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History of American Fork, Utah

Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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To facilitate the raising of crops, it was necessary to irrigate the various parcels of ground. The abundant supply of pure drinking and culinary water was a rich asset. People from the Pleasant Grove area had been the first to claim water from American Fork Creek for irrigation purposes. They constructed a crude dam either late in the season of 1850 or early in 1851, making a ditch to carry the water to their lands.

The first irrigation ditch in American Fork was made by the Mott brothers - Stephen, Israel, Hyrum, and Squire - in 1851. Lehi (then called Dry Creek), organized at about the same time as American Fork, took up to one-third of the waters of American Fork Creek by authorization of the legislative assembly of the territory of Utah.

One of the first local commercial enterprises was the Arza Adams gristmill; the general mercantile business of Marx and McKenzie came in 1852. Richard Steele opened a small glass and crockery store; this was followed by Alexander Miller, Arza Adams, John Hindley, and William Helley with their own establishments. Grant's Emporium, as well as Bates's and Boley's also offered goods. Major business houses included the American Fork Co-Operative Association, which was sold by shareholders in 1930, and Chipman Mercantile, which closed in 1979 after celebrating its centennial seven years earlier.

The construction of Columbia Steel Company (later United States Steel and still later Geneva Steel) in Utah County in 1942-43 and the influx of many easterners assigned to key positions at the plant brought a local residential building boom, the greatest to that time in the community. The population of the community increased to 4,500, necessitating a vigorous public-works program to provide increased utility services.

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