Seethaler works to preserve Providence history
By Dave Mehr
December 13, 2006 | PROVIDENCE -- As chairman of the
Historic Preservation Committee, Karl Seethaler has
the opportunity to participate in the community, and
by studying the city's history he is able to see how
much Providence has grown.
"When I first came here, there was hardly anything
up on the bench," Seethaler said. A native of California,
Seethaler came to Providence in 1973 after spending
some time overseas. He grew fond of Cache Valley and
has since become quite involved with the city, particularly
in preserving it.
Now, as owner of the Old Rock Church and the Providence
Inn, Seethaler is even more active in the city's history.
Seethaler bought the building in 1993 when residents
became aware that certain developers wanted to turn
the church into an apartment complex. Since its construction,
the building had been used as a church, a store, and
an assisted living center.
"The community came together to protect it," Seethaler
The Old Rock Church was built by the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1869, 10 years after
Providence was settled by pioneers. The church is the
oldest building in Cache Valley and is on the National
Register of Historic Places.
Since the city is off the highway, Seethaler said
most people go to Providence as a destination, instead
of merely passing through. For many, the Old Rock Church
is the main attraction. Cache Valley is home to many
other significant historical landmarks of Utah, including
Logan's historic courthouse, Oneida Academy in Preston,
the Wellsville tabernacle, Whittier School, the opera
house, and Old Main, to just name a few.
Seethaler realizes that Providence is growing and
many people are building houses on farmland. "There's
good and bad aspects to it. We're losing a lot of the
old flavor," Seethaler said. "But it makes it a more
The historic preservation committee has been an active
committee, and Seethaler enjoys being a part of it.
"I don't really care where the city runs the sewer
lines, but I do care about preserving the city," Seethaler
One thing he hopes to see in the future is a historic
district, potentially from 200 North to 500 South and
200 West to 400 East. After the area is surveyed, it
has to go through the State Division of History for
the district to be approved.
"If we are able to establish a historic district,
we hope it will be recognizable," Seethaler said.
The committee has plans to produce another edition
of Providence and Her People, a book that covers
the city's history and demographics. The most recent
edition was put together in the 1970's, so there has
been tremendous growth since then. "We're trying to
get a grasp on the history," Seethaler said.
Speaking about the city's pioneers, Seethaler said,
"The legacies they left behind are beginning to be cherished
more. That sentiment has been building up."
Seethaler predicts that in 30 years, land for developing
will be long gone. He also believes that neighborhoods
will be well-established in the future.
"If growth occurs, it would be nice to have an area
here that maintains its character," Seethaler said.
"It's going to grow as population grows."