Library Tutorials
Skip to main content
Font size options
Increase or decrease the font size for this website by clicking on the 'A's.
Contrast options
Choose a color combination to give the most comfortable contrast.
Historic Provo

Oral History of Geneve Roberts Dunn


GRIGGS: This is an interview with Geneve Roberts Dunn. It is being conducted at the home of Robert Dunn which is Located at 10252 Hidden Oaks Drive in Highland. The date is July 20, 1988. The interviewer is Karen Griggs. Paul and Bob Dunn are also present at the interview.

Mrs. Dunn, could you tell us about your earliest remembrances of Provo? What are some of the first things that you remember?

GENEVE: Well, let's see. I lived right in the center of town, of course, at the hotel. My whole life was centered around that. That was right off Main Street. I remember the old tabernacle there. That was right off Main Street. We used to walk over to the corner sometimes, my brother and I, when we were able to go that far away. My family, some of them lived down the street, right down past what they called the millrace then, and owned some property on that street. My grandmother lived just a little way away from that. That was my early life, just those few blocks really.

GRIGGS: What do you remember about the old Tabernacle?

GENEVE: Well, I remember going there with my future husband who lived in Provo also, because we went together from the time I was in the sixth grade.

GRIGGS: Is that right?

GENEVE: That's right. When he'd come down to take me to church or something, we went to the old tabernacle so it has a lot of memories for me. I think it's a lovely building. I'm glad they still have left it the way it was.

GRIGGS: So this is the tabernacle that faces University Avenue, is that right?

GENEVE: That's right. Because I lived on University Avenue, the tabernacle was only a block from my home.

GRIGGS: What were some of the early activities that you can remember in Provo?

GENEVE: I remember the circuses which came right down the street past the hotel. The earliest ones were when I was a really small girl. I remember in the hotel there was no electricity, no radios or anything like that. We had our own entertainment. But everyone came to Utah, even at that early time, to entertain at the BYU. They brought in a lot of outside talent and their guests always stayed at our hotel, so we got to know a lot of different people. I remember very clearly when Helen Keller came to the hotel and one of the presidents of the United States?

PAUL: It was either Howard Taft or Grover Cleveland.

GENEVE: Taft came.

PAUL: William Howard Taft.

GENEVE: So many people came to speak or perform at BYU and they always stayed at our hotel because it was the biggest thing south of Salt Lake.

GRIGGS: That must have been a lot of fun.

GENEVE: It was very, very interesting because there was something going all the time at our home. My Father was an entertainer. He belonged to a quartet, sang and entertained a lot. He would start entertaining the guests, and then he'd work anybody that had talent into the program.

BOB: He was a gymnast as well.

GENEVE: That way we got a lot of entertainment at the Hotel that was really high class.

GRIGGS: That would have been interesting.

GENEVE: It was. I had a very, very happy childhood.

GRIGGS: Can you tell me a little bit more about Helen Keller and what you remember about her?

GENEVE: I don't think I'd better. (Laughter) I remember that I was probably about eight or nine years old when she came. I'd have to check. I'm no historian. She came there and my father explained to me what a wonderful person she was. She was with this woman that helped her all the time, her teacher, Annie Sullivan. They came into the dining room and my father made a big point about explaining how wonderful she was which didn't go over too well with my brother and me. We were looking at her, of course, because she was important. But then she spoke and she had no modulation in her voice. She was giving her order in the dining room. And then she said, "And the soup." It sounded so strange, it just floored us and we started to laugh.

BOB: For little children, it startled them, you know.

GENEVE: I guess kids always see something funny. So I always remember Helen Keller for that, the way she spoke.

BOB: You told us a long time ago about how Helen Keller wouldn't let the maids come in because she wanted the room made up the way she wanted it, and she made her own bed and straightened up the room.

GENEVE: That's right. But mostly, it was my father who was trying to show me that I wasn't giving her enough respect.

GRIGGS: Tell me about your home in the hotel and about your family. What kind of family activities did you have?

GENEVE: I had one brother, and later one sister, who is ten years younger, so of course while I was growing up, she was just a nuisance. Mother was the business head of the hotel and father was the host. He could remember everybody's name, what they did, and all about them. And he entertained them, so it was a good combination. My mother was a career woman when there were no woman career-people. She saw to it that the hotel ran the way it should. She had charge of all the chefs and the maids and everything like that and if anybody stepped out of line.... The cooks didn't like to live in Provo. A good chef wanted to live where there was more going on. So if they got out of hand a little bit, my mother would just say, "All right, you've got it, you're out." Then she'd take over. She could do anything. I never saw her loose her cool in all the years we were there. My father could once in a while lose his temper over something, but he was ordinarily more friendly than my mother was. Mother was strictly business.

