Early Pioneer History
Provo’s early pioneers began to arrive in the 1850s and many of them were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The city was strategically located between Salt Lake City, the church’s headquarters, and the settlements dotting Utah Valley. Brigham Young selected Provo as a gathering place for new converts and missionaries, making it an important religious center. In 1875, the church established Brigham Young University in the city, which is now one of the largest universities in the state.
The railroad arrived in Provo in 1873, sparking further economic growth and development. With improved transportation links to other parts of Utah and beyond, Provo saw a surge in population, reaching 4,000 residents by 1880. The city continued to expand as more businesses and industries opened up, including manufacturing plants and mills.
Provo in the Twentieth Century
In the twentieth century, Provo experienced a period of rapid growth. With improved transportation and access to resources, the city began to expand outward from its downtown core. In 1957, President Eisenhower approved a plan for the construction of Interstate-15 through Provo; this new road provided easy access between Salt Lake City and California which further increased tourism in the area. In the 1970s and 80s, Provo saw a new influx of residents from other states looking to take advantage of its abundance of natural resources and recreational opportunities.
The city continued to grow throughout the twentieth century, with an influx of people from other parts of Utah and the United States looking to enjoy Provo’s unique mix of urban amenities and small-town charm. The population of Provo now stands at over 115,000 residents, making it the third-largest city in Utah. Provo is known for its vibrant arts and culture scene, its many outdoor activities, and its friendly community atmosphere. It remains one of the most popular destinations in the state of Utah today.