Utah Stories from the Beehive Archive

Browse Items (147 total)

  • Tags: Date: 1850-1900

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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In the late 19th century, the town of Newton, Utah was almost abandoned. Crops died, there was no water for animals or people… So how did the town survive?  Settled in 1869 on the broad plain of Utah's Cache Valley, the fledgling town of Newton…

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Winters in northern Utah’s Cache Valley are harsh. To survive and thrive, indigenous Shoshone peoples and Mormon settlers were faced with the question of “Will the challenges of winter make you or break you?” Fur trappers who wintered in…

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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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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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Anyone who lives near Utah’s mountains knows how dangerous winter avalanches can be. Today, avalanches are closely monitored and relatively controlled. But it wasn’t always so. Learn about the 1897 avalanche in Provo Canyon that ended in…
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