A Slice of American History
Each summer Gove N. Allen (BS ’94, MAcc ’94), his wife, Nickie, and their three children don caps, petticoats, aprons, and buckled shoes and set up a working bakery in Orem’s Scera Park for the Colonial Heritage Festival, the West’s largest colonial living and reenactment festival. When Gove (above, left) built his own 18th-century wood-burning oven in 2011, his goal wasn’t just to bake crusty rustic bread: he was on a quest to rekindle lost American values.
As he provides samples of sourdough and a palatable lesson on the history of hardtack, Allen, a BYU associate professor of information systems, reminds visitors of the values of public virtue (personal sacrifice for the common good) and Divine Providence (seeking out and achieving God’s will). “My vision is that attendees will leave the festival with a firm commitment to make changes in their personal lives that will lead to a stronger America,” says Allen.
To create an authentic colonial bakery, Allen built two wood-fired “black” masonry ovens and hand-crafted colonial-era tools like peals to move orbs of dough from the kneading bench to the hearth, hearth rakes to work the red-hot coals, and mops to clean the ovens.
This year, in addition to his role as a baker, Allen (who is on the board of directors for the Colonial Heritage Foundation) coordinated the effort to design and build a working printing press, a replica of one used by patriot Isaiah Thomas. “The printing press was an essential part of the founding of our nation,” he says. “As such, the press provides a platform to talk about America’s founding values.”
— Michael R. Walker (BA ’90), BYU Magazine, Fall 2013