Save BYU's Amanda Knight Hall

Amanda Knight Hall Petition

SAVE AMANDA KNIGHT HALL FROM DEMOLITION

TO: BYU Administration

FROM: Provo Joaquin Neighborhood Chair and Vice-Chairs, Utah Cultural Alliance, Preservation Utah, and the Following Signers

We are members of Utah-focused cultural organizations, Provo residents, BYU friends and alumni, and concerned citizens. 

This summer, Brigham Young University announced the demolition of the Tudor-Revival Amanda Knight Hall (built 1939), located in Provo’s historic Joaquin Neighborhood. The University plans to replace the original Amanda Knight Hall with a “replica” of the building located on the same site. 

We ask that BYU reverse its decision to demolish Amanda Knight Hall, and instead either renovate the building for university use OR sell the building to a preservation-minded investor.

Background*

Jessie and Amanda Knight were patrons of BYU who, in the early twentieth-century, repeatedly saved Brigham Young Academy, and subsequently Brigham Young University, from bankruptcy. Using funds donated to BYU by Jessie and Amanda Knight in their wills, the university built Amanda Knight Hall to serve as a woman’s dormitory and as a memorial to Amanda Knight. After serving for decades as a dormitory, Amanda Knight Hall was repurposed in 1964 to be a training center for foreign-bound LDS missionaries. The programs developed in Amanda Knight Hall gave birth to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints worldwide Missionary Training Center program, and were, in part, responsible for the meteoric growth of the LDS Church during the latter half of the twentieth century. 

Since its construction, Amanda Knight Hall has been an important BYU and Provo City landmark. In 1996, members of the Provo Landmarks Commission notified BYU that they had placed the building on the Provo Landmarks Register, effectively saving the building from demolition. While BYU did not contest Amanda Knight Hall’s listing in 1996, in 2002 BYU petitioned Provo City Council to remove the building from the registry so they could tear it down. Acting contrary to the recommendation of the Landmarks Commission, the City Council voted to delist the building. The uproar this action caused lead BYU to back down from its plans to demolish Amanda Knight Hall. 

In June of 2018, BYU stated that they had renewed their plans to demolish Amanda Knight Hall. By taking this action, BYU not only demolishes a key part of its own history, but also a significant piece of Provo City and larger Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints histories. This historic building will soon disappear unless BYU can be persuaded to renovate the building for its own uses OR sell the building to a preservation-minded investor. 

Please sign this petition directed at BYU Administration in support of preserving Amanda Knight Hall. Your efforts on behalf of this preservation effort are greatly appreciated.  

*Visit the “Save Amanda Knight Hall at BYU” Facebook page for additional information.

Who's signing

366 signatures

Will you sign?

Showing 289 reactions

  • Josh Yost
    signed 2018-11-08 12:59:29 -0700
  • Ardis Parshall
    signed 2018-11-08 12:13:48 -0700
  • Boyd Petersen
    signed 2018-11-08 11:45:18 -0700
  • Katherine Webb
    signed 2018-11-08 11:34:43 -0700
  • Michele Dean
    signed 2018-11-08 10:54:40 -0700
  • Kathleen Shell
    signed 2018-11-08 09:32:44 -0700
    So shortsighted
  • Emily Buhrley
    signed 2018-11-08 08:58:04 -0700
    As young married students at BYU, my husband and I attended church in the Amanda Knight Hall, setting up folding chairs on the hardwood floor for classes. I remember a Relief Society activity there decorating Ukrainian Easter eggs. We love that beautiful old building and want to see it preserved. Prior to that I lived in Miller Apartments across the street from the Academy Building when it was still in shambles. It’s incredible now, great job! I attended many stake conferences and concerts in the Provo Tabernacle, and the Church was the one to step up when it burned. It’s a jewel in our community again now. The Amanda Knight Hall is in much better condition, so hopefully it will be much easier to make it last for later generations. Keep the character of history with us. Our forebears inspire us in our present lives. Please preserve Amanda Knight Hall.
  • Meg Van Wagenen
    signed via 2018-11-08 07:24:55 -0700
    I’m a BYU alumni and a provo resident. Please keep Amanda Knight Hall! Buildings with history and architecture significance make our city breautiful and keep us connected to our heritage.
  • Hannah Barrett
    signed 2018-11-08 07:11:26 -0700
  • Celeste Kennard
    signed 2018-11-08 06:57:01 -0700
    This building serves as a historic marker to one of Provo’s Historic Neighborhoods. It’s architecture and the lives of it’s name sake family members leave a legacy that says be involved in your community, be generous add beuty to the world and build it to last.
  • Matthew Osmond
    signed 2018-11-08 04:18:06 -0700
  • Lynne Wilkins Dixon
    signed 2018-11-08 01:37:32 -0700
  • James Hancock
    signed 2018-11-08 00:11:13 -0700
    I learned German in Amanda Knight Hall many years ago. I loved the building then, and have fond memories now. It is a unique historical building. In Europe they keep and maintain their old buildings. It seems here in the US we can’t wait to tear them down and build characterless replacements.

