Alpine City History
An Overview of Alpine's History:1850 to 1980
Alpine City, Utah County, Utah
Formerly known as: Upper Dry Creek, Lone City, Mountainville
Saturday, January 6, 1849, President Brigham Young attended a council at 10:30 am in Heber C. Kimball's home in Salt Lake City. Among the business transacted was the appointment of a committee, composed of Amasa M. Lyman, Orrin P. Rockwall, George D. Grant, Jedediah M. Grant, David Fullmer, John S Fullmer, Lewis Robinson, Dimick B. Huntington, William Crosby and George W Boyd, to go to Utah Valley and learn its capabilities for a stock range. When the cattle were to be moved into the valley, forty or fifty men were to go with them to protect them from Native American tribes already living in the area.
The men found that the valley was covered with sagebrush and a little greasewood. Tall bunch grass and meadow grass grew in abundance. Cattle soon roamed the valley and the low hills. Some of the drivers decided the northern part of the valley would make an ideal settlement, since there were two nice streams of water flowing through it, with several smaller contributing streams, that reached down to the lake. William H. Hooper and Quincy Knowlton ran cattle in the upper end of the valley during the summer of 1849, but moved away in the fall and never returned.
In July, 1850, William Wordsworth, Canute Peterson, David Savage, Charles Hopkins, Henry Royal, William S. Empey and James Lemon went to Utah valley with intentions of locating there. They went to American Fork Creek, but others had already claimed the land and water in the area, so they were forced to move elsewhere and decided to settle on lower Dry Creek (around Lehi). William Wordsworth, not liking that location because of insufficient water, returned to Salt Lake.
In early September 1850, the William Wordsworth family and six others John Wiser, Charles S Peterson, Caleb Sherman, John McDonald, George Patten and William Morgan Clyde (the latter two being single men) started for Utah Valley. They followed an old Native American trail, crossed the divide between the two valleys and traveled northeast. The farther they went the more water and dark rich loamy soil they found. They settled on the northwest side of a knoll, about in the middle of the extreme north end of Utah valley, and commenced to prepare for winter.
The men started building homes and getting ground cleared for farming. With their crude implements, it was quite a job to plow the soil and plant fall wheat, but food was scarce.
Clothing was very sparse. It was made from bed ticking, canvas, blue denim or anything they could get. A few of the pioneers brought sheep and cattle with them. The children herded the animals that fed on the tall grass. From the sheep's wool, the women spun fine yarn for clothing and the hides made warm coats. The cows gave the much needed nourishment by way of milk and meat. Some of the hides were tanned into leather and made into boots, shoes and other articles. The untanned hides were called rawhide, and many were cut into strips and woven together as lacings for beds in place of unattainable bed springs, or chair bottoms and other furniture. The strips were also braided into ropes.
During the warm weather, most of the children went barefoot, even to church and school. There were very few shoemakers, so those who had shoes made them last as long as possible. One man traded a large piece of ground for a pair of boots. Another traded a good farm for fifteen pounds of beef.
Soon after the settlers arrived in Mountainville in 1850, the census taker paid them a visit. His records showed a total of twenty-nine persons, fourteen male and fifteen female, ranging from one to sixty years of age. There were three farmers, two laborers, Charles S Peterson - a blacksmith, William Wordsworth - a fisherman, George Patton - a logger, and Roswell Stevens - a hunter.
At the time of the census, the community had begun construction of six homes. Being so late in the season and with an early winter settling in, most of the cabins weren't finished, and the people had to live in their wagons and dugouts in the side of the knoll the first winter.
A typical cabin was built of logs hauled from the canyons. The walls were about seven feet high.
Artist's conception of the first schoolhouse in Alpine, built in December 1851.
Cracks were chinked up with mud and dried grass. Roofs were split poles covered with willows, brush, rushes or whatever was available, then covered with six or eight inches of dirt. Often the rain and melting snow leaked through. The doors were quilts, hides or anything they could hang up until they were able to make a door of wooden slabs, hung with wooden pegs, or strips of leather for hinges. Small windows were covered with hides or other material. A rock and sod fireplace was built in one end of the room to provide for heat, cooking, and light.
Furniture was made from hand-hewn logs and wooden boxes the settlers had brought with them. Some beds were made of poles or slabs laced with strips of hides, topped with straw, grass, or cat tail ticks. Occasionally even a wagon box was turned upside down. Fortunate was the pioneer who had been able to bring a bed or other furniture across the plains. Buffalo robes and other tanned skins, procured from the Native Americans, supplemented their meager bedding supply.
Of the first settlement, all were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which will be referred to hereafter as "the Church" since that was the dominant religion. The settlers held their church meetings at the home of their leader, William Wordsworth.
A few days after the first group had arrived, the Edmund Nelson family came on September 13, 1850. William Goforth Nelson kept a journal of his family. He wrote:
My father wanted to live on a farm, so we went about thirty miles south of the city to Mountainville, which is about four miles northeast of American Fork. We built a log house and moved the family into it. Price, Thomas and I went to Millcreek Canyon and began getting out shingle timber. We cut and hauled two loads into the mill in a day. The miller sawed and packed the shingles and sold them at $10 per thousand, paying us half. We worked eighteen days and cleared $300.
Father's health was still failing him, so we stopped logging and went home. Price then went to Brown's Fort (Ogden) and married Liddie Ann Lake. Thomas and I stopped at home during the winter. Our stock wintered out in the hills and, of course, they required some care. We paid from $3.50 to $5 per bushel for wheat that we used for making flour that first year we were in Utah.
Father's health continued to fail, and on December 13, 1850, he died and was buried December 15 on a little knoll just north of Alpine City. Hundreds have since been buried on that knoll, but father was the first. (Taken from "Builders of Alpine", 1:8-14.)
Edmund Nelson was the father referred to. He and his wife Jane Taylor Nelson and twelve children: Price, Elizabeth, Martha, Rhoda, Hyrum, William Goforth, Thomas, Mary Jane, Nancy, Joseph Smith, Edmund, Mark and Anna (formerly from Number Carolina), left mt. Pisgah, Iowa, May 8, 1850, and arrived in Salt Lake Valley September 9. They camped on the public square for two days and then, upon the advice of Brigham Young, came to Mountainville, September 13, 1850. Edmund had contracted mountain fever at Sweet Water while on the way to Zion, and never fully recovered. Seven years, after his death his grandson, William Isaac, born August 31, 1856, to William Goforth and Elvira Vail Nelson, died and was buried by his side.
