HISTORY OF PARADISE UTAH
The late, Elizabeth (Betty) Allen
In March 1860, Joseph G. Crapo, Alvin M. Montierth, William Smith, and Barnard White who were residing at that time in Draper, Utah, decided to visit Cache Valley in hopes of finding a location for settlement. They had heard about the lush, green valley with plenty of water and timber. They joined a wagon train that was going north and traveled with them until they reached Ogden’s Hole. They then followed an old Indian trail north into Cache Valley. Barnard White drove the first wagon and team of mules onto Old Paradise (Avon) on April 1, 1860, in the south end of Cache Valley. The area chosen was located at the forks of East Creek and Little Bear River.
The cove where Avon is now located was very beautiful with plenty of game, water, and timber to support a community. They resolved to make this their new home, and the first thing they did was build a small log cabin that belonged to Barnard White. With the building of this cabin they established residency. At that time the area was part of Box Elder County, and they went to Brigham City and filed on the water in all of the nearby canyons for stock watering purposes.
They returned to Draper to bring their families to the new location. On May 12, 1860, Joseph G. Crapo and Alvin M. Montierth returned with their families. On their return trip they stopped at Salt Lake City and convinced David James to join them at the new location. All of the settlers were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and David James had served as their Branch President while they were in England.
During the summer several other families arrived among whom were William Woodhead, James Lofthouse, Enoch Rollins, Elijah Tams, Jerome Remington, Winslow Farr, Jr., Prince Albert Crapo, Charles Rollins, Leonardis Crapo, Edward Davenport, John Sperry, and Dr. Ellis, a veterinarian.
They were able to get a crop planted that year which they irrigated from springs on the east side of the Muddy or Little Bear River and they had a good harvest. Four homes were built on one side of a small road and four homes on the other side of the road in fort style. The following families spent the first winter on their chosen location either in the fort, small cabins, or in dugouts: David James, Joseph G. Crapo, Alvin M. Montierth, William Smith, Barnard White, William Woodhead, James Lofthouse, Enoch Rollins, Charles Rollins, Edward Davenport, John Sperry, Jerome Remington, Winslow Farr, Jr., James Bishop, Elijah Tams, Leonardis L. Crapo, Prince Albert Crapo, and Dr. Ellis.
Before the settlers arrived an old trapper by the name of Post, but more often called “Stump,” had built a log cabin just south of the fort in the river bottoms. He lived by himself, trapping and hunting. He never joined the colony. Indians attacked the trapper, killed him, and burned his cabin. The settlers found his charred bones and buried them.
As choice as the area was it had its disadvantages. The settlers were not aware the location they had chosen was one of the main camping grounds of the Indians on their way to the South and East. Every precaution was taken to protect themselves from attacks of any kind. They did follow President Young’s advice of feeding the Indians rather than fighting them. Feeding them at times became a hardship as food was scarce and it meant that their families would have to go without. They remained in the fort until 1861 after an irrigation canal was completed and then they moved out onto the land to establish their farms.
The settlement was not settled under the Cache Valley ecclesiastical organization. It was soon deemed wise to organize the settlement under the Cache Valley authorities. President Ezra Taft Benson and Presiding Bishop, Peter Benson, gave the place the name of “Paradise.” He also selected David James to serve as Bishop of Paradise.
The visit by Benson and Maughan points up one of the difficulties of the Paradise location. They were geographically part of Box Elder County but yet were part of the Cache Stake. On occasion the Box Elder County Court failed to recognize that there was a town in their county named Paradise.
On January 17, 1862, the Territorial Legislature passed a bill changing the Cache County boundaries to those of today. Finally, Paradise was a part of Cache County. But the Cache County Court did not pay much attention to Paradise – any more attention than Box Elder County. On August 11, 1862, precinct officers were elected as follows: Jerome Remington, Magistrate; Winslow Farr, Jr., Constable; James Bishop, Pound Keeper; Joseph G. Crapo and Enoch P. Rollins, Fence Viewers. It was not until February 9, 1863, that Paradise was made an election precinct.
