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.
The first settlers on Carcass Creek were experienced Wayne County ranchers who arrived in 1880. In 1881, more cattlemen settled along Fish Creek. A small number of residents scattered through the area over the next few years. These early settlers referred to their settlement as Carcass Creek. In 1887, the Mormon residents were organized into a congregation called the Carcass Creek Branch, although meetings were held only irregularly due to the distances among homes.
In the early 1890s the growing town was granted a post office, and the name was changed to Grover in honor of U.S. President Grover Cleveland. The Grover Irrigation Company organized in 1893 to build and manage structures for drawing and distributing water from Fish Creek Lake. The first school classes were held in the winter of 1892–1893, and the first log school/church/community building was built about 1900.
In 1935, a new school building was built in Grover. A stuccoed log one-room school, the Grover School was built with funds and labor provided mainly by the Works Progress Administration. Unlike other area schools, it had a fence and lawn. Due to Grover’s small size, the school board quickly decided the school was an unnecessary expense; within three years the older children were sent to school in Bicknell, and in 1941 the Grover School was closed. The building has remained largely intact, and in 1986 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Just east of Capitol Reef National Park near the small Moki Ruins of the Fremont Indians. This structure is in an area under the overhang of the cliff. It was used as a granary by the Fremont Indians to keep their food safe. This is a great little place to pull off the highway, see a piece of ancient local history, stretch your legs, hike around a bit.