Again quoting from William Goforth Nelson's journal: "During the summer of 1851 my brother Thomas and I built a log house on our farm, which was located in the western part of the farming district. We had a small farm from which we made a good living."
Others arriving in Mountainville during the fall and winter of 1850 and 1851 were James Lemon, Roswell Stevens, and Morris and Laura Clark Phelps and their five children: Paulina, Mary, Joseph, Harriet and Jacob. Mr. Phelps was chosen second counselor to the first bishop in Alpine. He established one of the first saw mills in the locality, at the mouth of what is still called Phelps' Canyon in the northeast part of settlement, and continued to live there instead of moving into the fort. In the 1860s he sold his farm to John Rowe Moyle and moved to Bear Lake Valley.
Sarah Fergerson McDonald, an emigrant from Ireland, and seven children, John, William, Eliza, Jane, Joseph, Robert and Mary, came to Mountainville the last of October, 1850. This brave little mother continued on the trek west after her husband James McDonald was buried at the second crossing of the Platte River, having died of cholera. The oldest boys assumed the job of procuring meat along the way, and the two girls, Eliza and Jane, drove the ox teams. With such cooperation, the family completed the journey, arriving in Salt Lake City September 12, 1850. They remained there about six weeks, then were instructed to go to Mountainville to make their home because feed was more plentiful there for the animals they had brought with them.
William McDonald worked in Salt Lake threshing wheat with a flail. For his pay he received every tenth bushel plus board and room, which greatly helped the family's food supply.
Mrs. McDonald planted fall wheat, but by March it didn't look good so, with her family, she moved to Springville. However, one daughter remained a little longer. Eliza married William Morgan Clyde on January 24, 1851, making her Mountainville's first bride. Mr. Clyde owned a horse. Eliza rode it, holding their few possessions, while he walked by her side to their new home in Springville.
Mountainville's second marriage, George Patton and Mary Jane Nelson, occurred on Februrary 20, 1851. Mr. Patton had come west with his brother-in-law, Charles S Peterson, working for Mr. Peterson and giving half of all he earned for his board and room and use of a team. In his personal journal George tells:
In 1853, I was called out in the Walker War by orders of Col. Peter Conover of Provo. I was a member of Capt. Samuel White's Company, he residing at Pleasant Grove. Seven of us left Mountainville for the front. when we got to Pleasant Grove Capt. White thought we were too exposed at Alpine to furnish any men, so we were ordered to take our families to places of safety and fort in. (Two forts were built for protection from the Native Americans. A small one in 1853 and a larger fort in 1855.)
I took my wife and two children to Salt Lake City and rented a room of Erastus Snow and kept them there two months, or until we got our small fort built. In the fall of 1854, I moved to Payson. My father had moved there as one of the pioneers in the fall and wished me to be near him.
On April 17, 1851, George Pickup and Caroline Norton were married by William Niswanger.
Arriving in Alpine during the year of 1851 were the following families: Isaac H. Vail, William Faucett, George W Cliff, William Niswanger, George Pickup, and James Holmes.
The grain planted in the fall of 1850 was a complete failure. In the spring of 1851, six of the families moved to other settlements. Those who remained staked out plots of ground and commenced to plow and sow and realized a very good crop the first year. During that year, they also finished their homes or built new ones.
By the fall of 1851, the settlers had more or less caught up with their new environment and had decided to become more of a community. During the month of December, they built a meeting and schoolhouse on the bench north of Flag Hill (the cemetery hill) and held their first meeting in it in January, 1852. On February lo, 1852, the settlement was organized as a branch of the Church and was to be known as Mountainville. Ten months later, September 18,1852, the branch became a ward, with Isaac Houston as the first bishop.
The first white birth in Mountainville was Sarah Ann Wiser, arriving February 26,1852. She died the following year in Draper of whooping cough. John W Wordsworth, Jr. was the second birth, being born on March 9, 1852.
During the year of 1852, the following families decided to make Mountainville their home: John McDaniel, Thomas Jefferson McCullough, Thomas Fields Carlisle. James Freestone, George Freestone, Davis McOlney, Isaac Houston, James W Preston, James Holmes, John Wesley Vance, Martha Bartholomew Vail, John Warner Norton, Alvin F. Stewart, Robert McKell and Hezekiah Stevens.
Utah County surveyors visited Mountainville August 2, 1852, and surveyed the farm land and lots in the middle of town.
The settlers worked hard and although they were very poor in worldly goods their faith was strong. They had been blessed with good crops for three years and life was beginning to look a little brighter. The crops of 1854 were very promising and they were looking forward to a bounteous harvest. One day the sky suddenly darkened. People rushed outside to see what the matter was. A cloud of swarming insects flew toward the fields, settled on the crops and began their destruction. The people tried all kinds of ways to destroy or drive the insects off. They fought until they dropped with exhaustion, but in no avail. The insects just moved slowly on, devouring nearly everything in their path.
For ten years the settlers were tried with this plague of crickets and grasshoppers. It was a struggle to save enough of the crop for seed for the coming year and a meager existence for the families. Some of the people nearly starved to death and many of the animals died. Several settlers left Alpine for other locations where the insects weren't so bad.
Even though times were bad in Alpine and some moved away, others kept coming. Those arriving in 1855 were Joseph Dudley, James Healey, John McKee Fausett, and Richard Carlisle.
The winter of 1854 and 1855 had snow four to six feet deep in the valley but little in the mountains, which caused a shortage of water the next summer. Crops were poor and the hordes of crickets finished off what little did grow. According to Nelson, the winters of '55 and '56 were the most severe ever experienced in Utah.
The cattle had been able to winter out in the low hills most of the time before but, with the deep snow and intense cold, added to the lack of crops for feed, nearly all the animals died. Money was scarce and even if you had some, grain could only be bought in a very few places. Many of the men had to go away to work. Some logged, some worked on the railroad or took any job they could get. Several families had to go to other communities to live.