GRIGGS: Was she strict with you and with your brother and sister?

GENEVE: Yes. We didn't try to put anything over on Mother. My grandfather Roberts was a very close friend of Porter Rockwell. And he was in all those things when you had to get out and defend everything. He protected Brigham Young. That was on the Roberts side.

GRIGGS: What was his full name?

GENEVE: William Daniel and his father was William DeWitt. They were pioneers that came in and Brigham Young wanted them to go to Provo. The Taylors came in and they ran the Taylor Brothers department store. As I remember all of us were very proud of Provo, when there were ??? 20,000 (6,000 in 1900) people in the whole town, one stake and six wards in the town until I was married.

GRIGGS: Did you go to primary there? Can you remember primary?

GENEVE: Not too well. I went to; I think they called it a religion class. And it was only a block away to the church. Everything was small.

GRIGGS: Did you meet in the tabernacle? Was that where you went to church?

GENEVE: No. There was a ward just a block around the corner from the hotel, across the street. It was on the east.

BOB: Past the Merrill Hospital.

GENEVE: I think that was the First Ward, wasn't it? The other was the Sixth Ward. I remember that was farther away.

PAUL: Provo, when Mother was little, couldn't have been more than 5,000. Twenty thousand was probably when she was married...

BOB: One stake would have been about 5,000 or so, so 20,000 was how big it was, I think when she left.

GRIGGS: Was the stage Coach Inn still in Provo when you were growing up? Or was it gone by then?

GENEVE: It must have been gone. I don't remember that.

PAUL: Your grandfather's hotel. The first Hotel Roberts.

BOB: She doesn't remember it though.

GENEVE: I don't remember the Stage Coach Inn. By the time I remember about it, the hotel had a hack with horses. They met the different trains and they'd bring people to the hotel from the train. They'd ring a bell and my father would get up and take them all up to their rooms in the middle of the night. He was on twenty-four hour shifts in those days to carry the trunks in. One part of the hotel was three stories high when I was young.

GRIGGS: Did you ever work at the hotel?

GENEVE: Yes. I was a cashier in the dining room when I was in my teens. I preferred to wait on tables because I saw the tips and in those days my parents didn't give us any allowance. I'd see the money going back and forth in the dining room but every time I'd say I wanted something, mother would say, "That isn't our money. That belongs to the hotel to pay the mortgage." So my brother herd about this mortgage and he thought he'd help the folks out so he set fire to the hotel.

GRIGGS: Really?!

GENEVE: He set a fire under the stairway in the laundry room in order to get rid of the mortgage which was on the hotel. Thought it was something up there.

GRIGGS: What happened?

GENEVE: He got a spanking bigger than anything. In those days they didn't spare the rod.

GRIGGS: So it didn't get to be a big fire?


GENEVE: Luckily, the laundry man came just as it was getting out of control and he put it out. It hadn't got that big of a start but it could have been. It was under the only stairway that went to the third floor at that time. Later they remodeled several times, you know, and made entrances at different places.

GRIGGS: Tell me about some of the notable businesses in Provo that you remember when you were young.

GENEVE: I remember the Smoots, and that was Senator Smoot and some of his family. Smoot, was it drugstore or what? I don't really know. The Hansen place where you went to eat and get your sodas and things, along with the drugstores.

PAUL: What about your uncle's grocery store, your grandfather's bank?

GENEVE: My Grandfather Taylor lived down on the end of.... He was there early, wasn't he?

PAUL: He came to Provo early.

GENEVE: Where did Grandmother live? How far down was it? It was right by what they called the millrace. It was across the road from the mill race. You see, the tabernacle was there and my grandmother lived in the next block west. Later they put up those other buildings. But at the time I first remember, there were no buildings there on that side of the street except my relatives. And later they put the Orem Depot there.

BOB: Are you talking about the south side of Center Street? Uncle Donny was down about a block from the millrace as I remember.

GENEVE: It was on the lower end of the tabernacle I think. I remember it when that was just a big spring down there, like a pond.

