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Historic Provo

Oral History of Anna Smoot Taylor

ORAL HISTORY TRANSCRIPTION


MORRIS: This is July 14, 1988. I'm Carla Morris. I'm interviewing Anna Smoot Taylor. We are at her home at 1436 S. Carterville Road in Orem. Anna, please tell me about your life, your childhood and earliest memories of Provo.


TAYLOR: I was born in 1909 at 431 West Center Street in Provo. This is the block right now where they're building a new library. My father had been married in the early 1900s to my mother and there were five children. One of them died when she was seven years old. And the others, of course, we were all born in that little frame house. Now on this block between Fourth and Fifth West in Provo, when I was a little girl, there was no pavement down Center Street. It was not paved. It was paved later when I was a child. But I can remember it when it was just a dirt road with a gutter that ran past. On that block, it was an extended family that lived there. My father was the son of A. O. Smoot II, who was the son of A. O. Smoot I. My grandfather, A. O. Smoot II had married Electa Bullock. Her parents, Isaac and Electa Wood Bullock, had a hotel right there on the corner of Fifth West and Center Street.


It's where the Big O Tires are right now. This hotel was used by the Mormons going between here and St. George for possibly thirty years. Isaac and Electa Wood Bullock were the owners and proprietors of that hotel for about thirty years. My grandmother died at the age of 28, leaving a small family. During this time polygamists were being persecuted, right after the Edmonds-Tucker Law. A lot of the polygamists were being put in the penitentiary if they could be found. Many of them had gone underground. And my great-grandfather Bullock (this is the one who owned the hotel) went to the penitentiary for polygamy because he had two wives. Now the first wife was Electa Wood Bullock, who lived on that corner in that hotel. The second wife, whom he had married six months after he had married Electa, was living in a little adobe house on the same block east of the hotel. When great-grandfather went to the penitentiary, the first wife, Electa Wood Bullock, went to live with her daughter's children to help take care of them. They had a home near the First Ward Meeting House in Provo. They grew up with their grandmother. Later on, the son of the second polygamist wife, Emmy Bullock, built two brick houses right next to the adobe house. So when I grew up, there was our little frame house, then there was the little adobe house, then the two brick houses belonging to the two polygamist grandmothers. One of them was the second wife, who lived in the big house. And then there was the one next to that. When I was little, I don't remember my great-grandmother, she had died, but her own daughter was living there. She was a widow by that time. Around the corner, there was a clinker brick house that was facing Pioneer Park. This was built by my father's brother, Isaac Smoot, who later on became postmaster in Salt Lake. He built that little house, and then next door to that there was a little brick house that belonged to Steven Bee. Steven Bee ran the hardware store. I think the Bee's Hardware is still there.


There was another little brick house right next to that. When I was in high school, we moved over to this other brick house. So I was brought up on that block, that whole block. The other corner of the block (that would be the southeast corner of the block) belonged to Beasley. We called her Aunt Marietta Beasley, she was a descendant of one of the first Bullocks. So it was a whole kind of family thing. On the northeast corner of that block, right next door to where we lived, there was a feed store, the Morris Feed Store. At this time, everybody had his own cow. My father had a big barn sitting back in the middle of the block. He kept Jersey Bulls that bred many of the cows that belonged to the people in this area. I can remember very well the times when men would bring their cows to be bred. They'd knock on the back door. The key to the bull-pen hung over our kitchen stove, and the men would ask for the key. The girls, of course, never went to the bull-pen, but the boys would always go out while the cow was bred. Father had two cows. I remember them very well, Jewel and Rowina. Provo, at this time, owned the First Ward pasture, which is now the Provo Golf Course. They hired a boy who would gather up the cows in the morning and take them down to the pasture. Then, when evening came around, he would gather them up and drop them off at their different places. A lot of people remember having their cows collected to be taken to the pasture and then dropped off when they came back.


