Providence City Oral History Project
Date:15 September 2006 Tape Number: PCOH 2006 ARG-12
Location: Providence, UT Interviewee(s): Glade Davis
County: Cache Interviewer: Rachel Gianni
Recording equipment & mic:
Sony TCM 200 DV/150, mic: Radio Shack 33-3013
Transcribing equipment: Panasonic VSC RR-830
General description: This is a word for word transcription of an interview conducted by Rachel Gianni with Glade Davis about his memories of Providence, Utah. Glade Davis lives at 95 North 300 East in Providence, Utah. Tape numbering starts over on Side B. _____________________________________________________________________
When and where were you born? What was your family situation?
My birthday is December the 9th, 1927. I was born in Logan, Utah. My parents were younger when they were married. The economy conditions were pretty bad then, as far as Cache Valley, for somebody like my father finding a job, so he ended up going to Ogden to work for Safeway. After three or four years, my mother and father were separated. Charles R. Davis was my father and Erma C. Chugg was my mother. She was originally from Providence, the Chuggs from Providence. I was raised in Providence. I was born in the hospital in Logan. I’ve been in Providence most of all my life.
What did you do as a kid in Providence?
It was a very good community to be raised in because the people were all good and friendly and everyone knew each other. You kind of looked out for everybody. It was friendly and you could enjoy playing games with other kids at night and feel good and safe. We had a lot of good activities in Providence; a lot of ball games that were played there: baseball games, softball games. There were all the church activities with basketball, and all kinds of reunions, family reunions that you’d go to the different parks and enjoy those different kinds of things.
What kind of celebrations do you remember?
Providence had a lot of good celebrations. The thing that really stuck out in my mind, was one time when I was probably about ten or twelve, they had a pageant that was put on. What it did was portray the pioneers and the Indians and they actually had a battle right on the Providence square where they actually used real guns, but they had blank ammunition. It was a real outstanding celebration and I’m sure that there are people in Providence who still have the old type video, the best they could make in those days. We had a lot of parades and I was picked to be the king along with Ida May Griffin who was also a Providence resident. That was a real nice parade.
Providence always had good celebrations. The sauerkraut celebration started out when I was young. They had them in the Pavilion which is now removed and gone. I have a lot of memories of that. There was a lot of talent that would put on the different shows and the different skits. One of the outstanding ones that I remember was Boyd Fuhriman and Nathan Zollinger. They were two stand-up comedians that sang songs. I know the whole town would turn out when they would perform at the Pavilion. The sauerkraut days in those days were special things because everybody participated. Everybody helped. The Elders Quorums and High Priest Quorum would go to Preston and go to different places and get the cabbage and cut it up and age it and make it ready for the bazaars. They were just outstanding events to younger people because it was something that the whole community was involved in. You’d see everybody living in Providence that would be there. It made you really feel comfortable because of the closeness that there was with the people. I guess you never do forget those things when you’re younger because of the impression that it make on you. I think it attributes to the fact that you turn out to be a pretty good citizen yourself because you see a lot of old people perform without being paid for it or without any compensation of any way. They just do it because of the love of the town.
What are some of your memories from your school days?
School was really a challenge for me. I don’t know why. It seemed like when I was around the third or fourth grade, I had kind of a rebellious nature and didn’t do the things and study like I should have. There was a principal by the name of Spencer Griffin who moved to Providence. He preceded a principal by the name of A. E. Allen, who was an outstanding educator, but Spencer Griffin was really something kind of special because he had techniques of how to handle people and children and get you involved in what was going on so that you had an interest in it. If there was going to be a health day or Mendon day, there would be races and different things that kids would participate in. He would take an interest in your talent and help you become as good as you could be to participate in that. When he first came to town, it was like with anybody that moves into a town new. Everybody was giving him a bad time, all the kids and everything. He finally just won over all the children and I’m sure they all felt the same way that I did. He was really a special educator, dedicated to see that each kid got a equal chance to do things. School was really pretty good for me up through the eighth grade, then that’s when we attended South Cache High School. I’ve always said that they had a little bit of a bad situation at South Cache because, as we went over there as freshman, the kids from Wellsville had junior high and they would come to South Cache with a lot more knowledge of sports, a lot more knowledge of subjects in school. We had all just been more or less one class. I don’t know if they were smarter, but they were more worldly and ready for that than the kids from Providence and Millville.
