Memorial Park was an unsightly swamp until 1924.
During the early 1920s, Provo joined a beautification movement that swept across America. An unsightly swamp and dumping ground on the north side of Center Street at about 800 East became a prime target for improvement. Provo already owned two acres of the swampy land and bought four more acres. With the help of volunteers, the City set about the task of turning this eyesore into a beautiful park.
This 45 foot obelisk is located in Memorial Park in Provo
Emil Hansen, a recognized landscape expert, planned the park. He envisioned it serving as both a recreational area and a memorial to Provo’s servicemen who died in World War I. Hansen designed the north end of the park as a place to romp and have fun. The southwest quarter of the park contained a tennis court, pond, lawns and flower beds. The southeast quarter served as a memorial area. Workmen erected a flagpole and planted a blue spruce commemorating each local serviceman who died during the war.
Mayor O.K. Hansen recommended the name Liberty-Memorial Park, but the City Commission shortened the name to Memorial Park.
The park was ready for its first complete year of use in 1924. At one time Memorial Park had it’s own greenhouse. Its beautiful flower beds so impressed National Geographic that the magazine featured the park in a 1936 issue.
The pond, tennis court and flower beds are now gone, and strong winds have toppled some of the blue spruce, but the park still serves as a suitable memorial to Provo’s servicemen and women. A giant obelisk honoring them was erected in 2001.
See also, Provo Parks.
There are many plaques describing Provo history here.