved by Chief Sowiett's stern warning, 'When you attack you will find me and my braves defending.'"  The picture of the carving of the Indian chief above is of Chief Sowiett.

According to a Daily Herald article, the pioneer village "originally opened in 1931 under the care of the George A. Smith chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers (SUP); by 1998 the chapter was dissolved and the village deteriorated.  By 2006, with just a few of the chapter left, they joined with the Brigham Young chapter and the village got a new lease on life."  The village contains the Haws cabin, built by Oliver Haws in 1854, and the Turner cabin, built by John W. Turner in 1853.  The Turner cabin is one of the oldest structures still existing in Utah.  The Turner cabin was the first moved to the site and the village slowly formed around it.  In addition, the village contains a one-room schoolhouse, which was originally a shed until 1883 when the city of Provo purchased it, and one of two remaining oxen lifts of that particular style in the United States.  The lifts were used to hoist an ox so a blacksmith could shoe it.

Additionally on the site is an interesting stone.  You can see the stone directly in front of the Museum in the first picture above.  Here is a close-up:


The plaque below it reads:

"Old Tabernacle Lintel Stone.  This sandstone lintel capped the front entrance of the Provo Meeting House (Old Tabernacle), once a landmark of the Tabernacle Block.

"The building was dedicated by apostle John Taylor, August 24, 1867 at services conducted by President Brigham Young.  It was dismantled in 1918-18 by George Albert Clark and sons.  The Clark family donated it to the Sons and Daughters of Utah Pioneers of Provo for preservation.  Stone placed here July 24, 1954."

If you would like to read more about the Older Tabernacle, click here.

I can't leave a post about this area without talking about the Quill and the Sword Club at BYU.  The club mainly involves Medieval recreation, which means mostly sword fighting.  Individuals from the club can be found sword fighting at the park near the Pioneer Museum throughout the year.  And finally, speaking of the Quill and the Sword Club, check out this awesome video about a flash mob that involved a similar club at BYU Idaho.