What was the train like?
That was a learning experience to have the opportunity to ride the old UIC back and forth to school. We would catch it down at Second West, Providence. They had a little train station and part of it was their office and part of it was where you could come in and wait. They had a little stove in there, so it did stay a little bit warm. It’s like everything else; all the older kids would get down there and get into the warm room and the younger ones would have to stay outside in the cold. It was a learning experience to know how the railroad made the connections. I don’t ever remember it not being on time or not making the run, regardless of bad weather conditions or whatever they were. They were always good and dependable. After that ended, we had the bus service to school.
What did you do after you graduated from high school?
My senior year at South Cache, a friend of mine talked me and three other guys into going down to Salt Lake and joining the Navy with him. We were all really young. In another situation, if I would have had some good guidance or some mean parents, they would have had enough sense of talking me out the Navy, but my mother always went along with what I wanted to do, she let me make my own decisions. So we left school and went down and joined the Navy. The fellow that took us down was Ray Eliason. He knew he couldn’t get in the Service because he knew he was colorblind. I imagine over the years, he probably took ten or fifteen different boys down and talked them into joining the Navy, and they went in the Navy and he’s come back home. He was a good kid. There were three of us that ended up going in the Service at that time. It was probably a good step for us because we were no different than other kids. We were doing a few things we shouldn’t do and trying smoking and drinking like all kids do. When we went in the Service, we made a pact between the three of us that that was something we weren’t going to do. It worked out good for two of us. We refrained from getting involved with any of that. My cousin, who is Clair Chugg, who is now passed away, when we came home from the Service, he moved to Las Vegas.
When I came home from the Service, that’s when I started out in the automobile business. I took a course at the university in welding and became a body and fender man. I built up into the new car business. Going in the Service was not all bad for me because I grew up pretty fast. I went through boot camp at a U.S. naval station in San Diego. Then I was assigned to an aircraft carrier, USS Bennington CV20, that’s a big aircraft carrier. I served in the Pacific. I had some pretty good experiences there, kind of tough ones. On our way to Okinawa, we had a hurricane. My aircraft carrier, the flight deck was eighty feet from the water and the waves were so high that they were going over the flight deck. It’s recorded in history as a really bad typhoon down there. I had a cousin who was in Okinawa. In those days they had corrugated sheet metal and as it would blow off of the buildings. It would cut trees six inches in diameter right to pieces. My cousin Clair was on a cruiser, and off of his cruiser, there were two sailors that got washed overboard that they never did find. That was quite a time. That was when the Japanese were using their kamikaze airplanes. Every aircraft carrier out there, the next day, got hit with one of those. In this typhoon it blew the top of the flight deck up. We had to catapult all of our planes off and turn around. We went back to Hawaii, so I was lucky we missed out on any of the real action. Just not too long after that they dropped the Atomic bomb and the War was over. I stayed on the aircraft carrier and went on the Panama Canal around to Norfolk, Virginia and they decommissioned the ship that I was on.
I had an opportunity to get what they call a dependency discharge because my mother was single. Because the War was over and everything was real different, I was real eager to get out, so I got out and came home. I had a good friend who was a coach at South Cache, Cliff Poole. I went over to talk to him and he asked me to come back to school and graduate from high school. Also, in the package I was going to be able to play football. So I went back and graduated from high school. That would have been ’46.
Tell me about your profession in the automobile business?
It’s really a long story because I started out in the body and fender business. Most people who live in Providence now, would never realize that the body and fender shop I started out in was right in Providence, right on the main street. It was Ray Bitter’s. I think we just called it Bitter’s Service Station. He had a little service station and a little body shop and paint shop right by the store that now is not a store anymore. That was a high point of Providence at that time. I started out with him. I guess once in a while you have things that kind of come more naturally to you than it does to others. I was very good at painting cars, right from the first one I ever painted. Through that I became pretty much connected with the automobile business and worked with him for quite a while and he decided to sell out.
