Library Tutorials
close
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 Louis Walter Bandley

ORAL HISTORY TRANSCRIPTION

WINN: It's March 31, 1999, and I'm here with Louis Walter Bandley.

BANDLEY: I live in the home at 588 West and 500 North. Let me say a word about this corner. I've lived in Provo for most of the time of my life. I lived in Provo on this same street, 500 North, on the corner of Fourth East. That's where I was born on September 11. That means it's my eightieth year of living here.

I remember this very street and I would go to my grandfather's home which was on that same block about a half a block away. He would send me down to the seed store which was on the corner of Eighth West and south a little bit. I would get seeds to plant in our garden. Sometimes I would ride a horse down there or I would walk. It seemed like forever going from Fourth East to and Eighth West. In the winter it was fine but then in the summer, there was no asphalt. It was gravel down there.

I've lived on this corner for approximately fifty years. In 1946 we moved here. There wasn't anything around. I remember the corners on this same street were farmers. The Provo Flour Mill was on the northwest corner of this same street, Fifth North and Second West. It would be across the street now from Canyon Paint. Where Canyon Paint is now was Knight Coal. There were very narrow streets in those days. The flour mill was on that corner. That's right on the corner where the flour mill used to be.

I remember walking down there because we had to go past that corner to get to the ballpark, which was right on that same street. The batter's box was looking towards the northwest and there was a large green fence about ten feet high along there. They had a door where we would pay to get into the ballpark. The seats were facing north instead of where the ball diamond is now in back of the Eldred Senior Citizens Center in Provo. While I was growing up the batters played with their eyes in the sun. Then after fifty or sixty years, they changed the ball diamond to the other side.

That corner coming further west, where there is a park right now, was originally Sowiette Park. Along there now there is a museum for the Daughters of the Pioneers. They put sidewalks and concrete for the sidewalks, a long time before the roads were ever asphalt. They went all over. We were walking on sidewalks to school. I can remember walking that sidewalk to get to school. When you step off the sidewalk, you drop down a few inches into the park. That indentation in the ground is gone and it's not quite as abrupt as it used to be because the lawn is raised up and they put in turf.

Originally the ground there, as I understand it, was clay. It was heavy and many of the adobe buildings around that corner were made of adobe brick. The first buildings were adobe and used that material especially for the lining, even after the Provo Brick and Tile Company was started in Provo by the Pierpont family. That was up to the northwest of the Provo River coming into the west on the main part of the Provo River. They started to make bricks in there. The outside of the homes would be faced with baked oven-made bricks.

Even the Bandleys would go there. My father died when I was seven and we moved up there to 920 North and Ninth East. We had four acres of ground that I was raised on through school. This brickyard was making the brick that we built our home out of. We got brick from them and then the hearth for the fireplace was made out of the first glazed brick. It was a fancy, slick, pretty brick that we put on the fireplace. And at that time those glazed bricks cost eight cents apiece. That doesn't compare with what brick costs today.

Let me tell you a little bit about the Provo River coming through this brickyard. In the early days the Provo River, before I watched it, had three parts. About Fourteenth North where the Provo River turns now and goes under the bridge and under Fifth West, the channel of that river was the far west channel and the main channel of the Provo River.

The middle channel of the Provo River came down to about the Utah Valley Medical Hospital, formerly called the Utah Valley Hospital. At that time, while I was growing up, that was a swamp with cattails and everything was growing there. That was at that time the middle fork of the Provo River. It came down that way and turned towards the corner on Fifth North and Fifth West and it cut across the west side of my house. It went across the street to the Hurst property over at Sister Hurst's. She was a widow. It ran down to where the Dixon Middle School is and on down to the lake. That was the middle fork. It was west of the main river.

The east fork of the Provo River went down and headed off to Kress' Corner, where NuSkin is now, on the east side of that street and the west corner would be on the west side of that building.

I graduated from high school in 1937 and I worked for Intermountain Builders. At that time I watched them build that building on that corner. They wondered why the pilings were so easy to get down. Eventually, they found that was the old river bed. The Provo River has only one channel now. Our founding fathers of Provo decided they didn't want those two legs of the Provo River to run through Provo and all the water was turned at Fourteenth North to go west to the channel on down to the boat harbor and out down to Utah Lake. That's the story of that water.