During 1861, meetings were generally held in the large and commodious house erected by Alvin M. Montierth. In the fall of 1861, the first Meeting/School House, a small log building, was erected.
In March of 1864, Ezra Taft Benson ordered an official survey be made of Paradise. James H. Martineau completed the survey on March 29, 1864. The streets were laid off running north and south, east and west. There were seventeen blocks with eight building lots in each block. The center block was reserved for the Tithing Office. In 1864, a new Meeting House, a log building 18 x 27 feet was erected. Part of this building was subsequently moved down to the new location in 1886, and was used as part of the new Meeting House.
In 1861, Henry C. Jackson arrived in Paradise. He immediatly set to work putting in a sawmill. Until that time all homes were the typical log houses, which were chinked and daubed with clay. The roofs were made by putting a thick layer of willows over the poles that were laid up over the cross logs and then a heavy covering of clay was added. The sawmill allowed the settlers to upgrade their cabins and even erect new ones.
In the latter part of the summer of 1866, great clouds of grasshoppers flew upon the town and fields surrounding it and commenced feeding upon the crops of the gardens and fields. The grasshoppers also laid their eggs in great quantities. The following spring, insects had hatched from these eggs and destroyed practically all the crops that had been planted. Thus, it continued alternately for six years. This because known as the “Grasshopper War” and the setters were unable to improve their situation.
On December 25, 1867, the settlement numbered about fifty families and the day school numbered fifty scholars under the able instruction of Henry A. Shaw. One remarkable feature of the little settlement was the fact that eighteen members of the ward had been members of the Shrewsbury Branch of the LDS Church.
In 1867, the Church authorities decided that on account of Indian troubles, the first location, Old Paradise, was considered unsafe. It was decided that the settlement should be moved farther north down the creek. James H. Martineau surveyed the new town site.
A few families moved from the old location to the new one in the fall of 1867, but the general move took place in the spring of 1868, when about fifty families vacated Old Paradise and moved to the new town site. They brought with them their water rights and other privileges. A new ditch tapping the Muddy lower down was then commenced and constructed under rather distressing circumstances. They were not successful in getting the new ditch ready in time for early irrigation and nearly the entire crop of grain was burned up in the sun.
Also in 1868, a new Meeting and School House, 26 x 40 feet, was built at the new location. The new town of Paradise absorbed the original Petersburg settlement where four families had spent several years alone.
Bishop James brought a large load of fruit trees from Salt Lake City, in the early 1870′s, and this was the first beginning of fruit growing to any considerable extent in Paradise. The settlers strove to develop every worthwhile industry within the confines of the community, and a small cooperative store was organized in 1871. It was owned by a cooperation of laboring men.
On April 26, 1875, the inhabitants of Paradise petitioned the Cache County Court for the organization of an Irrigating District within the precinct of Paradise. The Court had previously organized an Irrigating District that embraced the precincts of Paradise, Hryum and Wellsville. The Court ordered that so much of said district as was within the precinct of Paradise laying East of Little Bear River be organized with a separate Irrigating District with the proportion of water already granted to said precinct except the right-of-way for Hyrum canal running through the same.
In 1897, construction was started for a new three-room brick school building. School was held in the new building in 1897-1898. An addition of three rooms and two restrooms was added to the building from 1911-1912.
Paradise continued to prosper and progress. By the turn of the century the population numbered 739 people. They continued to upgrade their homes and an addition was added to the existing Meeting House. A new brick tithing office was constructed in 1901 for the purpose of receiving and storing tithes and offerings of the Church members. The residents submitted a petition to Cache County on March 5, 1900, requesting a town corporation, but the town was not incorporated until seven years later, April 16, 1907. The first President of the town board was Samuel Oldham.
