number of exploring parties had traveled through Beaver
Valley before anyone seriously looked at it as a potential
location for settlement. In the winter of 1856, George
A. Smith, a Mormon apostle and a representative to the
territorial legislature from Parowan, noted that the area
could potentially provide good pasturage for cattle. Nearby
canyons also had abundant timber for lumber and available
water for a mill. That same month, February, a colonization
party arrived in the Beaver River Valley, leaving their
homes in Parowan thirty-five miles to the south. The settlers
included Simeon F. Howd, captain; Wilson G. Nowers, James
P. Anderson, Edward W. Thompson, Ross R. Rogers, H.S.
Alexander, John M. Davis, Charles Carter, John Henderson,
Barney Carter, James Duke, John Knowles, Joseph Goff,
James Low, Benson Lewis, and their families. The next
month, George A. Smith arrived to appoint Simeon F. Howd
as the presiding elder, the senior religious leader of
initial land division consisted of sixteen ten-acre lots.
By May, water for irrigation had been directed from the
river to the east and conducted in a newly constructed
ditch to the northeast corner of the survey, crossing
the public square on a diagonal. Soon, modest wood frame
homes and a wooden fence around the entire surveyed area,
with a wooden schoolhouse in the center of town, marked
the fledgling community as a place where people had come
to stay. Beaver was formally incorporated on 10 January
same year, the first Beaver County court was held in Beaver.
In 1858 Beaver's population received a boost from Mormons
leaving San Bernardino, California, at the onset of the
Utah War. In 1886 the inhabitants of Circleville abandoned
their community because of the Black Hawk War and made
their homes in Beaver.
September 1873 the United States Army built a military
barracks - Fort Cameron - at Beaver. It was located on
the north side of the Beaver River about one mile from
the mouth of the canyon. The post included four company
barracks, a guard house, commissary, hospital, and officers'
quarters, many of which were constructed with the distinctive
black rock taken from the nearby mountains.
is known for its stone houses and public buildings. The
Beaver Co-op was the largest Utah mercantile establishment
south of Salt Lake City for a number of years. Constructed
with black igneous rock quarried in the mountains east
of Beaver in 1872, this two-story store was a branch of
the LDS Church's ZCMI. The foundation of the Beaver County
Courthouse, built in 1882, is also black rock, but the
upper stories are constructed of a beautiful red brick.
The building's clock tower and simple classical detail
make it a prominent landmark in Beaver County.
always played a prominent role in education in the county.
Besides local public schools, a number of private institutions
were built here. In 1898 the LDS Church established the
Murdock Academy in the old Fort Cameron structures. This
church school was a branch of the Brigham Young Academy
at Provo. The Beaver LDS Stake was given the responsibility
for the renovation of the properties, and a principal,
E.D. Partridge, was sent to Beaver from Provo to lead
the school. By the beginning of its second week, one hundred
students had enrolled for the two-year high school course.
The school functioned until May 1922.
and stock raising were the two principal industries during
the nineteenth century in Beaver. Nevertheless, in this
most significant town south of Provo, Beaver's retail
businesses also played a prominent role in the economic
life of the region. Beaver functioned as a supply station
for prospectors who were scouring the nearby mountains
for ore. A number of woolen mills, tanneries, harness
shops, shoe shops, flour mills, photographic galleries,
lumber mills, tailors, carding shops, and a variety of
other types of local businesses helped Beaver to maintain
a thriving local economy.
is also a significant gateway to local canyons and mountain
ranges. The Tushar Range to the east of Beaver, for example,
has abundant resources for fishing, hunting, and camping.
Puffer Lake and the other lakes situated in the mountains
adjoining Beaver are popular destinations for fishermen
and sports enthusiasts from around the region. Located
on Interstate 15 at an elevation of 5,970 feet, Beaver
is a place with a colorful past, a pleasing climate, and
ample opportunities for employment. In addition to agriculture,
dairying, cattle raising, and service enterprises, mines
like the sulphur mines twenty miles to the north continue
to augment and diversify the local economy. In 1990 Beaver
had a population of 1,998.