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Bountiful City Park, one of the many parks in Bountiful.

On this, the original site of Sessions Settlement, many community festivals and parties have been held over the years including Handcart Days, Summerfest anf Cantaloupe Days. Cantaloupe Days were held yearly from 1945 to the early 1960s during cantaloupe harvest.  Local farmers donated unneeded cantaloupes for people to freely enjoy as much as they wanted.

This site of Sessions Settlement, was where a 12′ high dirt wall was built in 1856 as a protection from Indians.  The wall was never finished.  In 1892 the Bamberger Railroad expanded from Salt Lake City to Bountiful en route to Ogden.  It ran along 200 West with a stop at this Park.  The 32-minute train ride to SLC cost 10 cents.  The railroad brought commodities to Bountiful and carried farm goods back to SLC.

During the summers of 1849 and 1850, more than 25,000 emigrants passed this way en route to the California gold fields.  The vanguard of the 1849 emigration reached Great Salt Lake City about June 16th.  They lingered in the city to rest their animals and buy supplies.  The first forty-niner wagons to pass here on the way to City of Rocks were led by James C. Sly, a Mormon Battalion veteran.

In his Gold Rush diary for July 1, 1849, George Shepard recorded what he saw while traveling through present Bountiful.  “…[I] came across mountainous streams or ditches of water which were taken from the mountain streams and carried in all directions over these farms to water their crops as there is scarcely any rain through the summer saw more than 100 rods of stone wall today the most I’ve seen since [I] left Massachusetts.”  This was the rock and clay wall protecting Sessions Settlement, now known as Bountiful.

James Samuel Smedley and Alice Chase Smedley

(1864-1940)            (1863-1939)

This site was once the farmland of of James and Alice Smedley.  They were one of the major fruit and vegetable growers in the Bountiful area and contributed much to the city’s growth and development.  James’ interest in truck farming and fruit growing led to his being one of the organizers of the Growers’ Market Company in Salt Lake City which game farmers a central place to market their fresh produce.

The School District and Bountiful City acquired the property from James and his wife Alice in 1937.  Their once impressive peach orchards and vegetable gardens have become the park and playgrounds we now enjoy.


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