Right now as I understand it, and I know it has happened, Utah Valley Regional Medical Hospital pumps a twelve-inch line of water continually, 24 hours a day, out of that channel to keep that out of the fork of that river. There are pictures that show at one time there was a green valley before it was all developed.

I remember Center Street coming through town and the telephone poles that were in the center of the street. When I was just a young boy, about seven or eight years old, Barnum and Bailey Ringley Brothers Circus had a circus that they paraded from the railroad station that was down on Sixth South and University Avenue. They came up University Avenue and had a parade and they had to go to each side of those poles because they were in the street with grass on the sides.

The layout is in pictures and it shows the green on down by the golf course. The entrance to the golf course was where the old First Ward pasture was. It would be about Sixth South where the railroad goes across and it went down to about Ninth South. The First Ward pasture was there. I remember driving my grandfather's two cows to the pasture. It was very wet. There was no drainage. You would go down and turn them into the pasture in the morning and then go down at night and pick them up. There was gravel on University Avenue. That ground all around there was low and swampy with cattails.

Other areas of Provo were in swamp. Going south on Fifth West, at First North on Fifth West where the Mountain America Credit Union is, that corner was nothing but swamp. It was water in there and frogs and ducks would come up in the cattails. Duck hunting was quite handy. You could get together and go to the lake. Also where Farrer Junior High School is, that was also a swamp. I remember when they built it.

I hadn't got out of Parker School. I went to grade school at Parker School which was on the corner of Second North and First East in Provo. I was six years at Parker School. That school was closer to my home. Two years later, that school was built on the swamp. The footings under there were massive concrete footings, so the building could be built on it. Since that time the drainage system of Provo has put in big drains to carry the water out. The water table is still down.

Getting back to the Knight Block, to this day, there is a cavity, the underground part where the heating plant was for that whole block, with the lights. We were very close to the Knight family because my father was an accountant for that investment company. That whole block was owned by Jessie Knight. Where the First Security Bank is now on that corner of First North and University Avenue, that was originally the Knight Trust and Savings Bank. It was three stories high. Along in the forties, there was a fire. It burned off the top two floors. First Security Bank only has the one floor. The corner of University Avenue and Center Street and that corner there is a stock exchange with the big town clock. That's where the Knight offices were. That's where my father had his office on the third floor.

They had a central heating plant in that block that is now where you drive in on the east at First Security Bank. If you go down to the south, you can see that you can still go down under that ground and it's cemented under there. That was the furnace. That's where all of the heat and large smokestacks were there that heated all of those buildings on that whole block. There was a steam channel that ran from there over to what is now the Berg Mortuary on Second East. It went over to the carriage house which was in the back of that building. That's where the Magnum home was up the street east of University Avenue.

I wondered when I was a little boy if the snow would melt on the channel that ran over there. There was a heat and steam channel that went over to heat their home. They heated it from the same furnace system that was in that block.

One of the first automobile establishments was about where that First Security drive-in is right now. That was Scofield's Auto. They sold those big Studebakers. There wasn't any large automobile lots. I remember the first Model Ts. My father used to go over and work for Jessie's company over in Duchesne.

Water came down Second West. The Knight Woolen Mills were on the corner between Fourth North and the corner where Smith's is. Sears and Roebuck was still down there across the street from Ashton's garage. The Knight Woolen Mills burned down later and the Ashton family had a garage. The Knight Woolen Mills was never reestablished. That water going down Second West was going to the Woolen Mills. It was an open ditch. Quite a few hundred feet of water went down there. It went to some of the other streets. They would use it to water the old farms.

As far as the irrigation system was concerned, every street in Provo going north to south had on both sides of the street an irrigation ditch. That was the way that the pioneers had set it up. Every home had some ground where they laid the garden and these ditches were named after prominent people and people who lived in an area where the ditches were.