To say the Saints were sorely tried at this time would be putting it mildly. To add to their distress, on August 23, 1856, their spiritual leader and much loved bishop, Isaac Houston, died. His counselors, T. J. McCullough and Morris Phelps, carried on the church activities until the 13th of November, 1856, when Thomas J. McCullough was chosen bishop, with Davis McOlney and John Vance as counselors.
By 1857 there were about forty families calling Alpine home. Due to lack of room in the meeting house, the people had been holding church services in the home of James Healey. That spring they decided to build a new meeting house. It was finished in 1863 and dedicated by President Brigham Young, and was used for all public gatherings. The population of Alpine had increased to 135 people by 1860.
While combating difficulties with Native American tribes, cricket hordes, and trying to establish homes and make a living for their families, the settlers still had other challenges to meet. Saints were immigrating to Utah from various parts of the world. By the time they reached American soil, many were destitute. A few were able to continue on to Zion as soon as supplies could be obtained and weather permitted. Some stayed in the east and worked to replenish their finances until they had sufficient to carry on. Many made it to Florence, Nebraska, the terminal of the railroad at that time. The First Presidency of the Church, realizing the situation, sent out a call in 1861 for a certain number of men and teams to go to Florence to bring these Saints back to Utah. Alpine, though still a small community facing many problems, did her share to help.
James Freestone was the first to respond. I quote from this journal: "In the year of 1860 I worked out and got me a three year old steer. I bought a mate for it. In the year 1861 the Bishop of Alpine called me to take my young yoke of oxen and go back to the States for emigrants, which I did. There were 200 wagons went back that year, four yoke of oxen to a wagon. We started in April, made the round trip of 2,000 miles in one summer, and I brought all my cattle home safe. I got back about the 20th September. The next year I sold my cattle and sent the money back and got a new wagon. I worked out and got another yoke of cattle. In the year 1863, Bishop asked me if I would go again." He did.
The communities or wards furnished the supply of food, a little clothing, bedding and other necessities to those who were the teamsters and maybe an ox or team to make up the four head required for each wagon. Each wagon carried one thousand pounds of flour to help both the people along the way and those brought back with them. Albert Marsh also made the trip in 1863 and brought back twelve people in his wagon.
During the year of 1864 not many emigrants came because of the Civil War, but a complete team and wagon and two teamsters, James Freestone and James Hamilton, made the trip. In 1866 two fully equipped wagons and teamsters Ephraim Healey and Charles Silverwood went, and in 1868 two more fully equipped wagons and teamsters Frederic C. Clark and Jacob S Beck responded. Only fifty wagons were in this train, it being the last group to make the trip because the east and the west were then united by rail, and it was much quicker, cheaper, and more comfortable to come by train.
Mountainville, or Alpine, was granted a city charter January 19, 1855, but the first twelve years of the city's records are missing so most of the history thus far has been taken from journals, church records, diaries, personal histories, biographies, county and state records, newspaper clippings and early settlers' recollections.
Statistics of Alpine sixteen years after settling showed:
Balance Sheet for 1867
- Taxes collected on city property - $618.20
- One in unpaid taxes - $53
- Fine from James McDaniel - $15
- Fine from Alfred Moyle - $15
- Fine from Worthy Nash - $3.60
- Thomas Carlisle license - $30
- Peddlers - $4
- Total = $738.80
Amount paid out of treasury:
- George Haliday for work on school house. - $286.35
- Paid in labor for work on school house - $114.25
- Oil, lead, nails, glass, stationary, etc - $39.30
- McCullough for board and merchandise - $54
- For one stove. - $55
- Total = $548.90
During the year of 1868, the city was farming around 650 acres of land and according to records the quality of produce was very good. Aliens had a grist mill at the mouth of American Fork Canyon, and there was a saw and shingle mill in Dry Creek Canyon.
Now many people were building outside the walls of the city's fort. The family of Thomas Fields Carlisle had been the first to move out. He lived in the fort about six months. Not liking the confinement, he moved to the southeast part of the settlement where he owned a great deal of property. Peace having been established with the Native Americans, other people were getting anxious to return to their own property. The city fathers could see the need for some order, and the council minutes for February 24.,1868, read: "Be it ordained by the City Council of Alpine City that all unoccupied land within the corporate limits of said City be and is hereby declared under the control of said City Council."
Until then the people "squatted" wherever they liked, built a cabin, cleared a little ground to farm and engaged in whatever trade they knew. As they continued to leave the fort, they were confronted with a serious lack of roads because some people began closing off the lanes through their property. Others had to take long detours to reach their homes from the main road. It was the responsibility of the city council to do something about the problem. For the next thirty or forty years there was a battle between land owners and council members to establish city streets.
As the city continued to grow other problems emerged, one being the distinction between the city and the church. to early days it was very common for the mayor and the bishop to be the same man, and most city government was carried on with a church outlook. For example, in city minutes recorded December 18, 1867, we find: "Resolve that this council hold themselves responsible for the amount of wheat paid out by the Bishop for services done on the meeting house, whenever it be called for. Signed T. J. McCullough - Mayor. R. T. Booth - Recorder."
At a council meeting held November 11, 1869, with Mayor T. J. McCullough presiding, it was decided "the present meeting house was too small so it was resolved that they build a new one and that for the present consider 50' x 30' outside measurements, subject to any alterations deemed advisable." The following year the population of Alpine was 208.
The new meeting house was built of rock and finished in 1872. It was a community project used by the city, church, and school, but who owned it? The city owned the ground, claimed the building, and the school used it.
The local Church leaders were being advised by the Church's General Authorities in Salt Lake City to consolidate and get their holdings in their own name. At this time McCullough was both Bishop and Mayor.
The city council met February 27, 1882, and ' `the matter of placing the meeting house and lot into the hands of Trustees for religious, educational, social and other purposes was taken up and discussed at length. The council agreed to do so, but for a want of time, the matter was laid over for further consideration, and presentation to the people."
The following information was taken from the Alpine Ward film on file at the LDS Church Historical Department in Salt Lake City:
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Alpine ward voted to form a corporation. The property involved to be turned over to the board consisted of the ward Meeting House and grounds and all the attachments. Tithing Office, Relief Society Property, Missionary farms, what is known as poor lots or vacant lots, and every kind of real estate used for church purposes.
