Utah Stories from the Beehive Archive

Browse Items (149 total)

  • Tags: Date: 1850-1900

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Making use of the Sevier River for agriculture required some ingenuity after early Mormon settlers discovered that irrigation was more complicated than simply digging a ditch. Learn how an unconventional surveying tool nicknamed “Old Scraggen”…

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If someone admits they’ve broken the law, the government is not supposed to take up their cause. Yet that is exactly what happened when a group of farmers in Heber Valley stole water from the Ute Reservation for decades. Water in Utah is a precious…

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The Green River is a major physical divide in eastern Utah, yet it is also a lifeline for drinking water, agriculture, and recreation. Learn how the River has been a barrier and a bridge for one community along its banks. In the arid West, water is a…

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When Mormon pioneers tried to settle along the banks of the Virgin River, raging waters kept them from getting too comfortable. Learn about the ghost town of Grafton and its losing battle with the River. Utah has little regular rainfall, so…

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Steam locomotive engines need water – a lot of it. But here in Utah – the second driest state in the Lower 48 – finding water to feed these steam beasts was a real problem for the railroad companies. Learn more about how they solved this…

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You know those world-famous Green River melons? Well, they need lots of water to build that juicy goodness. Learn how one farm along the Green River solved the problem of getting water to its fields. The town of Green River, Utah, is known for its…

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A map of the United States is a familiar sight in Utah’s classrooms. But if we had listened to one of America’s most visionary scientists more than one hundred years ago, Utah’s state borders would look totally different today. Maps shape how…

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Ever wonder how people kept food cold before electricity? Learn how ice was harvested, stored, and used throughout Utah before freezers were common household appliances. During the nineteenth-century, frozen water was a rare and valuable commodity.…

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Have you ever looked out over Great Salt Lake and thought, “I’d really like to grow oysters there?” You probably haven’t. Learn how Utahns have tried — and failed — to cultivate this unlikely product. The Mountain West is not known for…

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It may come as a surprise to learn that in late 19th century Utah – an era with great constraints on women’s work – that prostitution offered at least some women a path to a powerful career.In the late 1800s, railroads and urban growth spurred…

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Meet prominent socialite and millionaire Susanna Bransford, who built her fortune on the back of Utah’s mining boom.Susanna Bransford – Park City’s infamous “Silver Queen” – epitomizes Utah’s glamorous Gilded Age.  But Bransford…

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This week, learn how the most famous American theater actress of the early 20th Century used gender-bending roles to push the early boundaries of a queer aesthetic.Salt Lake City native Maude Adams was the highest paid and most beloved American…

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Barred from lucrative work and hounded by local residents, it took years of discrimination against Chinese workers to erase their contributions to Park City.All that remains of Park City’s once-thriving Chinatown is a name on a parking garage:…

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As Americans, we extol the value of an “honest living,” but what about work that is less than honest? Butch Cassidy was a Utah boy with a penchant for wild living who paid his way using any means necessary.While considered unsavory, many…

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Have you ever noticed groves of mulberry trees in your neighborhood? These trees aren’t native to Utah, but were planted to support a pioneer silk industry led by Mormon women and girls.It’s hard to imagine silkworms thriving in Utah’s harsh…

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Did you know that before Prohibition, Utah was home to fifteen breweries? Some were among the biggest and best in the West. Learn about Utah’s early beer brewers and their specialized craft.Ask any beer brewer – or any beer connoisseur – and…

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The reality of an eight-hour workday remains elusive for many Utah workers, but it is still considered the national standard, and one we take for granted. Learn how Utah became the first state to adopt the eight-hour workday.During the late…

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Starting in the 1840s, government explorers began to survey and map the Intermountain West more thoroughly. Meet Leonard Swett, a wealthy young man from Chicago who came West with the U.S. Geological Survey.Among the first government workers in Utah…

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Much has been made of the early Mormons’ communal work ethic and the effective redistribution of resources within their communities. But how did they actually organize these efforts?Life on the eastern edge of the Great Basin was not easy.  When…

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Learn about Utah’s nineteenth century midwives, who were unusual in that they were actually paid for their work as medical providers. Much of the work that sustained Utah’s communities in the late nineteenth century was done by women, in the…
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