GENEVE: There were very few stores on Center Street. They were all on the other side of the street. One of them was my Uncle John Taylor's grocery store which my mother had started as a teenager. She started by selling homemade ice cream and some things that she got from her father's store that weren't very saleable out on the sidewalk. Later she rented a place across the street and was in business when she was a teenager. When she got married, she sold it to her brother. But my grandfather was down a block farther and he had furniture and musical instruments and photography. He was a photographer then and sold all kinds of musical instruments. He was a polygamist until he died. My grandmother lived, at first, over the store that they were running.

PAUL: Tell them which grandmother. She doesn't know which family you're talking about.

GRIGGS: What was your mother's name?

GENEVE: My mother's name is Taylor. Mary Ann Taylor. Everybody called her Polly Taylor. It was her father that was an early businessman and she evidently took after him because he was a businesswoman when it wasn't the thing to be.

PAUL: That's where the Taylor Department Store started.

GENEVE: She was very cool with everything she did. I never saw my mother loose her cool in her whole life.

PAUL: What about your grandfather and the bank?

GENEVE: Well, that's the same one.

PAUL: Yes. But she doesn't know that.

GENEVE: His name was George Taylor. There are some Taylors; in fact, there are a lot of Taylors: two families. They've always been more or less close. There were two wives. One wife, the first wife, was an immigrant from England. And then later he married my grandmother who was only seventeen I think. She was ten or more years younger than the first wife. The first wife had lost a couple of children on the way to Utah. My grandmother had walked the whole way, but she was just a child when she did it. But they all came before the railroad, the family on both sides. I'm as old as a redwood tree. (Laughter)

PAUL: She was asking about notable people. You knew the Jesse Knight family. And Dad's grandfather started the asylum up there.

GENEVE: Oh yes.

PAUL: The asylum, the hospital. That's James Dunn. These are people she needs to know.

GRIGGS: Tell me about the Jesse Knight family, what do you remember about them?

GENEVE: They were a wonderful family, all of them, and very religious. They were very helpful to everyone. You couldn't help but like them. They were just what people should be, really. Of course, I didn't know them when I was really small. But as I grew, then you knew everybody in town, because I belonged to two different wards most of the time. And then, when I got old enough to go to the BYU, I knew everybody.

GRIGGS: Was it your grandfather that started the state hospital, the asylum?

PAUL: Her husband's grandfather. Dunn, James Dunn.

GRIGGS: Your husband's grandfather. Do you remember about that?

GENEVE: I didn't know he started it. I think he had something to do with it.

BOB: You might say we're charter members. (Laughter)

PAUL: He was also superintendent of the hospital for years.

GENEVE: Yes. I think he was.

PAUL: Plus, he was the headman at the Utah Woolen Mills that burned down.

GENEVE: Oh yes.

GRIGGS: Can you tell me about the Woolen Mills?

GENEVE: Listen. Do I remember it?!

BOB: It wasn't my fault!

GENEVE: The day it burned down was the day he was born. I could hear all this going on in the town because that was a big deal. That put a lot of people out of work. And I was in the hospital having him and all this going on and everybody excited about it. So I know that day!

BOB: July 30, 1918.

GENEVE: You just find out how old he is and that was when the fire happened.

GRIGGS: So you couldn't see the fire, you just could hear all of the confusion.

GENEVE: I just heard everybody running around all excited like they were in the hospital.

GRIGGS: What do you remember about the Woolen Mills before it burned down?

GENEVE: I knew that James Dunn (the same one at the hospital) was there, but by the time I married into the Dunn family, he had retired and was living in Eureka.

PAUL: What do you remember about the Woolen Mill before it burned?

GENEVE: I don't remember much about it because I didn't have anything to do with it. That was a long distance from home for me.

GRIGGS: Tell me about going to elementary school. Was it at Parker School?

GENEVE: Parker School. Yes. And we lived right on the same block with it at that time. That's where I first met??? Jay J. H. I'd been going to the Maeser School.

GRIGGS: You started at the Maeser School?

GENEVE: I started at the Maeser School. Have you got something about the Maeser School?

GRIGGS: Tell me anything you can about the Maeser School.

GENEVE: In every room on the blackboard, they had something that Brother Maeser had written and they had framed it on the wall. And they made quite a big thing about that because they had named the school after Brother Maeser. I went to that school until I was in the fifth grade. And then they changed the school district and sent me to the Parker School.