The meeting house was on Lot 8, Block 5 containing 90/160 rods. The barn and stock yards for tithing hay and lot was on Block 4, Lot 17, containing 86/160 rods, also 3 rods square in the north west corner of Lot 7, Block 4, only a small part of Block 7.
Church records show: "Records of Alpine Ward Ecclesiastical Incorporation, March 24, 1882. Board of Directors, or First Officers Elected:
- T. J. McCullough - President
- David Adams - Vice President
- John Devey - Secretary and Director
- R. T. Booth - Treasurer and Director
- Hyrum Healey - Director
- Albert Marsh - Director
The ward now being duly incorporated, the matter of giving the Church some property was again taken up March 27, 1882, by the city council. "On motion of R.T. Booth it was voted to give and deed over to the incorporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for religious, social, educational, and other purposes Lot (8) eight, Block (5) five, Alpine City survey." It took eight months to consummate the deal, but finally this resolution was presented by R.T. Booth and accepted at the council meeting held October 30, 1882:
Resolved that whereas in the years A.D. 1871 to 1872, the Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, residing in Alpine City, Utah Co. Utah Territory did by voluntary contribution and with the consent of the City Council of said city built a house for public worship on lot eight, block five Alpine City survey of building lots and have continuously every since said time used said house for public worship and whereas the members of said Church residing as afore said have now become a body corporate by and in pursuance of law under the corporation of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints residing in the Alpine Ecclesiastical Ward of the Utah Stake of Zion. And whereas said corporation desires to purchase said lot and have made application therefore.
Therefore resolved on prompt payment of the sum of Ten Dollars by said corporation, The Mayor and recorder of Alpine City are hereby authorized and instructed to make, execute and deliver, for and in behalf of Alpine City and as the act of said city a convenience of said lot, and to affix to said deed the corporate seal of Alpine City.
Samuel W Brown
Several minutes were recorded in the Church records of this transaction under various dates, but apparently the officially recognized corporation was duly organized January 30, 1883.
There was quite a bit of incorporation done at this time for on February 5,1883, the city minutes state that "An act providing for incorporating associations for mining, manufacturing, commercial and industrial permits" was filed and incorporated forming a nonprofit corporation with a long list of local citizens' signatures following.
May 18, 1882, a petition was presented to the city council by the school trustees asking for school purposes for the sale to them of the land belonging to the city between the George Clark and Don C. Strong lots, running back twenty rods. On motion of E. Nash, a committee of three, E. Nash, Wm. J. Strong, and George Clark, was appointed by the Mayor to investigate the matter and report back as soon as possible.
At a meeting November 20, 1882, the committee gave their report which was accepted, and R.T. Booth moved that the city give to the School Trustees and their successors in office a deed for part of Lot 1, Block 8, Alpine City survey for school purposes forever, reserving the right to the sand and gravel for the first ten rods next to North Street. Also the right to the present road to farms and cemetery. Provided that if the Trustee fail to build a school house on said lot within ten years from the date the title to revert back to the city.
And whereas it is for school purposes in and for Alpine School District we only ask the nominal sum of ($5) Five Dollars for said land, which was carried.
On motion of Wm. J. Strong, R.T. Booth was ordered to make a deed for the above mentioned land, said deed to be signed by the mayor and the recorder.
At the meeting held January 23,1883, Don C. Strong and the city council discussed exchanging land to permanently locate the line between Lot 1, Block 8 and said Don C. Strong, owner of Lot 2, Block 8. On motion the mayor appointed W.J. Strong, George Clark and R.E. Booth a committee to locate the corners and lines of land asked for by the school trustees. The next week their report was accepted. A deed was made, accepted by the Council, signed by the Mayor, T.J. McCullough, and the Recorder, S.W. Brown, and presented to the Trustees.
Ten years had passed since the city had sold the south end of the cemetery hill to the school trustees, and a schoolhouse had not been built as specified in the agreement. The council was trying to decide whether or not to take the ground back. The records from February 28, 1893 to December 17, 1899, are missing so we are unable to know just how the problem was solved, but the school and city must have come to an agreeable decision as a beautiful red brick schoolhouse was built on the original, planned location in 1899.
At the turn of the century, the population of Alpine had increased to 520 which brought many changes and improvements. A creamery was built by the dairymen to care for the milk before hauling it to Salt Lake. Electric lights and a telephone were installed. a rural free delivery mail route was established. The Alpine Co-op Store burned down. Two new stores were built. The conflict over roads for nearly forty years was partly resolved. An Amusement hall was built in 1906. The people had been considering a culinary water system for some time which was started about 1910. The first basketball team was organized in Alpine. Additional ground was purchased for the cemetery. The land was surveyed and divided into lots and fenced. All these and probably more, as well as the usual affairs of the city, kept the city fathers busy.
On December 12, 1916, Alpine City voted to become a member of the State Municipal League. This gave the city a little more prestige and brought it together with the other communities throughout the State.
In 1922 some of the women of the community, through the urging of state and county officials, established a very important organization - the Mountainville Camp of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. Its purpose was and is to gather and preserve historical data regarding people, places and things.
As the pioneers had plodded westward, they were dismayed at the lack of trees on the landscape. word was sent back to those following to bring seeds, cuttings and seedlings which they did. In 1860 three wagonloads of cuttings and tiny seedlings were brought into Salt Lake valley from Omaha, Nebraska. Others were brought in later from California and distributed among the people. From these, other cuttings were taken and passed on, and the barren hills and valleys took on a new look. Thus during the 1860s Alpine was landscaped with trees. All the streets in the main part of town were edged with rows of lombardy poplar trees about six feet apart. Many division lines between property also had rows of the stately trees, and other varieties were planted on the lots. Entering Alpine from the south or looking down from the cemetery hill or surrounding mountains was a beautiful sight to behold.
The trees helped keep down the dust as well as provide shade during the hot summers. A pole wedged between two trees made a good hitching rack for horses or, if high enough, swings for children and gallows at butchering time. The children had lots of fun weaving their way in and out and around playing back-out and hide-and-seek and various other games. Trees were an attractive and special part of Alpine. But in 1929 the life span of some trees was over. All of the beautiful poplar trees edging the streets died and had to be removed.
