“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cottonwood Heights in Salt Lake County, Utah — The American Mountains (Southwest)


Big Cottonwood Canyon Trail

Agriculture Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Andrew Johnson, September 22, 2018
1. Agriculture Marker
Inscription.  During their first 20-plus years in the Salt Lake Valley, people who settled this area did so at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon. They depended on the sawmills and later the mines as a means of support. Following the joining of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869, people in the area were able to obtain land grants through the “Homestead Act.” Andrew Hansen Sr. obtained a land grant for 160 acres in the area that would become known as “Danish Town.” Several African Americans obtained land grants in the western section of our city. Others obtained grants on the Butler Bench. Without water, farming was difficult as the soil was very sandy and gravelly and had to be cleared of sagebrush and scrub oak. Many of the first farmers did not stay long and sold their property to others. The first crops were dry-farm crops of grains, hay, and alfalfa.

Water was needed to make farming viable, so irrigation companies were formed and ditches were dug. The McGhie Ditch was among those taking water from Big Cottonwood Creek and provided water for people living along 2300 East. Butler Ditch supplied water to those living
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north of Bengal Boulevard along 3500 East. The Brown and Sanford Irrigation Company supplied water to the majority of people in the Butlerville area. The Big Willow Irrigation Company, incorporated in 1900, took its water from Little Willow Creek. The Big Willow Irrigation Company is still in operation today, providing water to the residents along Wasatch Boulevard, Danish Road, and the Memorial Estates Cemetery. Those taking water out of Little Cottonwood Creek were the Union and East Jordan Irrigation Company and the Van Valkenberg Ditch. The former is still in operation today.

With access to irrigation water, farmers were able to grow truck-garden crops. Peas were a big crop and, for a time, the area had two pea viners, though one of them closed during the depression. During the 1930s, farmers began replacing their truck-garden crops with fruit orchards, and the area became known for its fine fruit. People came from all over the valley to buy fruit from this area. About 1934, Alma Farnsworth moved into the area and established a large fox farm. In the early 1940s, the Erekson brothers established a large fur farm across from Butler Middle School and employed several of the young men in the area who, in turn, started their own fur farms. Fur farming soon became the main source of second income for people in the area, replacing fruit farming. A large egg business and
Agriculture Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Andrew Johnson, September 22, 2018
2. Agriculture Marker
a large turkey farm were also started in the area. About 1953, development of the community and building of subdivisions began, bringing agriculture and fur farming to an end.
Erected 2013 by Cottonwood Heights Historic Committee.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansAgricultureSettlements & Settlers.
Location. 40° 37.839′ N, 111° 48.298′ W. Marker is in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, in Salt Lake County. Marker can be reached from Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, on the right when traveling south. The marker is on the Old Mill Bike Path approximately 800 feet northwest of the parking lot at Old Mill Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Salt Lake City UT 84121, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. South Butler School (within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome to the Cottonwood Heights Historic Walk (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Granite-Butler Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); Mining (approx. 0.2 miles away); Tithing House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Silica Beds (approx. ¼ mile away); Ern and Molly Green Cabin (approx. 0.3 miles away); Cedar Tree (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cottonwood Heights.
Big Cottonwood Creek image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Andrew Johnson, September 22, 2018
3. Big Cottonwood Creek
In September 2018, Big Cottonwood Creek was dry.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 23, 2018. It was originally submitted on September 22, 2018, by Andrew Johnson of Salt Lake City, Utah. This page has been viewed 224 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 22, 2018, by Andrew Johnson of Salt Lake City, Utah. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 1, 2024