Provo Once Thought it Should Be Utah’s Capitol City.
Provo grew rapidly during the 1880s and 1890s. Many of the old brick business buildings along University Avenue and Center Street were built during this boom period and local pride soared. Many residents thought Provo could be more than a regional business leader; they aspired to make it Utah’s capital city.
During a December, 1891, meeting of the Provo Chamber of Commerce, some civic leaders pointed out that that metropolis and commercial center of a state was nearer Utah’s geographical and population center than Salt Lake City was, and great possibilities for development lay in south and eastern Utah.
Provo Mayor John E. Booth presented a resolution to the territorial legislature in 1892 in which he offered land where BYU’s Maeser Building now stands as the site for the Capitol Building. Booth and others claimed the site was much prettier than the site proposed in Salt Lake City, and it would be easier to bring water to it. People in Provo started a subscription that was to be used to improve the grounds. For several years, local people referred to the site in Provo as Capitol Hill.
In 1894, Mayor Booth presented a bill in the territorial legislature asking that the capitol be moved to Provo. At this point, Salt Lake City offered land on Arsenal Hill to the state free of charge, and the city’s leaders stated that the building of the capitol in Salt Lake City would offer work to the city’s poor. The legislature failed to pass a bill establishing a site for the capital.
Provo made a last ditch effort to become Utah’s capital city in 1895 by proposing that the question should be brought to the vote of the people. This notion was rejected and the legislature chose Salt lake City as the capital. Provo reluctantly gave up the fight to become the capital, but not the notion that she was worthy of it.
This marker is #35 in a series, see the others on this page.