Experience the life of the pioneers as you walk back into the early days of Provo when the settlers of 1849 had to survive in isolation. The Pioneer Village contains the original structures built by these pioneers, including the Turner Cabin, the Haws Cabin, the Loveless Home, a granary, school, woodshop, corn crib, outhouse, and more. The Pioneer Village also contains an ox shoeing stock, various pioneer wagons, a working blacksmith shop, authentic general store, pioneer games for the children, and a wide variety of historical artifacts and tools.
This Pioneer Village represents early Provo, a frontier community existing in large part in isolation. The pioneers’ very survival depended on their own skills and the support of their neighbors and friends. What they ate, they grew; what they wore, they made; and what they needed, they manufactured or they did without. Things were used and reused; little was discarded or thrown away.
The southwest part of the Village represents the residential community: the Haws Cabin, Turner Cabin, and Loveless Home, as well as their gardens. The southeast part of the Village represents farming: a granary, corn crib, corral and loafing shed. The northeast part of the Village has the Carriage House commercial enterprises, including the blacksmith shop, cooper shop, wood shop, ox shoeing stock, and the store and grain mill. The northwest section of the Village has the school and town square.
The Village began its existence in 1931 when the first cabin was moved to this site by the Sons of Utah Pioneers. It has steadily grown since then. It has gone through major renovations and restoration during the last six years. Small handcrafted pioneer items and candy are for sale in the store and a modern bathroom is available in the Village. Docents are on hand to interpret and explain what is there. There is also extensive descriptive material on hand to better inform the visitors. It is operated entirely with volunteers and there is no admission charge. Visitors typically come away with a deep appreciation for the life style of the early settlers and are amazed that the little Village has captured the pioneer spirit so effectively. It is a rare jewel in the heart of Provo.
Its location in the beautiful Provo North Park and its proximity to the Provo City Recreation Center and Swimming Pool make it an especially attractive visitor destination.
Village Mission Statement
We, the Brigham Young Chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers, are committed to preserving the memory and heritage of the early pioneers of Utah County by authentically preserving, developing, and interpreting the buildings and artifacts in the George A. Smith Pioneer Village. We are committed to using the Village as a resource to teach youth and preserve the memory of the early pioneers for the visitors and residents of Utah Valley.
- Focus on those artifacts and structures that date back to the nineteenth century, showing preference to items that are consistent with the lifestyle of the pioneers before the coming of the railroad.
- Invite the community to participate in the operation and development of the Village by recruiting volunteers to act as docents, historians, musicians and craftsmen who can help improve and interpret the Village to the visitors.
- Continue to expand our collection of artifacts, consistent with the mission of the Village, by encouraging donations and purchases when funds are available.
- Actively restore and preserve the artifacts and structures contained in the Village.
- Make the Village available to the community and sponsor activities for the community with a particular emphasis on school groups and other youth groups.
- Continue to coordinate with Provo City and the Daughters of Utah Pioneers those projects that will be of mutual concern to all parties.
- Open the Village to the community on a regular summer schedule where visitors can come and experience pioneer life. We will strive to make the Village accessible and meaningful by having docents and or craftsmen in the Village as our resources allow. When skilled docents are not available, self-guided tours with explanatory signs will be displayed.
- Seek out funding from local, regional, and national sources.
History of the Village
The existence of the Village is due to the foresight of the George A. Smith Chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers, a group of dedicated men who back in the 1930’s realized the need for preserving the heritage of this area. In 1931, David Loveless donated the John Turner home, a barn and his large collection of artifacts to the local chapter of the SUP for the purpose of preserving Provo history. He, along with members of the Sons of Utah Pioneers, and in partnership with Provo City which provided a location, assembled and relocated the buildings and artifacts we have today. From that beginning, the George A Smith Chapter of the SUP expanded and improved the Village. They added buildings and artifacts and repaired, replaced, preserved, and displayed them. Many great men with vision contributed time and money to its success.
About 1997 the George A. Smith Chapter began to lose membership due to their age and failing health. Without the strong support of the members, the Village began to decline and fall into disrepair. Realizing the difficulty of maintaining the Village with decreasing numbers, in 2006 the George A. Smith Chapter was incorporated into the Brigham Young Chapter. With that incorporation, new life came to the Village. The Brigham Young Chapter, now the sponsor of the Village, organized the George A. Smith Operations Committee and gave this committee the responsibility of directing the affairs of the Village. Many changes and improvements have been made and plans are underway to continue to improve the Village.
In 2013, the Loveless Home, the home of James Washington Loveless, was donated to the Pioneer Village. Restoration of the Loveless Home was finished the following year and it was dedicated on June 7, 2014. We are happy to preserve for the community the longest-inhabited building in Provo, built around 1853 and lived in until 2013.