Huntington is named after Huntington Creek, and Huntington Creek was probably named for William, Oliver, and Dimick Huntington, brothers who led exploring parties into the region during the 1850s. The first settlers of European extraction in the area were four stockmen, Leander Lemmon, James McHadden, Bill Gentry, and Alfred Starr, who brought their herds to Huntington Creek in 1875.
In the fall of 1877, in response to the same call from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that brought settlers to the other creeks in Castle Valley, a small group from Fairview, Utah, under the leadership of Elias Cox, established a dugout colony on the banks of Huntington Creek and began digging irrigation canals. The colony grew from 126 in 1880 to 738 in 1890 and 1,293 in 1910. A majority of the early settlers came from Sanpete Valley, which by the late 1870s had outgrown its irrigable land, and many belonged to three or four interrelated kinship groups, making for an abundance of cousins in the community.
In 1880 a mile-square townsite was surveyed on the Prickly Pear Flat, a bench south and west of the creek. The first structure erected on the new townsite was a 40-foot (12 m) by 60-foot (18 m) log meetinghouse, which was completed in time for an all-night New Year’s Eve party on 31 December 1880. Most of the townsite was without water until the completion of the Huntington Canal in 1882. Settlers drew town lots and built homes in town as they proved up on their homesteads. The first homes, some of which were still occupied until recent years, were typically of sawed log or plank construction or of adobe sheathed with lumber. The erection of a new LDS meetinghouse in 1896 inaugurated a twenty-year building boom that saw the completion of many brick homes, schools, and commercial buildings.