"Wow, How Things Have Changed!"

On May 4th, Orem will be celebrating our 100-year anniversary of the founding of the city. The birthday party will take place at the Orchard Park at University Place mall at 5 PM. I hope that all can attend.

In thinking about this wonderful event, I started to look up some of the things that have changed from that time to now.

Did you know that in 1919 women were given the right to vote through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution for the first time? Also, pop-up toasters came into use that year. Likewise, rotary dial telephones were introduced by AT&T. And even zippers were invented during this time.

Now I don't know about you, but life without zippers, toasters, and telephones would be a whole lot different than the lives we live today.

Life without our beautiful city would be much different as well.

From the new book by Charlene Winters, "City of Orem: A Centennial Benchmark," it states:

"As the population grew (on the Provo Bench), rumblings about incorporation increased. The idea of becoming a town became a reality in 1919 after a vote deciding whether the bench would have its own town or whether it would join the ranks of Provo came down on the side of its own community by a two-thirds majority. As the Provo Bench Commercial Club considered a name, suggestions included Timpanogos, Sharon, and Canyon City. In the end, however, club president Britt Woodward recommended Orem to name the community after railroad owner Walter C. Orem."

President Brigham Young stated when he first came to the bench that "Someday all this sagebrush will disappear. Water will be taken out of the Provo River in canals for irrigation, and this land will become a beautiful garden spot where many kinds of delicious fruit and vegetables will be grown, [and] beautiful homes will be erected..."

In the book, Winters says that "When families began moving to the Provo Bench, simply surviving signified success. Food was scarce, and meals consisted of a skinny jack rabbit or Bonneville cutthroat trout from Utah Lake or the Provo River...Apostle George A. Smith plotted a city southwest on the bench in the early 1870s. The town site never materialized, because without enough irrigation water that far south, the idea withered. Alfalfa and flax were the first crops planted on the bench. Early crops grown without the boost of irrigation water rose no taller than about three inches during the year and were used for seed. When the area introduced irrigation water to the bench in 1863, land cultivation became a viable profession." 
With the formation of the city in 1919, Orem was able to secure a bond and build a canal to provide adequate water for the many farms and orchards in the area.
It has taken time for President Young's vision of what this area could become to happen. But it has achieved that vision and more.  
We all can be thankful for the right to vote, toasters, zippers, telephones, and to the many hard working residents who have built up this beautiful area known as Orem over the last 100 years.

Mayor Brunst