Provo

  • Downtown Provo

    I don’t know about you, but I love adventures. I love going to new places and trying new things. However, I do not have an endless supply of money or time off. Some would say that this is a problem. I say that limited resources are the opportunity for creativity.

    Thanks to my frugal adventuring, I’ve found a few hidden gems on Provo Center Street:

    THE SOAP FACTORY
    54 W Center Steet

    This business is located above the Lotus Garden, and getting there requires ascending a slightly hidden and fairly narrow staircase beside the Lotus Garden’s entrance. You could miss it if you’re not careful.

    Believe me.

    I missed it.

    This endearing entrance is only a precursor to the fun activity inside.

    At The Soap Factory you can make your own soap, lotions and scrubs. This involves choosing a mold, smell, and color.  I made a blue Millennium Falcon soap bar with an orange scent. The staff is great, the pricing is reasonable ($5 entrance fee + $.05/gram for your product), and the ingredients are all-natural. If you’re looking for a fun activity to do, I would recommend visiting The Soap Factory

    FOXGLOVE FLOWERS AND GIFTS
    366 W Center Street

    I went in to get a simple bouquet for a friend. I came out not only with a beautiful bouquet but with a significantly higher expectation of floral arrangements.

    The friendly staff asked me what my vision was for the bouquet (I went with a winter wonderland theme). It was made right in front of me and they worked with my price range. To top it all off, the presentation of their flowers is amazing: think twine, parchment paper, and a ribbon. That extra step of thoughtful staging makes a bouquet more elegant and desirable. I’m tempted to go back and buy some flowers for myself.

    HRUSKA'S KOLACHES
    434 W Center Street

    What is an adventure without good food? A kolach is a sweet or savory Czech pastry. If you want your life to be filled with love and goodness, I suggest you make the time to try one.

    I purchased two kolaches when I went: sweet Nutella and savory sausage. You know that feeling you get when you fill up your car tank and you see the gas gauge a little above full? These pastries taste better than that.

    I should warn you about the determination and will power it takes to purchase a kolach.  Their business hours are 6:30 AM –sellout, and the line can rival the crowd at a midnight showing of Star Wars. But don’t let that deter you. It is worth getting up early and standing in line for these pastries. You’ll be happy you tried them.

    PIONEER BOOK
    450 W Center Street

    What kind of librarian would I be if I didn’t advocate for a bookstore? Pioneer Book has gently used books at reasonable prices. I was fortunate to find a signed copy of My Fair Godmother when I went in. That was one of my favorite books in high school, so I obviously bought it.

    Not only do they have lovely books, but they also have several sales a year. Their desk made out of books is something from a fairy tale and their displays are enough to make a book addict salivate. As an added bonus, they also sell fountain pens.

  •  Downtown Provo 1

    This is my third and last instalment of Hidden Gems of Provo. I explored Center Street and University Avenue in my earlier posts (part 1, part 2). Now, please allow me to introduce you to a few lovely places located at The Shops at Riverwoods.

    SÜSS COOKIES
    4801 N University Ave #210

    I love cookies. When I heard about this gourmet cookie shop I said, “Yes please!”

    I was not disappointed.

    This shop has a lot going for it:

    1. It’s small—this makes the cookie selection process a more personal experience.

    2. They have a variety of flavors (including not one but TWO specialty flavors of the month).

    3. The aesthetics are lovely. 

    I would recommend this spot to cookie lovers and aspiring cookie connoisseurs.

    5.29 Suss

    MOON'S RARE BOOKS
    4801 N University Ave #340

    If a bookstore, an antique shop, and an art gallery had a child together, then it would be Moon’s Rare Books. The beauty of this place made me gasp when I walked in.

    This store not only carries an array of beautiful books and antiques, but it also houses events and opportunities for locals to showcase their passions. Check out their calendar for more information.

    5.21 Celtic TalesI found a lot of specialty books here and I will return to purchase them. For now, please appreciate the beautiful Celtic Tales book I acquired there.

    Fun fact: This book is also found in our library’s catalog.

     

    BLICKENSTAFF'S
    4801 N University Ave

    They have a reading nook.

    Pardon me, let me repeat that.

    THEY HAVE A READING NOOK.

    In addition, this lovely toy store has a fabulous selection of card and board games, vintage toys, and beautiful children’s books.

    5.29 RapunzelI mean, just look at this Rapunzel book:This book is also in our catalog.

     

    Blickenstaff’s is the embodiment of every toy store that filled my childhood dreams. Whether you visit as an adult or a child there is something there to entertain.And thus ends my recorded explorations of hidden gems in Provo. What other hidden gems have you found?

     
  • Downtown Provo

    In my last post I wrote about some hidden gems on Provo Center Street. If you enjoyed that and want other fun places to explore in Provo, here are some other hidden gems that I found on University Avenue.

    DRAGONS KEEP
    260 N. University Ave.

    My friend and I meandered in not really knowing what to expect other than comic books. As it turns out, they have a lot more to offer! The store is set up in two rooms. The first room has board games, dice, trading cards, role playing games, and miniatures (primed and ready to paint). Tables are also set up that the store uses for game tournaments. You can check their calendar for more details.

    The second room has an impressive collection of comics, graphic novels, and manga. There are old school products (I found Archie and Peanuts) and newer ones (think current movies and TV shows). Whether you’re a novice in the comic book world or you’re a well-seasoned pro, there’s something for you here.

    As an added bonus, they occasionally have free comic book days (usually around the time a new superhero movie comes out). The next giveaway will be the first Saturday in March. Mark it on your calendar and pay them a visit!