You wondered about the make-up of the town. Where the City Center is now, across the road from the Morris Feed Store, there was a great big laundry. And next door to that was a little blacksmith shop. It was the Ed Peay Blacksmith Shop. Of course, this was a very important part of the town at that time because automobiles were just coming in. Later on, of course, the blacksmith disappeared. The shop was located across the street from Steve Bee's Hardware Store. Across the street from where we lived, between Forth and Fifth West on Center Street, there was a little drugstore on the corner, and a grocery store that belonged to a grocer named Anderson. Next to this was a delicatessen store that belonged to Sam Kopp. Sam Kopp's Delicatessen Store was famous because everybody in Provo, if they wanted fancy foods, would go down there to get them. He imported herring, shrimp, and fancy cheeses. He was German, a little rotund German shopkeeper. His place really smelled good. He had penny candy that he stocked. This was gourmet food. A lot of people, I don't think, were really aware of the kind of food that he sold. We had a chicken coop. When we wanted to get some of his penny candy we would gather these eggs and go over there and exchange the eggs for the penny candy. He had very fancy candies like great big jawbreakers, long licorice sticks, little wax dolls, little nigger babies and things of that kind. I haven't seen any penny candy around like that for a long time. There's where we grew up.


In the evenings, children watch television now, but we had a marvelous time in the evenings. My father's cousin lived in the big brick house. She was another Bullock. She was a little older than we were, but she used to go around and gather up the neighbors from all around the block. Her folks had a garden right out in the backyard. It was in the middle of the block, and the kids would build a big bonfire and we would roast potatoes. This was in the summertime, and the summer times were wonderful. The kids would play games like "Run Sheepie Run" and "Kick the Can". Those nights were magic. I don't know whether children play like that now or not, but no one was afraid that he was going to be kidnapped or anything of the kind. Actually, we were at home in any one of those homes on the block. We were all related.


MORRIS: What a nice, nice childhood.


TAYLOR: So, wherever we went, we knew that we were taken care of, that somebody cared about us. Across the road from the corner where I grew up, was the Pioneer Park. That was still a good park when I was a child. All the parades used to come past our house and end up at the Pioneer Park. Now they go down University Avenue and up at the Pioneer Park. There are a lot of memories that I have of that period of time. As I say, I don't remember my own great-grandmother who was the first polygamist wife, but I do remember the second polygamist wife who was Aunt Emmie. She lived until her death sometime in the 1920s. We remember her very well. She was a little retiring thing, very different from what I understand wife #1 was.


Up the street between Second and Third West on Center Street, of course, was Taylor Brothers. Taylor Brothers had been built there in the nineteenth century by Tom Taylor's father. Tom Taylor became the stake president at the time when there was only one stake in this county. From Santaquin on up to Lehi was just one stake. He was the stake president during the years I was growing up. The Taylor's had built this big department store and everybody shopped at Taylor Brothers' Department Store. That was one of the sorts that we remember very well. I remember when my mother would take my brother and me shopping, that we would play in the cupboards and get under the counters and embarrass her to death so that she decided that she wouldn't take us any more. She left us home. I do remember that.


In the block above that, between University Avenue and First West on the north side of the street... I'm not sure what's in there now, but they had what they called Keeleys. Keeleys was an ice cream parlor. It was a real treat to go there and get an ice cream sundae or a banana split or something like that. But of course, we were used to real treats in a way because we always had wonderful Jersey milk. There was always homemade bread and this un-pasteurized Jersey milk. On Sundays, my father would make six quarts of ice cream or sherbet. It was divine. I've never tasted anything like it since. You know, real fruit and the whole milk and that sort of thing.


You wanted to know a little bit about the great-grandfather.


MORRIS: Yes. If you can remember. And your grandfather and your father too.


TAYLOR: I don't remember any of my grandparents. They were all gone before I was old enough to know. But my father went on a mission in 1900. He married when he came home from his mission. He traveled without purse or scrip down into the South near Tennessee and the area where his grandfather had grown up. My great-grandfather, A. O. Smoot I, was from Kentucky. So father went on a mission near there. When he came back, he worked for the International Correspondence School for a while. Then he became postmaster in Provo. The post office at that time was located on the same block where the present county building is, that beautiful county building that was built in the late 20's. Where the fountain is sitting now was a little post office. I can remember very well visiting the post office a lot because Father worked there, and it was only four blocks from our place. Father left the post office to become county commissioner. He was county commissioner for ten or twelve years. Then he became mayor. He was the mayor for one term, and then he died in 1937 at the age of 57 or 58. While he was county commissioner, the commission built the white City/County building. So I look at it with a great deal of pride because I think Father had a great deal to do with the county building that was erected there, and it is beautiful. I hope I get used to the one that has been built east of there, but it's hard for me right now.


