Bountiful City History

On the 27th day of September, 1847, Perrigrine Sessions, with his family, moved about nine miles north of the newly established Mormon settlement of Salt Lake City and camped. He had traveled beyond the Hot Springs to find feed for his flocks and herds. Here he constructed a dugout with skins for a roof and wintered, he and his family being the sole occupants of the place until the spring of 1848. This dugout was located at approximately 250 North and 280 West. He was thus the founder of Utah's second settlement and the first white man to make a home in what we now know as Davis County.

The place was first known as Sessions' Settlement, but with the ecclesiastical designation of North Canyon Ward, both titles being employed rather indiscriminately until 1855, when it was officially named Bountiful. A more fitting appellation could not have been chosen for what was even then called the garden spot of Utah.

The townsite had been laid out by Jesse W. Fox and the people wished to have it enclosed as a precaution against hostile Indians. They voted in 1855 to build a wall entirely around it. This was done and the result was an earthwork of mud and straw some three miles in length, eight feet high on the outside and four feet thick at the top, rather an imposing undertaking for those times. Assessments were made according to ability to pay, one man being assessed $1,100.00. The wall when constructed encompassed generally that area commonly bounded by 4th North, 2nd West, 5th South and 4th East.

By 1890 the citizens of East Bountiful determined that they needed something stronger than precinct government to take care of their increasing population. They petitioned the Territorial Legislature and were granted a charter to organize a city corporation. This was in 1892 and Joseph L Holbrook was elected for the first Mayor with the following as Councilmen: Edwin Pace, Thomas Briggs, Steams Hatch, J. L Fackrell and Arthur Riley, with Joseph T. Mabey as City Marshall, R. E. Egan as City Recorder and Jed Stringham as Treasurer.

During the many years since it was organized, the City has met every obligation imposed upon it. Its officials have been wide awake and forward looking; they have been honest and painstaking and there has never been a hint of graft or incompetence. It has been an honor to serve the people, and pay has been no consideration.

During that time elementary schools have been established and junior high schools and two high schools have been built.

Streets have been cleared of weeds and debris; oiled surface have supplanted the mud, and sidewalks have been laid. A water system was begun in 1906 and it has increased in capacity until today most of the water of the mountain streams goes into city reservoirs, to say nothing of other rights acquired from owners of pumped wells and the use of water from Weber Basin Water Conservancy District.

In 1907 electric lights came to Bountiful through the efforts of its citizens. This system was purchased by the City, which now owns its own plant. The first real hard surface road in Utah was laid down between the town and the Salt Lake County line through the efforts of officials of Bountiful, who also were able to induce private property owners to permit the cut through the bluff at the Hot Springs. Other citizens of this flourishing community organized and carried out a campaign to acquire the Cemetery and beautify it. Now it is one of the most beautiful spots dedicated to the dead in the state.

People have finally discovered that, for a dwelling place - an ideal spot in which to rear a family - it has few equals and is surpassed by none. The result has been homes by the hundreds in the last fifteen years, modern homes that please the eye and satisfy the desire for comfort. One is safe in prophesying that, shortly, family dwellings will be built to the topmost lake terrace, where contented inhabitants will gaze down upon the City of Bountiful and the shimmering salt sea as the setting sun gilds the sky and the mountains with gold and exclaim, "Here at last is paradise on earth!"

Charles R. Mabey