Right here where I am speaking from, I still have property between Sixth and Seventh West. I have water rights on that piece of ground and another one right alongside it. One irrigation turn comes out of the Grey ditch. There was a person named Grey it was named after. The other one is out of the Tanner ditch. Those canals, both the Grey ditch and the Tanner ditch, come down Sixth West and down Seventh West. The canal comes under Eighth North about where the First Ward building was built under their recreation hall. They put this canal under it. It goes under that recreation hall and comes out. The First Ward was on Eighth North and it comes out on Seventh. It goes under that block. It splits and part of that water comes down Sixth West and part of it comes down Seventh West. There are two ditches there in that path. I still hold that right, because I have a garden. If I don't use the water rights, it goes back to the ditches.

All of Provo, for everybody in town, that's the way it was. That water made its way down to the west and to the south of Provo and to the heavy farming down in that area down there. The water got down there and the people used that water that way.

Another thing that would be interesting to remember is that First East on Center Street and that block clear east to the state hospital, the road was split. In the middle was a street with a long strip of grass and traffic traveled on the south side or the north side of that street. If you went east you would be on the south side of the street. If you were coming west you would be on the north side. The traffic was on the two sides with a strip of grass several feet wide in the middle, taking the middle of that road all the way up. It wasn't uncommon to see on Sunday afternoons people with their lunch baskets and picnics sitting out in the middle of that nice piece of grass enjoying some dinner.

Then when we got up to within a few hundred yards, several blocks from the state hospital then at 8:00 at night no one was permitted to go further than that up to the state hospital. You had to turn there and go back. You couldn't go up to the hospital and be on the grounds up there.

Where NuSkin is now, on that corner was the Salt Lake Utah Railroad Station. That's right on the corner. The Salt Lake Utah Railway ran from Salt Lake to Payson. It later became known as the Orem line. Brother Orem purchased the line and it never changed its official name. It was the Salt Lake Utah, SLU. But we called it the Orem. From Salt Lake north to Ogden was the Bamberger line. Those tracks came into Provo under the viaduct on the west, and came down through the Jordan Narrows, where the Jordan River goes from Utah Lake to the Great Salt Lake. The Utah line came down in the valley where the Rio Grande trains went. The Rio Grande went into the valley and the Union Pacific was up on top. If you came up Center Street the only way to get to the tracks is where Albertson's is now.

That block where Checker Auto is now was the Provo Foundry. A family by the name of Pierpont owned that too, along with the brickyard. There was a spur that came off the railroad lines and came up Center Street where they drug all of their materials into that block where they made various kinds of cast iron materials. They made stokers for homes. When we'd stoke our fires in our homes it was called the iron pipe. It was a factory right here in Provo. We had one in our home. We changed over to wood.

They were made right down there on that block where Albertson's is now. They made a lot of other things. They made the cast iron housing for much of the pipe systems in Provo, and the water systems. If you go through the city today you see Provo Foundry on the top of the cast iron. There was the Backman Foundry on Sixth South.

That track then came on up Center Street in the center of the road and came up to the corner of First West where NuSkin is now. They had to make a turn so it could go south and it stopped right in there on the platform. The passengers got off then the train went up to what used to be the old Utahna dance floor, where the Provo Post Office is now across from the parking lot of NuSkin, which was part of the railroad property. It had to turn and make an S way out south. Then it came back in close to the tabernacle so it could make a turn there and go out to University Avenue and go down past the Zion's ZCMI Wholesale.

In those days we had warehouses. We didn't have trucks to haul all our goods around. There was a wholesale on Third or Fourth West and Sixth South. Zion's Wholesale was on University Avenue and Sixth South on the east side of University Avenue. The train would go past there. They hauled not only passengers but freight. They had to follow the freight traffic. They had coal and it ended in Payson. The Orem line ended in Payson.

It was economical to go to Salt Lake round trip. In the early days it was 50 cents, then 55. When I was in high school if you took the last car out of Salt Lake at 12:00 at night, you would be down here in Provo by 1:30. Now they want to put the thing back in. They had conference in the tabernacle on Sunday and that Orem Train would be going seven days a week. It wouldn't stop and go around there. We had to stop talking and whistling going around that curve and go down there.

