Thursday, May 24, 2012

Where Your Grandpa Lived When He Went To BYU

There is a cool building located at 800 N and University in Provo that has always confused me a little bit. I first went there in about 2004 when I was trying to apply for the art program, since thats where the fine arts department was located for some reason.  It is the Amanda Knight Hall.  However, the story of this building actually begins with another building located nearby, the Allen Hall (located at 700 N 100 E in Provo).

The Allen hall was one of the first dormitories at BYU.  The Allen Hall, named for Ray Eugene Allen and his wife Inez Knight, was built in 1938.  Inez Knight was the daughter of Jesse Knight, a prominent Provo business man that has been covered in several previous posts (such as this one and this one).  He partially funded the construction of Allen Hall and additionally the Amanda Knight Hall.

Allen Hall was so successful that BYU decided to build an additional dormitory for women, which would become the Amanda Knight Hall.  The Knight Hall, built in 1939, was named after Jesse Knight's wife, Amanda.

The Allen Hall was switched to a female dormitory around the time of WWII due to the large influx of women at the BYU campus.  In the 60's, both halls were converted into dormitories for missionaries while the LDS church's Language Training Mission (which I assume is what is now the MTC) was under construction.  Since that time, I believe that both buildings have had sort of a hodge podge of uses (as was seen by the Knight Hall being the home of the visual arts department).  Allen Hall is currently the location of BYU's Museum of People and Cultures.

Here are pictures of both buildings (Allen Hall is first, from 1938, and then follows the Knight Hall, from 1939) and what they look like today:

Courtesy of the Lee Library University Archives, Brigham Young University

Courtesy of the Lee Library University Archives, Brigham Young University

Whenever I think of the Knight Hall, I always think about feminism.  I was reading a blog online that said how BYU does not value women and as an arguing point stated that no buildings on campus were named after women.  Someone shot back, stating that BYU does value women, as seen by the two buildings on campus that are named after women (the Knight Hall and the Harman Building, which if you even know where that one is, kudos to you).  I found it ironic and ridiculous that the argument to defend BYU and that it respects women was based on the idea that two of the nearly 100 buildings on the BYU campus are named after women (although not all of the rest of the nearly 100 buildings are named after men).  Based on the criteria of the original post, it could be argued that most universities across the nation don't respect women due to their lack of buildings named after women (for example, the University of Utah).  I think that both sides of the argument were poorly defended and whenever I see the Knight Hall, I am reminded of the stupid argument.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Which Mormon Temple is the Ugliest?

To me, Provo and Mormonism go hand in hand.  BYU has a huge impact on the town, as does the Missionary Training Center (the MTC, where most Mormon missionaries go before they actually leave to go on what is termed their "mission"), which technically is part of BYU.  Just up the hill from the MTC is the Provo temple.  Here is a picture of it from 1972 and what it looks like today:

 Courtesy of the Lee Library University Archives, Brigham Young University

The best information regarding the Provo temple is found from the Wikipedia article that follows:

"The Provo Utah Temple was the 17th constructed of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...

"Since Provo's early years, a hill just northeast of downtown Provo was known as "Temple Hill."  Instead of a temple, however, the Maeser Building was built on the hill in 1911 as a part of Brigham Young University campus.  A 17-acre block of property at the base of Rock Canyon was chosen as the site for the Provo Temple.

"The LDS temple in Provo was announced on August 14, 1967, and a groundbreaking ceremony was held on September 15, 1969 with construction beginning soon thereafter.  Emil B. Fetzer, the architect for the Ogden and Provo temples, was asked to create a functional design with efficiency, convenience,and reasonable cost as key factors.

"The Provo Temple is one of the busiest temples the LDS Church operates.  Because of its location, the temple is frequented by students attending the nearby Church-owned Brigham Young University.  The temple also receives many missionary patrons since an LDS Missionary Training Center is just across the street.

