Utah Stories from the Beehive Archive

Beehive Archive - Think Water Utah

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Beehive Archive - Think Water Utah

Items in the Beehive Archive - Think Water Utah Collection

Dam and Disaster: The 1917 Mammoth Dam Break
Dams are a vital part of Utah’s water infrastructure -- but they sometimes fail. A breach of the Mammoth Dam in 1917 sent millions of gallons of water rushing downstream, and exposed its poor conditions of construction and operation. On June 24,…

Equitable Water Distribution: the 1962 Bear River Project
Utah has an insatiable demand for water, and the Bear River is one of northern Utah’s most abundant sources. Despite this, efforts to fully develop it have long been stymied by a combination of geography and politics. All of Bear River’s natural…

Sinking of the Mabel Davis
Recreational boating became popular on Utah’s lakes during the late 1800s, and some entrepreneurs took major risks to make a profit. Learn about one captain who even went down with his ship! In the late 1800s, steamers and sailboats dotted the…

How Carp Took Utah Lake
Utah Lake was once an important and abundant source of fish and wildlife for the Timpanogos Ute people. But by the turn of the twentieth century, Utah Lake’s native fish species had almost completely vanished. Prior to Mormon settlement in 1849,…

Utah Wildlife Management: Trout vs “Trash Fish”
Stocking Utah’s waterways with sport fish is a practice that goes back more than a century – so long ago that many people may think these introduced species are native. Find out how this impacts Utah’s true native fishes. Setting up beside a…

Sanitation Services Delayed for Salt Lake City’s Westside
Stereotyped as dirty and dangerous, Salt Lake City’s Westside was the last to receive sanitation improvements. The city’s slow response to public health concerns helped make the area’s bad reputation worse. Learn more about how public sewer…

An Imaginary River: The Legend of the Rio Buenaventura
For almost a hundred years, explorers and mapmakers recorded a river that ran west from Utah out to the Pacific Ocean, despite no such waterway ever even existing. From the 1770s to the 1840s, a majority of explorers, politicians, and white settlers…

River vs. Colonization: The Mormon Cotton Mission
Southern Utah’s unreliable Virgin River prevented settlers from achieving their dream of taming the land to grow cotton. Believing they could “make the desert blossom as the rose,” Mormon settlers expanded into southwestern  Utah in the 1850s…

We Can “Build a Dam Anywhere”: Survival of the Central Utah Project
The Central Utah Project – which is still under construction – began with plenty of optimism and ambition. But politics and the inherent difficulty of moving mountains nearly sank the project. Learn how it survived. The Central Utah Project –…

Moving Mountains: Origins of the Central Utah Project
The vast plumbing infrastructure of the Central Utah Project is the culmination of Utah’s desires to move water to where we want it to be. Find out how complicated and contentious this endeavor has been. By the mid-twentieth century, the water of…

Blossom as the Rose: The Mormon Cultural Landscape
When members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints first arrived in Utah in 1847, they set about changing Utah’s arid environment with irrigation techniques and canals that affect our landscape today. Cultural landscapes are a…

Utah Watermasters
Utah’s limited water supply needs to be closely monitored! But this is nothing new. In Utah’s settler communities, the local watermaster was a vital figure, although not always the most popular one. Utah’s irrigation system of canals, ditches,…

Faking the Greatest Snow on Earth: Brian Head Resort's Snowmaking
Utah boasts the greatest snow on earth, but the pristine powder isn’t always nature-made. The fake snow saves tourist seasons, but at what cost? Skiing is big business in Utah! The state’s geography allows for a light, fluffy powder that tends…

Water Shapes Utah’s First Black Community: “The Hill” at Millcreek
In the late 19th century, Black settlers in the Salt Lake Valley used the waters of Millcreek Canyon to create a thriving community of their own. Where water is, people gather. This was true for Indigenous peoples of Utah, as well as Mormon colonists…

Powering Utah: Lucien Nunn’s Hydroelectric Empire
The search for more affordable, alternative energy sources is nothing new. Learn how a businessman in the late 1800s electrified rural Utah using a state-of-the-art hydroelectric system. We take it for granted now, but electricity was a hot commodity…

Reclaiming Boa Ogoi
The colonization of northern Utah’s Cache Valley escalated tensions that led to the horrific 1863 massacre of Shoshone people at their winter camp on Bear River. Learn how the Shoshone have returned to the river and are reclaiming it as a healing…

Moson Kahni: The Winter Camp at Boa Ogoi
Located along the Utah-Idaho border, the Bear River is the source of life for Northwestern Shoshone people. They know it as Boa Ogoi and for hundreds of years, winters spent along its edge offered respite and rejuvenation. The Northwestern Band of…

The Battle Over Big Cottonwood Conduit
Frequent droughts and a growing population continue to raise the stakes for water access in Utah. Learn about a drawn-out conflict over water in Salt Lake City that shows how tensions between agricultural and municipal water users are hardly new. In…

The Hyrum Dam: Building a Dam, Building a Community
What is it about a body of water that brings people together? Learn about an infrastructure project on the Little Bear River that helped the Cache Valley community of Hyrum to flourish -- in more ways than one. Flowing through an area of Hyrum called…

“Very Like a Whale:” Great Salt Lake’s Marine Leviathan
In the late 19th century, a Utah newspaper announced that the two whales swimming in Utah’s Great Salt Lake had added children to their family. Was this a scientific reality, or just a whale of a tale? In 1888, the Salt Lake Herald-Republican…