For almost ten years from its founding on 25 March 1869, the town of Corinne prospered as the unofficial “Gentile Capital of Utah”. As the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads approached their historic meeting place at Promontory Summit early in 1869, a group of former Union Army officers and some determined non-Mormon merchants from Salt Lake City decided to locate a Gentile town on the Union Pacific line, believing that the town could compete economically and politically with the Saints of Utah. They chose a location about six miles west of Brigham City on the west bank of the Bear River where the railroad crossed that stream. Named by one of the founders (General J. A. Williamson) for his fourteen-year-old daughter, Corinne was designed to be the freight-transfer point for the shipment of goods and supplies to the mining towns of western Montana along the Montana Trail.
In its heyday Corinne had some 1,000 permanent residents, not one of whom was a Mormon, according to the boast of the local newspaper. As an end-of-the-trail town, Corinne reflected a very different atmosphere and culture from the staid and quiet Mormon settlements of Utah, containing not only a number of commission and supply houses but also fifteen saloons and sixteen liquor stores, with an elected town marshal to keep order in this “Dodge City” of Utah. The permanent residents of Corinne did their best to promote a sense of community pride and peaceful, cultural pursuits but had a raucous and independent clientele of freighters and stagecoach drivers to control.