During the later 1860'S and the 1870'S trees were planted alongside most of the existing roads and on many property lines. They became part of Alpine. In 1929 most of the Lombardy poplar trees died. The people thought a blight had killed them, and cut them down. Looking into the history of the lombardy poplars they are a short-lived tree. Their life span had ended and they had died. Author Jennie Wild in the picture. Other trees such as cottonwood, locust, box elder, black walnut, maple and various other shade and fruit trees readily grew in the rich soil, and they still contribute to the attractiveness of our city.
From Andrew Jensen's "Descriptive Account" in 1936, he states "Alpine was the smallest city in the United States. The town site entry containing only 160 acres, with the incorporate limits 2 miles square. It was well adapted to orchards, excellent potatoes and strawberries."
By the 1940s Alpine was nearing the century mark, and its appearance was showing signs of neglect. A new generation was growing up that didn't have the pride their forefathers had had in keeping up their premises. Many older buildings and fences were greatly in need of repair, and discarded machinery and other debris needed removing. At a meeting held May 6, 1944, the city council decided something should be done to try to encourage the citizens to clean and fix up their lots. To help in the project, the city offered to furnish the material to those who would put a sidewalk in front of their lots. Very few took advantage of the offer. Some did make attempts at cleaning up the debris and discarding or repairing the fences but with little effect.
In February of 1946, the city bought their first road patrol or scraper to help keep the roads level. It was purchased from the county but had been used in Alpine for years. All roads in the city at this time were still dirt and gravel and could become very uneven, especially during winter or stormy weather.
In March of 1946, the city purchased property now known as Grove Flat, northeast of town where the bowery is located, originally homesteaded in 1864 by Joseph Bateman and called Bateman's Grove. When the City consolidated the water, for some reason Bateman lost his water rights and was unable to farm the ground. It was later sold to the Clark brothers, and they built a large corral there for holding and cutting out their sheep.
Warren Clark tried to sell the ground to Alpine City as a protection for the water up there, but the citizens couldn't see the necessity of spending so much money, so eventually Warren sold the land to Wendell Hansen who purchased it for a turkey ranch. Putting several thousand turkeys that close to town and on the main streams of water proved disastrous. A mold in the oak trees had a chemical reaction on the turkeys and they died by the hundreds. Dust and the turkey stench caused quite a health hazard to the people, and the city had to take some action. The State Board of Health, Alpine City Water Board, and the city council stepped in and, after two summers, Mr. Hansen was not allowed to raise any more poultry on that location. After such an experience, the city was glad to purchase the ground from Mr. Hansen and did so May 4, 1946, for $2,000.
A dump truck was purchased by the City in about 1949. This was used to haul road material, trash and whatever else the jobs required. A blade could be attached to the front of the truck in winter for a snow plow. This did a much better job than the old scraper and was used from then on.
May 22, 1950 the city council decided to hold their meetings on the second and fourth Monday nights instead of on Saturday as had been the custom for many years.
This council also tried to improve the looks of the city. A dump ground was leased from Robert Smith, and the people were urged to clean up their premises and haul the debris away. Some of the streets were oiled.
During the Christmas season, the city hall and grounds were beautifully decorated. Councilman Sanford Healey added to the decorations each year, giving a gay and festive spirit to Alpine through the many years he served on the council. Other council members have since kept this Christmas tradition going.
Civil defense was being stressed in the 1950's. Mrs. Mary Williams, wife of the mayor, was appointed to represent Alpine at a convention in San Francisco during October 1952. She returned with the necessary information and in December Robert Smith was put in as chairman of the Civil Defense Organization. The city tried to keep as up-to-date as such a small community could. Nina Llewelyn was appointed to represent Alpine City with regards to civil defense and she kept things well organized for several years.
1953 was a banner year for Alpine. The main natural gas pipeline leading to Salt Lake Valley was put through the south part of town, and Alpine was allowed to hook on with a surplus right. In other words, as long as there was plenty of gas, we could use it. If gas became scarce, we would be shut off. It didn't take long for the old coal and oil stoves and heaters to be discarded.
During July 1954, the Lambert property, located northeast of Alpine, was offered to the city for $9,000 cash. The city needed this property to protect the culinary water supply in the Grove Stream but only had $6,000 in General Fund. On the advice of the city attorney the council tied up the transaction until they were able to purchase the property on December 3, 1956, from Zions Security Bank.
During February and March of 1956, the city council appointed a planning commission. Dale Burgess was chairman with Stanley Galetka, Robert Patterson, Dan Clark and Robert Hall as members. They were to map out the city, plan for future streets and roadways, draw up subdivision rules and regulations and determine zoning ordinances to keep the city in an orderly growth pattern.
A year later, March 4, 1957, Dan Clark met with the council and presented a "Zoning Ordinance Book" for adoption. The ordinances had been drawn up with the advice of the city engineer and city attorney to harmonize with those of American Fork.
Many people felt the zoning ordinances were unfair since Alpine was such a small city and did not need regulations as did larger cities. For some reason, the ordinances were not enforced at this time like they should have been, even though books had been printed and stored in the vault at the city hall.
On September 16, 1957, Lloyd Canton was appointed building inspector a thankless job because many thought it was nobody's business what, how, or where people built. Many would not accept the fact that a building inspector was for their own protection.
November 18, 1957, a board of adjustments consisting of Van Vance, Grant Terry, Elwood Drew, LeGay Beck and Vernon Shepherd was appointed to consider individual's differences with the planning board and zoning commission. The board could make recommendations, however the city council had the final word on any decision.
June 2,1958 Lloyd Carlton resigned building inspector and Keith Beck was appointed.
During the first fifty years of the settlement's existence, Alpine had acquired about 500 people. Then came a period of over forty years with the population fluctuating up and down increasing only sixty-five people during that length of time.
In the 1950s, Alpine started a population explosion. By 1962 there were 900 citizens in Alpine.
On election day, November 7,1961, the first and only woman to date, Jennie A. Wild, was elected to serve a four-year term on the city council. Other members were Robert Smith, Howard B. Adamson, Ronald D. Strong, Horace K. Walker with Vern Clark as mayor.