GRIGGS: And what do you remember about Parker School?

GENEVE: My father knew everybody in town. He had run for mayor once and missed out. But anyway he was well-known. I had to change school in the middle of the year, and I was the only one out of all the people I knew to change because I lived on the opposite side of the street and that put me in the other district. I went to Parker School on that first day and I was frightened to death. My father went in and handed me over to the principal. The principal took me to the room where I was supposed to go. By that time it was late. Everybody was in class when the principal took me in. I was very shy and scared to death in the new building. The principal went into the class and told the teacher, "This is a new girl." She got me a seat to sit in. Across from me they opened a room divider that went up out of the way. That put the two rooms together into one big room. When they did that, there was a boy sitting right across from me and I didn't know it at the time, but he went home and told his mother, "A new girl came to school and I'm going to marry her." He started right in. He'd ask me for dates and he'd want to take me to this or that. Of course, they were just little school doings. And I'd go along with him because he said right then, "When you grow up, I'm going to marry you!" And I thought, "Well, that remains to be seen." He was not too tall and he was blond. And I was looking for the Tall, Dark and Handsome one. He didn't fit that.

GRIGGS: Could you tell me about any of your instructors at Maeser School?

GENEVE: I had one teacher that was so good. Some of them had some things to be desired. They were a little narrow-minded, some of them, in those days. But there was Brother Nelson. (Now, I don't remember what his first name was), and he was good. He taught theology and he influenced me a lot by what he taught us.

GRIGGS: What about the school activities at Parker School?

GENEVE: They always had the girls march in, then the boys march in. And the girls didn't want to go marching with the boys. It was funny.

PAUL: What activities did they have? Dances, parties, games.

GENEVE: Oh yes. They had parties.

GRIGGS: What kind of parties?

PAUL: That's what they want to know! What happened?

GRIGGS: What kind of parties did they have at Parker School?

GENEVE: They played Post Office. And I wouldn't, I'd been taught that I mustn't kiss boys. So I hid under the bed.

GRIGGS: At the parties?

GENEVE: Yes, at the parties, if you can imagine that. But anyway, somebody came and fished me out and we played post office. We had lots of taffy pulls and things like that. You made your own fun and you didn't stay out late. If I went to a party with my future husband, and it was 10:30, my father would show up and take me home and leave him there.

PAUL: Mother, tell her about Uncle Gene; the dancing and all the activities.

GENEVE: Oh yes. Gene Roberts, who was the coach at the BYU. Well, he was my uncle. He was teaching besides being a coach, and I was studying art and physical education at that time.

GRIGGS: Is this when you were at BYU?

GENEVE: That's when I went to BYU. I was in my teens then. He went east and took dancing lessons from the Castleton's or somebody that was very famous. Then, he came back and taught the dances. BYU didn't want all these dances where you held each other too close. They were very, very strict about that. So Uncle Gene came back with the kind of dances which were quite fancy. Then he also made up some of the dances himself. And he would take me as his partner because, if he had taken somebody else, it might have been talked about. I was the niece, and one of the older nieces, so it was perfectly all right for me to be his partner. We went to different places, and taught these dances which made my day.

BOB: She was very young.

GENEVE: He was doing that in order to have the dancing fit what the school wanted. Really, they were very fine dances.

GRIGGS: That's interesting. What school did you go to for seventh, eighth and ninth grade?

GENEVE: I went to the Parker School through ninth grade. Then I went right into the BYU. Later, my sister and some of them went to another school after Parker. But I went right from Parker to BYU. I went to BYU until I finished the second year of college. That's all they taught of art, which I specialized in. That was the year before Bob was born in 1917. In 1915, I graduated from high school and started college.

BOB: There might be a little confusion if you keep talking about the BYU. BYU, on the lower campus, had all the grades from the first grade right on up. I went to kindergarten and first grade there.

GENEVE: Yes, they did, because they were teaching people to be teachers. That's where I learned, I took the training to teach art and physical education. Because my uncle was a physical education teacher, I took his classes, and I took art. I took every bit of art they had at BYU. I went there until I had finished two years of college. And that's all they had.

GRIGGS: So you went to high school at BYU and then you went to two years of college. I see.

GENEVE: Seven years.

GRIGGS: What kind of activities did you have when you were at the BYU High School then?

