postcards of provo


Last Sunday, I spent a good portion of my day browsing old photos of some of my grandparents and great-grandparents that someone posted online, and it got me excited about historical photos! I love looking through historical photos (as I've mentioned before). You see things that are simultaneously familiar and foreign, looking at a city scape and seeing a horse tied up next to what is now one of your favorite restaurants. It's the kind of time travel we can all actually manage. 

While browsing a collection of Provo's historic photos, I found several postcards, and decided they were too cool not to share. As usual, these photos leave me with more questions than answers, and I love it! 

pc center street

Here's a view of Center Street in 1879. I have so many questions. Why does it look like Center Street is a river? Is that small child just tired or having a tantrum? What would kids in 1879 throw a tantrum about (I imagine the same thing my child throws a tantrum about--he wants more candy)?

pc academy ave

Here's a view of University Avenue (called Academy Avenue at the time). A horse. A bicycle. Poles right in the middle of the street. Yet, if you cover parts of the photo (mostly the horse), so little has changed about this block! 

More questions: Was horse thievery super common? I know that hitching posts were required by law, but I don't know that there were hitching post locks. What's to stop someone from walking up and just taking your horse? Human decency? 

pc tabernacle

Circa 1920s, this postcard of the Provo Tabernacle shows the Tabernacle sans center tower. They seem to have left the platform behind, which looks like maybe a great place for a party. It wasn't a temple then, so rooftop parties could totally have been a thing. 

I've saved my favorite for last, mostly because it was actually used as a postcard and I can't get over this understated phrase: "It is certainly dreadful for you to experience so many earthquakes." Certainly dreadful, indeed! I also love how casually this author is able to work ore sampling into the conversation. "I'm just up here. Ore sampling. NBD." Makes me think that postcards are the texts of the pre-phone age. Just a quick message, scrawled on top of an insane asylum. 

pc insane asylum

If you'd like to see more historic photos, Carla wrote a post that explains all the best places to find them. Happy browsing! 

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