MORRIS: It's not the same. It really isn't.


TAYLOR: Now let me tell you a little bit about the great-grandfather who came here first. I don't know who was mayor of early Provo, or who was in charge of Provo. But my great-grandfather had been mayor of Salt Lake. This was A. O. Smoot I. Then he gave up after he served two or three terms. Brigham Young wanted someone to come down to Provo and take charge. He felt that Provo was kind of out of hand or out of line. I don't know. It was rather a wild place, I guess. Young said he had called Great Grandfather on a mission. He gave him three choices: He could go to Texas, or he could go to Provo, or he could go to hell. Smoot said, "Well, I would rather go to hell than to go to Provo..." But he had never refused a calling, so he came to Provo. Let me just read what I have written here. I have written Great-grandfather's biography based on Berlin's biography. Let me just read one or two items here.


"Owen was appointed mayor of Salt Lake to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Jedediah Grant. Serving without pay, he held this position for nine years by virtue of reelection and then declined a further nomination. Mayor Smoot's justice both in Salt Lake and Provo was strict and impartial. On one occasion he fined a man named Burrows $75.00 and a boy named Cuthbert $25.00 for selling liquor to the Indians. 'The mayor had but one rule, the fine, or public labor on the streets with ball and chain', said one account. As justice of the peace in Salt Lake, he had tried the case of a man who had stolen a pair of boots from one of the immigrants. After finding the man guilty, he sentenced him to pay fourfold in return for the boots, pay the man and the officers for their trouble, and fifty dollars to be applied on the roads.


"The religious and civil governments of Provo had been under a disturbed and weakened condition." (This was around 1860) "Brigham Young was determined to remedy the situation by selection a set of strong leaders to take over the reins. Accordingly in 1868, twenty years after they had entered the valley, he called A. O. Smoot, then 56, to direct the task. Owen said he would rather go to hell than to Provo, but he had never turned down an assignment. So, in February of that year he made the move. At the conference he had been nominated by Brigham Young to act as president, mayor, and bishop of the town. So virtually, he became a one-man government."


Now, I could tell you a little bit about what went on in Provo.


"Time is too short to enumerate all of Smoot's enterprises, but.... "a whirlwind of activity followed the Smoot's arrival in Provo. Owen was the head of the church, the government, mercantile interests, industrial interests and financial interests. It would be difficult to find an activity of importance which he did not head personally or exercise great influence upon. He truly was the father of Utah Valley development." "During the first few years in his capacity as mayor and stake president, he had advocated the construction of a road through Provo Canyon to Heber. He had sent out dozens of teams of men to aid in the building of the railroad from Lehi to Provo. He had organized and set into motion a co-op for the merchants of Provo, a forerunner of ZCMI. He had erected a stone building for Kimball and Lawrence, a Salt Lake City firm, had started a woolen factory which became one of the finest west of the Mississippi." (I can remember when the Woolen Mills burned down. It was located in Provo, and it was a very fine factory.) "He forged the Utah County Stock Association which in its second year of operation and was able to declare a dividend of thirty-five percent in addition to the sugar factory in Provo." (I don't know whether you know where that is, but it's not in operation. It hasn't been for years. But when you go down towards the lake-shore road and there's a factory that's right off to the left. And it's south of that area.)


MORRIS: And that was the sugar factory?