Then it's interesting to know that the ZCMI Wholesale house was the second place of the Brigham Young University. In fact, it wasn't built as a wholesale house to begin with. It was built for the Brigham Young Academy where they were meeting on Center Street between either Third or Fourth West and Second or Third West on Center Street on the north side. That is where the first Brigham Young Academy was built. It caught fire and burned down. Then they built this school down in what would later become ZCMI Wholesale. But it was first part of the BYU Academy. The next place was down here on Fifth North and University Avenue where they built the Academy.

I remember that very well because that's where I went to Sunday School. They put the wards in there. They utilized those buildings on that block. When Sunday came and school was out, we used them, just like we use BYU now. There are hundreds of stakes and hundreds of wards that use those facilities. That is where it actually started on Center Street and then University Avenue.

I graduated from high school in 1937 and I attended the BYU Academy as a special student. I could register for 10 hours as a special student. I tell my grandchildren all I wanted was to be an accountant. At that time there was the library, the mechanical building, and they hadn't finished the administration building yet. I took a class from Brother Taylor. I took accounting. That's all I wanted. I went up there and John Hayes was the first registrar at the BYU Academy. We lived on Fifth North, and he lived on Sixth North and another block east. I took two classes. I had accounting. That's all I wanted. I only wanted the basics. He was in the ward. The bishop ran the grocery store. I took two of his cows to the pasture on Fifth North and Ninth East. Now BYU students are going there. They remodeled it just lately.

I do remember the winters in Provo were very cold. We haven't had winters like that for 25 or 30. Back when I was in junior high school and high school the Utah Lake would freeze from 18 inches to two feet thick. It was a common route to go to Salt Lake straight across the north end of Utah Lake, to Saratoga. Saratoga had a resort there. Saratoga is where the compromise points are for the water that flows from the Jordan River to Salt Lake. People think everything is the same. I can tell them it's not.

When I lived on Eighth North and Ninth East and went to the Farrer Junior High School, the snow would drift over fence lines that were four feet high and there were four strands of barbed wires, for the pastures. That was high enough for me, as a junior high school-aged boy, to run over the tops. We would go over the tops of the canals. The canal was open. The Metropolitan Water District Canal that comes around the brim of the BYU campus and to the pastures used to go down to the lake. We would irrigate and it was ice. We would ice skate down. We would run over the tops of the snow. My brothers and I and all the neighbors would ski down the face. The snow was deep enough to cover up all the rocks in the trail that goes up to the Y, enough to make a trail. We didn't have any skis. We'd get things from pickle barrels and strap them on our feet. We'd go right over the tops of the four-foot fence line into the pastures. It was cold, 30 degrees below zero for a long time. It would stay that way for five or six days.

I started working for the Union Pacific Railroad back in the '40s, back in World War II. I would be down there and you had to keep your ears covered up. We would cut the ice. The Union Pacific Railroad had an ice house right there where the Union Pacific freight station was on University Avenue and Sixth South. The ice house was at about First West by the station. It was made out of heavy railroad ties. They would go down to the lake and cut the ice blocks out in the winter time and bring them up and store them in sawdust. And they would have ice in that ice house being insulated that way as late as July and August for that summer. The ice was used for cooling things.

The sewage plant was in Provo. In those days they didn't pay much attention to what was going in the sewer. They used the ice mostly to put in the refrigerator boxes to keep the milk from spoiling. The ice would break up in the spring and it would pile up on the shore thirty feet high with blocks of ice. Everybody would go down to see it all.

As far as trains are concerned there were tracks that went from University Avenue going south from Provo to Geneva. Where the Geneva Steel plant is, that north end there used to be Geneva Resort. We'd go down there and swim. They had a coaster that you'd climb up and skate down into the lake. That was our recreation.

There is a lot of things that happened. Another thing that is interesting and it ended about the time I was growing up, is they had an annual hike from Aspen Grove up Provo Canyon. We met at BYU and they would hike up to Mount Timpanogos. We would all go up to Aspen Grove and the foot of the mountain. They had an enactment of the legends and go through all of that. Then we'd go up the trail and on the path. That was one hike that they had.

