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The Knight Alien house was built for J. William Knight, an important businessman in turn-of-the-century Provo and a son of Jesse Knight. It was subsequently owned by R. E. Allen a son-in-law of Jesse Knight who was also an important businessman and an officer in all the Knight family businesses. The Knight-Alien house is significant historically as the residence of important early businessmen of Provo.

The Knight-Alien house was built about 1899 for J. William Knight. It is probable that it was designed by Richard C. Watkins, a prominent local architect. J. William Knight married in 1899 and this was the couple’s first house. When he and his new wife moved to Canada to manage a Knight concern there, J. William Knight sold the house to his sister Inez and her new husband, Robert Eugene Alien. Because the Knights lived in the house for such a short period of time, the building is more closely associated with the Allen family.

Robert E. Alien was born in Coalville, Utah in 1877. He received his education at Summit Academy, Brigham Young Academy, and Rochester Business College. In 1901 he started teaching at Brigham Young university and in 1902
he married Amanda Inez Knight. Alien was quickly assimilated into the business concerns of the Knight family and became a rather wealthy businessman. He served as manager of the Knight Power Company from 1908 to 1912. From 1907 to 1933 he was secretary of the Knight Investment Company which directed the family’s holdings and was also cashier of the Knight Trust and Savings Bank. He later served as manager of First Security Bank in Provo.

Inez Knight Alien was a woman of note. She was one of the first two women sent as proselyting missionaries by the L.D.S. Church. She later became very active in politics and civic affairs. She was the Democratic National Committee woman from Utah for four years, was a delegate to National Democratic conventions, and ran unsuccessfully for the state senate. She also chaired many local civic groups.

Mr. and Mrs. Alien were very generous with their wealth and contributed heavily to B.Y.U. Several buildings were constructed by the University with these contributions.


Located at 390 East Center Street in Provo, Utah.