West Jordan, Utah 1916-1970
In 1849 Governor Brigham Young sent Apostle John Taylor on a mission to France to investigate industries that could be successfully established in the New Mountain Empire. There he met Phillip DeLamare, a man of exceptional talents and substantial means, who had a knowledge of the sugar industry.
In Orras, France, they carefully examined the sugar beet industry, and convinced of its possibilities, raised funds in England and purchased equipment in Liverpool, England. Early in 1852, the equipment was shipped to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. There it was placed on 40 sturdy Santa Fe wagons; each drawn by 4 to 8 oxen. This private enterprise faced monumental setbacks and many wagons were replaced before they reached Provo, Utah one year later.
Due to insufficient funds, ownership of the property was transferred to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who set up a “pilot plant” on the northeast corner of the Temple block. Another plant was built on Parley’s Creek and later known as “Sugarhouse”. In 1854 the factory was ready for operation but it never flourished due to inexperience, lack of organization, marketing, weather and spoilage.
The vision was not dead however, Arthur Stayner examined the industry in California and with 20 stockholders, he organized the Utah Sugar Company of Lehi, Utah, August 30, 1889. The original principals involved were: Elias Morris, President; Francis Armstrong, Vice President; James Jack, Treasurer; Arthur Stayner, Secretary and General Manager, and James H. Gardner, Sugar Boiler.
This venture was successful and provided the incentive for other factories in Utah and Idaho, including the large U & I plant at West Jordan, which became the model of productivity, research, and cooperation between farmers, producers, and consumers for 55 years. Great economic growth was derived from the millions of dollars dispersed throughout Utah and Idaho from research and the manufacturing of sugars and syrups.
Over 13,163,157 one-hundred pound sacks of sugar were produced from over 4,910,869 tons of sugar beets. The West Jordan plant’s research contributed to the control of sugar beet diseases, including the dreaded “curly top”, and in the development of Hybrid Monogerm seeds. The factory was constructed at West Jordan, Utah for Utah Idaho Sugar Company by E.H. Dyers & Company. The original officers were: Joseph H. Smith, Manager and Horace G. Whitney, Secretary and Treasurer.
Note: This plaque is on the opposite side of the same structure as the Salt Lake and Utah Railroad, SUP #35 in Veterans Memorial Park in West Jordan. In 2013 the structure had crumbled and was rebuilt by the Chapter from the same materials.
The Salt Lake “Orem Line” – extended south from Salt Lake City through the City of West Jordan, at this location, and to Payson, a distance of 67 miles.
A branch line of nine miles in length served the town of Magna. Service between Salt Lake City and Provo was established early in the year 1914.
July 18, 1915, twenty trains a day ran to Springville. By July 1, 1916, these runs extended to Spanish Fork, Utah. May 20, 1916, saw the last day of rail-laying on the main line to Payson.
With the end of World War I, automobiles and trucks began to be in common use, and Salt Lake and Utah R.R. business, both passenger and freight, began to suffer.
July 24, 1925, Salt Lake and Utah R.R. entered receivership. Henry I. Moore of Salt Lake and D.P. Abercrombie of Boston were appointed receivers.
Court orders dated July 31, 1937, and December 17, 1937, ordered receivers to sell all properties of Salt Lake and Utah R.R. to the highest bidder.
Although the receivership and foreclosure sale of the new company had received a lot of problems, the operating revenues of $717,678 were in the red $44,489. By the end of 1945, the deficit had grown to $220,000. Competition of subsidized highway transportation, both public and private carriers, made it impossible to compete.
The Salt Lake and Utah R.R. was dead physically and legally. In June, 1946, the UPSC gave its permission to abandon S.L. & Utah R.R. Receiver J. Quinney granted authority to sell the company property for salvage. He realized $1.10 for each $1.00 invested.
Note: This plaque is on the opposite side of the same structure as the Utah Idaho Sugar Company Factory, SUP #12 in Veterans Memorial Park in West Jordan. In 2013 the structure had crumbled and was rebuilt by the Chapter from the same materials.