TAYLOR: That was the sugar factory. And the Smoot General Lumber Company was in operation for years and years as was the First National Bank of the Utah County Savings Bank. He also was responsible for a drugstore that was started. So he did back a lot of businesses, financially. "As he encouraged the people to invest in the Woolen Mills in Provo, Brother Smoot gave this bit of counsel on how to gain financial security: 'My woolen factory investment in Salt Lake County was prophesied as a failure. But it did not turn out so, but as a source of income. By this means of planting a nest egg at an early date, I am able to give my time to the public. I have lived close and dressed plain. And every dollar I've invested in something that would bring an income. But many cannot see that plan. Such are the men who wish to sell out their shares in the factory. We must lay plans for an income or it will be dig and work all the time for a living. It seems some men are destined to be poor and live for a small amount. There's not a man among us but that by economy and planning for an income can raise himself above this continued drag of poverty.' And that was his advice.


MORRIS: So he kind of helped everyone get an investment in the Woolen Mills.


TAYLOR: Yes. He tried to, yes. And because there was so much mixture of church and state at that time, he did a lot of exhorting from the pulpit. And that enabled him to raise a lot of money for different things. For example, while he was in, the stake raised the money for the tabernacle.


MORRIS: He accomplished a lot.


TAYLOR: He was as much responsible for raising money for the tabernacle as for anything. Now the reason that the church had named the A. O. Smoot Building for him was that he virtually saved the BYU. Let me just read a paragraph on that. There's a lot about that in this book.


Brigham Young wanted a university and so he asked Smoot to see if they could help get it started. They started the BY Academy. It was A. O. Smoot, not Karl G. Maeser, who was responsible. He was on the board for getting Maeser down here as the first president of the school. Then the thing burned to the ground. So they set up classes in a lot of the little shops along Center Street until they could rebuild it. It was with my great-grandfather's money, a lot of his money. That was why they were able to rebuild the school. They built Academy Square on North University. When the school and church thought that it was going under, that they simply didn't have the money, Smoot mortgaged his home to save the school. That's why, at his funeral, Orson Whitney, an apostle at the time, Smoot's grandson, praised what he had done for BYU. Let me read to you this last part.


"Owen's last years were plagued by financial worries in connection with the BYU, the tabernacle and the endowment house. A few months before his death, a tree fell on him, injuring him quite severely. On March 5, 1895, he took a severe chill and died the next day at the age of eighty. He was buried with great ceremony with services held in the stake tabernacle, which had been built largely through his exhortations. According to his biography, the group which assembled to pay their last respects made up the largest funeral assembly ever witnessed in Provo, up to that time. Of interest to me were these two entries. Both the Union Pacific and the Rio Grande railways ran special trains from Salt Lake to Provo on the day of the funeral with fares at half pricec for that day only. Trains were held in Provo until after the funeral and then returned to Salt Lake so that people could come down to the service. An interesting feature of the funeral was the presence of about forty or fifty of President Smoot's Indian friends who attended in all tribal regalia." According to stories that I've heard, periodically this group of Indians came to town to sell some of their products. Great Grandfather Smoot would put them up in his barn. They'd sleep there until they could get rid of their produce. And if they couldn't sell it, he'd buy it. So he was their good friend. In return-this is something I've just learned recently-because they thought a great deal of him, and he had been such a good friend to him, one of the chiefs gave his daughter to Smoot as his last wife. We had never heard about his sixth wife until just recently when someone told the story. Her name was Elizabeth Rogers. And I don't know whether he ever lived with her or where she lived or anything of the sort. All I knew about were the other five wives which I'll tell you about in a minute.


"An editorial in the Deseret News paid Smoot this tribute: 'In the death of Abraham Owen Smoot, both church and state, in this part of America, have occasion to mourn. Not only the city of Provo where he lived and the county and stake in which his home was situated, but also the whole territory of Utah and the entire Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. ...... On March 31, memorial services were held in the Brigham Young Academy honoring his devoted service to that institution. Orson F. Whitney said this, "If one thing more than another shortened the life of President Smoot, it was the weight of care voluntarily assumed by him in behalf of that worthy but then struggling institution. Over its doorway should be written three names: Brigham Young, Abraham O. Smoot, and Karl G. Maeser."


Now, you wanted to know where he lived. Do you know where the First Ward meetinghouse is?


MORRIS: Is that on Third West?


