Although settled initially by Mormons, Lewiston did not follow the pattern of settlement that characterized most of the older towns in Cache Valley. Instead of a small area divided into city blocks, farms were widely dispersed. Roads did develop in a grid pattern, each encompassing about one square mile, along which the farms were located. A small central business district and a more concentrated residential area evolved at the center of this system of roads.
Settlement began in 1870, despite opposition from residents of older communities to the east. The Lewiston area had been used as pasture land by farmers from those towns for many years, and they resented having the land taken over by squatters. Land in Lewiston was among the first claimed under the new federal Homestead Act. Following the establishment of a land office in Salt Lake City in 1869, four men filed claims. Everett C. Van Orden, who had been an early settler in Franklin, Idaho, interested his brother Peter and two other Kaysville residents, Robert Wall and John M. Bernhisel, in coming to Lewiston. The point at which their original four quarter-sections met became the center of town. Within a few years, most of the rest of land had been occupied.