BYU: The “almost” college of Draper, Utah

Dr. John “Rocky” Park, who was a teacher in the early days of Draper, Utah was (ironically) paid well by the people of the city (then known as Draperville) because he was was such a good teacher, but he didn’t stick around . . . Why?

Doctor Park’s village school came to the attention of President [Brigham] Young and other [LDS] Church leaders in 1867 during one of their semiannual visits to Draperville. His was the best school they had seen throughout the settlements. The Church authorities desired the same teaching concepts in the schools their children attended. President Young told Bishop Stewart the Church would build a college in Draperville if they continued to foster quality education and build up a community.

Brigham Young attended a meeting on the subject in the home of Draperville settler W.B. Ennis where Young said pointing to the hills South and East and said:

That is the place for the Church University, and if you brethren will lay the foundation, we’ll see that it is finished.

That is roughly the area where the new Draper, Utah Temple is being completed, but there is no University there.

Because of a division of opinion among the people of the town about where to place it (rather than on the location pointed out by Brigham Young) it was never started, and the Church University was built at Provo.

Lesson: Disagree with the prophet, and BYU gets built somewhere else. Not only that, but your wonderful teacher will leave to serve as President of The University of Deseret (today known as the University of Utah).