February 2, 2011
Nestled a short drive from Brigham Young University up the north fork of the Provo Canyon is the Aspen Grove Family Camp. With its picturesque views of Mt. Timpanogos and the beauty of its mountain setting Aspen Grove is a popular destination for alumni and faculty. Aspen Grove is in high demand during the summer for a variety of family programs and in the winter hosts cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Aspen Grove has its roots in the establishment of the Alpine Summer School by Franklin S. Harris in the 1920s. The land for the school was donated by the Stewart family of Provo. The Stewarts owned considerable land up the canyon for the purpose of sheep grazing.The Alpine Summer School was designed to be a high mountain retreat where classwork could be carried out and summer heat avoided. It was very popular with the students. Classes were conducted in tents and participants dressed the part of mountaineers wearing togs and high boots.
The first dean of the summer school was Hugh M. Woodward and early faculty included John A. Widtsoe, Vasco M. Tanner, Adam S. Bennion, and Lowry Nelson. The school ran successfully through the beginning of World War II. It was suspended for the duration of the war and attempts to revive it at the conclusion of the war were doomed by the vast influx of students at Brigham Young University. The facility was taken over by the Alumni Association in 1963 and renamed Aspen Grove. The Alumni Association has successfully run the camp for the last 48 years.
The University Archives is home to several collections and books that document the history of the Alpine Summer School and Aspen Grove. They include:
- MSS 2199 Wayne B. Hales prints and negatives, ca. 1926-1940. This collection includes images relating to the Alpine Summer School, Mount Timpanogos, Aspen Grove, Utah Lake, and the city of Provo.
- UA 254 John R. Stewart letter to Franklin S. Harris, 1921. Letter confirming donation of Aspen Grove to BYU from John R. Stewart, Scott P. Stewart, Joseph Nelson, Rose Young Stewart, and Melissa R. Stewart.
- UA 919 Campus photographs, ca. 1880-1958. Includes views of Aspen Grove, the Alpine Summer School, and the Timpanogos Hike.
- UA 1089 Franklin S. Harris Brigham Young University Presidential records, 1921-1945. Includes the records generated by Harris during his service as president of Brigham Young University. Includes some information on Aspen Grove.
- UA SC 107 The Alpinian, 1939. This was the yearbook for the summer school students of Brigham Young University held at Aspen Grove.
- UA 823 College of Biology and Agriculture. Photographs, ca. 1891-1969. Includes images of the Alpine summer school botany classes, 1922-1924 and Alpine summer school faculty, 1928-1930 and 1941.
- UA 132 Harrison R. Merrill papers, 1924-1929. Includes correspondence, essays and clippings (photocopies) to and from Merrill concerning his publications in newspapers and periodicals, the Alpine Summer School, Brigham Young University athletics, curricula and religious atmosphere.
- 378.2 L862 1993 The history of Aspen Grove Family Camp as influenced by the directors of the BYU Alumni Association, 1956-1992.
- 378.21 D769 Recommended improvements for Aspen Grove Family Camp.
If you are interested in learning more about Aspen Grove or the Alpine Summer School, please contact the University Archivist at (801) 422-5821 or firstname.lastname@example.org.