Vivian Park, Utah

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Vivian Park in Provo Canyon is a private community and also one of Utah County’s Parks. This page is for the community. Click here for the park.

Vivian Park was apparently named after Vivian McBride. The daughter of Melissa Duggins McBridge who owned and operated the first Post Office and grocery store along the Provo East Bench. According to Barbara Reichenback, “A gentleman who frequently came into the store on business told Melissa (McBride) that Vivian was a beautiful child and he planned to name his park after her.” It is probable that this “gentleman” was Billy Ferguson who first held patent to the Provo Canyon land that became Vivian Park.

You could say that Vivian Park had its beginning when U.S. Army Captain J.H. Simpson described the area in 1859 as being the “first sufficiently wide place (from the mouth of Provo Canyon) for ox teams to corral….” It would be almost thirty years later on May 15, 1888 when the federal government would issue a land patent to William W. Ferguson for 160 acres of ground which covered the area from what would be Nunn’s Park to Vivian Park. Ferguson, or Billy as he would be called, settled at Ferguson Flat (now Frazier Park) which is a far cry from his birthplace in Scotland. His home because known as “Billy’s Place” and served as a motel and cafe for canyon travelers. Visitors often marveled at Billy’s expertise in preparing good food, entertaining, and at the “special” room where he kept all manner of flowers, even during the cold winter months.

Ferguson deeded most of the grounds to L.L. Nunn in December, 1896, just a few months before his untimely death on February 19, 1897 in a snow slide that swept down the canyon walls destroying his home and taking his life while he slept.

In its “heyday” Vivian Park was home to many and a resort getaway for countless others. It was reported on June 3, 1900 that a dance pavilion was being built. During the summer of 1901, hundreds made Vivian Park a “vacation getaway.” Big bands made frequent appearances playing for large gatherings and providing dance music. At one time, Vivian Park had its own Post Office and Sheriff. Visitors could rent horses, cabins, boats, tents, together with purchasing picnic supplies, trout dinners, food, bait, and just about anything else you could find in the “big city.” Later, there was a dance hall proper, an ice skating rink, and access to the Heber Creeper railroad. The Vivian Park pond and Provo River provided swimming, boat rides, and fishing. Although the dance hall and some other popular places were torn down in the 50’s Vivian Park continues even today to provide a place for visitors to get away from life in the “big city” while still providing some of the amenities.

The name of James W. Slick appears on the Utah County maps circa 1900 as residing at what was to become Vivian and Frazier Parks. It is likely that he was the one who discovered the snow slide that killed Billy Ferguson. The Slicks, James and Anna, had two children, James Nielsen and Vivian. Vivian Slick was probably named after Vivian McBride since James W. would have been familiar with both the Melissa McBride store and Provo Post Office as well as with Billy Ferguson and his reason behind naming the area Vivian Park. Although the name may have applied earlier, the first time it shows up on Utah County records is in 1911 when the county commission office was first presented with a proposal to develop the area with building lots and other improvements. Deeds to this area passed from Samuel Evans in 1911 to Frederick Steigmeyer and then on to Grover and Edna Purvance in 1914. The Purvances later shared ownership with John F. and Mary Carter. It was during these years immediately preceding World War I that the Vivian Park area began to see significant development. Dance facilities, a lodge, a cafe, cabins, homes, boats, ice skating, and all other types of recreational facilities were available. In 1929, the property was deeded to the Vivian Park Resort Company and then, finally, to Utah County in 1974 who has maintained it as a public park ever since.

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Schools in Utah

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This page is to organize my documenting of Utah schools – many that have faded away and are either gone or have been re-purposed as well as many that are still in use as a school to be able to look back on later.

Schools in Alpine

Schools in American Fork

Schools in Bountiful

Schools in Cedar Fort

Schools in Centerville

Schools in Chester

Schools in Coalville

Schools in Cottonwood Heights

Schools in Echo

Schools in Elsinore

Schools in Enoch

Schools in Ephraim

Schools in Farmington

Schools in Fillmore

Schools in Garfield

Schools in Hurricane

Schools in Kanosh

Schools in Lake Shore

Schools in Lehi

Schools in Lindon

Schools in Mapleton

Schools in Mount Pleasant

Schools in Murray

Schools in Nephi

Schools in Orderville

Schools in Orem

Schools in Parowan

Schools in Payson

Schools in Provo

Schools in Salt Lake

Schools in Sandy

Schools in Santaquin

Schools in Silver Reef

Schools in Spanish Fork

Schools in Springville

Schools in Saint George

Schools in Taylorsville

Schools in Torrey

Schools in Vineyard

Schools in Wallsburg

Gunlock, Utah

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(From wchsutah.org) Gunlock is an unincorporated town in Washington County.

William Hayne Hamblin (nicknamed Will, Bill, and Gunlock; a brother of Jacob Hamblin) settled there and built a cabin in 1857. He was soon joined by his two brothers-in-law, Dudley and Jeremiah Leavitt and also Isaac Riddle.

On a visit, George A. Smith named the place Gunlock in honor of its first settler.

On Christmas day in 1861, it started to rain almost constantly for the next 30 days. Santa Clara Creek flooded and the budding community was forced to move north to the “Black Ridge” where the current town is located (the early settlement was located where the Gunlock fields are, south of the current town).

Gunlock was on the “Old California Road” or “Santa Fe Trail” so the town got frequent visitors and was able to carry on trade as people passed through.

Unlike many Utah towns, Gunlock was not laid out in blocks. Instead, it consisted of houses on each side of the main street. In 1880, the original “cow trail” through town was straightened and cottonwood trees were planted for a mile on each side of the street.

Mail service to Gunlock began in July of 1883. Prior to that time, they received mail only occasionally from St. George or Hebron. Solenda Huntsman, wife of Joseph S. Huntsman became the first postmistress with Hyrum E. Jones as the first mail carrier. Later postmasters included Elizabeth Vaughan Hunt, James S. P. Bowler, Josepth L. Bowler, and Olive Holt.

In 1913, the people of Gunlock and their neighbors in the surrounding areas felt a need for a telephone system. They formed a company, later know as the “People’s Progressive Telephone and Telegraph Company”. It put up telephone lines that served the areas from Moapa to Enterprise, including Moapa, Bunkerville, Mesquite, Santa Clara, Gunlock, Enterprise, New Castle, Pine Valley, Central, and Veyo. They eventually included some lines into St. George. The telephone system was eventually taken over by Mountain Bell. Telephone booths were provided on the streets. By 1960, everyone in town had a telephone but they were on 8-party lines through the 1960s and 1970s.

Draper Theatre

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The story began in 1938, when the Annie Pearl and John A. Howell family built a movie house in Draper-“The Pearl” was born. Vaudeville acts started off the evening and a movie or two would follow. Even a few big names, like Tex Ritter, graced the stage of “The Pearl”. During the depression, a bag of groceries was given away every Friday night.

Locals felt fortunate to have a first run theatre right in their small town. For many generations this building, now on the Draper Historic Register, served as a gathering place for the south end of the valley. Tales are told (by now upstanding citizens) of a cherry bomb or two set off during shows and of sneaking buddies in through the back door.

More at: https://drapertheatre.org/history.htm

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