When he sold the business, that’s when I moved to Oregon with my wife and I ran a body and fender shop for Wagner Motor, a Chrysler Plymouth dealer up there. My wife never did like being away from home, but she especially didn’t like Nessa, Oregon because we weren’t used to the wind blowing all the time. We ended up selling everything we had up there and moving back to Logan. I went to work at Hill Field as a body and fender repairman. Their cars and trucks that they used would get bent up or in accidents and so we would repair them. I kind of got doing that and had a good job down there, but through Jacob Fuhriman, who is now still alive in Providence, he was an adjuster for Farm Bureau Insurance and they would have a car get in an accident in Rexburg and he would go up and it would be what they call a “total.” It would be more expensive to repair it than the value of it. He would let me go bid on those cars and I would buy them and it worked out really good because I was at Hill Field working with a lot of body men who wanted to buy these cars that didn’t have the connection that I had. So I’d buy the cars and do a moderate repair on them and sell them to them. That was really a good business for me. I bought my first business license and I had a little garage in Providence in 1949. Through that it became a really good business for me because the number of cars through the War were getting to be more numbers of them so there were more of them being wrecked. They were easier to buy and it made it easier for me to get them and sell them. I had one trouble: in the car business at that time, everyone who sold cars recoursed the paper. In other words, if I sold you a car and you bought it, I would sign a recourse on it and the First Security Bank, who I was dealing with at that time, would buy the paper. But if something happened, I would have to buy the car back if they repossessed it from me. I had a hard time trying to figure out just how to do that. I met Melroy Larsen, he was a guy from Hyrum who actually owned the Logan Motor Company, which was a Dodge and Plymouth dealership. We worked out a deal where I’d run my paper through him and he would sell it to the First Security Bank if there had been any repossessions, but there never was because most people who bought a wrecked car, by the time they got it fixed had a big equity in it, they owned a lot of it. I did that for three or four years and it was good for both of us, good for Logan Motor and good for me. Logan Motor got in financial trouble and was investigated by commercial credit for being out of trust. Out of trust means you sold a car that they have on their flooring that you didn’t pay for. When they came and investigated it, it really wasn’t true. But in the process, Hal Jensen, who was the manager of that business became friendly with me and for some reason, he said, “Well, if you want to open the doors of this business again, you’re going to have to quit your job again and manage it and not Melroy Larsen.” This became bad for Melroy because he was actually the manager of it. The best thing he decided he could do was sell out. What persuaded me to do this is they owed me about $20,000 and they didn’t have the money to pay me, so I either had to quit my job and come and manage that business or I would have just lost the money. I was concerned about one other guy who was in there who was named Homer Peterson who was a good friend of mine. Homer and I decided that we would buy Melroy out of the business. We went into partners and started the business. I had a business on 30 South Main, where Edwards Furniture is, that was the building we were in. Then we moved from there down to Jack’s Tire and Oil’s old building which was behind where Penney’s used to be, where now is the Copper Mill, right on the corner there. We operated there for a while and then we built the building where Tool Liquidator is now. We sold it to the Volkswagen dealer. Then we went from there and bought the old Safeway store which is on 550 North Main which is now the time clock plaza. We remodeled that into a dealership. At that time, my partner, Homer Peterson, who was an excellent partner, who was really a good guy, we got along really good, was at the age he wanted to get out of the business. I tried to figure out how to come up with enough money to buy him out. The only way we could do, was we decided we would sell that building. We sold it to Jack Nixon. That gave me the cash so that Homer could get out of the business. I went in partner with Dallas Elder who owned this property