Our morning in Pleasant Grove

Boasting the most generic landscapes imaginable, the suburban wasteland known as Utah County is nothing but fast food, big box, and monstrous McMansions. Each square mile contains its own shrine to the Holy Trinity of Suburbia: a Vietnamese nail studio, a tanning salon, and a Jamba Juice (or other similar made-to-order fruit smoothie establishment). With a Walmart on every corner and an SUV in every driveway, Thomas Wolfe is right, I can never go home again.

Nonetheless, I'm in Orem visiting my parents and enjoying a Monday off work (thank you, union organizers). This morning my sister-in-law and I stumbled into a town called Pleasant Grove. While I assume the actual boundaries and residential neighborhoods of this city sprawl out endlessly, it was the historic downtown district that surprised and delighted me.

I have been through this downtown many times over the years; but it was one of those magical moments when you see something very familiar for the first time.

It is charming. It is quirky. It is nostalgia with sugar on top. I would have loved to see it in the glory days; the family drug store next to the theatre on Main Street, across from the barber shop and city park, everything nestled in bricks and gaslights. In the time spent capturing these photographs, we never saw another living soul.

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