History of Utah County, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
Mormon pioneers began settling Utah Valley in 1849. Like the Indians before them, they chose to settle on the fertile, well-watered strip of land between the mountains and Utah Lake. More than a dozen towns were established between Lehi on the north and Santaquin on the south. Provo, named for the French fur trapper Etienne Provost, has always been the largest town and the county seat.

In March 1849 thirty-three families, composed of about 150 people, were called to go to Utah Valley under the leadership of John S. Higbee to fish, farm, and teach the Indians. During the next two years - 1850 and 1851 - communities were established at Lehi, Alpine, American Fork, Pleasant Grove, Springville, Spanish Fork, Salem, and Payson.

Farming was the most important early industry in the county, with fruit growing and the processing of sugar beets being especially important. The first large-scale sugar beet factory in Utah was built in Lehi in 1890. In recent years, the center of the fruit industry in the county has shifted from Orem to the south end of the valley, where orchards are not threatened by housing developments.

Mining was also an important industry in Utah County. In the late 1800s and early 1900s there were many successful mines in American Fork Canyon and in the Tintic mining district centered near Eureka, Juab County but included part of western Utah County. Many of the fine homes and business buildings in Provo were constructed with mining money.

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