GENEVE: Not a lot except class work. Every Friday night they had a dance across the street in the big building there. I never went to school up on the hill. It was always on the lower campus.

PAUL: What kind of sports were in high school? Baseball, Basketball, Football. What were they doing?

GENEVE: They played a lot of tennis and sports like racing and things like that.

PAUL: What kind of racing?

GENEVE: They were jumping over hurdles and.... Track and field. I don't remember much about baseball until you came along. Then that's all I heard from there on out.

PAUL: Her father, William Roberts was a councilman on the city council. And your father got the baseball park in Provo.

GENEVE: Oh. My father was great on skating. He flooded our whole lawn every year and had skating right there in the yard. He also took charge of going down and watering some meadow that they had so that the kids could skate.

GRIGGS: He flooded the yard at the hotel?

GENEVE: Yes! And had skating all around.

PAUL: Mother, the baseball park is the one he got started.

GENEVE: Oh yes. My father did that too. Yes. That's right.

BOB: They want to know history of Provo.

GRIGGS: Tell us about how he start the baseball park? What did he have to do to get that started?

GENEVE: I don't know. He was always working at something around Provo. If he couldn't get anybody else to do it, he did it himself.

GRIGGS: Are there any of the instructors at the BYU High School that you remember specifically?

GENEVE: Yes. I remember Eastman very well. He was in charge of Art. He had me do a picture for the BYU to be given to the school on Girls' Day.

BOB: Was this in the BYU High School, or the BYU College?

GENEVE: That was in college.

BOB: I thought so. That's why I interrupted. She wants to know the teachers and activities in the BYU High School.

GENEVE: I don't remember that much. I guess I was just going to school and having a good time.

GRIGGS: You didn't know you were going to have to be interviewed, did you?

GENEVE: I should have taken some notes.

GRIGGS: What was Girls' Day? That was at BYU when you were in college, right?

GENEVE: That was in 1917.

GRIGGS: What did they do on Girls' Day?

GENEVE: Well, they had a big meeting on the top floor in that old building down on the lower campus. We only used the temple hill for Easter and going up there for Easter Eggs like kids. I never went up there to school really. They hadn't developed it yet. They just had that one little building.

GRIGGS: So, they just had a program on Girls' Day?

GENEVE: And the girls could ask the boys to a big dance. It was a girls' choice. Kind of like they do now....

GRIGGS: Did you belong to any clubs when you were in high school?

GENEVE: We never had any clubs. My folks wouldn't have let me if I had. That was out.

GRIGGS: Were you living in Provo during the Depression: Or were you gone by then?

PAUL: She was in Arkansas then.

GRIGGS: Can you remember any other experiences of your father?

GENEVE: Oh yes. For instance, during the war, they put off a boy, a soldier that was very sick with that awful flu. And my mother and the only doctor that was left in town at that time didn't know what to do for him, so the doctor said, "Well, we'll just pour him full of alcohol. I don't know what else to do with him." I think the mother kind of took charge and he did get well. Then they sent him on somewhere else. But we also had one boy that committed suicide.

BOB: In the hotel.

GENEVE: That was tragic. So we had all kinds of things happening. We had good things and bad things.

PAUL: Tell them about your father as an active person.

GENEVE: We had a farm and we kept a garden in back of the hotel. My father was a farmer, I guess, at heart.

PAUL: Tel her about how he rode horses.

GENEVE: Oh yes. They always had horses. I've ridden all over Orem on a horse when I was just a kid. We always had horses. My father could ride a horse down Academy Avenue standing on his back like in a circus and Uncle Gene could do the same thing. Uncle Gene Roberts, the one that was the coach, he was offered jobs by several circuses. He could climb ropes and walk on tight ropes and everything. He and my dad were quite agile.

GRIGGS: Oh. Is that right? Did they have horses at the hotel that people could ride?

GENEVE: No. They were only horses that my folks had.

GENEVE: We had a farm, but somebody ran it.

GRIGGS: Where was it located?

GENEVE: It was down near the lake below the tracks.

PAUL: It was used to raise food for the hotel.

GENEVE: My uncle who wasmy mother's brother, the one that worked with her in the grocery store, they owned the farm together.

PAUL: What family got the first car?

GENEVE: Yes. I guess my father did. He bought a Cadillac car.

PAUL: The first car in Provo.

GENEVE: My father never would have a closed-in car. He just had things to put on when it rained.

GRIGGS: And this was the very first car that came to Provo?

