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History of Springville, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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Aaron Johnson led settlers to Springville in 1850. Mormon settlers displaced Native Americans and relegated them to an "Indian Farm," located on poor ground, unfit for farming, at the mouth of the Spanish Fork River near the Utah Lake. Mormon settlers developed subsistence farming for fewer families than was hoped, due to lack of water. Some Springville farmers turned to hauling freight from California twice a year. Following the Civil War in 1865, other farmers turned to raising cattle and sheep. Completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 made rail shipment of stock to market possible, so stockmen used more intensive grazing practices. The railroad also helped make mining products profitable, and many mines started to be developed. Beginning in 1878, Springville merchant Milan Packard built a railroad to bring coal from Scofield to Utah Valley. The Rio Grande Railroad bought out the line in 1882.

Like the Native Americans before them, Springville stockmen lived in the valley during the winter and grazed their animals in the mountains in summer. Valley precipitation is generally low, six to twelve inches per year. Above 6,000 feet elevation, precipitation in the mountains is 20 inches to 30 inches annually. Most of the water comes in the form of winter snow. Stockmen over-used grazing resources. The stock consumed most of the grass from the hillsides, leaving surfaces unprotected from summer cloudbursts and spring runoff. The resulting floods and mud flows nearly caused abandonment of some rural communities.


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