Bicknell was originally called Thurber, or “Thurber Town”, for A.K. Thurber, who in 1879 built the first house in the area. In 1897 the town moved to a new location due to sandy soil and poor water conditions.
In 1914 Thomas W. Bicknell, a wealthy eastern author, historian, and Education Commissioner for Rhode Island, offered a thousand-volume library to any Utah town that would rename itself after him. The town of Grayson also wanted the library prize, so in a compromise in 1916, Grayson took the name of Blanding, Mr. Bicknell’s wife’s maiden name, as a tribute to her parents. The two towns split the library, each receiving 500 books.