Eastward 200 to 500 yards on Spring Creek’s northern side in 1847, 2 or 3 men built temporary winter shelters called dugouts only months after entering Salt Lake Valley in July.
After arriving, LDS pioneers explored the valley and discovered a 1-1/4 mile-long creek emanating from springs near 2950 East, flowing southwesterly to Big Cottonwood Creek, near Highland Drive. They called it Spring Creek. Since they needed first to form farming communities to assure survival, Spring Creek offered year-round water for irrigation, homes, and livestock. Reportedly by fall a group was here planning farms and a community. They returned to the city to winter, except the men who built dugouts, making Holladay Utah’s first pioneer community outside Salt Lake City.
Dugouts were made by digging a 12-ft.-square area about 4 ft. deep in the sloping creek bank. Corner poles 8 ft. long were set upright; secured to them was wall siding of split logs. Wood slabs, willows, and sod formed the roof, canvas or rawhide the door. Often one end of a dead tree burned in the floor’s middle, the trees other end sticking out the doorway. When the fire burned low, more of the tree was pulled into the fire.
This plaque is #3 of the Historical Walking Tour of Holladay on this page. It is located at 4767 Holladay Blvd in Holladay, Utah.