Problems had been building up in the city and at the first meeting, January 8,1962, the new council felt the full impact. Twenty-eight people crowded the room with requests, many involving more money than a whole years revenue. The previous council had already taken out an anticipation bond, and the city finances were nil right then. The requests were tabled with the understanding that there were more important problems which needed immediate attention in the city and these problems had to be taken care of first. The requests would be considered later.
During the month of January, subdivision maps came in for parts of the town. Not being acquainted with the good and bad points of the proposals, it was necessary for the council to hold up the building permits until information could be obtained.
A new Alpine City Board of Adjustments was appointed and organized June 11, 1962, when they met under the direction of city council representative, Jennie Wild. Dewey Bennett was appointed chairman, Max Buckner, vice chairman and Joanne Beck, secretary. Other members were Constance Anderson and Calvin Whitby. Numbers one to five were put in to a box and each person was asked to draw a number. The number would determine their years of service. Calvin drew number 1, Dewey drew number 2, Joanne drew number 3, Constance number 4, and Max drew number 5.
The appointments were set up this way so that as one person retired each year a new member was added. Their name was placed at the bottom of the list. As a result the information and workings would be carried on through the knowledge of the majority of members.
The subdivision ordinance, which had been setup several years previous, had not been enforced. It was now put into effect to protect the rights and property of established citizens as well as newcomers. Strict animal control standards, temporary permits for trailer houses, development of adequately sized and shaped building lots and procedures for establishing business were enforced. This put quite a damper on the influx of people as many were coming to Alpine at that time to get away from the laws being enforced where they had been residing. Not understanding the situation, many local citizens accused the council of hindering progress. Had the council not acted when they did, Alpine could have quickly and easily turned into a very undesirable city.
The garbage situation was getting out of hand. On June 25, 1962, a $1 per month assessment for garbage pickup was to be payable with the water bill. This had been a voluntary act, but some refused to pay and a little pressure became necessary to keep the city healthy and clean.
In July 1962, the preliminaries having been taken care of, copies of a water bond election were posted with regards to raising money to build another storage tank to supplement the low culinary water supply. The bonding passed and extensions of water lines were mapped out. Bids were accepted for drilling a well that fall.
August 27,1962, the petition of Ace Avery's subdivision (Alpine Acres), after much revision, was finally accepted subject to the following: "It is to be understood and agreed that the city would not assume any obligations of any nature for improvements, including street grading, street graveling, street surfacing, curb and gutter, sidewalks, water line, fire hydrants or sewer lines, and that all people purchasing lots should be properly informed that Alpine City assumes no improvement responsibility whatever."
This sounds like harsh treatment, but upon taking into consideration the financial status of the city and the location of the subdivision plats being presented at that time, the council, upon legal advice proceeded with caution.
Being in need of a new school building, the Alpine School District decided it would be cheaper to divide the Alpine Elementary School children and bus them to American Fork and Pleasant Grove schools. The city, as a whole, objected to this, and the city officials spent considerable time and effort to keep a school in Alpine.
During 1962, a city library was established and a recreation committee appointed. The newly organized Lion's Club provided a big, fat, jolly Santa Claus who toured the city on the bright, red fire truck and ended up at the city hall with treats for the kiddies. This made a happy climax for the year.
The New Year, 1963, was ushered in with the youth having a big Christmas tree bonfire. There were wieners and marshmallows to roast at the city park. Besides having a lot of fun, it solved the problem of what to do with discarded Christmas trees that had plagued the city for many years. During 1963 Jeune Marsh, Van Burgess and Vernon Shepherd served on the planning commission.
Extra committees were a great help to the council. They had the opportunity to study, discuss, meet with the citizens to get their points of view and report to the council with sound advice. The council was swamped with pressing affairs and could not spend the necessary time involved to gain enough knowledge to give fair consideration to some of the problems.
In July 1963, permission to purchase a pump for the culinary water system well was received and Lloyd Carlton, local contractor, was awarded the contract to lay the necessary pipe.
September 30, 1963, Robert Smith asked to be released from the council as he had been called as Bishop of the Alpine Ward and could not handle both jobs. Eldredge Warnick replaced him. on October 28, Ronald Strong was asked to temporarily act as mayor to finish out the term of Vern Clark who took up permanent residence in California.
During 1964, the state law governing minors riding motorized vehicles in the city was enforced. Many local riders, as well as out-of-city youths, had been making it very dangerous, both for themselves and others. If a serious accident had occurred, the city could have been held liable for not enforcing the law.
People from Highland and individuals from some large subdivisions between Alpine and Salt Lake County tried to get Alpine to furnish them culinary water. Since the city was already having trouble keeping the higher elevation areas supplied with water during the summer, the council notified the Utah County Surveyor, that the City did not intend to sell water outside the city limits.
With only one marshal for Alpine, and he having to make a living out of town, the city council members were deputized to act as peace enforcement officers in the Marshal's absence. This had its funny side. Some of the few offenders that were approached didn't think the council had the authority to make an arrest or enforce the law. Somewhere along the line the offenders had not been educated that even a citizen can make what is legally termed as a "citizen's arrest. "
A snow plow was purchased for the city in the fall of 1964. The plow was a great improvement in clearing the roads during the winter.
In 1965 a new weir was installed for the culinary water, and once again Alpine was able to meet the State Board of Health requirements.
By this time, the city was beginning to look pretty run down again. Most of the big, beautiful barns that had played such an important part in the community when livestock and farming were the main livelihoods of the people had been ravaged by the elements and neglect. Corrals were partly knocked down, and a few of the earliest homes had been abandoned and left to decay. There was so much neglect in the community that it looked as though it were retrogressing instead of progressing.
Complacency with regards to upkeep was universal throughout the county. The county agent and others had been working with the communities to try to improve the situation. When Lady Bird Johnson, wife of the United States President, took on a beautification project a "Clean Up, Paint Up, Fix Up Campaign" as her tribute to the nation, things really got underway. William and Elaine Devey wrote this account of Alpine's participation:
The Alpine beautification program was launched in 1965, with a city population of 904, under the direction of Utah County, Joel C. Barlow, Mayor Ronald Strong with Councilman Ronald Devey, Jay Singleton, Van Burgess, Eldredge Warnick and Councilwoman Jennie Wild.