Pioneer Crossing Bridge
Erected 2013 – This bridge commemorates the area where the first pioneers crossed the Jordan River to settle the West side of the Salt lake Vanney. In November 1848, the family of Joseph and Susannah Harker were the first “over Jordan” and built a log home near 3300 South and 1400 West.
On January 9, 1849, the families of Thomas MacKay, John Bennion, Samuel Bennion, Thomas Tarbet, William Blackhurt, William Farrer, John Robinson and James Taylor crossed the Jordan River on the ice and built dugouts and cabins in this area.
Other settlers followed these first pioneer, resulting in many prosperous communities West of the Jordan River. Pioneer Crossing Bridge honors these first families and all others who have sought a brighter future by making their home on the Salt Lake Valley’s West side.
Moesser – Rushton Granary
Erected c1878 in Hunter, Preserved 2014 – As pioneers and homesteaders moved West across the Salt Lake Valley they prospered in developing farming communities. Harvested lumber from Bingham, Harker and Coon Canyons in the Oquirrh Mountains was used by settlers to build area homes, barns and granaries.
Pioneer Joseph Hyrum Moesser constructed this granary near his adobe brick house in c1878 at approximately 4450 South 5400 West in Hunter. Newly wed Alma E Rushton acquired this granary and surrounding farm in 1917. Merging it into the Rushton homestead across the street. This historic granary was in use for over 100 years of agricultural production and is perhaps the oldest building in West Valley City today. It commemorates all those that seek to build and shape their community into a better place.
On July 22, 1847, an advanced party of the first Mormon pioneers entered the valley and immediately began to irrigate land and explore the area with a view to establishing new settlements. Alexander Beckstead, a blacksmith from Ontario, Canada, moved his family to the West Jordan area in 1849, and became the first of his trade in the south Salt Lake Valley. He helped dig the first ditch to divert water from the Jordan River, powering Archibald Gardner’s flour mill. In 1859, Beckstead became the first settler of South Jordan by moving his family along the Jordan River where they lived in a dugout cut into the west bluffs above the river. The flood plain of the Jordan was level, and could be cleared for farming if a ditch was constructed to divert river water along the base of the west bluff. Beckstead and others created the 2.5-mile “Beckstead Ditch”, parts of which are still in use as of 2010.
South Jordan Posts:
West Jordan Posts:
- Salt Lake and Utah Railroad
- Utah Idaho Sugar Company Factory
- West Jordan DUP Marker
- West Jordan Parks
- West Jordan Pioneer Church
West Jordan received its name from Mormon settlers who entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1847 under the leadership of their prophet, Brigham Young. These first European-Americans thought of the area to be their Zion, or Holy Land, and thus named the river flowing west of their first settlement, Salt Lake City, the Western Jordan, a reference to the River Jordan in Israel. The name was later simplified to “Jordan River”. Like its Middle Eastern namesake, the Jordan River flows from a fresh water lake (Utah Lake) to an inland salt sea (Great Salt Lake). West Jordan was founded around 1849 on the western banks of the Jordan River.
One of the first sawmills in the area was built in 1850 in the city by Archibald Gardner. Gardner was a devout Mormon whose legacy can still be seen in modern West Jordan. His collection of mills and houses, now historic, have been renovated into a specialty shopping district known as Gardner Village.
Early West Jordan relied primarily on agriculture, mills, and mining activity to form the base of its economy. The first leather tannery west of the Mississippi River was constructed in the city in 1851.
Garfield Beach railroad junction was built in 1905. In 1908, its post office was named Welby in honor of Rio Grande Railroad superintendent. The R.G.R.R. company drilled water wells, built soft water treatment plant, a round house, dance hall, pool hall, hotel, grocery and mercantile store, over 200 homes, and a three room schoolhouse. The first teachers were Ann Phoenix, Bernice Nelson, and Miss Johnson. Harold Nielson was doctor. The railroad company lost its contract and Welby began to fade. The store and school were razed in 1948.
Check out all of the historic markers placed by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers at JacobBarlow.com/dup