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.


  1. Dad went to the LTM when he went on his mission in 1975. When we would drive by it, he would remind me that it the "MTC" during the 70's.

  2. I lived in Allen Hall when I went to BYU in the fall of 1954. Great experience.