Mar 31, 2014

Why is it called Joaquin Neighborhood?

Picture is from this book.

A local historian, D. Robert Carter, wrote a book called Founding Fort Utah that you can get at the Provo Library or online. It's all about the very early days of Provo. In his book, using an original diary as the source, he tells about some Spaniards that were trying to find a way from New Mexico to California and decided to cut through Utah. They eventually found a couple of Ute Indians to guide them who were from the Utah Lake area. One was a man and one was a 12-year-old boy, with names that were probably difficult for the Spaniards to pronounce, since the good friars gave them Spanish names. (Reading the book, they seem to like to give people easy-to-pronounce Spanish names...If only we could do this in real life.) Anyway, they called the older guy Silvestre, and the boy, Joaquin. They have a few adventures and we don't really know anything about Joaquin after that.

In 1938, the Joaquin Elementary School was built at 550 N. 600 E. as part of the Works Project Administration during the Depression, replacing an even older elementary school. According to this article, a teacher/librarian called Ida Liechty suggested the name, saying that the school would guide students like Joaquin guided the Spaniards. It's a nice thought.

As far as I can discover, the neighborhood took on the name of the school, and that's the story behind the name Joaquin Neighborhood.

In related news, in 2004, the school was getting so old that the city decided it would be cheaper to tear it down and sell it than renovate it. Some housing project called Joaquin Village was proposed, it went bankrupt, sounds like a huge mess, and somehow it morphed into just "The Village" (Creepy, anyone?) which is the gigantic student housing complex which stands there today.

Whenever you pass it, you can wave and think of the original boy scout, Joaquin.

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