did occur, however, including a rise of speculative promotion in land.
This was especially apparent in the 1890s when total farmland increased
more than threefold, from 1.3 million to 4.1 million acres. After a
lull early in the new century, land use boomed again between 1909 and
1918 when settlers entered an average of 575,000 new acres each year.
The number of farms increased from 10,517 in 1890 to an all-time high
of 30,695 in 1935. This was due in part to mounting faith in the technology
of dry farming. Discounted to begin with, dry farming methods attracted
great attention during the 1890s; by 1905 the Utah Agricultural College had established six experimental farms and John A. Widstoe had worked
out dry farming techniques. Thousands hailed it as a new El Dorado.
Some organized great land companies. However, more lived hardscabble
lives before finally retreating from the land or returning to town to
commute as family demands required. Few dry farmers actually lived on
the land after 1945.
more in the spirit of the new commercialism were land development projects.
Scattered throughout the state's submarginal regions were high-risk
enterprises. The New Castle Reclamation Company pinned high hopes on
the vast Escalante Desert. Near Moab, the Valley City Company of Indianapolis
laid grand plans but watched helplessly as its dam and its hopes melted
with summer cloudbursts. Even the state land office was caught in the
frenzy, promoting the Hatchtown Dam and the State Canal along which
new settlements, including the Jewish colony of Clarion, were located.
In the west deserts railroad-sponsored companies opened Carey Land Act
tracts near Delta and Milford.