TAYLOR: It's on Second South and First East. As you go south on University Avenue, make a left turn of Second South and you'll run into the First Ward meetinghouse. Across from the First Ward meetinghouse, that whole block belonged to A. O. Smoot I. He built a home on the corner for his first wife. His first wife was named Margaret and he never had any children by her. They called her "Ma." Everybody called her "Ma." She was a widow when he married her with one child, who he adopted. Six years, or it could have been ten years, after they were married, when they were in Nauvoo, he married again. He married two women on the same day. One was fifteen years older than he and one was his own age. He was thirty-two at the time. When they came West, he was the head of the third group that came to Salt Lake.


MORRIS: This is Abraham Smoot I.


TAYLOR: This is the first A.O. Smoot that I'm talking about. I'll try to remember it without looking it up. At any rate, he came west with his two wives, leaving one of them back in Nauvoo, the one that was fifteen years older. Her name was Sara Gibbons. And we found out later on, after looking it up in some of the diaries that were written at this time, that they were divorced. She divorced him. We just don't know what happened. At any rate, when he had been in Salt Lake for ten years, he married the next wife. That would be wife number four. Her name was Diana Eldridge. She had about ten children. The second wife, Mrs. Harris, who was also a widow, had two children by her first marriage and two girls by A. O. Smoot I.


Smoot married a fifth wife about six months after he married Diana Eldridge, and she had about eight or nine children. So wife number four and five were the ones who had the biggest number of children. Out at the cemetery, there is a lot that has four graves of those women that he lived with. On this block that I'm telling you about, he built a house on the corner for Ma Smoot, which was a very, very handsome home. Later on it was cut down, remodeled, and turned into what we knew as the Aird Hospital. That was the only hospital in Provo. I had my tonsils out in that hospital, I remember. There were about four or five very prominent Provo physicians who worked in that hospital and used it for a center. They called it the Aird Hospital. But that was A. O. Smoot I's first home. Then he had a home just north of there on the same block which was Mrs. Harris' home. She was wife number two. That is still standing. I don't know whether you've ever heard of Mrs. Pardoe or not.


MORRIS: Yes.


TAYLOR: She taught at the BYU. She lived in that home until a year or two ago when she died.


MORRIS: She died just recently.


TAYLOR: Yes. And then there was another home that he built for wife number five. That was located just west of the home on the corner. You picture the home on the corner and then one on each side. She lived in that one. Up on Fourth North between First and Second West, this would be right next to where the Canyon Paint Store is now, there's an old house and it's vacant right now. That's where Diana Smoot, wife number four, lived with her children. So there are two of those homes still standing. But that whole block, between First and Second South on University Ave., was once occupied by Smoot's barn, his houses and his buildings. By the way, if you want to read a very interesting account of what that first home was like, read Mrs. Kane's account of her visit to the Smoot home. You know that one of the great friends of the Mormons was Thomas Kane. After the Saints were established in Utah, he and his wife came out here to visit. Brigham Young took a party that included the Kanes and the party of one of his wives and some others to visit one of his wives in St. George. They were entertained and stopped at different homes on the way down. Mrs. Kane has written a book called Ten Mormon Homes. The first one that they stopped in was that of A. O. Smoot's first wife. She tells about their entertainment, which was really, really very entertaining. You can find that in the library.


What else do you want to know?


MORRIS: Well, let's see. Were you here in Provo during the Depression and do you have some thoughts on how Provo was affected by the Depression and what it was like?