PAUL: That's what he told us.

GENEVE: Well, I don't know. The Knights or somebody might have had one. But my father always wanted to be in something that was like horses and transportation.

PAUL: Tell her about travelling in the car to Salt Lake.

GENEVE: The trip took us two days always and we stayed a day in between to recover. There wasn't any cement on any road until you got to Murray. It took all day to get there because you had to change all these tires. You'd put on a duster, tie yourself in it and cover all up because if you didn't you'd be a mess when you got there. There was no telling how many times you had to get out in the mud and rain. Father would never have a closed car. He said, "You go out to get air. You don't go out to be shut in."

GRIGGS: It took you two days to get from Provo to Salt Lake?

PAUL: Round trip.

GENEVE: All of one day. We started out early in the morning.

GRIGGS: Where would you stop to eat on the way? Or would you take your food with you?

GENEVE: I suppose we just took something. Being in the hotel, we'd probably fix a lunch. I don't remember stopping anywhere.

GRIGGS: That's interesting. Can you remember any of the restaurants in Provo? Did you have a restaurant at the hotel?

GENEVE: Yes, we did. A very famous one. Mother got most of the beef shipped in from Kansas City.

PAUL: What other restaurants in Provo?

GENEVE: I don't remember too much.

PAUL: What were the names of them?

GENEVE: I don't know. There was one called Hansen's.

GRIGGS: Do you remember any resorts?

GENEVE: Oh. Saltair. Of course, that's not here. Geneva of course.

GRIGGS: The Geneva Resort?

GENEVE: That was run by some of the Taylors and they were relatives of ours so we went there occasionally. But that was a long way away from us. Now it's just around the corner, but everything was a long way away.

GRIGGS: What did the Geneva Resort look like?

GENEVE: It was kind of run down a little bit.

GRIGGS: Was it? What kind of buildings did they have?

GENEVE: Well, I was just interested in the swimming and they did have boating. I guess you could rent a boat. I don't know.

GRIGGS: Do you remember any other resorts?

GENEVE: Oh yes. I remember Castella. That was in Spanish Fork, up the canyon there. Now that was quite a deal.

BOB: They had a hot springs up there and it was a resort. Yes. I remember it as a kid.

GENEVE: We didn't go much though.

BOB: No, we didn't. I only remember two or three times.

GENEVE: After I was married I went up there. But When I was young, I stayed home.

GRIGGS: Did they have a swimming pool there at the hot springs?

GENEVE: At Castella there was.

BOB: I remember it was indoor, and there was a hot springs. Warm winter all the time. Even in the winter.

GENEVE: That was owned by that man that was an artist. Dallon.

BOB: Yes. That famous Artist, Dallon. Didn't he have something to do with the Moroni on the top of the Salt Lake temple? He owned Castella and Mother's personal friends ran it.

GENEVE: That was Beth and Glen Dallon. They lived in Springville. That's almost Provo.

GRIGGS: That's close, isn't it?!

GENEVE: It is now.

GRIGGS: Do you remember any other resorts around Utah Lake?

GENEVE: Only Saltair.

GRIGGS: What about Dance Halls or entertainment centers in Provo?

GENEVE: Oh yes. There was the Mozart Hall. Have you heard of that one?

GRIGGS: Yes I have. Tell me about it.

GENEVE: That was just down behind our hotel. Just around the corner.

GRIGGS: What kind of activities did they have there?

GENEVE: Well, I guess they rented it out to most anyone they could. It was mostly dancing though. I know they had dancing there all the time. We weren't allowed to go there though, because that was for outsiders.

GRIGGS: So you couldn't go?

GENEVE: We never went there. We just went to BYU for all our dances. I think we would have suffered in our reputation if we had gone to the Mozart.

PAUL: Ask her about Startup Candy.

GENEVE: Oh yes. They're my relatives too. Everybody in town was a relative. Yes, between the Dunn family and the Taylor family and the Roberts family. And we only lived a block from Senator Smoot down the other way.

GRIGGS: What about the Candy Company?

GENEVE: The Startup Candy Company. That's where my husband's father worked because he was one of that family. My husband always brought me some Startups candy.

GRIGGS: What kind of candy was it? Were they chocolates?

GENEVE: They were all kinds of chocolates which I didn't care for at that time. They also had these hard candies.

BOB: They were famous for their hard candy, shaped like camels.