But the one that my mother tells me about is the hike to Maple Flat. They would take the BYU band, and they would carry their instruments up past the "Y" along over up to the canyon, and over to Maple Flat. If you look at the "Y" and go up directly from the leg of the "Y" you can see the trail. They would go up there on Friday night and they would all camp up there. They would have a band concert up there. They would take their lunch and have this annual hike to the flat. This went on for years.

They had things around the Y. Later on as I worked for the railroad I was privileged to take the waste that they used on the railroad cars. They would go to the "Y" with all the instruments, lunches, blankets and whatever they took for that day. They took sleeping bags. It took a big crowd and went past the canal up on Eighth North and Eighth East. That was the canal above the Metropolitan. There were two canals that took water. They'd go past that on the old bridge on through the water. They would get wet. They would have a concert up there on Saturday in time so they could come back down for Sunday. They were not permitted to have any kind of a meeting up there on Sunday. This I get from my mother. I didn't go on it. I didn't go up there to sleep.

The "Y" is a master in engineering layout. All my life I've never seen such perfect block letters anywhere. They would white it on Y Day. The freshman would take whitewash up in buckets in a chain all the way from the bottom up there to whitewash the "Y". We didn't have any fancy paints like they do today. It was just plain old whitewash. When the next year would come around it was all washed off. They would put the waste and the railroad cars would get it. They had to have it well ordered. They had to have torches to light it so they could work. Sometimes one half was lit and the other side wasn't lit. Only one leg was lit. As I understand it from my friends on campus it's all lit. They light it on ocassions like homecoming games.

The original first stadium that was on the "Y" campus on top of the hill had it's back towards the city. I lived on Fourth East and that was nothing more than a trail that went across the canal and on up to the BYU up there. For a long time they kept a cougar in a cage at the bottom of that as a mascot. It was the best thing that we had in those days when we could keep a cougar in a cage when they had fences lined up all the way up to the top. That cougar would growl at you. They never did take that cougar out to go to any of the games, but that was the mascot.

One day that cougar got out and it came down and it lit for the first house at the bottom of the hill. That cougar wandered over across the road. They had a little baby and the kids were out playing on the lawn and that cougar came over there and everybody held their breath at that end of town. Fortunately it got by and the cougar wandered away. They captured it and put it back in. They decided then and there that was the end of live mascots. No more cougars. It lasted a long time. It was there for a long time.

That was handy to the stadium. If you went up Fourth East that was the way we hiked up there. Then between Fourth East and the rim of hill over to about Fifth or Sixth, the Barry Windely family lived up on the hill. They owned part of that ground that was up on that hill. This stadium was in between Fourth East and their property. The back of the stadium was fairly good sized, because the school had some students. It was green. It had a roof on it, so you could sit out of the sun. The race track went over from east to west on the hill and then there was nothing more except a big grove. We called that Temple Hill. It was thought at that time that there would be a temple built on that hill. It was later understood that there was going to be a temple built.

In that grove was where I had my scouting experience. That's where I earned the Tenderfoot in the ward. We didn't have time to do a lot of that. We had so many chores to do. Scouting was just getting launched. That was the grove.

Then they built the new stadium over by the fieldhouse. The stadium was a little bit to the north of that. It was a brand new BYU stadium. The thing that happened to the old stadium was unbeknownst to the personnel on campus, not many people know about it, they carried some flammable fluid in and they saturated the old stadium. That burned down one night. You could see those flames clear to Spanish Fork. They had an activity over in the new stadium that climaxed that. They lit the "Y". They burned that stadium down. That was the end of an era. That was the end of the stadium. I don't know whether the Provo Herald wrote about it. I do know that that's what happened. That seemed like a good idea. That is part of that business up on the hill.

There was a big rock crusher on Provo River. On Sixth West and Eighth North and that area there, they would get the rocks for that crusher. They processed road material from there. One other thing that is interesting is that most of the gravel and most of the sand, and most of the things that are good for concrete was taken off the hill about where you go up to Alexander's Print shop. That's actually Seven Peaks up to Eighth North. When you walk past there right on up into the BYU hill, there is a great, nice deposit of gravel and sand that they used a lot to do the roads. The BYU heating plant was there close by.

