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.

1 comment:

  1. Loved the pictures, loved the blog. The link to the pillow fight/medieval slaughter was a riot! Not literally...
    You do such a good job on these blogs.