Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Who's house stood where your apartment is located?

Have you ever wondered what Provo looked like before all the apartment buildings appeared?  My favorite neighborhood in Provo is the Joaquin Neighborhood, which is roughly bound by University Ave., Center Street, 800 North, and 900 East.  The neighborhood holds Provo's most historic collection of houses.  However, the area has recently been overrun with college students, who have moved into the houses and the many new apartment complexes.

Over the years many of the houses, especially in the northern part of the Joaquin Neighborhood have been demolished and replaced with apartments.  I love the historic houses, and I often wonder what the area looked like before the apartments were constructed.  I found one specific house especially interesting —it is located at 640 N University Ave.

Here is what it looked like previously and what it looks like today:

 Courtesy of the Provo City Library

I find this specific house so interesting because it was the house of Gerrit de Jong, Jr., for whom the De Jong Concert Hall was named.  The concert hall is located in the Harris Fine Arts Center (the HFAC) at BYU.  De Jong was the first dean at the College of Fine Arts at BYU.  Wikipedia states that "even though he was dean of the College of Fine Arts, and very skilled in this area, he spent most of his career teaching foreign languages.  He spoke so many languages that he would joke that it was as logical to ask him how many languages he spoke as to ask him how many songs he could play on the piano. 

"He was known as Mr. Portuguese and in his time was probably the most knowledgeable professor at BYU in the subject of Portuguese and Brazilian literature."  De Jong also wrote LDS Hymn #11 "Come Sing to the Lord."

If you would like to see what other places around Utah used to look like, check out the website historicaerials.com.  The website contains pictures of the Wasatch Front from multiple years between the 50's all the way up to today.  It is an amazing website (I would actually describe it as addicting) and I recommend you check it out if you want to know how development around Utah has progressed over the years.

1 comment:

  1. I loved the blog entry. The Joaquin Neighborhood Journal entry was epecially interesting because it shows you that when neighbors get together and serve each other (like as in a beautification and clean up day, it is actually really fun. It takes a leader to organize it, and the writer of the JNJ seemed like just that person. Good job, Chad!