In January 1909, the town board first considered the feasibility of lighting the town with electricity, but they had to wait until 1917, when a contract was awarded to Utah Power and Light to bring electricity to the town. By November 24th, the poles and wire were ready, and the following week the houses were connected and meters installed.
The town was also concerned about the welfare and social life of its citizens. In 1914, the Town Board secured by purchase a building suitable for a city hall. In connection therewith a jail with suitable cells was constructed for the accommodation of prisoners. By 1912, the Town Board felt it was no longer necessary to maintain a city jail and the old building was turned over to the Paradise Ward Social Advisory Board. The building was remodeled and properly fitted for use as a gymnasium. Boys and girls athletic clubs were organized and a social movement began. Basketball games, boxing, programs, and dances were held in the building. In 1931, the old School House was also turned over to the Athletic Club to be used for amusements.
On January 3, 1910, the matter of putting in a water system for the town was discussed, but it was not until September that the first definite proposal was made, and it failed outright. The people were not ready for it. For nine long years the idea was kept alive and presented to the people at every opportunity. In 1919, financing began to take place and on September 29, 1919, a contract was signed for the construction of the water system. On December 20, 1920, the system was completed and the residents of Paradise received drinking water.
No major improvements were made to the system until the summer of 1961, when a well was drilled in the northeast part of town. In 1963, a second well was dug in the northwest part of town. A third well was drilled in 1979, located on the town square. In 1980, the town began to enlarge and replace the distribution system, reservoir and transmission lines. In 1984, a replacement and enlargement of the upper transmission line and redevelopment of the spring took place.
In 1997, a fourth well was drilled in the mouth of Hyrum Dry Canyon, east of the East Cache Fault Line.
Along with other Valley residents, the residents of Paradise fell prey to the Spanish Influenza in the fall of 1918. They complied with all rules and regulations in regard to the disease. People were not allowed outside their own communities without wearing a mask. By December 18th, six people had died from the influenza and funerals were held outdoors. All indoor meetings had been discontinued early in October. It wasn’t until February 1919, that indoor public meetings were held once again.
In September 1940, work began on the new school gymnasium/auditorium. The structure consisted of a combination gymnasium/auditorium, a stage, fully equipped kitchen, banquet room, a town office, and dressing and shower rooms. The structure became the center for all social activities for the community.
With the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, America entered WWII, and the town became involved in the activities connected with the war. Many young men and women from Paradise and Avon have served their country over the years, and we are deeply proud of them.
In 1948, streetlights were installed in the town, and in 1964, Paradise was connected to the Mountain Fuel natural gas system. With the completion of the Porcupine Reservoir in 1963, Paradise was blessed with additional irrigation water. In August 1972, the Paradise Irrigation Company began installation of a new pressurized irrigation system. The system was completed for the 1973 irrigation season.
The Cache County School District initiated a school consolidation program in 1968, and the Paradise school was closed. The elementary students were enrolled at Lincoln Elementary School in Hyrum. The school had been the center of various types of activities throughout the years and it was a great loss to the community. The town later obtained the old School House building and gymnasium and property from the Cache County School District.
The town has developed two beautiful picnic areas, tennis courts, playground areas, softball fields, multipurpose courts and various soccer fields. In 1984, they renovated part of the gymnasium for use as a fire station, and in 1985, a new city office and community room was completed in the other half.
On August 24, 1991, a community celebration known as “Trout and Berry Days” was held and has been an annual celebration ever since. It is held on the last Saturday of August and is an enjoyable day for everyone. Activities have included a flag ceremony, pancake breakfast, parade, turkey shoot, golf tournament, rodeo, commercial booths, live trout scramble, mud volleyball, berry pie eating contest, auction, trout dinner, entertainment, and a street dance.
The town has tried to maintain a rural atmosphere and is a peaceful, beautiful community. The town board is always striving to improve the community in every way possible to make the community a desirable place to live and raise a family.