Homecoming, 1930s Style, and University Ave

I’ve heard that this year one of BYU’s homecoming dances is 1920s themed. However, they may have wanted to bump it up a decade.

Thanks to the wonderful Provo Historic Landmarks Facebook page I discovered the picture below last night. Evidently, it depicts a 1934 homecoming parade on University Ave.

A BYU homecoming parade in 1934.

There are a few interesting things to look out for in this picture, in addition to the cool old timey-ness. For starters, look at the streets; the street car tracks are still clearly visible at this point.

In addition, the building that currently houses Black Sheep Cafe — the third distinct building from the left with six arched windows on the second floor — either didn’t exist at this point or has since undergone radical revision. The current structure isn’t bad, but it’s not as impressive as the building in this picture. If you need a refresher, this post includes a picture of the same row of buildings as they appear today.

In general, the façades have also seen significant revision. The most apparent example is the building on the corner, which currently houses the Bell Room and is the former cite of Los Hermanos. Obviously, the first floor of that building currently bears little resemblance to what it looked like in the 1930s.

If you click to enlarge the picture, you’ll also notice that this row of buildings formerly housed a cafe, a hotel, a drug store and other businesses. Downtown Provo is certainly getting better these days, but this picture proves that in the past it was actually a more hopping place. If only it could have just skipped the second half of the 20th century it’d probably be a lot better today.

Finally, and most significantly, note the diagonal parking along University Ave. It’s actually quite similar to the parking that’s currently on Center Street.

That parking arrangement is significant because it could still be beneficial; diagonal parking would mean more spots in downtown, which people are always clamoring for, and would provide an extra safety barrier for pedestrians. It also would make the road seem less wide, which it desperately needs.

Ultimately, then, this picture is both interesting and offers examples of improvements that would be easy and cheap to implement.


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