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Book review: Provo history captured in photos

Published: Saturday, Aug. 1 2015 10:33 a.m. MDT

"Images of America: Provo" is by Marilyn Brown and Valerie Holladay. (Arcadia Publishing)

"IMAGES OF AMERICA: Provo," by Marilyn Brown and Valerie Holladay, Arcadia Publishing, $21.99, 127 pages (nf)

“Images of America: Provo” by Marilyn Brown and Valerie Holladay is one in a series of books produced by Arcadia Publishing focused on preserving a visual history of small towns and places in America.

“I did it to keep the history,” Brown said in a recent interview. “What I liked most was finding the locations of historic buildings and making it clear where things were — like the old woolen factory, the post office and the old tabernacle.

“I think it’s very valuable for people to get a grasp on history because history informs the present,” Brown said.

Brown said she undertook the project when a friend, Valerie Holladay, brought it to her attention. Holladay helped with some editing but died part way through the project. Brown did the research, selected the photos and wrote the text that accompanies the photos.

This old street car used to go out to Utah Lake. (Provided by Marilyn Brown) This old street car used to go out to Utah Lake. (Provided by Marilyn Brown)

The 127-page book contains around 250 black and white photos that tell the story of Provo from its beginnings to 2011.

“Every photo tells a story,” Brown said. “It was a thrill to put them together.”

Brown said she especially appreciated finding George Anderson’s photos.

“He was a great artist,” Brown said. “ He was the best photographer; he outdid the other photographers.”

The digitized old photos, which are amazingly clear, came mostly from the Tom L. Perry Special Collections Library at Brigham Young University.

The book is divided into six sections: Refuge, Thriving through Famine and War, Building Industry, Community Services, Enriching Lives and Up-to-Date City. There is no index.

Wood was harvested and cut at this mill up an unidentified canyon near Provo. (Provided by Marilyn Brown) Wood was harvested and cut at this mill up an unidentified canyon near Provo. (Provided by Marilyn Brown)

Anyone with an affinity for Provo will find this a welcome addition to their libraries — if for nothing else than the beautiful photos of the old Provo Tabernacle.

Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street, Springville, Utah. She enjoys creating multimedia projects. Her website is at www.dramaticdimensions.com.

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