and built this building and we went into partnership here. It was one of those situations where we just didn’t click together. It came up that he was either going to buy me out or I was going to buy him out. We built this building out here like I told you in 1975. I used the money to buy Homer out. I had the inventory and the parts. We came out here and set this up which was a good move, but Dallas and I didn’t see eye to eye, so the next thing I knew, he pretty much told me that I had to buy him out. I did that and right after I bought him out, this business was going pretty good. I have three sons who are in the business with me, one of them being Bob, Robert Davis. We bought the dealership in Brigham City from Packer Motor, who is the Packers who is one of the apostle’s son. We bought that business and then two of my boys, Brett and Bob moved over there and Charles and I stayed here. Next thing that happened was that a dealership came up for sale in Tremonton which was Archibald Ford. We bought that and my youngest son, Bret, moved up from Brigham to run that dealership. We had a young man working for us by the name of Joe Betar who was working his way though college. He was going to be an attorney. He worked for us for about eight years, and worked his way through school and went back to Washington D.C. for an intern as an attorney. I was president of the Utah Auto Dealers Association that year and my wife and I went back and invited Joe and his wife to go out to dinner with us. We went out to dinner and he told that he’d decided that he didn’t want to be an attorney and wondered if there was a place in the dealership for him. So, he moved back out here and became our overseer of all three of the businesses. Joe was good with computers and understood all that kind of stuff. He worked for us for about two more years and decided that he was going to leave us and go for a bigger dealership. He was always good to talk to me about his decisions, so we talked, and I said, “Joe, what do you want to be in your life? What are you striving to be?” He said, “I want to be a car dealer.” I said, “You’ll be a car dealer quicker here with us than you will with anybody else.” He was originally from Panguich, Utah. I said, “Just look around, find a dealership that’s for sale and we’ll help you get into it.” So he found a dealership in Richfield which was a Chevrolet Chrysler dealership. We were able to buy that and Joe moved down. We bought two old buildings down in Richfield, had to tear one of them down. When we tore the one down, the other one just about fell down, so we remodeled all that and now have a really nice dealership down there. Joe’s running it and we’re all still involved in it, me and my boys, so it’s made a good business venture for all of us, all the way around. That’s a long story.
What notable things happened during your years on the City Council and as mayor?
When I got on the City Council, it was kind of a funny deal because my competitor, who was Lloyd Lenhart, was the mayor and he came to me and told me and said, “We need some good help on the City.” I’ve always had a loyal spot for Providence. I would probably try to do anything for Providence because the people of Providence are the people who formed me or trained me to do the right things and to know that to be successful you really have to put a lot of effort into it. Lloyd was selling cars for Wilson Motor and he came and asked me if I’d run for office, which I agreed to do. Immediately when I got on the City Council, Lloyd probably realized that my strength would probably be in managing the roads and taking care of the equipment and working with Norm Leonhardt who was the all around man in Providence. He did everything, he was the sheriff and the snowplow man, and taking care of the parts. Saturdays he even helped the Scouts pick up their garbage route. It was very interesting.
As the City Council grew we really attracted a lot of the real good people of Providence. I don’t mean that they’re better than anybody else, but in their capacity on the City Council, they were really good. We had Hoyt Kelley, who had been in Hawaii and had built a lot of housing complexes and a lot of building condos and knew a lot about zoning ordinances. He was on the City Council. Blaine Olsen, who was a very knowledgeable guy that had a lot of experience in Providence. We had Jack Thompson, Ken Spuhler, Clint Thompson, Mike Bishop, just a lot of guys who were homegrown Providence people who had loyalty to the City. We really worked together, I thought, awfully good.
