The 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.
Prior 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.
Unlike 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