Provo was officially incorporated in 1849, and is home to a variety of historic buildings that are still being used throughout the city.
Downtown Provo underwent a building boom between 1890 and 1910, and many of those buildings are still standing in Provo today -- though many have been remodeled and renovated over the years.
Here are 15 of the many historic buildings in downtown Provo, all of which are included in the National Register of Historic Places.
-Stacy Johnson, Daily Herald
Provo West Co-op Building
The Provo West Co-op building at 466 W. Center St. was built in 1866 and was remodeled in 1890, according to the National Register of Historic Places. The Provo West Co-op was housed in that building until 1892, when the co-op failed. Since that time, the building has housed several businesses, and today it is home to Foxglove Flowers.
Smoot Drug Building
The Smoot Drug Building was originally part of the First National Bank Building on the corner of University Avenue and Center Street. The bank was torn down and a new building was built in 1904. However, the west portion of the building remained at 10 W. Center St. and housed Smoot Drug, according to the National Register of Historic Places.
The building was home to the Provo location of the Sweet Tooth Fairy until fall 2018 when that location closed.
Union Block Building
According to the National Register of Historic Places, this property originally belonged to Brigham Young, but after his death the property was given to former Provo mayor A.O. Smoot. The building at 32 W. Center St. was originally built in 1889 as two identical halves with a wall between the two on the first floor. The first business was Irvine and Barney Dry Goods, and it later housed The New York Clothing Co. and The Hansen Catering Co.
Today, ComedySportz calls the Union Block building home.
Taylor Brothers Furniture Company Building
According to the National Register of Historic Places, this building at 250 W. Center St. was built from 3 buildings, all of which housed the Taylor Brothers Co., that underwent rebuilds to be unified.
The property originally was home to George Taylor’s furniture business, which was started in 1866. When he divorced his wife in 1890, the business was transferred to his wife Eliza Nichols and their sons Thomas and Arthur.
Thomas Taylor started a jewelry business in 1885 and in 1889, he built a two-story building just east of his father’s furniture store, according to the Provo Landmarks Commission.
In 1890, after taking control of Taylor Brothers Furniture Company, Taylor built a new three-story building at the location of his father’s old furniture store. In 1902, the addition to the east was replaced by a new three-story addition to match the building built in 1890.
In 1910, a third three-story building was built to the west, and the buildings were combined into unified structure, according to the National Register of Historic Places.
In the 1970s, the building was home to Continental Plaza, a mini mall and Stevens Henager College.
Today, the building is home to a Google Fiber Space.
The Excelsior building was built in 1890. at 42 W. Center St. One of the longest-run businesses in the building was Sutton Cafe, according to the Provo Landmark Commission. It closed in the late 1950s. Today, the building is home to Osaka Japanese Restaurant and Bruges Waffles and Frites.
Davis Millinery Building
Henry W. Davis built this building at 198 W. Center St. in 1890 to house his business The H.W. David Millinery Co., where they made women’s hats. The original building also housed a dressmaking shop in the back, according to the National Register of Historic Places. The Davises lived in the upper floor of the building, with their 11 children.
The building has housed many businesses over the years including the Bird Palace and Hookah Collection. Today it is home to Fruta Crush Mexican Snacks.
Originally built in 1885, this building at 104 W. Center St. was built to house a drug store and saloon called The Palace, which was owned by Russel S. Hines. The second floor was rebuilt in 1893 to be a rooming house, and the building was rebuilt in 1890 to its current state. The drug store eventually became known as Hedquist Drug Store, Ivan’s Drug Stone Drug, Sanitary Cafe Cozy Cafe and Provo Pharmacy, according to the National Register of Historic Places.
The I.O.O.F of Provo, the first fraternal order in Provo, had their hall on the second floor, and in 1905, the Vienna Cafe opened in the former saloon area.
Today the building is home to What’s Hot Clothing Boutique.