Lloyd Lenhart was mayor for about four terms. He’s the unsung hero, to me, of Providence. He has not had a park or a street or anything dedicated to him. It’s a sad thing because he really gave a good portion of his life to the betterment of Providence. When the election came up, he decided not to run. As I remember, Art Hammond, who was from Providence ran against Ken Braegger. Ken Braegger was successful in being a mayor. Good mayor, good smart guy. We had a lot of really good things going. We built a million gallon reservoir up Providence Canyon. Half the people of Providence said that you couldn’t do it when we started trying to do it because Providence really didn’t have any revenue at that time. It isn’t like it is now with the sales tax revenue and all that stuff. They get a lot of money. Money was very hard to come by in Providence. They very seldom even had enough to meet their budget that we planned. We got that big reservoir built. About that time, in the procedure of getting that done, Ken Braegger got an offer for a job that was something that he couldn’t turn down. So, he left, and when he left, the rest of the city council elected me as mayor to fulfill his term. In that term, we had a lot of good thinkers on the council who we hired planners to come and plan how Providence ought to be and how the roads ought to be and the foresight for what Providence was going to be thirty years down the road. It’s kind of sad to say right now that most all of those plans were just all scrapped. That’s the trouble with cities like Providence. There isn’t continuity from one council to another.
One of the biggest things that happened in Providence that was the biggest letdown for me was all of the city council voted that we were going to build a road by Edgewood Hall. The City owned the right-of- way, a ninety foot right-of-way there. The city council all voted to do that. We were limited on money for everything we went to do. We hired Zollingers who had a big Cat to come up in there and push the dirt down. That was the first step of the road. It was a big hollow. Underneath that hollow there was water coming down. We put a culvert under it and filled it full of dirt. It was probably a 50 foot fill. We figured on doing that and letting it sit and settle. Then it would be finished.
In the next election, I ran against Clyde Braegger. Clyde Braegger beat me out which was the best thing that ever happened to me because I had devoted so much of my time into Providence City, trying to help the City, which I don’t begrudge. I was letting my own business fall apart. That was really a favor to me at the time. It’s hard to lose. I don’t get in many races that I’m figuring on losing. When Clyde Braegger got in, through his influence and through probably the change of mind, that road was never completed and it’s caused nothing but trouble in Providence. Thinking the road was going to be finished and Providence City has had to pay big money to take care of the goof up from not finishing that road. Someday I think that the road will still be finished because it was, in my opinion, one of the worst decisions over there. That seemed to start a problem with the fact that with the city councils. No disrespect to anybody, I realize when you get elected, that’s what you’re there for, you make decisions. They’ve made numerous bad decisions on not completing the road that connects to these subdivisions they’re let being built. Now, if you go to Providence and talk to people, half the people in Providence are really disgruntled and upset because they’re bringing the traffic on roads that are too little. At the time I was in, we had to stop LeGrand Johnson from using one of the roads on account of safety conditions with people being on the roads and the big rock quarry trucks coming down out of the quarry, on what we call Canyon Road which was a narrow road to start with, too narrow, it didn’t even meet code. Now, the subdivisions are putting traffic onto those roads. There was supposed to have been built a road above Providence on the east side that would have brought the traffic over towards the college, which has never been done. That’s a disappointing thing that I’ve seen all scheduled to be done which was never followed through. Again, it’s because the continuity doesn’t stay when someone gets off the council.
One of the big things that happened while I was there, I’m not ashamed to talk about it, it was probably for the good, that was that the Grand Jury indicted me and all the city councilmen. Nobody knew what the reason was, nobody knows why they did it, nobody knows how they got the authority to do it. We never did find out who our accusers were or what the reasons were or anything else. I made the statement to the Grand Jury and I’ll make it now: If we would have stole all the money Providence had, we wouldn’t have made it to Wellsville. It was a poo-poo type deal. I think, in my own mind, and I have the right to say what I think, I think it was the subdividers who got together who had the strength to get somebody in Salt Lake to promote a grand jury to indict Providence. There was one other person who was indicted and his name was Nielsen from Hyrum. He was indicted because he built the grand stand seat for Hyrum City while he was on the city council. They called it a conflict of interest. There was no conflict of interest with any of us on the city council. That’s one unfortunate thing that happened, but, in a way, when you look back at it now, it was probably one of the best things that ever happened to Providence because it cleaned out anybody who was wanting to run for office who was thinking that they could better themselves by being a politician. It was good that way.
Can you tell me about the Veterans Monument?
