We sometimes focus so much on fixing everything that’s going wrong that we may forget to acknowledge everything that’s going right. So, considering this, here are my thoughts about Provo for its 172nd birthday, for whatever they may be worth.
Provo was colonized in 1849 in April as 33 pioneer families from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints arrived from 2-year-old Salt Lake City to build Fort Utah near the Provo River that flows from the Wasatch mountains to the east side of Utah Lake. They rebuilt Fort Utah one year later where Provo’s Pioneer Park now stands, and they renamed their new settlement Provo in honor of explorer Etienne Provost. Provo was officially chartered in 1851 shortly before its first Church stake was organized. It quickly flourished with the nickname “The Garden City” due to its many orchards and gardens, and it has since thrived to become Utah’s third-largest city, the hub of Utah’s second-largest metropolitan area, and the seat of Utah’s fastest-growing county.
Provo today enjoys one of the highest concentration of Latter-day Saints, and is one of the few cities to enjoy TWO beautiful Church temples. The Church’s influence has helped it to enjoy high rates of volunteerism, marriage, and birth. Within Provo, the Church operates Brigham Young University, which is one of America’s largest (and most sober) private universities, along with a huge Missionary Training Center, which sends zillions of missionaries worldwide every year to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. This gives Provo an unusual global reach, and perhaps an unusually-high concentration of fantastic foreign restaurants for its size. Provo is also ranked among America’s best cities for entrepreneurship and business and jobs. It employs many residents in health and media and telecommunications, and is part of the so-called Silicon Slopes that are helping to foster the Information Age. And it’s one of America’s conservative cities, with unusually low rates of crime, and it annually hosts one of America’s largest and longest Independence Day celebrations. It’s also a good place to live for people who enjoy the outdoors. Its only significant lack may be its nightlife. Altogether, Provoans rank high statistically in being young and healthy and attractive and happy and optimistic. Please feel free to peruse the articles referenced below for more information about some of these rankings. I’m among many who feel blessed to live in this area.
I believe that Provo’s “secret to success,” like that of any state or nation, is rooted in both commonplace virtue and relative freedom. Free people can achieve amazing things when guided by virtue. Sadly, it’s sometimes when societies are flourishing that they sow the seeds of their own demise. Since 2001, Provo has enduring worrisome trends toward increased debt, taxation, spending, central planning, city code, et cetera, which all need to be reversed lest Provo in 2050 resembles Detroit in 2010. Let’s please prevent such a decline by perpetuating all that’s best in our heritage. And this should include mobilizing our neighbors to involve themselves in local politics to effectively uphold all that’s best in America’s wonderful political heritage of rightful liberty under Constitutional law.
- Gallup: “Provo-Orem, Utah, Is Most Religious U.S. Metro Area” (2013 Mar 29)
- BYU Daily Universe: “Provo ranked the most ‘flirty’ city in the country” (2013 Apr 16)
- Today: “Provo, Utah, is the happiest city in the U.S.” (2014 Mar 25)
- Yahoo! Finance: “15 Cities With the Most High-Tech Jobs” (2017 Feb 23)
- Provo Daily Herald: “15 times people, places and things in Utah Valley were the best” (2017 Mar 08)
- Deseret News: “This is why Provo ranks among the most-educated cities” (2017 Jul 25)
- Brookings Institute: “City and metropolitan income inequality data reveal ups and downs through 2016” (2018 Feb 05)
- KSL: “Provo is one of the least-diverse cities in America, a new study says; Orem isn’t far behind” (2019 Apr 14)
- Provo Daily Herald: “SmartAsset, WalletHub proclaim Provo/Orem No. 1 in giving” (2019 Nov 04)
- Provo Daily Herald: “Provo-Orem area ranked top economic performing large city in country” (2021 Feb 24)
- Provo Daily Herald: Kaufusi celebrates Provo’s 172nd birthday with a comprehensive look forward” (2021 Apr 02)
- Provo: Provo Rankings
- Facebook: Free Provo