The Opera House Effect: The Provo Opera House

The Opera House Effect has come up repeatedly on this blog and basically argues that arts infrastructure — so, things like opera houses — fosters both economic and cultural growth in a community. I’ve cited venues such as Velour, Muse Music and The Covey Center as exerting this effect on Provo.

But did you know that Provo used to have an actual, legitimate opera house? I didn’t until a few days ago when I started combing through BYU’s digital photo archives. Here are the images that Laura and I found:

The exterior of the Provo Opera House

Interior of the Provo Opera House.

BYU’s photo archives don’t provide much additional information. This is all I could find:

The old Opera House or Provo Armory in downtown Provo that was constructed in 1888 on First West between Center Street and First North. It was razed in the 1950s.

There’s nothing on why the building was destroyed, how long it was used, or even what sorts of events it hosted. And though relatively small for an opera house, I was fairly astonished to discover that Provo used to have a building like this. After looking at these and other pictures of historic Provo, it truly seems like the city was moving backward during the entire second half of the 20th century.

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Filed under arts, building, Downtown

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