A Brief History of Brigham City
Mormon pioneer William Davis first explored the Brigham City area in 1850, returning with his family and others a year later to create permanent homes there. In 1853 Mormon leader Brigham Young directed Apostle Lorenzo Snow to lead additional settlers to the site, fostering the self-sufficient city that eventually became known as Brigham City.
Snow directed both religious and political affairs of the fledgling settlement, originally known as “Box Elder.” When it was incorporated in1867, its name was changed to Brigham City in honor of Brigham Young. Chester Loveland was elected as the town’s first mayor. Brigham Young gave his last public sermon in Brigham City in 1877, shortly before his death.
Early settlers barely survived starvation during harsh winter months. For many their only meat was from animals starved or frozen to death. They boiled hides to make soup, and foraged for sego lilies and a few wild tomatoes as spring emerged.
“The men began clearing the land, tilling the soil, planting crops, and driving away grasshoppers “when those insects came in swarms like large clouds hiding the sun and devouring crops.” They also dug ditches, built roads and worked on public buildings.’
“Many men grew fruit on their own property and sold it to supplement other income. William Knudsen,…discovered early on that the Brigham City area was particularly adapted for peaches, berries and small fruits. He established a successful fruit growing and shipping business which sustained his family members for generations to come’.
“The first sugar beets were planted in 1891, and dairy and creamery operations were successful. Prospecting began in the 1890s, and Brigham City’s first newspaper The Bugler started printing in 1890. In 1892 the city’s water and electricity systems were installed.”
In 1864, Brigham City’s cooperative movement began in earnest when the Mormons created a co-op mercantile store in Brigham. The United Order, the church’s experiment in community-owned properties, added other industries, and the Brigham City Co-op became widely recognized as the most successful of the Mormon Co-op ventures. Economic hardships brought an end to the Co-op in 1895, though the Co-op had first started selling businesses off in 1876.
World War II brought a major economic boost to the city. The federal government created Bushnell General Hospital in southeast Brigham City to treat wounded soldiers whose limbs required amputation. Locals sold supplies and food to the hospital while hospital staff patronized local businesses. It is said that Bushnell was the first facility to treat infections with penicillin.
After the war, the hospital’s buildings housed Intermountain Indian School, where Navajo children from Arizona were sent to complete their education, elementary through high school. In 1984 after Intermountain Indian School’s doors were permanently closed, the city reacquired the site from the Federal Government and Eagle Mountain Golf Course was constructed on the site. Brigham City is the headquarters of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, a federally recognized tribe of the Shoshone.
Thiokol Chemical Corporation’s Wasatch Division, became the largest manufacturing enterprise in Box Elder County’s history in 1957. Remnants of that company remain a major economic force in Box Elder county.
Source: www.bcutah.com and A History of Box Elder County Utah Centennial County History Serives by Frederick M. Huchel