We could take our sleighs up there and we could coast all the way down Seventh East to Center Street. The first ski jump was built with the first Model T that was crashed. We arranged to get the body part of it. We used it on the hill about where the heating plant is now. We would come down to a stop at the bottom. We would try to jump. The skis were about like a two by four, they were so heavy. We tried it anyway. We got thirty or forty feet. We got a broken arm or two to usher in the advent of ski jumping. We had ski jumps. We did have a shorter ski. A fellow made a short ski about three or four feet long that curled up at the front like a toboggan. We would put those on our feet, and boy the control was not very good. We would get down about thirty or forty yards going much too fast for the capacity of the skis. It was too much to control. The best thing we did up there was take a board and stand on the board and see if we could stand on the board while we were racing on campus up there.

Another thing that would be of interest is the first road that was paved concrete other than University Avenue was First East. The library in Provo was on the corner of Center Street and First East. That's now offices there. It moved down to where it is now in the City Center down on West Center. The first library was down there.

Because of the Knight people living on that side of the city they concreted that street. Boy was that a slow process. They would pour concrete, then they would put dirt in the square and put water in it so it would cure. They went inch by inch, street by street, up to where you would go there up the hill to access the Temple Hill. It was on the south side of the hill and the street was hard to get down. Then later they could see that was not going to handle traffic at the top of the hill. So they barricaded across the top of the hill. We would walk up there. A lot of people go up there and exercise now. That's where it was.

At the bottom of that hill was a grocery store and also a barbershop where that pizza place is now, Heaps Pizza. Right on the corner there was a barbershop and the first potato chip factory. That was also at the bottom of the hill. All that belonged to Heaps Pizza. Also at the bottom, there was a small building they used for a gym, where they'd practice. Now I think it's tennis courts. Way up the hill there was no back way on the road. All the access was on the sides. Then they closed it. That's what happened. It developed into a hill. They would go up high into the hill and you could get up there and get around and come back the other way, just around the building, the library.

Then they shifted in the early part, many years ago after World War II. They started to have Fourth of July celebrations down in the First Ward pasture. They would call it the first battle of the morning and the second battle of the morning. Then finally it ended up at stadium hill. They shifted all of that up here. For a long, long time there was a panorama here. The Church was a great big thing. The Church decided it was supposed to be a community affair. We had these extravaganzas. Back then I was on the committee for seventeen years.

Pioneer Park was the big place to go after the parade. The parades never went up University Avenue. They always came down Center Street. They would never have gone up Center Street to University Avenue. It started on Center Street up by the hospital and it came down and ended up at Pioneer Park down here. That's where the lunches were. There would be a nice bandstand there and they would have a band concert. The Fourth of July was a big thing. They had an agreement all through the years that the Twenty-Fourth was Salt Lake's and the Fourth was Provo's. We had a lot. Now everybody gets into the action whenever they want.

I want to tell you about the swimming pool. At the same time in the '30s, we had a drought. Just like we had the hard winters, we had a drought. The lake was so low. We could walk clear out to the island in the lake and there is an island out in the middle of the lake. I used to at that age spend a lot of time in that lake. We would walk out there and it would never get above your neck. We could just walk right out there. The water was so warm and you didn't ever meet any cold water until you passed one of the springs. Most people don't realize the two ways water gets into Utah Lake. One is by the tributaries, the rivers, the Provo River, the Spanish Fork River and all those that come in naturally. A large portion of the water comes from springs that come up out of the bottom of the lake. That's the water that goes down through the watershed and comes up through the lake. A large part of our drinking water is under us. We have twelve wells in Provo. So if the water supply gets low from Rock Canyon you can go up to the Provo Temple and see those two tanks at the bottom of the hill. Volleyball is played on top of the water supply. The water comes down Rock Canyon in an open flume up above and then it goes underground and comes down and it is processed and cleaned. If they get low and the watershed is not going to supply that water, then they start to pump water.

