This wooded area, named for the Cottonwood trees, was originally located between Big and Little Cottonwood Creeks, from 13th East to the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains. The Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons were identified by a large Cottonwood tree at the mouth of the north canyon and a smaller one near the mouth of the south canyon. The creeks meandered across the land. Heavy rains and snows created a huge spring runoff in 1862, cutting new channels, which the Pioneer settlers widened and dredged, struggling to tame the creek. They dug many ditches and two canals. Granite from the Little Cottonwood quarry paraded down Vine Street for the construction of the Salt Lake Temple.
As this farming settlement grew southward, distance and swollen creek beds made it difficult to attend church, school and community events outside the Cottonwood area. A branch of the Big Cottonwood Ward was organized for Cottonwood on October 11, 1885; meetings were held in homes, then schools. In 1890, the first school, an existing log cabin on Spring Lane, was taught by Martha Moses. In 1893, Spillett’s Hall, containing the local post office and store, housed the school for a year. In 1894, students attended a one-room log cabin located just behind the present Oakwood School. In 1896, District 37 built a two-room red brick school. A larger four-room Oakwood School was completed in 1913. Businesses were scattered along Highland Drive.
Big Cottonwood Ward was divided on February 12, 1911, creating Holladay and Brinton Wards. Albert Quist became Bishop, with Edward C. Bagley and Ensign Woodruff serving as counselors. Brinton Ward continued to meet in the school until December 10, 1914, when the chapel was ready. From Ensign Woodruff’s journal (son of President Wilford Woodruff): “I was the contractor… With Fred Smith’s team and my plow, we broke ground… My brother, John, donated the ground…” As the very first chapel built entirely by voluntary labor and contributions, the Brinton Ward building was dedicated by President Heber J. Grant on February 12,1928, as the Cottonwood Ward. The settlement of Cottonwood became known as a ward of Salt Lake City.
2011 No. 562 Salt Lake Olympus Company
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