The big credit of that should go to Nathan Zollinger who is now deceased. He came to me and told me, “We need to build a veterans monument. Would you serve on the committee?” I was really reluctant because I had been beat up a little bit being a politician, so I didn’t know whether I wanted to do that or not. We got six of us. There was Nathan Zollinger, Lloyd Lenhart, Cordell Lundahl, Keith Watkins, myself, and Hoyt Kelley. Nate had the idea that we needed to do something in Providence to make the young kids loyal to the flag and loyal to the country. We started talking about this monument with the idea in mind that we were going to build one and put it right at Providence school. As time went on, we worked on it and talked about it. Right now I kind of even hate to think about it because three of the guys that were on the council have already passed away. It was a real challenge. We kind of got an idea of about how much it was going to cost us to do it. They came up with about $110,000. We didn’t have any money and our committee was formed as a non-profit organization with the idea in mind that we were going to get donations. Cordell Lundahl and myself were appointed that we were going to be the two that could raise the money. Keith Watkins, who is a very good guy, was so skeptical. He said, “You guys will never be able to raise that much money.” We started out and as we got going and people in Providence realized that it was really going to happen, we got a lot of support and we ended up collecting $150,000. We used about a hundred of it to build a monument and the grounds around it. I think the six guys on the committee, all of them except Nate Zollinger, had been on the city council, one time or another.
We were very skeptical to get involved at all with the City. The City could have helped us a lot in doing this, but we didn’t want to get involved with the City because basically, it comes down the fact that we didn’t trust them because of the fact that there isn’t continuity. One year you’ve got three different councilmen, every four years you’ve got a new mayor. Everybody has new ideas. They were under the impression that the people who were the mayor and the city councilmen right at that time weren’t, I can’t even think of the word I should use, they just weren’t loyal to veterans who had been in the second World War. The War had been over long enough that they had kind of forgot about what happened there. We took it on ourselves to just completely do this monument on our own and get it all set up.
After we got it all set up, we turned it over to the City. We maintained the extra money and kept it in a savings account for the upkeep that they would keep the monument in good shape. That went on for quite a while, can’t tell you for how many years, but Keith Watkins and Hoyt Kelley kind of thought we ought to turn the money over to the City. So about a year ago we went to the city council meeting and turned over, I think it was about $17,000 to Providence City, asking them that they keep that monument in good shape and good repair, which to this point, we’re not disappointed. They’ve been doing a good job with that.
We feel like, as a committee, that’s probably one of the most outstanding things that’s been accomplished in Providence because it represents all the servicemen that have been in the Service and all the wars that we’ve had, plus it is a real monument to Providence City. It’s something that everybody knows. That was really a good accomplishment. That’s an extra good thing for me.
Elder Perry came up and did a dedicatory prayer and the citizens of Providence turned out for it and made everybody feel good. I haven’t talked to one person who hadn’t commented as to that as a great asset to the City, especially Mayor Leonhardt, he was good about that.
Did you attend the Old Rock Church?
I definitely did. That was kind of a heart breaker when we left that. Because of the structural condition, the Church thought we better build a new church. I was Elders Quorum President for ten years in the Providence First Ward when we built the chapel that’s built. We had to gather up the money to build that through donations and put in sponsoring ball games to come up with the Ward’s half of the money to build the church house.
There have been a lot of things accomplished in Providence and it’s still a really, really good community. The people are extra good people, but we are losing a lot of our friendship and loyalty to each other which comes from expansion. There’s no doubt about that. I used to know everybody in Providence. I used to know every kid in Providence. I probably knew every cat and dog and who had rabbits. Now, I don’t even know all the people in my own ward. That change is, I guess, good but it’s hard. It’s hard on people who have been there for a long time. I didn’t’ realize that when I was younger, but now that I’m older, I understand what the older people thought of change, why they fought change.
What sort of German influence was in Providence?
