Utah Stories from the Beehive Archive

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  • Tags: Industry

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Utah communities regularly wish for more rainfall, especially during years of drought. But can they do more than just pray? Learn how scientists in the 1950s harnessed technology to make their own rain. Today, Utahns experiencing drought due to…

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Acid rain used to be a big problem in Salt Lake Valley. As local farmers sought to curb its impact, they found themselves getting “gaslit” about gas emissions from nearby smelters, both in court and in their own fields. Water normally means life…

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Utahns love to visit beautiful Utah Lake for recreation, but the lake’s dangerous conditions remind us to be wary of getting too comfortable on the water. On a calm Sunday afternoon in June 1883, Thomas Yates and some friends from the town of…

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Water law in the West can be complicated. Find out how river runners helped the government decide who owns the riverbed of the Colorado Basin, and why that even matters to the public. In the late 1920s, the state of Utah wanted to use the riverbeds…

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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…

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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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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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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 –…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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The Utah Hot Springs Resort at the base of Ogden Canyon offered city dwellers an escape into nature -- but at what cost? Learn more about selling Ogden’s healing mineral springs. Utah’s hot springs have long been sought for their positive health…

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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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The uranium mining and milling industry in Utah has had a devastating effect on water that disproportionately affected the health and safety of Native American tribes. During the height of the atomic age after World War II, southern Utah was teeming…

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You have probably walked over a buried creek many times and not realized it. Underneath the streets of Salt Lake Valley are seven creeks flowing from the Wasatch Mountains. What are the costs of hiding this water? In 1852, land surveyor and explorer…

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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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The outdoor recreation industry in Utah is worth billions of dollars.  But getting out into nature for simple pleasure – and paying someone to guide you – is a relatively modern concept. Learn about a river trip taken in 1909 that forecast the…

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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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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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