TAYLOR: Oh yes. My father was county commissioner during the Depression. People were on the road. There were a lot of families that were displaced and looking for work. I can remember that, on occasions, my father would be beside himself wondering what they were going to do with some of these families who were hurting, who needed a place to stay, and who didn't have any food or any shelter. I remember that one time, there were several of them traveling through the state that camped on the courthouse lawn because they didn't know where else to go. I know that the commission did all they could to help these people get a meal or shelter and to help them move on if they wanted to. But there were no jobs. One-fourth of the people in this country were out of work during the Depression. The people around here survived because a lot of them had gardens. It was really essentially a rural community. Everybody could go out and find food. They didn't starve because they had gardens, chickens, fruit trees, and most of them had cows. They could live because they had the produce to survive. But it was a rugged time. I can remember lots of times people coming to our door. We called them hobos or tramps and always Mother would fix a meal for them before they'd go on, and give them something to eat. But there were a lot of what you'd call hobo villages down by the tracks. They were usually located near the tracks were because most of the homeless were riding the rails. Anyone who had a job was very well off. I, at that time, was teaching school in Provo. So I do remember that it was rough. I'll tell you what one of the effects was. I was living at home. I was living on that block that I was telling you about where the new library is going up. I taught at the Dixon Junior High School. The Dixon and Farrer Schools opened the same year. This was in 1932. The Board let all of the married women go. They were let out because the Board of Education figured that all the jobs should belong to the singles or the men, since they were the ones that had families. Then, they didn't have the money to pay a full year's salary, so they asked the teachers if they would teach one month for nothing. So one year, I think it was 1932 or 1933, I can't remember which, one year we taught one month for nothing. That's how the Depression affected a lot of people. You wonder about pay and that kind of thing. My sister started to teach during the Depression. I graduated from college in 1929 from the BYU. The first year I taught in Idaho. I started out, I think, at $1200.00/year. That was pretty good. When I came down to Provo after the Depression had hit, I think it was $1000.00/year or something. Fern started for $700.00/year. But at that time, you could buy a roast for $.75, and this roast would be used for several days. It could feed a family for quite a few days. If you had your own milk and made your own bread you could get by.


MORRIS: Probably better than what we do now.


TAYLOR: Of course, we were well off. My father had a job and I had a job. So I never complained about that. I'll tell you one memory that I do have that was rather interesting. We were right on Center Street and everything that happened in the town that was of importance would go past our door. All the parades went past our place. We had circus parades that would go past our place at that time too. One of the times that I remember best was when the armistice was signed. This was on November 11, 1918. My father was home with the flu. There was a big flu epidemic and a lot of people in the town died of flu at that time. We were able to look out the window and see the armistice celebration go past our door. Of course, people went wild. All the whistles in the town blew, the laundry whistle, the Woolen Mills whistle, etc. The town had the brass bands out. There was a fife and drum band that always appeared on the Fourth of July, and that was part of the parade. Then the towns-people had found a black hearse, they had hung the Kaiser in effigy, had him put in the hearse, and were dragging him up and down the street. That was part of the celebration. That's one thing I do remember quite well.


I was wondering if I could tell you anything else. You know where the City Center is now? I just assume that most people know. That's where the old high school was, the high school that I attended. And also the junior high. There was a little building called the Central Junior High School. But this, before that, had been kind of an administration building. And they turned it into a junior high school. The same block facing east, and it's right there where the fire department is now and where the City Center is now located. That was the high school that I attended. They didn't tear that down until the 1950s I guess. I was teaching there at the time that they were building the new high school. Then I went up to the new high school to teach. So that block between Third and Fourth West belonged to the high school.


What other changes could I tell you about? Provo's changed so much. When I was growing up, there were several very, very fine dress shops, department stores and things of that sort. I don't think there is a large department store in Provo now where you can go to buy clothes, as well as underwear and thing of that sort. But there was Taylor's and there was a department store on University Avenue between the Center of town and First North. And there was the one called the Farrer Dry Goods Store. There was a fine meat market on that block. They called it Speckart's Meat Market. Later on it was moved up to First East, next to where the old Provo Bakery was. The Italian restaurant, La Dolce Vita is now where the old bakery used to be.


Next door on the corner was Speckert's Market. But they had a meat market down on Center Street before that was sold. They had Grade A meat. I think the most exclusive place to eat in town was Suttons. Suttons was right next door on that block. Everbody who wanted to take anyone out to dinner would go to Suttons. People didn't eat out very much then. Most people ate at home. To eat out was a real treat. It wasn't the same kind of thing at all as it is now. Everybody eats out now.


MORRIS: What did you do for entertainment?


TAYLOR: The Gem Theater, the Princess, the Strand. I think the Strand and the Princess were in the same theater. Then there was the Paramount, which is still, a lot of entertainment there. Let me tell you one thing. You know where the present post office is? There was a building there right there where the present post office is that was the old Mozart Dance Hall. Everybody liked to go there to dance. But it was a bit of a wild crowd that would go. So you had to be very careful of your reputation.