GENEVE: They were made in the shape of horses or animals.

BOB: ... and reindeer.

GENEVE: And boy, they were good. I used to wish he'd bring me one of those instead of the chocolates he brought. I never cared much for chocolate at that time. It was too sweet for me.

GRIGGS: Did you go to the theater?

GENEVE: The Ellen Theater. I remember that very well. That was just for movies.

GRIGGS: Where was that?

GENEVE: That was between the old post office and the corner. Swabbs was on the corner and it was east of Swabbs.

BOB: Isn't that theater still there?

GRIGGS: It's closed down now.

GENEVE: It must be. It's old. It's been there a long time.

GRIGGS: Do you remember any live performances? Do you remember the opera house?

GENEVE: Oh yes. I surely do!

GRIGGS: What did it look like on the inside? And what did you do there?

GENEVE: Oh. It was gorgeous. It had a balcony around. And we went there to a lot of good plays. I saw Peter Pan there. Yes, they had some good things there.

GRIGGS: What other performances did you go to?

GENEVE: We had enough going on at the hotel.

GRIGGS: You didn't have to go to the Opera House. (Laughter)

GENEVE: That cost money and the other was free.

PAUL: What about your dad performing at the park? Provo Park, City Park, bands and entertainment out in the park.

BOB: He had a lot to do with all that.

GENEVE: Well, he was just down there when he was helping to build the park.

BOB: Civic Activities.

GENEVE: He was always out doing something.

PAUL: But he used to entertain down there in the gazebo: Bands and talks and entertainment.

BOB: His name is on that list down there. They've got a plaque there honoring old timers or historical events in that early period. E. G. Roberts.

GENEVE: There was another park, too. I guess it's still there. I remember my father putting a sliding board and things in our yard for us. When we got a little bigger and didn't use them, he sent them down to that park.

GRIGGS: Where was that?

GENEVE: That was on Fifth West. I don't know whether it's still there or not.

BOB: The Park is still there, and that's where the water runs by on the east side. That's where the plaque is and the Gazebo.

GENEVE: I think the family that lived next door to us, the Bearsock????, had some people from Ithaca, New York build their son a playhouse in his yard. I think they donated that playhouse to that park too.

GRIGGS: What do you remember about Fourth of July celebrations?

GENEVE: Oh. They were good.

GRIGGS: What did they do?

GENEVE: They had all kinds of fireworks. Father always got a lot of them also and we put them on. We always had them for the guests.

GRIGGS: Tell me about the parades.

GENEVE: Oh, the parades. I don't remember. It was circuses that had those parades.

BOB: They had the circus parades, Mother, but they had big parades for every celebration. I remember as a little kid, I was on one of the floats.

GENEVE: Oh yes. I took part in one. I was Miss Liberty once.

BOB: And I was an Eskimo.

GENEVE: Yes. You were an Eskimo.

GENEVE: When I was Miss Liberty, I had a little something to say after the parade because we ended up in the tabernacle. I was supposed to hold this big flag. I was afraid I'd forget what I had to say because the tabernacle to me was a big place and I was about sixteen or seventeen. So I pinned my little talk at the corner of the flag so I could hold it and see it but I forgot it was there and when I waved the flag the audience could see my little note. (Laughter)

GRIGGS: Is there anything else that you can remember that you'd like to tell us about?

BOB: Your Uncle Gene is the one that started the Timpanogos hike. And Uncle Gene is the one who named the Cougars the cougars.

GENEVE: Well, that's good, because I didn't think I knew anything.

Statement of Bob Dunn after the interview

BOB: North of the Parker School, there were two houses. The Elliot Dunn family lived in the first house, and we lived in it as the yellow house when I was a little kid. I remember. Now we're talking about 1922-23. That house on the corner is now the rehabilitation center. We had three or four lots back there and there are a couple of houses built on the back side now. But that is where Paul was born. In other words, Paul was born in the exact location where that rehabilitation center is most people don't know that. He was born at home. I was born in the Merrill Hospital, across the street from the Roberts Hotel. Our younger brother, David, was born in Salt Lake, right across the street from the gate of the temple. We used to play with Robert and I came home one day and I said, "My, he has a strict father."[Laughter]

Interviewee: Geneve Roberts Dunn
Interviewer: Karen Griggs
July 20, 1988
10252 Hidden Oaks Drive, Highland, Utah

Return to Oral Histories List