    180 TACOS AND GLOBAL STREET EATS
    3368 N. University Ave.

    You know those teen novels that describe the boyfriend/girlfriend relationship as the one thing that keeps them going? Well, that’s what these street tacos are for me. They are delicious, perfect portion sizes, and come in a variety of flavors. I like their Korean Barbeque, Old Skool Steak Asada, and the different specials they offer. There’s always a flavor to satisfy any craving.

    What’s entertaining about my visits to this place is that my life really becomes a teen romance. The rivalry between my love of their tacos and adoration of their tater tots can only be described as one thing: the love triangle of the century. Try both of these items and let us know if you are #teamtaco or #teamtater.

    THE ATTIC AT ACADEMY SQUARE
    550 N. University Ave
    4th Floor, Academy Wing

    Yes, this is technically located at the library. But I worked here for almost two years and plenty of people said, “I had no idea this was up here!” So, I’m claiming it as a hidden gem of the library and (by extension) University Avenue.

    The Attic is the beautiful museum space located on the fourth floor of the Academy Wing in the library. Here we have art shows, programs, events, history exhibits, and much more. The Attic makes for a good date night location or proposal spot (yes, I witnessed one there. It was magical). The nice thing about the exhibits is that they rotate every few months. Even if you’ve gone in the past, you are guaranteed a new experience when you visit again.If you want more information about current exhibits, here is The Attic’s website.

  • Mount Timp

    As a fan of both folklore and Utah history, I’ve always loved the Legend of Timpanogos.  Last summer, I was excited to revisit the story as I prepared the text of the Story Trail we placed at Kiwanis Park. In my research, I discovered that there are actually multiple versions of the Legend of Timpanogos. 

    The legend that’s probably the best known was written by Eugene L. Roberts around 1912.  This is the story of star-crossed lovers Utahna and Red Eagle, whose hearts fuse together when they die, forming the Heart of Timpanogos, the famous heart-shaped stalactite in the middle of Timpanogos Cave.

    Another popular version recorded by Calvin Walker focuses on star-crossed lovers Timpanac and Ucanogos, who are turned into both a lake and a mountain, so they can lie side-by-side forever.  The lake and mountain together are called Timpanogos in a blending of their names.

    I also ran into the story of Norita by M.M. Warner, which is somewhat similar to the stories of Timpanogos.  Norita is the daughter of a Uintah chief.  When the neighboring Paiute tribe attacks, they chase Norita to the top of Bridal Veil Falls, where she jumps to her death.  Alas, Norita doesn’t have a steady love like Timpanac or Red Eagle to mark her death with their own act of undying love.

    We have three different books at the library that tell these stories:

    LEGENDS OF TIMPANOGOS
    By Effie W. Adams
    (1988)

    This slim volume contains eight different versions of the Legend of Timpanogos.  Some are serious, some are humorous, and some are even written as poems.

    REFLECTIONS OF TIMPANOGOS
    By Richard C. Peacock
    (1974)

    This book only shares one version of the Legend of Timpanogos, but it’s filled with beautiful illustrations of mountain scenery throughout.

     

    TIMPANOGOS: WONDER MOUNTAIN
    By Various Authors
    (1922)

    This booklet is a compilation of poetry, natural history, essays, and yes, legends about Mount Timpanogos. The story of Norita is published here as well.

     

    NORITA: A LEGEND OF BRIDAL VEIL FALLS
    By M.M. Warner
    (1920)

    The story of Norita is actually a three-page poem that was published in the Relief Society Magazine in 1920.  The Provo Library has a little booklet made of just the pages of the magazine that had that poem on it.

     
  • oremhebercrash1918oct4

    Found in: Cannon, Kenneth L., II. (1987) PROVO & OREM: A VERY ELLIGIBLE PLACE: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY. Windsor Publications. 

    If you search "train wrecks 1918” online, you'll discover that 1918 was a terrible time to be on a train in the US. But did you know that Provo also had a train wreck that year? It's not easily discoverable on the web, but with a little investigation you can find the whole story (and some more besides) by taking a dive into our special collections. 

    In 1918, the OREM INTERURBAN was the train line that ran between Salt Lake City and Payson, running through Center Street Provo. There was also another train line that passed through Provo, known as the HEBER CREEPER (and a part of that train line still runs today).

    ETHEL TREGEAGLE recounts her memory of a crash in our oral histories, which happened right outside her house--"The Heber train always went by. I don't know what year it was but the Orem train that went across Center Street to go to Salt Lake wrecked... I was five years old. That was about 1917 or 1918. The war was on then."

    Our oral histories also include another eye-witness to the crash. KARL MILLER recounts the events of the wreck and how it came about, where he narrates his take on why the crash happened and lets us know a few other details. He includes the name of one of the engineers and narrows down the date--a "conference weekend" in 1918. What was especially interesting was that both Ethel and Karl mention a photo of the crash, so I decided to try and hunt that down, too.

    Luckily, we have a fantastic INDEX OF HISTORICAL PHOTOGRAPHS that list the photographs we have in our special collections, so I was able to search that and find the famous photo of the Orem and Heber Creeper crash, which occurred on October 4th, 1918. 

    There are more articles about the OREM INTERURBAN, the famous crash, and how the people of Provo lived back in the day with railroads on Center Street in TALES OF UTAH VALLEY VOLUME I. According to the book, Ethel Tregeagle herself can be found in this photograph behind the man in the upper right-hand side of the photo as one of the young girls looking at the wreckage. Can you spot her?

    What will you find out by exploring our special collections?