That lake is the same water. The wells are at various places around Provo. At one time there was eight. Now there are twelve. Naturally the level of the water, down under the ground, the water is buried, depends on the bottom. This whole valley was at the bottom of the lake which was Lake Bonneville. If you go up on the Y, you'll see the sea shells up there on the side of the mountain. Down here you have the sand and gravel by BYU. The water washes it and you see the same thing at the Point of the Mountain where they pull out thousands of millions of tons.

In terms of drinking water we have about a year's supply underground. They can get by one season. But if you go through a dry season like we did in the '30s, you can drill a well down there a long ways and you won't get anything. Right now you can go down. The one they call the 88th well, on Eighth North and Eighth West right over here, is down 300 feet west of the one by the temple. As you go up toward the temple, you climb and there is 300 more feet down and it's full of water. It's the same way. It gets processed the same as the water coming out of Rock Canyon. We have a good water supply and it tastes good.

After school, when I got through, at 3:45 we would go down to the railroad. I can tell you about a lot of things down at the railroad. When it comes to automobiles I mentioned a little bit about my dad having a car. They were all black. There was only one color. Doors on the Model Ts all open the wrong direction. We didn't have any idea of that. My dad, my brother, Ted, who was my third brother, I was older than him, and I were riding up University Avenue in this Model T. The top speed of the Model T was about 27 miles per hour. Ted was in back and it was cold. It was about November and there was snow on the ground and there was gravel on the road. And somehow he had to get the catch on the door. The doors all opened from the front to the back. We were going about eight or ten miles per hour. My dad pulled Ted out. He had big clothes on. We had big coats and big stockings. That's the only thing that saved him. He probably would have been one of the first fatalities. The gravel ground that stocking cap right down to his hair, but that's all it did. It bumped him a little bit. That was fast in those days. We picked him up. He survived that all right.

Then later on they started to redesign the automobile so you could get it so that it was safer. Meantime Uncle Bert had a blacksmith shop on Second West down where the first Sears and Roebuck store was in Provo on Second West and Center Street. That was on the east side of the street. On this side of the street he bought an old church and turned it into a blacksmith shop. It's right there by the Modern Cleaners. The Collins family owns the Modern Cleaners. There is a rock climbing place there now. Right by there was the blacksmith's shop. First he bought a blacksmith's and then when the Model Ts came along he decided to drive them. He decided that he could have a good business. He made things for their cars. That was one of the first places. They changed it to the Bert Family Blacksmithing, Auto Shopping and Fendering. He went into that business. That was right on that street.

The first television that we saw in Provo was in the Sears building. It was mechanical. It was at Quality Furniture and Electronics. He had written on the board up in Idaho where he went to high school, that this was a mechanical thing. As we were getting out of high school, which was where the city center is now on Third West, we had to walk past it to get home. On the way home they said they were going to have this demonstration of television. This was about 1935 to 1937 right around that period. It didn't get going until later. We dropped by to see it. It had a picture you could hardly see. That was the way television was going to go through the air. That was television in those days. He started with it and opened the business.

Back to the life in Provo, everybody would just do what they had to do to survive. We had a big tree stump in the back. We had one pair of shoes and they would last. We had various sizes. Money was so scarce. Everybody was bartering on everything, trading chickens or eggs. We didn't even have the leather to repair the shoes. We'd put a piece of cardboard in there. Cardboard was just coming into being. A piece of that would last at least one night for the dance. I learned a lot of things. You learned something and became proficient at it.

The first job I had right out of high school was at a theatre. There were four theatres for a long time on Center Street. There was the Paramount Theatres, closest to the east. The Uintah Theatre was originally the Kress down this way towards the west. There were two on the same block between First East and University Avenue. The Strand Theater was right in the middle of the block between Third and Fourth West. Where Mary's Beauty Parlor is between Fourth West was the Provo Theater. The Provo Theater held 408 seats. The others were around 500. The Uintah Theater held about 800 seats in the front of it. That was where I saw Al Jolson the first time. I got my first job there after I graduated. I kept the books for the store. Accounting just doesn't pay off. That was before the war started.