MORRIS: That's good information to have.


TAYLOR: But that was the old dance hall. It was there. People had a lot of good times there at a lot of dances.


MORRIS: Now that was during what, the 1930s and 1940s?


TAYLOR: Oh. That would be during the 1920s and 1930s, the 1930s. Of course, the 1920s was the period when people began to bob their hair and wear short skirts. The flapper period, the flapper age, if you know. I can remember the movies. I remember the movies very well. I don't know whether you caught the Lillian Gish program of PBS last week. All those old movies were so familiar. One of the real treats that I remember in my childhood was when my mother got me out of class, and I think she must have taken my sister too, I don't remember who all went, to take us to see this picture featuring Mary Pickford. What was the name of the picture now? Mary Pickford was our very favorite.


I have kind of a biographical sketch of my great-aunt, my father's aunt. My niece has it right now. But it tells quite a little about my memories of growing up on Center Street. I could let you read that. But as far as the story about her is concerned, a lot of it is something that I have put together in my mind, stuff that I'm not sure is true, but the part of it about me and about the childhood is very true. I'm trying to think what some of the other things were that we did when we were kids.


MORRIS: What about the resorts on Utah Lake? Did you go to those?


TAYLOR: Oh! There was one down by the lake. By the way, Geneva gets its name from it. There was a big resort called the Geneva Resort. It had a dance hall, a lot of trees around it, and every week or so they'd have a big band and people could go there and dance. By the way, when I was growing up, swimming in the lake was very, very possible. A lot of us swam in the lake and it was great. It was lovely. Of course it's become so polluted since that you can't possibly do it. The resort that they have down there now has totally changed. It was just a nice sandy beach when we went there. Some of the highlights of our summer, if we ever went up through the canyon, would be to go to what we called the hotpots, which is now the Homestead. It was very primitive then. They were nice warm pools and that was wonderful. There was one called Luke's Hot Spring Number Two up near Heber. There was another place that we would go swimming once in a while, and that is under water right now. It is in Spanish Fork Canyon. It was a place called Castella and it was a swimming pool that we'd go swimming in.


If you really wanted to get some memories or some reminiscences, I would like to get my friend who went to school with me in high school and my sister. These two, at least, remember a lot of things that I might not remember. And if we could just sit here and recall some of the things that went on in the town. By the way, when I was growing up it was prohibition time and there was a lot of bootlegging that went on. It didn't touch my life very much because I guess I was overprotected. I don't know. But at any rate, a lot of people make their own bootleg liquor and that kind of thing. There were some wild parties that went on. But nothing as wild, I think, as what goes on now. In my day, a person who lost her virginity was a disgrace. That was something that just didn't happen. Maybe once in a while, one of the wild girls might get into trouble. People petted, but they didn't go all the way. You can see how our morals have changed. I think these changes came about probably in the 1960s as much as anything. The two world wars made some difference, particularly World War II. Geneva Steel came to Provo during the Second World War. They didn't have a big steel plant out here before WorldWar II. That came, and it was quite a boon for the people at that time because Provo didn't have a great deal of industry, very little industry.


MORRIS: It probably wasn't as polluted as it is now.


TAYLOR: No. The air was nice and pure. For a person that's lived as long as I have, the changes are massive. I've lived here in this house for over forty-five years. When we came, there were no houses between here and the river. This house, there were a few. We could look out here and you couldn't see any buildings. All we looked out to were the mountains and it was wonderful. This little house across the street has gone since then. Everything has changed. And all those lights up on the mountain have gone in since then. There's a lot of light pollution there that didn't use to exist. But then you have to make way for progress. All the developlment down this road between here and the river used to be forest. It's nothing but building now. And all over Orem and Provo, the orchards have been cut down. The orchards were wonderful when we were growing up. They were beautiful. Nevertheless, we have a lot of compensations. I wouldn't go back to the early days. I wouldn't.


MORRIS: Well, I appreciate the information that you've given us. This will really help us with our oral history collection.

Interviewee: Anna Smoot Taylor
Interviewer: Carla Morris
July 14, 1988



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