    Please preserve Amanda Knight Hall.
  • Ann Hinckley Stucki
    signed 2018-11-07 22:20:24 -0700
  • Molly Schurig
    signed 2018-11-07 21:42:57 -0700
    This was my absolute favorite building on campus and where I spent a great deal of time. This building is amazing and tearing it down to replace it is foolishness. Renovate it please! Keep the history of the building there where people can see it and enjoy it, not a fake representation!
  • Meridee Calder
    signed 2018-11-07 21:41:46 -0700
  • Lisa Barber
    signed 2018-11-07 20:52:28 -0700
    I am an alumnus of BYU and remember this building well! I am also a lover of history. Please preserve this lovely building. Don’t tear it down!
  • Jean Corey
    signed 2018-11-07 20:23:47 -0700
    My mother roomed in this dorm over 70 years ago. Please don’t tear it down!
  • Georgia Yost
    signed 2018-11-07 16:53:05 -0700
  • Sandra Otting
    signed 2018-11-07 16:17:13 -0700
    This beautiful building is not just architecturally significant but also historically.
  • Sarah Talley
    signed 2018-11-07 15:24:38 -0700
    I’m a BYU Alumna and I absolutely adore the Amanda Knight Hall. I always used to pass it on my walk up to campus from my apartment and it’s such a gorgeous building to look at. Not to mention, so few buildings in and around campus are named after women; it would be a shame to tear down one of the few testaments we have of women who were important to our history. Please reconsider the decision to demolish it. Renovation is such a better choice!
  • Jody Hansen
    signed 2018-11-07 14:32:04 -0700
  • Amanda Wiggins
    signed 2018-11-07 14:17:25 -0700
    I love this building. I always use to think of it as my building since it has my name. I would always point it out whenever I passed it when driving or walking by it. Please keep this beautiful building. I wish I had the opportunity to go inside.
  • Greg Pearson
    signed 2018-11-07 13:45:38 -0700
    Greg Pearson
  • Rachel David
    signed 2018-11-07 13:33:40 -0700
  • Aaron Ardmore
    signed 2018-11-07 13:32:00 -0700
  • Weston Cann
    signed 2018-11-07 13:25:59 -0700
  • Roxanne Wells
    signed 2018-11-07 13:04:49 -0700
  • Ronald Schoedel
    signed 2018-11-07 12:52:25 -0700
  • Andrea Jensen
    signed 2018-11-07 12:40:27 -0700
    As a BYU alumni (‘90) from the Interior Design program, I am puzzled by BYU’s disinterest in design and architecture. The Design program is long gone, and my husband (‘89) alumni, had to go to the U of U for his master’s degree in the Graduate Architecture and Historic Preservation program. Why does BYU tear down and throw away architectural history, but value family history? Many times, I have showed my children the house where I grew up, church where I was baptized, schools I attended, first apartment as a married couple,etc. Tearing down history and replacing it with something shiny and new doesn’t make it better. Once a historic building is destroyed, you can never get that back (and please tell me they aren’t going to tear it and “build a replica”.) To tear down a historic building and rebuild it is a waste of resources by throwing away brick, door frames, windows, antique tiles, etc. It just doesn’t make sense to me. History cannot be replicated with a shiny new building. Architectural history should be as important as family history.