When the World War Two started, I was not old enough to remember anything about World War One. But when World War Two started, there was German influence in Providence and there was English influence in Providence. Those two clashed pretty regularly over the War. Both of the people who were the most outspoken in that, and I’m not going to mention names, ended up with a son each being killed in the War. I’m sure that brought them together. That made them realize that we were all on the same side fighting the bad powers that were out there at that time. Right now we’ve really got a bad situation with the terrorists and knowing how to handle that. Through good leadership and people who make the right decisions, I hope we overcome that like we have everything else.
I’m really a dedicated person to Providence. The people there, I can’t name the ones that are responsible, because most of them or gone, but they are who influenced me and were able to help me accomplish what I have whether it’s good or bad.
The limestone quarry was an interesting thing for Providence for a lot of years. They first started mining that with teams of horses and wagons. I knew a lot of the people that worked up there. One of the foreman was Dick Campbell and LaVar Mohr. There was Marion Chugg. Roy Chugg was one that I remember really well because when they first got the trucks up there, they had one without the top on the cab. They called them Burma specials. He would bring a load out of the quarry which was very steep. His drive shaft broke, and when it broke, it took out the air brakes. He was just smart enough and understood the situation that he turned it into the side hill and it rolled it over and injured him some which he probably never did recuperate all the way. He went back to work and raised his family. He had injuries from that. It would have been about 1949. It was after the Second World War.
All the people in Providence participated one way or another in the quarry. They had livelihoods that came from that, or they had teams of horses that were rented to someone else that was hauling the rocks out. Frank H. Norberg came to run the quarry, that’s when they went to trucks. Frank Kelley was one of the old timers at the quarry. He was one of the guys that ran it right from the start and stayed with it a long time. To be the first at the quarry, with their teams of horses to load the rock, they would leave at 12:00 at night and start up the canyon. A lot of them had good horses that they could actually sleep in the bed of their wagon. The horses would take them right up to the quarry. Coming down, it was a hazardous thing because it was steep and the rocks were a lot of weight. They had devised some good braking systems so that they could hold the weight back from the horses. Everybody in Providence that worked at the quarry had a good team of horses. It was probably a good industry for the City of Providence, as far as everybody being able to participate and earn money. They did haul the rock at one time to just to a spur right in Providence when the railroad ended up there. They closed the railroad up and hauled it up to the old sugar factory down by Sixth West in Logan. It was very interesting.
One thing that was always interesting in Providence and that has been completely removed now, that was on Second West and Center Street, was the old pea vinery. Everyone that was farming at that time would raise a little patch of peas. Those were harvested and brought into the pea vinery. They had four different places where you could unload the peas. They would shell the peas out and they were taken to Smithfield for California Packing and they would can them up there. They had a gridiron that the peas would go on. They would have a vibrator that would break the pods open and they would shell them into a separate container and then the pea vines would go out and be put in a stack that was later used for cattle feed. That was also an interesting thing because, at the time they would start hauling the peas, they would go out and harvest them at night, just about dark so that they could be the first ones to the pea vinery the next morning. That way you could get them there before the sun came up and wilted the peas. When they were really cold, they shelled out a lot better. All the kids in town missed that because when they’d go through with wagon loads of peas, all the kids would be running out and grabbing some off the rack that they were hauling to the pea vinery with. At that time there were still a lot of horses being used to pull the wagons down to the pea vinery.
Another thing that was really interesting in Providence was the sugar beets. They were harvested in the fall. They were taken from Providence down to the same place that they took the rock from the rock quarry. That was also a pretty big industry. That has now discontinued because there isn’t even a beet dump in Utah. They’re all up in Oregon where they’re raising more beets. The beets had to be thinned in the spring and hoed all summer, then harvested and topped in the winter. Generally it was in the fall when the rain and snow would start. They would use sometimes three teams of horses just to pull the wagon out of the beet field. Then one team of horses would take it down to the sugar factory.