"The exterior design of the Provo Temple (along with the original design of its sister temple in Ogden, Utah) has its roots in scriptural imagery.  The broad base and narrow spire represents the cloudy pillory and the fiery pillar (respectively) that the Lord used to guide the Israelites through the wilderness under Moses."

The main reason that I wanted to include the Provo temple is because of the controversy surrounding the architecture of the building.  The Ogden and Provo temple are essentially identical (you can tell the difference in photos because the Provo has larger mountains in most of its photos).  As was stated in the Wikipedia article, the temple was designed to symbolize a cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night.  However, it is generally considered among Mormon circles to be the ugliest of all temples.  In fact, many people joke that it looks like a birthday cake (which it does) or a rocket ship.  Although it is one of the busiest temples in the world, rarely does anyone actually get married there because it is considered so "ugly".  Mormon couples often prefer to travel to other temples, such as one in American Fork or the Salt Lake Temple.

I bring this up for two reasons.  The first is because the temple has been in the news a lot lately, due to the construction of a new temple in Provo.  It was decided that the tabernacle which burnt down a year and a half ago is going to be restored into a temple.  The tabernacle will be renamed the Provo City Center Temple and I have yet to find out if the original Provo temple will be renamed.  I am torn that the tabernacle will be turned into a temple, mainly because it used to be such an important part of the community.  Members from several churches used it from time to time.  As a temple, it will only be available for Mormon members with a recommend.  That being said, I prefer that the tabernacle, which is a beautiful building, be restored than what would likely occur in most situations, which is that it would be demolished and replaced with an ugly building.  I am glad that the tabernacle will remain to be a beautiful reminder of the Provo's history, and as a result I prefer it being turned into a temple rather than demolished.  Also, my sister told me that when the tabernacle is restored, the LDS church is going to attempt to replicate a lot of the pioneer era craftsmanship that existed in the original building.

The second reason that I discuss the Provo temple is because of a possible renovation which is has been rumored that will occur at the Provo Temple.  Currently, the Ogden temple is undergoing an extensive renovation (they essentially demolished the entire building except for the skeleton and are reconstructing it).  Here is what it will look like when completed (and remember, originally it looked exactly like the Provo temple, minus the mountains):

I find it extremely interested that the Ogden temple is currently undergoing renovation because although it was not stated, I assume that it is because of how "ugly" it is.  Some believe that the Provo temple will undergo a similar renovation as well (here is one of many discussions about it), and I would assume that it would look just like the Ogden one.  I am guessing that this renovation would occur once the tabernacle restoration is completed, so that there is at least one temple in Provo at all times.  However, the LDS church stated in 2010 that the Provo temple will not be renovated (although it will be interesting to see if they hold firm to that statement). I am very happy (as is this columnist) that it isn't being renovated.  I agree that it may be ugly, but it has character.  I like the ugliness and want it kept that way.  I don't mind them changing the Ogden temple, but I don't think that they should get rid of both of the birthday cakes.  I feel like it is a little slice of history, albeit ugly, similar to how the Provo tabernacle is a slice of history of when it was constructed.

I have to add one final thing about the temple.  Just up the road from it is Rock Canyon, which may be my favorite place in Provo.  It is a beautiful canyon with some nice hiking and running trails.  Also, it is a great place to go rock climbing.  If you have a chance, I recommend going and checking it out.  It also has some of the best views of Utah Valley that I have ever seen.

Tape Art

I wanted to put a plug in for the art that I have been doing.  I have posted a couple things on here from time to time, but I feel like it relates quite a bit to the blog because my art (which is made out of tape) centers on historic and culturally important places around Utah.  You can see it at  Also, I have recently put a lot of it up for sale.  If you would like to check that out, visit  I hope you like it and feel free to share it with your friends!

Here are a couple of pieces that I have done:

The Park Building at the University of Utah

The Salt Lake City and County Building

Gooseneck State Park

Indian Paintbrush, a flower commonly found throughout Southern Utah