Built in 1890, the Gates-Snow Building at 43 E. Center St., in Provo was one of the first built downtown. J.F. Gates and Moroni Snow became business partners and opened the Gates-Snow Furniture Company, according to the National Register of Historic Places. Gates left the business in 1902 to go on a Latter-day Saint mission, and the business was taken over by Snow and renamed the M. Snow Furniture Company.
The building was taken over in 1907 by former Provo mayor William M. Roylance in 1907, to house his fruit, produce and fruit packing company, which was the largest in the valley at the time.
When it was built, it had a stamped metal front that was delivered in 1890 from St. Louis.
Today, the building is home to Enlighten Bakery and Cafe.
The Knight Block Building, one of two twin buildings on the north corners of University Avenue and Center Street, is an iconic structure in Provo. It was built in 1900 for local mining magnate and businessman Jesse Knight, to house his financial headquarters. But while the building still bears his name, the Knight family has long since ceased doing business there, according to the National Register of Historic Places.
Today, the Knight Block rents spaces to several local businesses at 1 E. Center St., including Kelly Larson Studios, Vance Hawkins Design, Jacobson Construction, Gandolfo's Deli, Silk Scientific, Inc., Justin Hackworth Studios and REMS Inc., among others.
Southworth Block Building
The Southworth Block at 110 W. Center St. was originally built in 1900 by Henry L. Southworth. It housed four businesses with a public hall on the second floor, according to the National Register of Historic Places.
Historically, it’s provided a home to multiple businesses including restaurants, meat markets, vision centers, a men’s store, a restaurant, a dance hall and rental rooms.
According to the Utah State Historical Society, the building was restored in 1990, and today is home to Southworth Hall, a wedding reception and corporate event hall.
Avenue Block building at 43 N. University Ave. was built in 1902 for R.R. Irvine and Son Dry Goods, which occupied the lower flow. The upper floor was home to dentists Charles Snyder and James Irvine, according to the National Register of Historic Places.
The building has been reworked over the years, but still shows many of the original elements intact. In 1965, an addition was added in the rear of the building and in 1966, the building was extensively remodeled inside.
Today the building is home to Rockwell Ice Cream Company and Ivie.
Provo Meat & Packing Co. Building
The Provo Meat & Packing Co. Building at 65 N. University Ave. was built in 1902, as the meat packing company was organized, according to the National Register of Historic Places.
Today it is home to Danburry Barber Shop, Andrew Beesley Studio and Design, Perfectly Suited by Garth and Something Borrowed Bridal Rentals.
This building at 19 N. University Ave. was completed in 1902 by Charles E. Loose to house his offices. He was the vice-president of the Provo Commercial and Savings Bank and the Farrer Brothers Co. Dry Goods store, which stood on either side of this building, according to the National Register of Historic Places.
The building was later known as the Express Building and the Grand Central Building. It also housed the Provo Drug Company for many years until it became home to the Bullock and Losee Jewelry Store in the 1960s.
First National Bank Building
This iconic building at 4 W. Center St., was originally built to house the First National Bank, later known as the Provo Commercial and Savings Bank, according to the National Register of Historic Places The building, however, was replaced by a new one in 1904. This building had the same architect as the Knight Block — Richard C. Watkins.
Over the years, many businesses have called this building home, including Los Hermanos which was located on the ground floor until it moved in 2011. Today the building is home to The Bell Room.
Farmers and Merchants Bank
According to the Provo Landmarks Commission, this building sits on the original site of Brigham Young Academy, the predecessor of Brigham Young University. That building, called Lewis Hall, was destroyed by fire in 1884.
This current building was built in 1906 to house the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Provo, with Thomas Taylor, the mayor of Provo and owner of the Taylor Brothers Furniture, as president.
Located at 290 W. Center St., the building housed the bank until 1932 when the bank closed. The bank reopened that year with new leadership, and in 1955 it moved to a new location on 300 West before it was sold to Walker Bank.
Today, the building is home to Esplin Weight Attorneys at Law and B&H Pharmacy.