Friday, December 22, 2017

Arches Across US 89

Three grand arches arc across US 89. A fourth was long ago torn down.
The oldest existing arch is in Brigham City, Utah.  It was built in 1928. Here is an excellent short description of the creation of the arch:
http://brighamcitylibrary.blogspot.com/2012/03/brigham-city-arch.html

As the story goes, after attending a 1930's Peach Days celebration in Brigham City, where part of the festivities was lighting the welcome arch, Ogden Mayor Harmon Peery decided it was time for Ogden to get one of its own.

The arch was conceived by Mayor Peery in the middle of the Depression, when Ogden was reported to be the fastest growing city in America. Peery wanted the sign to say "Ogden, America's Fastest Growing City" in large letters outlined in bright neon.

The sign was dedicated Nov. 21, 1936. The south side read, "It Pays to Live in Ogden, America's Fastest Growing City." On the other side were the words, "We Welcome You to Ogden, Pioneer Days Week, July 24." Mayor Peery was also the mastermind behind Ogden's annual Pioneer Days Week.

The words on the south side of the sign were changed In 1939 to "Utah's Fastest Growing City."

In 1952, it was changed to "Ogden, Home of Weber College." Seven years later, the school became a four-year state college and the sign was changed again to read, "Home of Weber State College."

The sign was moved in 1992 to a location 30 feet north. And the wording on one side was also changed to "Home of Weber State University."
The final existing arch over US 89 (at least that we know of) is in Afton, a community in Wyoming's Star Valley.  It was constructed with 3,000 elk antlers in the late 1950's.  (Elk shed their antlers each year and these antlers were picked up in the Elk Refuge next to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.)  Here is a good short story about the Afton Antler Arch.  http://starvalleyhs.lincolncountywy.org/Elkhorn_Arch.html
Our vote for The Best Arch on old US 89 is one that no longer exists.  It once graced the south entrance to Prescott, Arizona, back in the earliest years of US 89...which is that dirt roadway shown going under the arch and across Granite Creek beyond.
Unfortunately, we do not have a high resolution photo of The Prescott Arch so this enlarged screen clip will have to do.  One of the key design elements of this eye-pleasing arch are the twin tapered square support columns.  The proportion and tapering of the columns gives them a "Doric column flair" especially since they are both topped with an architectural cap of modest design.  Adding to the arch's ambiance is the fact that both columns were constructed with hand laid masonry rock.  Even though this is pure speculation, we'd bet the rocks in both columns were handsome specimens especially chosen from some of the many nearby colorful geologic strata and mine tailing piles. Whoever designed the arc of the arch itself did a masterful job proportioning it to the columns.  Set together with the classic bridge railings beyond, The Prescott Arch was a highly personable gateway greeting to US 89 travelers leaving The White Spar highway to enter the inviting community ahead.

(Editor's Note:  We have an inquiry pending as to the construction and demolition dates of this arch.)

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