The History of Orem

With the opening of the new Orem Recreation Center on March 20th, 2021, the Orem community is excited to get a new community pool, gym, and an extra 20% off passes till the grand opening! (This makes us hope all that banging during class time was worth it…) But it makes us wonder, how did Orem really start out? Throughout this article, we will be going over the history of our beloved city.

Going all the way back to May 5th, 1919, the era many people associated with grand parties, flappers, and the Great Gatsby. A new little town was born, in Orem, UT to be specific. But this does not mean that the residents living there, and around, did not have a name for this cute little settlement. They called it ‘Provo Bench’ because it was known for its groves and beautiful farmland. Why did they name this place Orem? Well, with it being a small town, they needed funds and hoped to catch the eye of an aristocrat named Walter Orem. (Okay, can we talk about how pretentious that name is?) It did not work, but they did a great job at getting together to get a $111,000 bond to integrate a water system. Orem does not have naturally occurring water; they always had a water shortage, so making this happen was a huge deal.

Now think of SCERA theater, you see it driving down a busy State Street, and with its, dare I say tacky logo along with a huge sign, you would think it has been there forever! Well, it actually has, since the beginning of Orem, Utah that is. They played a key role in setting a foundation for our community! Arthur Vick wanted to create a place for community entertainment and involvement and the SCERA did just that. This community center was born during the great depression and continues to bring the community together today!

Another interesting fact about Orem is the change from lush orchards and farms to strip malls and homes. Orem was originally known for its beautiful fruit trees. What is now University Avenue was lined with cherries, apples, and peaches. As Orem grew the trees came down and homes and stores went up. This left Orem without a central downtown or shopping area. This gives the city a choppy feel without much direction, but this doesn’t stop people from wanting to live in this thriving community!

In conclusion, Orem has really grown from its roots. The city may seem a bit disjointed but the people are friendly and the community continues to grow. We have a lot of community events such as summer days and SCERA outdoor theater. We also have good schools that offer languages, sports, drama, and concurrent enrollment classes. There is a lot of construction and new challenges that come with this growth, but as a community we can come together and continue to make Orem a great place to live!