city of Orem is located on the eastern shore of Utah Lake
and extends on the east to Provo and the foothills of
Mount Timpanogos. It shares the general location with
Provo, and its history is closely related to that of Provo.
Its recent explosive development and growth have resulted
in Orem's population exceeding 67,000 people, according
to 1990 census figures.
to its incorporation, Orem was known as the "Provo bench,"
and its fertile orchards and farmlands added to Provo's
early reputation as the "Garden City of Utah." Orem was
incorporated in 1919 because residents recognized the
need to develop a water system for the area. Orem has
little naturally occurring water, and local residents
believed that Provo was unlikely to provide the public
financing necessary to construct a water system. One of
the first acts of the new town was to issue $110,000 in
bonds to construct the water system, which solved the
area's long-standing shortage of water. The new town took
its name from Walter Orem, the owner of the interurban
railroad that ran between Salt Lake City and Provo, in
an apparent attempt to curry the favor and attract the
investments of this prosperous resident of Salt Lake City.
many Utah towns and cities, Orem was not laid out in regular
city blocks with houses clustered closely together. Instead,
Orem's origins are in homesteads settled along the territorial
highway (now State Street) and along other substantial
arteries where area farmers built their homes and to live
near their fields and orchards. As prime farmland along
primary roads was taken, farms sprang up in other parts
of the "bench" that is now Orem, and rural roads soon
crisscrossed the area connecting the farms. This type
of development, known in Utah as the "Gentile manner,"
differed from typical historical development by Mormons,
who were often counseled by church leaders to live in
the city and cultivate farmland outside its limits.
of the cohesive influences in Orem has been the Sharon
Community Educational and Recreational Association, better
known as SCERA. SCERA was created in 1933 under the guidance
of Arthur V. Watkins, then president of the LDS Sharon
Stake and later a United States Senator from Utah, as
a substantial community effort at "planned and organized
recreation." SCERA has fulfilled much of its anticipated
role in the city since its birth in the depths of the