Nicole Kunze | Lehi Historical Society
Photos by Shanna Christensen and Nicole Kunze
Rain clouds parted just in time for the Lehi Heritage Day celebration on Monday, Sept. 4, at the Legacy Center. Honorees paraded down Center Street in vintage cars before the program began under tents on the grounds between the Hutchings Museum and the Legacy Center.
Councilwoman Paige Albrecht filled in for Mayor Mark Johnson to begin the festivities. She spoke about life in Lehi during the Roaring 1920s, the theme of Heritage Day 2023. “The old Lehi High School opened in 1921. I learned that the construction costs, minus the real estate costs, came to $92,000.02,” said Albrecht. “How things have changed over the years!”
Although Lehi had just been through the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918-1919 and World War I, along with the rest of the world, the spirit of cooperation thrived in Lehi during the 1920s. Businesses were opening back up, the city established drainage systems and natural gas was piped in from 300 miles away in Wyoming for the first time. In 1927, Lehi had a “light wave” celebration when Main Street and State Street were first lit by electric power.
Albrecht briefly read a long list of services the Heritage Day Honorees have given and concluded, “I can see from the smiles on your faces that you remember these acts of service. We’re grateful for the spirit with which you have participated in building Lehi.”
Lehi Historical Society Director Lara Bangerter added, “My favorite thing about this award is that you are evidence that if you take opportunities to serve and participate, over time, it turns into something amazing.”
Heritage Days Honorees included Katherine “Kate” Fern Daly, John Jay and Kinna Harris, Dean and Etana Gammon Larsen, Ronald C. and Mary Anne Peck, Glade L. and Kay Peterson, Keith and Suzanne Stewart Pulham, Gary and Carolyn Laney Cooper, and Dan and Mary Curtis. After the program, honorees, their families and attendees were free to look at the displays detailing life in Lehi during the Roaring 1920s in the center of the north gym of the Legacy Center. Along the inside walls of the gym were displays of old Lehi homes and their stories.
Each honoree had a table with photos and memorabilia inside the Senior Center. Kay Peterson included emblems from her Bountiful High School sweater and a scrapbook from her time as a beautician in Hawaii. Her husband Glade’s side of the table had photos and belt buckles from his cowboy days. “I tried to choose items for display that maybe people wouldn’t know about us,” said Kay. She also headed up the Roaring 1920s displays in the north gym, making it a busy day for the Lehi Historical Society board members.
When Ron Smith told Suzanne Pulham he was nominating her and her husband Keith to be Heritage Day honorees, Suzanne was caught off-guard. “Really? Are you running out of people?” she laughed.
“We’re proof you can start volunteering at any age,” said Suzanne. “There are so many places in town that need help. I’ve made many friends over the years through serving and volunteering. You’ll meet people you enjoy when you’re doing something you enjoy.” She specifically recalled developing friendships while serving in the Booster Shack at Lehi High School football games.
Heritage Day Honoree Mary Curtis’s favorite part of the day was riding in the lavender Cadillac in the parade. John Jay and Kinna Harris brought a container of polished rocks for people to take home to their children and grandchildren. “We’ve spent hours on rocky beaches looking for rocks to polish,” said John Jay. “Every kid we see today is getting a rock.”
Kinna Harris recalled not wanting to live in Lehi after she and John Jay were married in 1988. “It was such a hick town back then! They didn’t have a stoplight or any fast-food restaurants. I wish it were more like that, but we’d never leave Lehi now,” she said.
In the north gym of the Legacy Center, visitors were treated with all kinds of visual displays, activities, music and the like regarding Lehi in the 1920s.