Provo, Utah

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Provo is the third largest city (116,700 souls) in Utah. It is also the seat of Utah County. The city is located 43 miles south of Salt Lake City along the Wasatch Front. Huge Utah Lake is located to its west and that’s where we are staying. Lakeside RV Campground is just down the street from Utah Lake State Park. We might have stayed there, however the campground in the state park is closed.

The City is home to Brigham Young University, owned by the Church of Latter-day Saints. It’s possible for a non-Mormon to attend the university but students are required to take at least three credits of religious classes per semester to graduate. All prospective students are encouraged to apply.

While Father Silvestre Velez de Escalante, a Spanish Franciscan missionary-explorer, is considered the first European visitor to the area that would become Provo, the first permanent settlement was established in 1849 as Fort Utah. The name was changed to “Provo” in 1850, in honor of Etienne Provost, an early French-Canadian trapper. The population of Provo has grown from 2,030 in 1860 to an estimated 116,618 in 2019. Members of The Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS Church) comprise almost 82% of the city’s population.

America’s Freedom Festival at Provo, held every May through July, is one of the largest Independence Day celebrations in the United States. Several cultural points of interest in the city include the Covey Center for the Arts, the LDS Church’s Missionary Training Center, and the Provo City Library at Academy Square.

Provo Tabernacle circa 2006 before it was destroyed by fire.

Provo has two LDS Church temples: Provo Utah and Provo City Center, the latter being restored from the ruins of the Provo Tabernacle. The Utah Valley Convention Center is also located in downtown Provo. There are several museums located on the BYU campus.

If enjoying nature is more your style there are many natural features to visit. Bridal Veil Fall, the Provo River, Utah Lake, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest are nearby as is Timpangogos Cave National Monument. Any yet you may be just as interested in a number of national historic landmarks are located within Provo, including the Reed O. Smoot House. Mr. Smoot was co-author of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930, an act to primarily regulate commerce with foreign countries, to encourage U.S. industries, and to protect American labor.

Eye appealing downtown Provo

The Provo City Center Temple

Great three story building in City Center

We walked around the older section of City Center enjoying the sights. We were very impressed on how clean everything was including the streets, sidewalks and buildings. No litter or graffiti anywhere.

Street Art- Downtown Provo

Just a few blocks from downtown is the campus of Brigham Young University which is separated from the downtown by several blocks of residents. The streets and homes are so clean and handsome, just like downtown.

We drove into Brigham Young University far enough to be confronted by a security shack with a big sign stating “Show Your I.D.” Oh brother, we’re just visiting and don’t have a university I.D. There’s no place to turn around so we idle up to the shack and are met by “The Friendly Guard”. Before I can explain that we just wanted to tour the campus he says “Welcome, come on in!” Well shucks, we must’ve looked just like these 18 to 22 year old students roaming the campus! Jil asks the young feller where we can find the interesting looking buildings and he says “The campus is sorta boring but the Hinkley Center is kinda nice……” A short time later we cross paths with a campus police officer who offers to help us with directions. We told him we just want to take a look around so with a smile on his face he says “Have a nice visit!” We will, sir!

We found the campus exceptionally uncluttered and clean. School was back in session with students going to and fro, some going to class, others walking or running for exercise. The campus is very nice. We’re glad that we took the time to visit the campus.

A visit to nearby Utah Lake State Park was in order. The park features a nice big grass picnic area with big trees to provide shade, a boat marina and a campground. Jil didn’t want our Lab to take to the lake so we made several laps around the picturesque picnic area.

Who woulda thunk we’d find Marilyn and Elvis right next door to our RV park? Elvis appears to be playing the “air guitar”!

Right next door to Lakeside RV Campground is Lakeside Storage. The proprietor has a huge collection of oil related signs. I counted over a hundred gas station signs then stopped as I realized there are most likely several hundred more. Most are from companies that no longer exist or changed their names due to the mergers of oil companies but some are from small, local companies. There’s even 50 old gas pumps. I mean really old. When’s the last time ya saw a gravity pump- the kind you hand crank gasoline into a measured glass cylinder, then let it gravity feed into your car’s gas tank.

We’ll be heading up towards Heber City tomorrow. The weather has been pretty warm for this time of year and that’s about to change with rain predicted in the lower elevations and snow possible in the higher elevations. Guess where we are going to be? Yep, in the higher elevations!

See you next time!

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