Travel Series – Utah: Part 6

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By Kiara Bean, Editor-in-Chief

            We are back on the road and still in the beautiful state of Utah. In this part, we will explore the historic city of Provo.

            Provo was founded in the mid-1800s by the Mormon settlers coming down from Salt Lake City. The city was originally called Fort Utah, but it was renamed Provo in honor of Étienne Provost, a French-Canadian trapper who established temporary trading posts along Utah Lake and the Great Salt Lake.

            The city later became home to Brigham Young University (BYU), which was founded in 1875 by Brigham Young, the second president of the Mormon Church. The school was originally called Brigham Young Academy and was established to train teachers. It’s now a well-known and respected university, and the heart of Provo. The university is also known for its many a cappella groups, the most famous of which is BYU Vocal Point. Music lovers should definitely check out their spectacular pieces.

            I am glad I got the chance to visit this city because the buildings there are very different from the everyday box buildings one can see in other modern cities. Provo architecture reflects many different styles – Victorian, French, Gothic, Tudor Revival, Greek Revival, Dutch-colonial, etc. – since the settlers were descendants of immigrants from various parts of Europe. Most of the buildings are constructed from brick and stone, which vary in shades of red, tan, yellow, and white, making every building unique and beautiful to look at. Walking down the streets was like being in a textbook where you can learn about those various architectural styles.

            One of my favorite buildings was the Provo City Library. Originally built in 1891, the library not only houses library services for the city; it also hosts various cultural events and exhibits throughout the year.

As I mentioned in previous issues, Utah has a large Mormon population, and throughout the whole state, they built many Latter Day Saints (LDS) churches. Their churches are very grand and majestic, with several floors, tall spires and towers. Provo also has its own LDS church. Dedicated in 2016, the church was rebuilt on the same site where the old Provo Tabernacle stood, which burned down in 2010.

On our visit to Provo, we also went to see the houses of several important people in Provo history. One of them was the Reed O. Smoot House. Reed Smoot was the advisor to five US presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt. Another interesting building was the Fred J. Moore House. The house is built in the Dutch Colonial Revival style with a bellcast gambrel roof.

In Provo, we saw another unique landmark: the Historic Rare Elm Tree. This tree was created by budding various trees together. It’s the only one of its kind in the entire US, and all attempts to create another one or reproduce from this tree have failed. It’s quite incredible to see this large tree which has such an odd shape.

            Besides enjoying the different architectural styles, we also really enjoyed one particular bakery: Hruska’s Kolaches. Whether you have a sweet tooth or you just need a quick snack, this is a must-stop when visiting Provo (or even if you’re just passing through on the way to somewhere else). The people who own the place have Czech heritage, and they wanted to introduce customers to European style kolaches. They have two main styles of kolaches: salty and sweet. The salty type is a stuffed kolache with different types of meat like bacon, ham, sausage, pulled pork, etc. combined with egg, cheese, pickles, jalapenos, etc. The other type is sweet kolaches, where customers can choose from dough filled with different types of jelly – strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, peach, raspberry, etc. – or even cinnamon, maple pecan, or cream cheese filling.

            I absolutely loved the mixed berry filling. It had the perfect amount of sweetness for me. My sister and my father loved the maple pecan kolaches; they said they would move to Provo just for those kolaches. We also tried the egg and ham and egg and bacon kolaches. They tasted delicious. It is the one stop that will make you come back over and over; you can’t get enough of their food. Maybe it’s good that we don’t live in Provo because we would spend our entire paychecks on kolaches.

            Provo and the surrounding area are one of the places which I will definitely visit again (and not only for the kolaches). But our trip through Utah doesn’t end here! We still have one more stop in this state, which I will introduce in our next issue, before we travel to another place in our trip across the US.


1. Provo City Library

2. Sweet Kolaches from Hruska’s Kolaches

3. Sweet and Salty Kolaches from Hruska’s Kolaches

4. Hruska’s Kolaches Bakery

5. Utah County Justice Courthouse

6. Provo City Center Utah Temple

7. Historic Rare Elm Tree

8. Reed O. Smoot House

9. Historic Maeser School

10. Fred J. Moore House

11. Provo LDS Assembly Hall

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