The barber shop and the store and the blacksmith shop in Providence were all of the main businesses in Providence. At the time when I was a kid, they had two service stations and a store that handled about everything. Ross Pickett had his blacksmith shop and he was the one that pretty well kept all the wagons and the plows and all that stuff going because he was a really good blacksmith. He did a lot of shoeing of horses and taking care of all those kinds of things. Watkins Printing came later into one of the stores that was there that was a grocery store. We had Watkins’s and Theurer’s store in Providence. Just about everybody did their shopping there. There was not very many people who came to Logan to get their groceries. Cox’s Honey was established by Marion Cox. For years, he was the only place where you could get honey. He had a good operation and he had beehives all over the area. He would harvest them in the fall and melt out the honey out of the honey comb and sell the honey there from his business.
There have been a lot of really good women’s clubs in Providence. The Daughters of the Utah Pioneers have been there. The biggest club that’s ever been in Providence that’s done more service work there than anybody was the Lions Club. I didn’t happen to be a charter member. The last charter member that was still alive was Glen Dattage. He passed away and the Lions Club has had a struggle getting new members. The Lions Club is still going in Providence and still doing service projects. They have about 12 members. When I joined the Lions Club quite a few years ago, they had 50 members. It was a big organization and they accomplished a lot of projects in Providence.
Providence Lane had big deep ditches on each side, and the Lions Club put the pipe in that and filled it up so it wasn’t so dangerous. Bill Mathews had a backhoe and he did all the backhoe work for the Lions Club, donated his time and his equipment. I think the one side was put in in about 1991 and the other side was probably put in about two years later, 1993. That was a beautification and a safety thing for Providence. Now there’s businesses all along there. The Lions Club made the school diamond at the grade school. That was just a small diamond to start with and the Lions Club, through the effort of Marion Chugg, who furnished all the clay dirt, the Lions spent about two or three weeks building that whole ball park.
They have done the Labor Day and Memorial Day breakfast for the last 75 years, every year. They used to congregate there when it first started. They started with a horseback ride. After the breakfast, they’d go up Dry Canyon and over across by the Providence lake and back down Providence Canyon. I can remember when I was younger that there were as many as 40 or 50 horses that would go on the trip. That has now been discontinued and kind of phased out. It was a history maintaining thing in Providence at the time.
The Providence Lions Club put up all the street markers and got identifying the streets in Providence. They were very active in sponsoring the New Year’s Eve dances. Things like that in those days were very important to the community. Now they don’t bother to have those anymore.
I lived in a house that did have indoor plumbing and electricity. When I was really young, the home that we lived in did not have inside toilet facilities. The WPA was working in Providence at that time. It was a government sponsored deal, they built outhouses. They would come and install one on your property for a very minimal charge so that they could get everybody in the area to have that kind of facility. As far as electricity, that was always there. They improved all of the conveniences as far as electricity goes.
I really enjoyed being raised in Providence and how the community helped each other out. They helped a lot of the kids like myself be able to be pretty successful in life because they had good training and knew how to work. Almost all of us had some sort of profession that we were able to follow and do.
They used to have Strawberry days and they used to have Raspberry days. On those days they would have fun activities, games for the kids and some of the grown ups would put in little skits. I can remember very distinctly how they would have all these strawberries and they’d have bowls of powdered sugar that you could dip the strawberries in and eat them. It was a community Providence thing, just like Mendon or Wellsville would have theirs. It was easy then to get just about everybody in town to participate in it. Now Providence has gotten big and it’s hard to get those kinds of things together.
I noticed this year, they’re having Providence Sauerkraut days again. That brings a lot of the people who were raised in Providence back. It’s a good thing for people to be able to come back and visit with each other.
In finishing up, I’d like to just add one little thing here. My wife was Carol Facer who had been born and raised in Smithfield. When she married and moved into Providence, she participated in all the clubs and all the breakfasts and dinners and money raising projects to build the church house. We had block dinners. That would mean there would be eight or ten couples come to one house and they would pay for their meal to raise the money. I know that without the help of my wife, I’d have never been able to be as successful and happy as I’ve been and raise a good family. I’d just like to let everybody know what a good person she is and that she is still very active in helping out in Providence and probably knows a lot of the history of Providence better than I do. We’ve been married now for 59 years. We’ve been in Providence for a long time.
End of interview.