Monday, April 18, 2011

History of the BYU "Y"

So my dad and Emma came in over the weekend from a long 25 hr drive from Michigan. They got in from doing the drive STRAIGHT and they wanted to hike the Y. I asked if they wanted to lau down, ready or sleep but no they wanted to do it and it was fun. The next is info from wiki:

Early 1906 -When the junior class of Brigham Young University High School wanted to paint '07 on the side of the mountain, the BYHS senior class became upset. To settle this conflict BYU President George H. Brimhall and BYHS Principal that year, Edwin S. Hinckley, proposed that they paint the letters BYU on the mountain instead.

April 1906 -The plans to construct the BYU on the mountain were begun. Professor Ernest D. Partridge was assigned to conduct a survey and designed the emblem. When this was complete, a line of high school and university students, and some faculty, passed buckets of lime, sand, and rocks up the mountain in order to fill up the letters. After six hours of hard labor, only the Y had been completed, so the filling in of the remaining two letters was postponed and later abandoned.

1907 -The BYU Y Day tradition began. This consisted of thousands of students hauling, by bucket brigade, gallons of whitewash up the mountain to paint the giant Y. This tradition lasted until 1973. It was abandoned due to erosion of the mountain.

1908 -A 3-foot-high (0.91 m) wall was erected around the letter to keep it together. This required an additional 20,000 pounds of concrete.

1911 -Serifs were added to the top and bottom of the Y, giving it its current look. 1924 -The tradition of "lighting the Y" began. Each year during special evenings (such as homecoming), mattress batting was placed in buckets and soaked in kerosene. The buckets were then set around the edges of the Y and lit with torches. Eventually, this process evolved into using mattress batting soaked in used vehicle oil whick was carried up the mountainside. Once at the Y the mixture was formed into "gook" balls (a little bigger than softballs) with a thumb size hole poked into the top. These were placed around the Y and just before lighting a bit of gasoline was poured into the holes to allow the torches to quickly light the entire Y. Using this method the Y would remain lit for about 20 minutes.

1975 -BYU began to use a helicopter to carry thousands of pounds of whitewash to repaint the Y. This is now redone about every 5 years.

1985 -As the previously used method of lighting the Y was long considered hazardous (due to the potential wildland fire risk) and because of the short duration of the time the Y would actually remain lit, it was discontinued after the lighting in the spring of 1985. A generator and strands of lights were purchased for exclusive use on the Y, with up to 14 strands of the 25-watt lights bulbs being needed to outline the Y. These lights were first used for homecoming in 1985 and provided several hours of much brighter light and lit for several consecutive nights per event rather than just a single evening. Intitially, the lights and generator were dropped off and picked up by helicopter, but after a few years a old military ammunition bunker was installed on the mountainside near the Y to securely store the equipment when not in use.

May 20, 2006 -The 100th anniversary of the Y was celebrated. Many people hiked the Y that day to commemorate the occasion.

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