William Devey and Valere Hegerhorst were chosen by the council to co-chair the program, which in its first year accomplished a tremendous improvement. An estimated number of five hundred residents turned out on two separate weekends, with many out of town companies furnishing their equipment to demolish, burn and clear away old homes, barns and sheds... Fences were rebuilt, dead trees removed, vacant lots cleared of debris. The sides of the streets were cleaned of litter and then mowed.
At the City Hall after working all morning, the workers met at noon and the Alpine City Lion's Club furnished everyone with a wiener roast.
The involvement of the whole community could be seen everywhere, as school children, boy scouts and girl scouts were assigned projects to be carried out. School was dismissed part of a day and organized groups of boys and girls picked up the litter at the edges of the road. Poster contests were held in the school where prizes were awarded each grade for the best ones. New songs and slogans were composed and real enthusiasm was displayed in our local school.
After having received a special award of merit from Utah County for our efforts, Alpine City was invited to enter a scrapbook of accomplishments in the national contest in Washington D.C., where the community was judged along with many other cities nationwide and Alpine City was awarded a distinguished achievement award. William and Elaine Devey flew to Washington D.C. to receive this award on behalf of the City of Alpine.
The years following have found Alpine City involved in many beautification programs under the direction of different citizens who have co-chaired these projects, namely William Devey, Valere Hegerhorst, Donald Beck, Kent Hanson, David Bateman, Dick and Elzera Healty and James Grimes. Each year a great showing of accomplishments has been noted and each year they have received additional awards both from local and national leaders. In 1967 Georgene Hegerhorst and Saundra Warnick, local 4-H participants, entered a national contest on preliminary plans and ideas for a new city park and were awarded $500 with which more than three hundred trees and shrubs were purchased to establish a park on the center block of Alpine. The city added a new sprinkling system and purchased lawn seed. This area was planted and the new park became a reality. Verl Adams, president of the local Garden Club, assisted these girls in planning this layout for the park. This has been a tremendous program for our city. It has helped in the prevention of slums and the rehabilitation of blighted areas. It has improved health and safety standards, taught juvenile decency and helped in fire prevention. It has helped to make the City of Alpine a more perfect place to live.
William and Elaine Devey receiving the Distinguished Achievement Award for the City of Alpine in Washington D.C
During 1966, Alpine joined in with the County to assist in good city planning. Not understanding the program or being able to see how greatly it would benefit the community, the majority of citizens were against the move. Many felt the growth of a city could take care of itself without any planning or regulations.
This was also the year when recognition of senior citizens was being pushed. New programs were being developed in the communities. Charles Adams, a council member, was appointed to represent Alpine in the county organizations and to establish a Senior Citizen's unit in Alpine. His efforts proved unsuccessful as the few that were interested preferred to join in with American Fork or Provo people.
Having had city marshals in Alpine for many years, the law enforcement personnel received a new name in the spring of 1966. Henceforth they were to be known as city police. Duane Shepherd became the new Chief of Police with Rulon McDaniel as assistant.
March 14,1966, Nina Llewelyn was released as civil defense director and Joel Hall was appointed in her place.
Starting with the month of April, a city newsletter was to be published every two months to keep the citizens informed of city happenings.
In July, the city adopted the Uniform Traffic Code so Alpine would be in unison with the adjoining cities.
During August of 1966, road work was started on the Draper Alpine road. This had been an issue for several years, and people were happy to see it become a reality. When this road is completely finished for passenger travel, it will shorten the distance considerably between Alpine and Salt Lake City.
Around the first part of August, one of the biggest surprises to hit the people of Alpine was disclosed. The Alpine Power House Plant would be demolished in Dry Creek Canyon, and the Forest Service wanted to close off the road up Dry Creek above the big headgates.
The city council had the Forest Service meet with them, and they finally agreed to leave the road open up to the intake (where the water flows into the pipeline that was used to run the plant).
For many years the grounds around the plant had been the popular picnic and recreation spot for local as well as visiting groups for miles around. Several people tried to buy the building but the power company would not sell, and the plant was eventually dismantled and bulldozed into the wash and covered
In April 1967, the council decided a house numbering system should be set up in the city. The increasing population was in need of some identification. Previously, everyone had known everybody in town and where they lived, and as the mail was R.F.D. with mailbox numbers, it hadn't been necessary for house numbers. Now it was becoming a must. Councilman Jay Singleton and Charles F. Adams were assigned to the job.
April 1, 1967, ground was broken to build a new church house which was dedicated February 25, 1968. On January 3, 1968, the bishops of the two existing wards Robert Smith and Thayne Bateman met with the council to discuss disposal of the older U shaped or purple church and the surrounding grounds.
There was much controversy about the situation. The council appointed a city committee to canvas the town for citizen's ideas. The following two proposals were to be discussed. First, the church site property would remain in the name of the church, to be disposed of at their own discretion to private concerns. This received 23 votes. Second, the City of Alpine could purchase the property the church building sat on, tear down the building and add the ground to the existing park. This received 45 votes. Many citizens had additional ideas for its use but would not commit themselves in writing. Several individuals tried to buy the building. One wanted it for a recreation center, another for an art studio and others for private use. The city and church officials thought it should remain in their jurisdiction since it was in the heart of the city and on Main Street.
The city finally bought the ground (.56 acres for $2,600) and the irrigation water that went with it.
The one acre of ground already in the park was donated to the city by the ward membership. The city was to maintain it as a park with no strings attached. The church sold the building, and it was demolished. Right at that time the city could not afford to maintain the building. Before the church leaders could remove what they wished from the building, vandals broke many windows, and removed various furnishings.
Two of our cherished buildings were demolished within the year: the purple church which had been built in 1933 and was only thirty-five years old and the red schoolhouse on the hill that was built in 1899 and was sixty-nine years old. The old, red schoolhouse needed dismantling. It had been condemned for several years. A new schoolhouse had been built at the present site, 350 East 300 North, so the contractor agreed to demolish both buildings if they would give him the material from the church.
The telephone company obtained permission to start laying underground cable in November, 1967, along Third North Street. To be rid of telephone poles and wires along the streets made quite an improvement.
