Pacific Coast Business Directory

Utah Area and Resources

By the war with Mexico in 1846-48, the United States acquired possession of the Territories of Alta California and New Mexico, the former including what is now portions of Colorado and Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, California and Arizona north of the Gila River. The Mormons settled upon the present site of Salt Lake City on the 24th of July, 1847, and established an ecclesiastical government, and in 1850 the Territory of Utah was organized. The limits then embraced what is now Nevada and part of Colorado and Wyoming, but now are included within the forty-second and thirty-seventh parallels of latitude, and the one hundred and ninth, and one hundred and fourteenth degrees of longitude, with one square degree taken from the northeastern corner. Utah is bounded north by Idaho and Wyoming, east by Wyoming and Colorado, south by Arizona, and west by Nevada. Area, 83,400 square miles. Population. 150,000. Twenty counties comprise its political divisions, viz: Beaver, Box Elder, Cache, Davis, Iron, Juab, Kane, Millard, Morgan, Piute, Rich, Salt Lake, San Pete, Sevier, Summit, Tooele, Utah, Wasatch, Washington and Weber. Capital, Salt Lake City. Principal towns: Alta, American Fork, Bingham, Brigham City, Corinne, Filmore, Logan, Monte, Nephi, Ogden, Prove, St. George, Springville and Tooele City.

The general features of the Territory are of precipitous mountains and arid plains, presenting, in its native conditions, a sterile and uninviting appearance. The lofty Wasatch Range that as the poetess of the region has said "Heaves her white breasts nearest the sky" rises from the Idaho line, and sinks away near the borders of Arizona, forming the eastern rim of the "great basin" and separating it from the valley of the Colorado. East of the Wasatch are the Uintah and spurs of the Rocky Mountains, and west the Oquirrh and Iron are the principal ranges. East and west of the great dividing range are two distinct river systems, the eastern belonging to the Colorado, formed by the Green and Grand, with their numerous branches, as the Uintah, White, San Juan and others, and in the extreme southwest the Rio Virgen; and the Basin system having the Bear, Weber, Cottonwood, Spanish Fork, American Fork, Provo, Timpanogas, Jordan, Salt Creek and Sevier, with many other streams. The many rivers flowing from high country is made productive, and cultivated fields and blooming orchards have replaced the native sterility.

One of the remarkable features of this singular basin is the great inland sea, or Salt Lake, in the northern part of the Territory. This is about seventy-five miles in length by thirty in width, and is so intensely salt that no living thing exists in its waters. Salt of great purity is made from its evaporation, being proved by analysis to contain ninety-seven per cent, of chloride of sodium. Utah Lake, a beautiful shoot of pure water, lies forty miles south of Salt Lake, and is connected with it by the Jordan River. This lake has a length of about thirty-five miles, and a breadth of twelve, and is well stocked with trout and other fish. Southwest of these, near the borders of Nevada, are Sevier, formerly called Nicolet, and Preuss Lakes, two quite largo bodies of water and marsh, where sink the streams of the same names. The resources of Utah are considerable, being agricultural and mineral, the first developed under extraordinary circumstances and with great energy and industry, proving the capacity of the soil for the support of a large population, far in excess of what it had previously been supposed to be. Tho area of agricultural land is not well defined, but expands with industry, and the means taken for irrigation. Cereals, vegetables and fruits of excellent quality are grown, and quite large quantities are exported to the neighboring States and Territories. Cotton is grown in the southern part of the Territory, and the silkworm and mulberry thrive in every portion.

Minerals of different classes exist in large quantities, and mines of iron, gold, silver, copper, lead and coal of great value have been developed. The mining interest, with the exception of iron and coal, was formerly discouraged by the Mormon authorities, but recent discoveries have shown its importance, and mines of great value are now opened, from which ore and bullion are taken, adding greatly to the product and resources of the country. Rich as are the Pacific Coast States and Territories, but few surpass the apparently desert region of Utah. Coal veins of great size, and furnishing an excellent quality of fuel, or for gas or coke, are found in various parts, particularly in Summit, Rich, Wasatch, Iron and Kane counties. Vast beds of iron ore exist from which iron is successfully and quite extensively made, and throughout the Territory are rich mines of gold, silver, lead and copper, from which an annual product of about $4,000,000 is obtained, the yield of 1874 being $5,911,278. Salt is obtained in unlimited quantities from the waters of Great Salt Lake, or gathered on the shore, and is also made from numerous salt springs and streams. The detail of minerals and mining localities is almost endless, showing a resource of unexampled wealth now in course of development.

In agriculture and manufactories has Utah particularly excelled. From the barren plains farms, gardens, orchards and vineyards, have been made, and the many wild streams that come leaping from the mountains have been chained to service in the ponderous wheels of machinery. The policy of Church government has been to make the country as self-supporting as possible, and by co-operative work hundreds of miles of irrigating ditches have been made and huge manufactories erected in every portion of the Territory.

Tho facilities for travel and transportation are provided by the transcontinental railroad, which crosses the northern part, tho Union Pacific and the Central joining at Ogden, from which point runs the Utah Northern into Idaho, and the Utah Central to Salt Lake City, where it joins the Utah Southern, leading to the southern part of the Territory. From this the Utah Western branches at Salt Lake City, leading southwestward, and others branch to various mining districts, giving a very complete system of railways, a proof of active development and general prosperity.

Pacific Coast Business Directory | Utah Territory Index

Source: Pacific Coast Business Directory for 1876-78, Compiled by Henry G. Langley, San Francisco, 1875.


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