The railroads they used were diesels, when they first changed in 1941. There were these big steam engines. Basically due to the coal, we decided to change to diesel. Diesel never does drive the engine. All it does is give the power to the electric motors. That's where it mixes. It's true name is diesel electric. In those days we had to learn all about that. It's exciting when you look back on it.

WINN: You have had an incredible life.

BANDLEY: We were by the Provo City Fire Department. We lived down there and it's changed.

WINN: Did your wife ever work?

BANDLEY: When I met Carol she was a stenographer that would give information. She worked here. When I first came back, we had a big family. My father worked for Knight Investment and made quite a good salary. I said I wouldn't get married until I did the same thing. We just got married. I worked for the Union Pacific Railroad before the war. I was making $120. I thought that was a long way from $250. To top it off the wages got lower. When I came back we first ran diesels. It worked all right.

With this business of speed and cars, I remember the first accident with a car. Because they were so high in relationship to the road, you had to step up to get in the car. One time this guy was coming down Provo Canyon and there was no rule that said you couldn't go fast. He lost a leg that way. All technology that increases and everything that enlarges all go with diversity with what you have. When those kinds of things happen you don't know anything about that. He went through the rest of his life that way. He was in high school. My brother, if he hadn't had his stocking cap on, would be like that. All this stuff creeps up. Twenty-seven miles an hour becomes fast and then what about 50 or what about 90. They're flying around here.

It's amazing to see all these people. You take the city and county building. It's an interesting building. It's a fine architectural statement. I don't know if you've paid much attention to that. It's my understanding that the marble comes either from Marble, Colorado, or some other quarries down in the southern part of the state. No one builds much out of marble anymore. The dollar and expenses connected with it are so great, that they don't want to put that out. Yet that building will stand as long as they want it to stand.

And we have the same thing in Salt Lake City with the capitol and the granite that we are using now. And yet they squawk if you want to take it out and make all the noise up there in the east side of Salt Lake. Then you have to take steps that you wouldn't take ordinarily to protect it, because they're going to use that to face the new conference building that they are building. It's going to be faced with that same granite that they faced the temple out of. They squawk about somebody using. In the Lord's kingdom it's the only way. He knows it. That's where the vaults are. That's where the records are. When they had to put the annex on the Salt Lake Temple, they got it from the same place they got to build the temple. It's not going anywhere. Nobody wants to pay the labor to do it.

In Provo with that building down there, you walk down the staircases and that beautiful architecture. It will be there until the Lord wipes it off. Some of the buildings we build now may be gone in five years. This house here has survived the war.

If I wanted to go down there and buy a suit of clothes, I could probably go down there and buy them. Or I can go north to Orem and buy a suit of clothes. But in Provo to my knowledge, I don't know where I could buy them. Center Street has become shops and eating places. There is a wedding shop and different things like that. There was Shriver's Clothing and Firmage's Clothing and JCPenney up on Center Street. They're gone. The old Kress building is there. The Dixon Taylor Russell Store was a big department store across from the city center. All of these art crafts are in there. Sears is a bicycle shop. Sears is not even down here. It's gone. You could get a suit of clothes at Sears. We have places to eat now. Joe Vera's is on the corner. That was Dixon Taylor Russell. That whole thing was a big department store. You could buy clothes, you got your pajamas, your christmas gifts. It's just changed.

You didn't buy toys year-round. Every time they have an occasion, you've got to have a toy. There was no tax on inventory, so people could take the toys they didn't sell at Christmas time and store them on the third floor of their store and leave them there. There was no tax. Now you've got to take an inventory on it and you've got to pay inventory tax. All that has changed. If you go to that store now that's in there, you go in there and sisters are getting their nails painted. Joe Vera has got a restaurant over there. For a long time, we had Henniger's Business Cards. But they've gone down to the east end of town now. All of those places are gone. There was a barbershop in there. There is the Four Winds. They used to be over on University Avenue. Since they got off University Avenue because of parking they've moved over to the other building.

Interviewee: Louis Walter Bandley
Interviewer: Jennifer Winn
March 31, 1999



Return to Oral Histories List