In July 1968, the city decided to sell the ground northwest of the big head gates. This small piece of ground had been set aside in early days for the building of a "pest house" (a place to confine people with communicable diseases). It ran in a triangle through private ground, and the owners wished to straighten up their property lines. It was advertised, bids were accepted and the land was sold to the highest bidders, the owners of the adjoining property, Duncan, Adamson and Memmott.
Also, in July 1968, a special improvement program finally got underway. Cement sidewalks would be placed in certain areas. Work progressed until cold weather set in, in December, then the project was finished the following spring.
At the September 9 meeting of the city council, a motion was passed to make garbage collection mandatory. Some households had high mounds of trash stacked on their lots and would not haul it off themselves nor pay the nominal fee to have it collected, so the council decided to charge seventy-five cents per month for every household. The garbage was to be collected twice a month, and the fee would be collected on the water bill every three months.
With the rapid population increase, accumulation of garbage again became a major issue to the city, so in March, 1970, the council decided it should be collected once a week, and the rate increased to $1 per family per month. By August 1971, the garbage, collector stated he averaged 13,800 pounds of garbage on a collection day in Alpine. In May, 1973, the collection rate was raised to $1.50 per month.
When television made its debut, the people in Alpine were disappointed with the reception. The high mountains limited the amount of stations the city could receive. During the early 60's some of the citizens had tried to get the city to establish a relay station on the hill northwest of town. The city was unable to finance the operation but did give permission for the people to do so themselves. Nothing was done until March 1, 1971, when Glen Brown asked permission to solicit the city for television cable hookups. Enough people signed, and a station was set up in what is known as the Strong pasture on the east side of the ridge, west of Fort Canyon. The station is located about three-fourths of a miles south of where the north mountain starts its steep climb. TV. reception improved and the number of stations that could be tuned in doubled.
September 14, 1970, Alpine updated laws again by adopting the Uniform Traffic Code, Uniform Building Code and Uniform Electrical and Plumbing Code to conform with other cities in the vicinity. Building permits in Alpine were also changed to conform to the present Utah County permits, with intercity laws pertaining just to our city.
By the request of the planning commission, the building code frontage was changed from seventy feet to ninety feet for the construction of dwellings. The change took effect in may 1971. Many people had requested this change to keep the rural-looking effect in Alpine. Now certain areas on the outskirts of the city require a 110-foot frontage.
Lehi City gets part of their water from the Alpine watershed. Their pipes for the culinary water had been in for many years and needed replacing. The lines ran through people's lots and property, so Lehi asked permission to straighten out the line and put it down the street from about 600 North Main to Second North and from there west to the city limits. Some residents objected, even if it didn't cause them any inconvenience, but Alpine City cooperated with Lehi and helped them straighten out their rights-of-way so they would lay the new pipe with the least amount of trouble.
In July 1969, an ordinance was passed for a curfew law. Much vandalism was taking place, and even quite young children were roaming the streets at all hours of the night and wee hours of the morning. Fifteen-year-olds and under were not to be on the streets from 10 pm to 5 am. Fifteen to eighteen-year-olds were to be home from 12 midnight until 5 am unless accompanied by a parent or guardian or unless employment forced them to be out. The curfew was necessary for the peace, health and safety in Alpine City.
In August 1969, the telephone company asked permission to put in underground cable from Fort Canyon to the city limits on the south. The request was granted. The change greatly improved the situation up the canyon as it had been very difficult to keep the line up, especially in winter weather.
Subdivisions were springing up in every direction, and requests were still coming in nearly every month for water to be supplied outside of the city limits. The requests had to be turned down even though the new water system, with the storage tank at Grove Flat, was completed and ready for use September 13,1971.
This was a great help in keeping the city water line ends full, especially those in the higher elevations.
April 1972, the city purchased a much-needed piece of equipment a Case tractor, Model 580, with a 24-inch bucket. Use of the tractor allowed the city to do much of their own road, cemetery and water work without having to hire so much expensive outside help.
Despite the fact that revenue sharing had been in effect for some time, federal money had been sent to the county. Then, if there was any left, it was distributed to specific communities, the larger cities getting the lion's share. During 1973, conscientious efforts brought about fair distribution to the smaller cities and towns. This extra money helped considerably in Alpine to relieve the ever-present financial bind.
The Capital Improvement Program was introduced in 1973. Its function was to put a little money away each year in the individual departments, so they could have some ready cash when the needs arose.
June 11,1973, new aerial maps were made of the City of Alpine for the convenience of seeing where new projects were being proposed for the city.
January 14, 1974 the ParentTeacher Association President Joyce Hall, met with the council and asked the city's help in establishing a city library at the elementary school. The books in the city hall had not been used for several years, and they could be better utilized and made available to the public at the school. The request was granted. During 1975, the books that were suitable were moved to the school. The remaining books with the shelves, were turned over to the local camp of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers on January 10, 1976, and housed in the Relic Hall. There were some old and rare volumes preserved for historical value in the collection.
In commemoration of the Nation's Bicentennial, 1976, Alpine City had three projects.
The phenomenal growth starting to take place in Alpine during the early 1970'S was of great concern to the city fathers and planning commission. In order to give the residents an opportunity to better participate in the development of the city, a questionnaire was circulated by the planning commission among the citizens, during October of 1974, asking for ideas on improving the city. A summary of the results of the questionnaire presented to the people in April 1975, was:
There were 313 people who filled out the questionnaire. That is approximately one-third of the Alpine public who were invited to participate. That is not as many respondents as we had hoped for but we think it is enough to give us a very good idea how Alpiners feel about their town. The most prevalent opinion expressed in the questionnaire was a positive evaluation of our location (85% felt that we live in a beautiful place) and a desire to see Alpine maintain its natural beauty and rural atmosphere (93%). There were 50% who expressed the wish that Alpine could maintain its farmland as it is now. And there were an additional 36% who would like to see enough farmland retained to maintain a rural atmosphere. Only two people checked the option that we should make no effort to retain the farmland.
Alpiners feel that we should improve and beautify our city. Sixty-one % would like to see an ordinance enforced to restrict the collection of junk and litter on private property, 58% want an ordinance to curb noise, 43% would like